Jane Simpson

New DVD of (old) Sylphide

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I see from the vai Classics site that their next ballet release is to be Ballet Rambert's production of Bournonville's La Sylphide, filmed by Margaret Dale for the BBC in 1961.

Lucette Aldous is the Sylph and Flemming Flindt is James; Madge is Gillian Martlew. I think the film was last seen in public at the National Film Theatre in London in 2005, as part of a Bournonville film season arranged by Jane Pritchard. As far as I remember, Aldous is charming and it's a fairly straightforward production, originally staged for the company by Elsa Marianne von Rosen. It's so long ago that the two solos in the first act are still danced by 'village boys', so that, except for the reel, James doesn't dance till Act 2 and Gurn never gets a solo at all.

Also on the DVD is a Flower Festival at Genzano pas de deux danced by Nureyev and Merle Park - I don't think I've ever seen it.

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That's great news, Jane: I can't wait to see it.

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Flower Festival in Genzano - Pas de deux: Rudolf Nureyev & Merle Park

La Sylphide - Flemming Flindt & Lucette Aldous

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I don't think that Nureyev's style suits Bournonville - it somehow looks wrong on him. Flemming Flindt has a totally different quality to his dancing.

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I finally got to watch this, and I'm very glad I ordered it. I really loved Lucette Aldous' footwork in the opening of "La Sylphide," and Flemming Flindt was flying in the Act II variation. (He looks like a dark-haired cross between Danny Kaye and Damien Woetzel.) Ballet Rambert did a very committed performance, and they told the story well. The bonus was a film of the Act II Pas de Deux with Flindt and Elsa-Marianne von Rosen. Her mime was in another realm and her pacing was so patient. Her upper body was very soft and graceful.

I found "Flower Festival of Genzano" almost unwatchable. I would rather see the older kids in the RDB school or two randomly chosen RDB corps members dance it.

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