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Royal Danish Ballet Season 2001-2002

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#1 Estelle


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Posted 27 June 2001 - 07:24 AM

The 2001-2002 season is announced on the Royal Danish Ballet website (unfortunately, the English pages still are under construction, so that there are only pages in Danish).

The season seems to include three Bournonville works: "Napoli" (sept. 7-29), "La Sylphide" (oct. 25- nov. 23) and "A Folk Tale" (Jan. 11- Mar. 10)
The rest of the season includes:

-a mixed bill for the opening evening on Aug. 19 (Martins' "Hallelujah junction", Balanchine's "Stravinsky Violin Concerto", and excerpt from "Napoli" act III and an excerpt from "The nutcracker"

-Neumeier's "Romeo and Juliet"

-a mixed bill with Martins' "Hallelujah Junction", a new ballet by Kevin O'Day and Jiri Kylian's "Stepping Stones" (by the way, I wonder why so many companies choose to dance "Stepping stones" now. The POB danced it a few months ago, and while there are some works of Kylian I like a lot, I found that one absolutely dull and boring).

-"Den rode ballon" (The red balloon?) by Tim Rushton

-"Amors og Balletmesterens luner" (The Whims of Cupid?) by Vincenzo Galeotti, staged by Flemming Ryberg and Anne Marie Vessel Schluter

-a new ballet by Anna Laerkesen (apparently on the same bill as "La Sylphide")

-"The Nutcracker" (choreography by Aage Thordal Christensen)

-"Tornerose" (Sleeping Beauty), staged by Helgi Tomasson

-a mixed bill with Balanchine's "Violin Concerto", a new ballet by Tim Rushton, "Corsaire pas de deux" and Peter Martins' "Fearful symmetries".

-John Cranko's "Onegin"

-John Neumeier's "Nijinsky" (by the Hamburg Ballet)

Alexandra, what do you think of that season?

#2 Alexandra


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Posted 27 June 2001 - 11:06 AM

Thanks for that -- they've really changed the web site! (Your translations are correct, Estelle. Also, some of the ballets scheduled early in the season are already cast, and the casting is up in the sidebar to the right headed Medvirken.)

Just looking at the list, it's not bad -- although very heavy on full-lengths. BUT with that company it's always mattered which productions. The current Bournonville productions are very poor and some of the best Bournonville dancers (especially Tina Hojlund) are not being used. The company is nearly half-foreign now, which has a tremendous impact on how the works are danced.

Aage Thordal Christensen is about to begin the final year of his contract and it has not been announced whether or not that contract will be renewed. Several of the artistic staff have left (good news, IMO) and the rumors of who will replace them is extremely promising, but it's not official and hence not yet postable.

It's very significant to them that they've gotten back "Onegin." The Danish production of that ballet is the one that changed my opinion of its worth -- they made it look splendid. It was the most popular production in repertory among both dancers and audience and had become a rallying cry for renewal. But again, it will depend on who's cast in it and who actually rehearses it.

#3 Alexandra


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Posted 29 June 2001 - 03:59 PM

Good news from Copenhagen.

This will matter to only a handful of people, but I don't care. It's one of the few good things I've heard from the RDB for quite awhile.

Arne Villumsen will return to the Royal Theatre to coach a few ballets, at least "Onegin" and "Sleeping Beauty." He stepped into some rehearsals a few years ago and the general take among dancers was that those rehearsals had "the best atmosphere" or were "the closest" to when Kronstam was there, so to have him back, in any capacity, is good news, I think. He was a great dancer, one of the most musical men I've ever seen, and has a fine eye for detail as a coach.

In the Danes Abroad division -- for those with an interest in what's happening with Bournonville, or his bleaching bones :) -- Nikolaj Hubbe will stage Napoli pas de six and tarantella for Ballet Arizona in the fall. (This falls into the Good News! category for me as well.)

#4 Juliet


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Posted 29 June 2001 - 05:09 PM

Lucky Ballet Arizona!!!!
I thought Hubbe did a wonderful job with the Workshop students in it this spring....

now if they'd just let him or someone work on Bournonvile Divertissements.....


Also good news about Villumsen returning to coach--I think an occasional shot in the arm like this can do nothing but good!

#5 Alexandra


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Posted 29 June 2001 - 05:30 PM

Thanks, Juliet! I think they need more than a shot in the arm (bone marrow transplant's more like it) but it will make the few remaining Danish dancers happy to have someone on the artistic staff who speaks Danish.

(That's another aspect of internationalization that is seldom considered. The Royal Danish Ballet will probably be more than half-Danish this year. It's been about 45% non-Danish for the past few years. This means that the Danish dancers have to spend their entire working lives in a language not their own. (Few of the imports learn Danish; classes and rehearsals are conducted in English.)

#6 Natalia


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Posted 02 July 2001 - 12:36 PM

I guess that a few will be communicating in Russian...Batalov, Ratmansky & , now, Sarafanov. Curious fact that the top male medalists of the last two Moscow IBCs are with RDB: Andrei Batalov (1997 Grand Prix, topping even Tsiskaridze's "simple Gold"!) and Leonid Sarafanov (2001 Sr Mens Gold). Globalization indeed!

#7 Sonja



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Posted 03 July 2001 - 10:59 AM

Sorry for being ignorant - but in what way does their "Onegin" differ from the "known" ones (Stuttgart, Munich, probably London as well)?
Is it set and costumes, or what?
Thanks for shedding some light on this for me!!

#8 Alexandra


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Posted 03 July 2001 - 02:45 PM

Sorry, Sonja. This had come up before, so I didn't want to go on about it. It's the same version, same sets and costumes, but it was the way it was directed in the first years that the company had it -- and that the people working on it this time have a very good shot at recreating. The Danes were justly famous, for decades, for being great dance actors, for one thing, and this ballet suited them perfectly. Also, they had a director/rehearsal master who was especially sensitive to drama and music, and directed a production rather like a conductor conducts an orchestra -- tightening the drama through the music. I like "Onegin" more than many of my colleagues, but there are some parts that can seem a bit overdone, one being the "water pump" pas de trois, in the duel scene, where the women throw themselves at Lensky. In Copenhagen, this was done so fast and with such urgency that it worked.

Two dramatic details I've mentioned before. Lis Jeppesen made it clear, through her body, the exact moment when she went to sleep in the dream pas de deux. In that same pas de deux in another cast, Arne Villumsen began as the aloof figure he'd been in "real life," and then, as the pas de deux progressed, made it very clear that he was her dream, a projection of Tatania's imagination. There were many details like this, big and small. When "Onegin" came on again, after this director left, it wasn't as good. It was dropped (not for that reason) and this is the first revival. Depending on the cast (always a matter of personal taste, of course) this might actually be worth a trip to Copenhagen next season, and I haven't felt that way for quite awhile.

(The RDB did Neumeier's "Romeo and Juliet" for more than 25 years, and their staging was so distinctive that Neumeier told some of his staff that he wanted them to study the Copenhagen production so that Hamburg would dance it that way. This is a story I've heard from at least a half-dozen dancers directly involved. So the stager can make a huge difference, for good or ill.)

[ 07-03-2001: Message edited by: alexandra ]

#9 Sonja



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Posted 04 July 2001 - 01:33 AM

Hi Alexandra,

thanks for explaining this (again) to me! I think now I know what you mean - and I am really considering going "up there" to see Onegin as I really love this ballet (personally, I think it is Cranko's best... at least of those I have seen so far!)

Thanks again

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