A review of the opening night Napoli (Tomalonis):
The Knight of Faith
And the dancing? This was the evening's big disappointment. Although the first act’s ballabile was danced with the precision and flourish of yore, the third act’s pas de six and solos were quite different. In the ballabile, the non-Danes were indistinguishable from their Danish colleagues (one newcomer, Dawid Kupinski from Gdansk, was a standout not only in his dancing, but in the way he walked around the stage and paid attention to his partner after it was over). The beats were crisp, the arms floated, the dancing flowed with the music. But in the pas de six, one was aware of what has been lost in these ten years without an international level ballet master—which has mattered much more than the revolving door artistic directorship in the company’s artistic misfortunes. The dancers have lost their demi-plié; when they land from a jump, the spring is gone and the movement stops with a jolt at the knee. The glory of the Danish jump—that it continued rising, even as the dancer came back to earth—is gone; the trick of raising the chest and head as the dancer descends seems to have been forgotten. There were other deficiencies, most serious a lack of stamina and the fact that throughout the run in this act, the non-Danish dancers practically wore a sign that said “I’m not from here!”
A review of the two other casts in Napoli (George Jackson):
New Casts in Napoli
It's a tall order to conjure Naples, its down-to-earth salt-of-the-sea populace with temperaments as suddenly volcanic as Mt. Vesuvius and then as calm and clear as a cloudless Italian sky. But not just showing what's special about that city and citizenry, but letting the audience discover bonds these people have in common with the rest of humanity is the challange Royal Danish stagers and performers face every time the curtain goes up on August Bournonville's Napoli, a ballet in three very different acts.
A review of Nikolaj Hubbe's new production of La Sylphide (Tomalonis):
La Sylphide Restored
When the curtain rose Saturday afternoon on the Royal Danish Ballet’s new production of La Sylphide it rose on a miracle. After four days of a Napoli that, one tried to tell oneself, might be the best that could be expected after the many changes the company has undergone in the past decade, the minute Gudrun Bojesen extended her long, beautiful foot and began to dance, time stopped. What we saw last weekend was, with allowances for changes in cast and designs, what we saw 11-and-a-half years ago when the company last danced La Sylphide at the Kennedy Center. The musicality was there, the poetry was there, the drama, the pacing, the beautiful soft, clear, modest dancing.
And a commentary on the state of the Bournonville repertory in light of the upcoming 3rd Bournonville Festival:
Bournonville's Next Steps
In June of 2005, the Royal Danish Ballet will celebrate Bournonville’s 200th birthday with a Bournonville Festival, its third, at which it will present the surviving ballets. It will be a festive time, but also a sober one. This may be the last chance to make the case for Bournonville. There are no credible opportunities for another Festival for years to come. Will the Danish audience, and the Danish dancers, want to keep him around for another century?