A Ballet Show♥
The ballet opens on an autumnal day in the Rhineland during the Middle Ages. The grape harvest is in progress. Duke Albrecht of Silesia, a young nobleman disguised as a peasant, is sowing his last wild oats before his upcoming marriage to the princess Bathilde. He has fallen in love with the shy and beautiful village girl, Giselle. She knows nothing of his real life.
Hilarion, a gamekeeper, is also in love with Giselle. He tries to convince her that Albrecht cannot be trusted. Giselle ignores his warnings. Giselle's mother Berthe is very protective of her daughter, as Giselle has a weak heart that leaves her in delicate health. She discourages a relationship between Giselle and Albrecht.
A party of noblemen seeking refreshment following the rigors of the hunt arrives in the village. Albrecht quickly hurries away, knowing he will be recognized by Bathilde, who is in attendance. The villagers welcome the party, offer them refreshments, and perform several dances. Bathilde is charmed with Giselle's sweet and demure nature, not knowing of her relationship with Albrecht. Giselle is honored when the beautiful stranger offers her a necklace as a gift.
Hilarion interrupts the festivities. He has discovered Albrecht's sword, and presents it as proof that the peasant lad is not who he pretends to be. All are shocked by the revelation, but none more than Giselle, who becomes inconsolable when faced with her lover's deception. Knowing that they can never be together, Giselle flies into a mad fit of grief, causing her weak heart to give out at last. She dies in Albrecht's arms.
A moonlit glade near Giselle's grave. Hilarion mourns at Giselle's headstone, but is frightened away by the arrival of the Wilis, the spirits of women jilted by their lovers at the altar. The Wilis, led by their merciless queen, Myrtha, haunt the forest at night to seek revenge on any man they encounter, forcing their victims to dance until they die of exhaustion.
Myrtha and the Wilis rouse Giselle's spirit from her grave and induct her into their clan, before disappearing into the forest. Albrecht arrives to lay flowers on Giselle's grave, and he weeps with guilt over her death. Giselle's spirit appears, and Albrecht begs her forgiveness. Giselle, her love undiminished, gently forgives him. She disappears to join the rest of the Wilis, and Albrecht desperately follows her.
Meanwhile, the Wilis have cornered Hilarion. They use their magic to force him to dance until he is nearly dead, and then drown him in a nearby lake. They then turn on Albrecht, sentencing him to death as well. He pleads to Myrtha for his life, but she coldly refuses. Giselle's pleas are also dismissed, and Albrecht is forced to dance until sunrise. However, the power of Giselle's love counters the Wilis' magic and spares his life. The other spirits return to their graves at daybreak, but Giselle has broken through the feelings of hatred and vengeance that control the Wilis, and is thus released from their powers. After bidding a tender farewell to Albrecht, Giselle returns to her grave to rest in peace.