When the ballet Giselle was created in 1841, it was not imagined to be performed by men and women of color, Black men and women. In 1984, Dance Theatre of Harlem Co-Founder Arthur Mitchell changed that. The acclaimed DTH production of this classic, Creole Giselle, was re-conceived by Arthur Mitchell and staged by Frederic Franklin, based on the original by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot
ACT ONE: It is Sunday morning on Madame Berthe’s little farm in Louisiana. Friends and neighbors gather to celebrate the festival of the end of the wine harvest. Berthe’s daughter Giselle waits longingly for Albert, whom she loves and hopes to marry. But Hilarion, an unwelcome rival arrives first and in that moment a shadow is cast over the participants. Now the celebration is about to start, and everyone celebrates the gifts of the earth. Giselle is confident that nothing can ruin this day of celebration. Not even the persistent intrusions of Hilarion, who is determined to win over Giselle, no matter what it takes.
ACT TWO: Giselle has died of a broken heart. The man she hoped to marry has failed her. In the mysterious cemetery out in the swampland, the spirits of young girls who have been let down by their beloved before their weddings wander, and every man they meet is lured into a dance to death. Giselle is waiting to be initiated into these avenging Wilis, but she does not know that Albert will soon come out there looking for her, looking to heal his pain.
Creole Giselle- DTH On Demand