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4 articles in DanceViewTimes on the DC season


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#1 Alexandra

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Posted 22 January 2004 - 08:28 AM

There are four articles on the Royal Danish Ballet's week in Washington:

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?



#2 Effy

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 01:57 AM

Thank you for the reviews. who are very well written. I can sense from the reviews that what you have found in the performances are very resonant with what the Copenhagen audience experience in regular performances.

It also reflects the incapability of the RDB management to "top" a performance. What you have been getting are the regular casts, even including the younger inexperienced casts as well. Nothing have been done to show the company in the strongest position. A sympathetic decision - but maybe not the wisest decision. In the 60ties when RDB toured the team was often opted by guest stars like Erik Bruhn and in the 70ties casting reflected a wish to show the company at its strongest, using principals for soloist and divertissements, which in regular performances would be danced by younger or lower level dancers. Napoli III act as the best example. For the last 10 or 15 yeasr the company have done nothing to strenghen the cast, they have even gamble by touring performances, that have been out of repetoire or rusty. La Sylphide has been performed regulary this year but Napoli has not been performed for a longer period and some of the cast in Napoli III act have had less than 3 outings. It is unbelivable that the Management do not think it shows

#3 Alexandra

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 07:25 AM

Thank you! I agree with you about management, of course :P

That Gudrun Bojesen SUBSTITUTED for Cecilie Lassen on opening night was indeed odd. The thing is, they do have strong women, so why not a cast with Bojesen, Hojlund and Schandorff?

One thing about the reel in La Syphide -- I think that it must be that Dinna Bjorn's tempo is S-O S-L-O-W. I'm sure that the tempo we got is very close to the filmed version with Hubbe (his debut) and Jeppesen, which was really Brenaa's tempo; and that Kronstam made it faster for 1992. To me, it was a bit slow, because it was the 1992 version that's still in my ear.

As for the men, there are some real talents, I think -- Nikolai Hansen especially, but also Kristoffer Sakurai and Martin Stauning (who did the first solo in Napoli here) and Morten Eggert (although he doesn't show much individuality as a mime). But there doesn't seem to be regular, top level teaching, with the problems with lack of plie, the sagging jump, and a tendency to "die on the top", especially visible in the second solo in Napoli.

#4 Effy

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 12:51 PM

You are absolutely right about the ladies in Napoli III. They are not putting the strongest cast out there - Nor are they putting a unison cast on. I expect not unison in the terms one would ask for in a corps, buy unison in that the whole line-up are in tune on how to dance and present Bournonville. It can be done. I have seen it done, but not lately. The great thing about Hubbe Sylph is that he has a very clear vision on how Bournonville shuld be dnced, and he hasmanaged to present it tothe dancers and it lifts the performance. The reel in my view is the more joyous dancing I know and a very clever piece of choreography and it can take some speed.


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