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Portrait of Adèle Dumilâtre

The Tall Girl: Myrtha

Alluring, like the Borg Queen, She is one who is many, Myrtha exercises total control over herself and her subjects. Kate Flatt tells us that the Queen of The Wilis is often ‘a tall girl’. Monica Mason as a truly regal Myrtha embodies her cruelty and beauty in the athleticism of the grande allegro.

Monica Mason as Myrtha

Non-binary spirit

Dada Masilo conceives of Myrtha as a non-binary spirit danced by androgynous Llewellyn Mnguni. She/he is both good and evil in the figure of the Sangoma who heals the hurt caused to young girls then orders Albrecht’s murder. Scholar Rainy Demerson writes about the significance of Masilos's casting of Mnguni and of Myrtha as Sangoma as a creative choice that opens up a distinctly queer space and indigenises the story; many sangomas are gay. Demerson cites Graeme Reid writing about the ideological significance of Sangomas in discussions on homosexuality in African culture.

Llewelln Mnguni as Myrtha Queen of the Wilis

A wedding

There are other queer aspects to Giselle. Touching someone with a wand is coded with meanings: the wand signifies a contract and the holder of the wand has authority. Rosemary is associated with memory and fidelity and is still used today in wedding ceremonies. If we follow this line of thought when Myrtha taps Giselle with her wand of rosemary Giselle is both under her power and becomes married both to Myrtha and into the sisterhood of the Wilis. As it is through her rosemary wand that Myrtha conducts her power - the breaking of this wand to save Albrecht is a classic outlaw move from Giselle.

A Thrysus

She is one who is many

In First Contact, like Giselle, Data an android is an outsider, he becomes admitted into the ranks of the Borg by their queen and chosen to be her lover. However like Giselle Data still has a few outlaw moves in him.

Normally, resistance is futile, however it would be wise not to underestimate Data

1 Banes, Sally (1998) Dancing Women: Female Bodies on Stage 2 Movieclips (2012 -05-21) Star Trek: First Contact (4/9) Movie CLIP - I Am the Borg (1996) HD 3 4 Demerson, Rainy (2020) De-colonial Moves: Re-membering Black Women in South African Contemporary Dance

Card image: Portrait of Adèle Dumilâtre | Joseph Mathias Negelen