Royal Danish Ballet Style
Posted 28 March 2003 - 11:35 AM
Posted 29 March 2003 - 12:34 PM
Posted 29 March 2003 - 01:18 PM
A couple of other things:
The training still emphasizes beaten steps -- a variety of them -- and changes of direction, which, as is often pointed out, the result of the very small stage Bournonville worked with (24 feet wide, according to Patricia McAndrew's notes in her translation of Mit Teatrliv). There is no promenade, no walking around the stage before a big solo; you just start. Often the first step is a jump.
The back leg -- in a jump, in an arabesque -- is slightly bent.
There is an emphasis on epaulement.
Perhaps the one central thing -- and it's a real giveaway, a way to spot the non-Danish trained dancers -- is the plié. It's deep, and especially noticable on landings from jumps; it keeps the movement flowing. Without it, the impetus of the movement stops, as the knees stop. With it, the dancing flows from one step to another.
The style has changed, of course, and this is one style that we can track fairly well. 100 years ago, the line was ROUND. Think vines. Nothing was stretched, everything curled. The Danes thought Fokine's line was harsh and ugly when they first saw his work. This lasted until the early 1950s, when Volkova joined the RDB and stretched the line -- although not as stretched as it was becoming elsewhere -- and put many of the demicaractere solos that were choreographed on demipointe, and some of the corps work, on pointe.
There is something still, despite brainwashing, hundreds of guest teachers, and all manner of persuasive means, inherent in Danish dancers from Bournonville: the women don't like dancing on pointe, and the men don't want to do lifts. [Pointework, I've been told by Danish teachers, ruins the jump, it changes the way the dancer feels the floor and affects the push off for the jump.]
Company attitudes towards the style have been on a pendulum swing throughout at least this century, with regards to musicality (do you dance right on the beat, or through the beat), presentation (grin or don't grin), and the scale of the dancing. Bournonville's style is often referred to as "small" -- and there is a lot of small, qluick footwork -- and the current generation of stagers interprets this as dancing on a very small scale. The Brenaa generation did not; "use all of the space available to you" was the watchword then, and dancers of that generation call what's being danced today "Bournonville in a box."
Posted 29 March 2003 - 02:47 PM
Posted 29 March 2003 - 03:02 PM
Posted 27 September 2003 - 03:18 PM
Posted 27 September 2003 - 03:49 PM
Posted 27 September 2003 - 04:45 PM
Posted 27 September 2003 - 08:36 PM
Another characteristic of Bournonville style is hte importance of the low coupe -- on relevee or in fondu, it is a beautiful line, and Bournonville uses it a LOT. There are lots of pirouettes, for women and men, in sur le coup de pied or coupe, and many combinations will end with a petite jete that ends in that characteristic large diamond shape, with the knees beautifully open -- it will then close in fifth as the legs stretch.
The hobble step -- who else ever uses this? on sees it s LOT in Bournonville, as a prelude (usually) to a big jump. The hobble step stays in this position, like a bourree in coupe, knees beautifully turned-out and open generously....
Posted 27 September 2003 - 09:09 PM
Do you mean pas de bourré? :shrug:
Posted 27 September 2003 - 09:18 PM
that's what Sally called it, when she taught Bournonville variations----
it's like a paddle turn that doesn't turn but travels sideways...... the thing is it's a tiny step that stays in fondu, 6-8 quick steps (as if you did bourrees that weren't on pointe but "stayed in plie," with the knees quite bent the whole time) -- if you've seen much Bournonville you'll have seen it -- men do it, women do it -- very commonly it will lead into a grand jete in second position or in attitude
Posted 27 September 2003 - 09:21 PM
I hope Victoria sees this thread. I saw her post about pirouettes sur le coup de pied a couple of years ago -- they are still (nominally) a demicaractere step; she was talking about teaching them. They're being phased out in Denmark now, too, though. They were taken out of some variations (sadly, I must admit, by Brenaa, I was told by one of his assistants).
Posted 27 September 2003 - 09:43 PM
Helgi Tomasson has used it in some of his choreography, if I remember right.
I'll concede, it IS a strange-looking step when you first see it, even when a Sylphide does it....
low-coupe is a beautiful thing, but it's on the way out all over -- at NYCB they do coupe well above the ankle.... Sally teaches it still, as do all the teachers at BBT, and it's in general use in hte Bay Area...
entrechats used to be done in coupe -- in fact, that's where the names come from -- entrechat trois is "three coupes" -- and Italian changements, which stay in coupe, is the way changements used to be......
Posted 27 September 2003 - 09:51 PM
Not to be too pedantic, but coupé these days usually means a step, not a position. The position is usually called sur le cou de pied, and it can also be devant or derrière. I could go on and on about this but it's not the right forum.
Posted 27 September 2003 - 09:54 PM
they also often say plie when they mean fondu.... it's verbal shorthand, and perhaps a West Coast idiom....
"Bournonville pas de bourree" is probably a good term to use in posts like this. I actually respect the usefulness of "hobble step" as a term you could use while working teaching a variations class -- it's not a mouthful, it's vivid, it IS the step you'd have to do if your ankles were confined somehow, and I suspect it is what Americans have called it for a while....
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