When I was 15, I danced this role for my then-studio's Feast of Terpisichore Ballet Company. I had dreamed of dancing Myrtha (from the "white ballet" Giselle), and when my dance mistress cast me I was delirious with happiness. It was a 20 minute piece and I quite near died learning it, but it made me a stronger, happier, and more confidant dancer.
Myrtha is a character who appears in Act II of Giselle, after poor Giselle loses her mind and kills herself. Both are Willis, or Veela, doomed to dance for all eternity - and to kill any man who crosses their path by dancing him to death. All of the Veela are fated to this dreary task, but when Giselle's still-living lover crosses her grave, she has to fight Myrtha for his life - and her own soul. This ballet remains my favorite after almost a decade (well, besides Othello).
It is called a "white ballet" because it is staged nearly all in white, is very ethereal, and plays with the themes of innocence, purity, and doomed romance. Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, and La Sylphide are some other examples of white ballets. Giselle takes place in Germany and is based on local legends.
The ballet's French composer, Adolphe Adams, composed the entire score in only two weeks!
You may find him familiar, as he also composed the famous carol O, Holy Night.
My soul suffers for the lack of formal ballet. My body is thanking me, but my soul ~ O, my soul! My soul years for the classical art I once lived for. The passion of contemporary dance is overwhelmingly fulfilling, but the need for ballet stirs my soul tonight strong as ever. Be still!