The Sylph vs. the Willis

The video depicts the Sylphs in the ballet la Sylphide as more lighthearted than the Willis in Giselle were portrayed. The Willis were somewhat dark and vampire-like; they were vengeful and the music that accompanied their scenes in the ballet was much more sinister. The Sylphs on the other hand seem more spirited and flirtatious and their movement is light and flows together effortlessly. The Sylphs appear to be a creature of desire for men, while the Willis are dreaded by men because they seek revenge. Also, the set for the Willis and the Sylphs are very contrasting. The Willis were in a graveyard, while the Sylphs were in a forest.

Mackenzie Randolph


3 thoughts on “The Sylph vs. the Willis

  1. This was one of my favorite scenes from La Sylphide because of the mystical elements. I loved the Sylph’s character because she was different from female leads I have seen in ballets before. I think the fact she is a sprightly mystical creature makes this ballet and this dance stand out from Giselle, where the Willis was a dark mystical creature. I like Mackenzie’s description of the contrasts between the Sylph and the Willis. Since I did not see the entire ballet of Giselle, I was unaware that the Willis had dance numbers that were set in a graveyard. That is definitely very different from the forest where the Sylph ran away to. However, the Sylph is similar to the Willis in that they are both dark creatures. Although the Sylph appears to be good- she leads James away from Effie and she therefore symbolizes temptation which is a very dark quality.

    Natalie D’Addieco

  2. I agree with Natalie and Mackenzie; the Wilis are much darker than the Sylphs. I typically enjoy happier, brighter ballets more than the darker ones simply because they are more enjoyable to watch, so I did like La Sylphide better than Giselle. The Sylphs, though they did have certain dark aspects to them, are definitely less menacing than the Wilis. Sylphs don’t try to kill or condemn any hardship on a man; the sylph in La Sylphide loved James and wanted to be with him, not sentence him to death like the Wilis did to the men who loved Giselle.

    Lana Rakestraw

  3. I loved watching the movements in this section. This clip makes me want to explore more of La Sylphide because I really liked the feeling of the piece. The Sylphs are more fairy-like than the Willis and are much happier. The Willis are out for revenge, so their movement was not as airy and inviting. These were not creatures to be afraid of in the woods; the Sylphs had very pleasant expressions, and because of the happier nature of this act, I liked this video more than the ones I had watched from Giselle, like Lana said.

    Hannah Caruso

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