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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Giselle or Les Wilis


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I was recently asked about the name of the ballet "Giselle". Was it originally "Les Wilis" and changed to Giselle? Did they start out as being two different ballets? In the International Dance Encyclopaedia it references both names. I was wondering if it was similar to Les Sylphides and Chopiana. Thanks for the information. :yes:

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I'm just about to publish something academic about the theatre history of Giselle. The ballet (and related stage play and opera) premiered in Paris in the 1840s. It was a sensation across Europe, as it made popular a new style of story telling ballet.


It was typical in the nineteenth century for there to be adaptations, copyings, and alternative versions of anything popular and successful. So there may well have been other versions, focusing on the Wilis of Giselle.


The story of Giselle was taken from Slovenian and Transylvanian folk tales of the spirits -- "night dancers" -- of young girls who died after being left on their wedding days.

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Dear Redbookish and Clara 76,

Thanks so much for your help. It sounds like it could have been originally called "Les Wilis". I did not know that the "Giselle" as we know it today, had any prior history such as the opera and stage play versions.


Clara 76, thanks for sending me the link to the balletme...., but when I clicked on it, I was not able to get any information at all.

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Clara, I get this message when I click your link:



This Connection is Untrusted
You have asked Firefox to connect securely to www.balletmet.org, but we can't confirm that your connection is secure.

Normally, when you try to connect securely, sites will present trusted identification to prove that you aregoing to the right place. However, this site's identity can't be verified.

What Should I Do?

If you usually connect to this site without problems, this error could mean that someone is trying to impersonate the site, and you shouldn't continue.


My conclusion is that you were logged into the site, and it thinks we're trying to access the site with your information?


ETA: Never mind, I can't access BalletMet's site at all, even with changing browsers (in case there was some kind of cookie). I tried doing a Google search for it, to see what would happen, and I got the same error message when I clicked to go to their homepage from Google. Ay yi yi!

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Hello ascballerina, I returned to the link several more times and was able to push through. The site told me about a certificate that had expired (?)..anyway, I was really glad that I was able to get to the Ballet Met site. It has a lot of wonderful information on "Giselle" and many other ballets that I will reference to the students for them to read.


Thanks for trying!

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  • 4 months later...

I'd like to jump in here with an explanation: Without going into technical details, the reason for these messages is this: The site "www.balletmet.org" uses an encrypted connection through internet instead of a plain one. To be able to do this they need a "certificate". That is a statement from a third party, saying they are trustworthy. These ceritifcates are valid for a limited period of time, afterwards they need a new one and it seems, they were a bit late. ;-)


You can tell your browser to display the side nonetheless.

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