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The RDB on summer tour in the Danish province


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#1 Anne

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 10:06 AM

These days the RDB tours in the Danish province with an open air programme. They have done so the last 4 years, sponsored solely by one of the big Danish banks. I saw their performance in Århus, the second largest city of Denmark, on June 9. Many people turned up in spite of the cold weather (the admission is free!) and gathered on the lawns of the city-park between the townhall and the music hall, a beautiful and atmospheric setting for an open air performance.
The programme was a mixture old and new, cleverly put together to entertain a broad audience:

Raymonda – divertissement by Petipa/Glazunov

Les Bras de Mer by Petr Zuska/Yann Tiersen

Blue bird pas de deux from Sleeping Beauty by Helgi Tomasson-Marius Petipa/Tjajkovskij

Russian Dance & Black Swan pas de deux from Swanlake by Peter Martins-Petipa-Ivanov/Tjajkovskij

An Elegy for Us by Iain Rowe/James Macmillan

Napoli – Tarantel by August Bournonville/Helsted- Paulli- Lumbye

Dancers: Kizzy Matiakis, Susanne Grinder, Ulrik Birkkjær, Marcin Kupinski, Lena-Maria Gruber, Gregory Dean, Alba Nadal, Femke Mølbach Slot, Sebastian Kloborg, Hilary Gusweiler, Nicolai Hansen, Jean-Lucien Massot, Caroline Cavallo, Nehemiah Kish, Amy Watson, Alexandra Lo Sardo og Alban Lendorf.

The divertissement from Raymonda for 5 couples was a great opening with lots of flashy choreography and beautiful wine red costumes. Ulrik Birkkjær and Kizzy Matiakis danced the leading couple with much bravoura and precision, and though none of them are my favourite cup of tea I must admit that they made a very elegant couple. Also there was an adagio solo danced with much delicacy by Hilary Guswiler, though somehow it was a bit ”thin”, and I couldn’t help thinking what it would have looked like with a more experienced ballerina like Gudrun Bojesen, whose adagios have the special larger-than-life quality. The four couples around the leading couple did a good job, but some of the bravoura things will probably benefit from more rehearsals during the tour.
The highlight of the evening was definitely Les Bras de Mer by th czech choerographer Petr Zuska, which is new on the repertoire of the RDB and prepared especially – I think – for this tour. The tableau of the opening is a mature couple staring into the horizon right above the heads of the audience, like they are watching the sunset over the sea, he standing on a wooden table, she sitting on a chair on top of that same table, right beside him. You just heard the sound of the sea for a long time – it was a magic moment! Suddenly they start to move on and around these 2 pieces of furniture, growing wilder and wilder, until they almost throw themselves and the furniture around on the stage. In the end they calm down and walk out of the stage together. It was great to watch two mature artist, Caroline Cavallo and Jean-Lucien Massot, interpreting this piece about ”how-well-do-you-know-the-person-you-live-with?” A bit sad to know, that this might be one of principal Caroline Cavallos last performances before she retires.
The 3 Petipa pas de deux’s was danced by Gregory Dean/Lena Maria Gruber (Blue birds), Marcin Kupinsky/Femke Mølbach-Slot (I’m not quite sure about her andthe programme doesn’t tell!!) (Russian dance) and Ulrik Birkkjær/Susanne Grinder (Black Swan pas de deux).
The young Susanne Grinder as the Black Swan was better than I would have expected, but she still lacks the ballerina aura and her performance gets a bit watery.
An Elegy for Us telling the story of a young couple splitting up in a very not-nice way was a very intense little thing with Alban Lendorf and Hilary Guswiler, more pantomime than dance most of the time.
The Tarantel from Napoli was the finale, as usual, and it was done with all the enthusiasm and charm, which has been so badly missed in the recent performances. It has to be party, and so it was last night!

#2 Jane Simpson

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 03:55 AM

Thank you for this, Anne - I think you were lucky as I read that the first night of the tour was cancelled because of rain!

Just one thing - the company has done Les Bras de Mer before - I saw it about 3 years ago, I think, on one of their small stages and like you was very impressed by what the dancers did with it. Massot is terrific in things like this.

Also it's interesting to hear about the Petipa casting - clues for next season's Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty presumably?

#3 Anne

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 09:27 AM

Just one thing - the company has done Les Bras de Mer before - I saw it about 3 years ago, I think, on one of their small stages and like you was very impressed by what the dancers did with it. Massot is terrific in things like this.

Also it's interesting to hear about the Petipa casting - clues for next season's Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty presumably?


Thank you for the information about Les Bras de Mer having been performed before by the RDB - I couldn't find it in the archives on their homepage.
About the clues for the casting of Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty I wasn't deeply convinced by any of the couples, especially not by any of the female dancers. I couldn't see any obvious Odette/Odile or Aurora among them. Amy Watson hat a try on the Black Swan pas de deux on television lately, but she didnt' have the right edge to neither her dancing and nor her acting. Her temperament looks much to sweet for that! I hope Gudrun Bojesen gets a chance, at least as Aurora.

#4 Jane Simpson

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 12:46 PM

Another view of the summer tour, with a slightly different cast, from Eva Kistrup in DanceView Times.

#5 Jane Simpson

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 10:40 AM

David Amzallag has some spectacular photos of this programme, taken in Copenhagen at the open air stage created for the summer just across from the Opera house, which you can see in the background.


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