In this 2006 clip of Myrtha's entrance in Giselle, former Paris Opéra Ballet étoile Marie-Agnès Gillot gives an other-worldly performance that is chilling, ethereal and technically sublime. Her footwork throughout the solo is mesmerizing, and it receives full attention thanks to her Romantic tutu. Her boureés are soft and undulating, and gentle pas de basques precede each piqué.
One of the most stunning moments is at 1:24, in which Gillot presents her foot in an effacé line. My ballet mistress in college, who had a flair for drama, always referred to any ballet position executed to its fullest, precisist and most gorgeous expression as the step "of death," and here Gillot defines the "tendu of death." As the tempo picks up, Gillot channels Myrtha's iciness with strong, direct energy through her willowy limbs. Her staccato head movements and steely jetés in the final allégro section warn that the wilis are creatures that should not be messed with. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!