NOTE: Below is Giselle's bio for her incarnation in 1860s Paris as portrayed in L'Affaire. To read her background in Victorian London in the novel Behind the Velvet Curtain, please see my Profile page.
"Ah, ma petite Golden Silence," observes dance mistress Anouk Desrosier, coming up beside you and following your eye to the young dancer, third from the left in this particular scene. "That is what I've called her for these last 10 years." She pauses in her explanation, counting under her breath as the dancers perform a series of leaps in a ripple, smiling a bit as Giselle's supasses the others by degrees. "Yes, she is a rising star. But she doesn't know that. I've never known such a talented dancer to be so unaware of her own gifts. Hmm? Oh, why do I call her my Golden Silence?" Madame Desrosier's smile is both nostalgic and tragic, as she sighs. "It was 20 years ago...
"I was young, very young. Why I think even you might have fancied me then," with a teasing smile, even as she continues. "And I was among a new litter of dancers in the Parisian ballet. Me and Amelie. Oh what friends we were and how I loved her. She was entirely vivacious and joyful, bringing warmth and light into whatever room she entered. She was the desire of many young Parisian men, but only one won her heart. Oh but she was too sweet herself to see the illness of his nature; so you can imagine her heartbreak when he abandoned her with her stomach swelling with his child. Nevertheless, she persevered. Her warm glow returned, and soon she was delivered of a beautiful girlchild." Mdm. Desrosier pauses, her eyes following Giselle across the stage.
"Oh how she coddled that child, " she laughs a bit. "It was part of the reason I insisted that Giselle be put under my tutalage. She'd never meet her potential as a ballerina without a firm hand to guide her. But there was another reason. Amelie had taken ill. It was a slow decline, the cancer sapping her strength by degrees. But she never lost a moment to teach her girl about the beauties of life, the love for the simplest things, the pleasure to be had in a spring breeze or an autumn sunset. When the child is fully taught, she is fully like the teacher, n'est pas? And the girl Giselle had become entirely like her mother. In the end they had five more years together before Amelie died. You'll never meet a more beautifully happy girl -- that is unless you knew her mother.
"Oh but silly me, back to your initial question. Why is she my Golden Silence? Well, the poor child has never spoken a word, not since her mother's death." Anouk looks down in silent pity. "It is strange. She dutiful, respectful, conscientious, joyful, happy, kind...just....silent. Always silent. Even her laughter and her tears bring no sound from her mouth, and yet, I know she feels those emotions more poignantly than the most vocal amongst my girls......"
A long silence elapses before she looks up. And the somber moment is shattered as she shouts in her dance mistress' staccato. "Non, non, non, non. NO! You silly girls!!" punctuating each repripand with a sharp clap. Then turning back to you. "Ah pardonez moi, mon ami. I must return to my duties." And she hurries to the stage to correct an error only an expertly trained dancer such as she would have even noticed.