In the main foyer of the Royal Danish Theatre they have made a small exhibition in memoriam of Heidi Ryom with pictures from the many ballets she has danced in and a few props, costumes and accessories: Juliet's garland from act 1, Tatiana's dress from act 1, Odette's diadem and other items easily recognizable from the many wellknown photos of her.
She was a remarkable dancer with a wide range, much wider than one should have thought in the first decade of her career. Her technique was formidable right form the beginning, which can be verified be watching this youtube-clip from the 1986 recording of Napoli: clip.
It is difficult to beat this effortless rendering of Bournonville's vivacious steps!
But she was more than a happy smile and a swift technician. In 1987 I went to Copenhagen to see Romeo and Juliet, and like it was then one hadn't a clue who was going to dance before one stood with the printed cast list on the day of the performance. On the list were Nikolaj Hübbe, whom I hadn't even heard of, and Heidi Ryom, who had always annoyed me slightly with her constant happy-go-lucky-smile. I therefore took my seat with a very negative attitude and expected to be very disappointed. But it turned out to be the performance of a lifetime. It was the most gripping Romeo and Juliet I had ever seen, and it has never been surpassed. From then on Heidi Ryom was a dancer I seeked out, if I had the possibility, and I have been lucky to see her perform in many of her major roles: Tatiana, Teresina and Giselle. I missed out on her Odette and her Sylphide. I'm sorry to say, but it is difficult when you don't live in Copenhagen to get to see exactly the dancers you'd like to.
I suppose she could have had an international career, but she was – luckily for us – happy with her life at the RDB. I suppose the repertoire of this company was ideally suited to her talent – or was it the other way round? It was dancers like her and Lis Jeppesen who were at the very heart of the golden era in the late eighties and early nineties and they were the link to a new memorable generation of young dancers like Nikolaj Hübbe and Alexander Kölpin, among others.