Forum: Ballet / Advanced & Professional Ballet

Advanced & Professional Ballet
How Old is "Too Old" To Play "Giselle?"
By Vibrations Comments: 101, member since Mon Jun 27, 2011
On Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:16 PM
Edited by Vibrations (237489) on 2011-07-25 12:18:13
Edited by Vibrations (237489) on 2011-07-25 12:18:43

Because of the ballet's plot, where Giselle, after her death, tries to protect Albrecht from the Wilis, who are supernatural creatures luring young men to death by dancing, how old is "too old" to play the role of Giselle in your opinion? Should she be the age Xiomara Reyes was when she played the role in 2006 or younger? Or is it okay for someone to play the role at Galina Ulánova's age in the picture attached? Curious of opinions :)

4 Replies to How Old is "Too Old" To Play "Giselle?"

re: How Old is "Too Old" To Play "Giselle?"
By Sumayah Comments: 6875, member since Wed Nov 12, 2008
On Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:46 PM
Edited by Sumayah (204191) on 2011-07-25 12:47:13
Edited by Sumayah (204191) on 2011-07-25 12:47:32 so many typos!
Fonteyn was 42 when she first performed the role with a 24 year old Nureyev. I believe she last danced Juliet in her 50's or 60's. If they have the technique and stage presence to transport the audience away from reality into the story, then I don't see how age really factors in. I also think it's highly commendable to see older dancers holding their own against the fresh crop of new faces each year; ballerinas are gradually lengthening their careers beyond mere character roles (the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, the Queen in Sleeping Beauty) due to medical and technological advances. I don't mean any censure against the younger dancers, I just feel it's refreshing to see ballerinas performing brilliantly past the age of 30.

*Edit - I don't mean she first performed Giselle at 42, I mean that was they danced when she and Nureyev first danced together.
re: How Old is "Too Old" To Play "Giselle?"
By Vibrations Comments: 101, member since Mon Jun 27, 2011
On Mon Jul 25, 2011 01:00 PM
I wholly agree with that. I think it's absolutely wonderful that ballerinas have longer careers now. I don't see any reason why a ballerina should not be allowed to dance at a certain age if she obviously still holds her own (and then some) with technique.

P.S. I knew what you meant about Fonteyn at 42 and Nureyev :)
re: How Old is "Too Old" To Play "Giselle?"
By DanceOfTheHeartmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1591, member since Sun Sep 03, 2006
On Mon Jul 25, 2011 01:12 PM
I think it's all in taste. Alicia Alonso did Giselle till she was in her 70s and Alessandra Ferri did Juliet in her 40s. I think if you can still portray a 16 year old by their energy and vivaciousness then by all means go ahead!

I think it's also a political thing, the ballerinas who have famous roles do it till they retire because it brings in the money.

re: How Old is "Too Old" To Play "Giselle?"
By hummingbird Comments: 10413, member since Mon Apr 18, 2005
On Mon Jul 25, 2011 09:32 PM
In all honesty I feel the mad scene gets better with age, it can really go into painful melodramatics with a younger dancer.

Most 19 year olds are fine with the happy village girl bit but they can let the plot wander on the mad scene.

When it gets to the 2nd act there is a huge amount of emotion to be explored (whilst I can freely admit none of us has died and had to dance our beloved to death) you do have to have a real depth of emotion to make this act convincing.

In short, age is nothing, the ability to express three extremes of emotion in clarity for an audience is paramount together with killer technique for all of the beats.