When I review Caroline Cavallo as the sylph I view her on the basic of having seen allmost all interpreters of the parts since 1978. and a few earlier Sylphs on video, It is natural that my response will differ from a viewer, who do not have the same experience. Your German balletomane may rightly feel that Cavallo is better than Bojesen or the other Sylphs he has seen. I am certain that I did not write that Cavallo is a bad Sylph. What I write is that I wish that she would try a more definitive interpretation rather than staying in the middle of the spectre and that she could consider more variation in the phrasing (the same way Nicolaj Hubbe suggested to Gudrun Bojesen to receive a more dramatic impact) . When I am sorry that Schandorffs Sylph is not included in the festival, it had to do with the quality of her Sylph and the good dramatic match with Blangstrups James, not with the fact that she is Danish. The question is not whether a dancer is Danish or Foreign but whether the dancer understands and can convey the style and acting needed for Bournonville. Sorella Englund, Lloyd Riggins and indeed Caroline Cavallo are prime examples of foreign dancers who are great Bournonville dancers. I myself loves Caroline Cavallos take on her Napoli 3 act variation. I expects great things from Dawid Kapinsky and others of the never intake. You see Marie Pierre Greve doing the most touching Rosita I have ever seen. But RDB is build on a model where dancers spend the whole career span from child to charecter dancer in the company. Making the company more foreign it can change the company into a more traditional company with lot of staff turnover and it is equally important that the dancers have the same schooling. ABT is to me the bad epytome of a company where no two dancers seems to be from the same scholl. The truly great companies like Kirov, Paris Opera Ballet, RDB and NYCB have this close school/company link and I would be sorry to see that go. On the other hand it looks likes RDB has cracked the code of integrating the foreign dancers, but stability is needed staffwise .
Living in Copenhagen present the priviledge of seing all casts and it is clear that casting the festival has been a series of difficult choices. It looks like that Frank Andersen has opted for the democratic solution and giving everybody (save Kenneth Greve) at least one meaty part. The flipsite is of course that certain ballets are not performed by the strongest casts. La Conservatorie misses the Lund/Bojesen magic. I could have wished for everyone to see Mads Blangstrups Gennaro.The Hesselkilde celebration meant no Ryberg in two parts and so on. Maybe people take the roles as Bournonville ambassadors too seriusly if they tell a guest that there are other great interpretations not shown this week, but I think if it is done it is done from love of the company. It may also be need to clarify certain aspects for our guests. Looking at the festival, Kenneth Greve comes up as the servant to Thomas Lunds master. That is certainly not the picture of the last seasons.
You are perfectly right. No one should obstain from their own view and differ to any reviewer. Unlike the audience the reviewer should be able to analyse and argument their conclusions. It is not a question whether you like so and so dancer, but why you like them. How does their interpretation and skills influence the ballet. One thing I have learn during my tenure as a balletomane is that casting is one of th key - if not the key - ingridience in making a ballet work and shine. Therefore casting is an important issue to follow and discus.
And yes the Queen was absolutely right Nina A is a great sylph and likewise have other foreign dancers shown talents for Bournonville. But as this week has shown us Bournonville is a long commitment
I don’t understand Eva Kistrup’s criticism of Cavallo. Last evening I sat next to an elder German balletomane who, with tears in his eyes, told me that she is the most touching sylph he has seen so far … and he has seen La Sylphide many times at the RDB and around the world! I too couldn’t help shedding a tear – and I am not the sentimental type! - during her death scene, especially when she goes blind.
Well, that just shows that opinions are diverse and indeed subjective. So dear audience, there is no reason to think that the opinions of the self-proclaimed critics and experts are better and more objective than yours. The reason why I write this now is that I have spoken with some foreigners during this festival who have enjoyed - notably foreign – dancers and then got confused by hearing these dancers being pulled to pieces by Danes. They get insecure and begin to doubt there initial intuition. I just hate when so-called experts ruin people’s joy of going to the theatre. That’s maybe why ballet is regarded as an elitist art.
So let me just make something clear: no, the foreign dancers are not worse than the Danish dancers. Why else are so many of them getting soloist parts and being promoted instead of the Danes (and yes, there are still plenty of Danes in the company)? The Bournonville style is a difficult style but it’s not rocket science! Everybody with the talent and dedication can learn it (the Queen is quoted as saying after a performance that Nina Ananiashvili was one the best sylphs she had ever seen). I think in order to understand the Danes’ unfounded criticism of foreign dancers, one has to be aware of the fact that the Danes are the most xenophobic people in Europe (as documented twice in reports from the European Union) who can’t stand seeing foreigners being successful. So dear foreign guests, bear that in mind the next time you have your positive theatre experience ruined by a grumpy Dane. And please keep coming back to the RDB.