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Where is "La Sylphide"?


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#16 Alexandra

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Posted 28 October 2002 - 09:28 PM

The notebooks were written down in the 1930s by Valborg Borchsenius, who had been Hans Beck's partner (turn of the last century). According to Theatre lore, she stalked into rehearsals when Lander began staging Bournonville ballets because she didn't trust him to stage them properly.

Borchsenius had never worked with Bournonville, but had made notes from working with Beck (the first great Bournonville stager). She kept them in a sewing basket -- just little pieces of paper. During rehearsals with Lander, she would rummage around and pull out a note or two to make a correction. Lander urged her to write them down, and she did. So "The Notebooks" are 50 years post-Bournonville, and Hans Brenaa would sometimes put in something that he remembered from his childhood that wasn't in the notebooks -- always a tiny detail, usually mime.

If you're interested in the history of Bournonville stagings, may I humbly refer you to my articles about this that are now available on line:

Bournonville in Hell

A series of three articles outlining the posthumous performance history of Bournonville's ballets in Denmark from 1879 to 1992, the tragic events that befell those works after that time, their current condition, and a gloomy prognosis for their future. These articles were originally published in DanceView magazine. A shortened, two-part version was published in the British quarterly Dance Now, under the titles "Bournonville in Hell" (Spring 1998) and "The Mermaid's Head" (Summer 1998).


http://www.danceview...ille/hells.html

I should also add that there really isn't much about Bournonville style, per se, in the Kronstam biography, although you will be able to get information about it from comments the dancers make, I think. It's more about the tradition generally -- the training, the school in its broadest sense.

#17 glebb

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Posted 29 October 2002 - 05:08 AM

Thank you Alexandra!

I look forward to reading them.

#18 atm711

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Posted 01 November 2002 - 05:21 PM

Just today, I discovered a 'La Sylphide' tape I didn't know I had. It was performed by the Pennsylvania & Milwaukee Ballet staged by Peter Martins, assisted by Solveig Ostergaad. The principles were Melissa Podcasy and Marin Boieru, and Madge by Edward Myers. (I never like seeing a man in this role--it always seems too campy). My impression was that it was a bit beyond the talents of the aforementioned.

#19 Alexandra

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Posted 01 November 2002 - 05:32 PM

I remember that one -- I don't think it will go down as one of the great stagings, either :)

#20 Mel Johnson

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Posted 01 November 2002 - 05:34 PM

I thought Myers' Madge was all right, but I can see why some Danes don't like the role performed by a man. A standout in that somewhat indifferent staging was Jeffrey Gribler as Gurn, though.

#21 Alexandra

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Posted 01 November 2002 - 05:41 PM

I think the Madge gender problem is one of those that it depends on who you saw first. There are diehard Niels Bjorn Larsen fans in Denmark (and here), and those who can't imagine anyone other than Englund -- and, long before her or Larsen, Gerda Karstens.

(The first Madge was a man, the second, in the 1860s in Copenhagen, was a woman. The costume sketch for the first production shows a young woman.)

#22 glebb

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Posted 02 November 2002 - 05:17 PM

Does anyone know if the variation danced by Evdokimova in Act II of the ENB version, after she catches the butterfly and just before her sisters enter this particular area of the forest, is Bournonville? If not, who choreographed it?


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