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About Anne

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    Bronze Circle

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    amateur ballettraining as a child and a youth and now an enthusiastic balletgoer
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  1. On her blog, Eva Kistrup has just posted an interesting interview with dancer Emma Riis-Kofoed, the last apprentice having joined the company: Interview
  2. New York Times Online had an article last week on partnership: "How Dance Partners Create Chemistry Onstage". Three couples were portrayed, among them the two principals Alban Lendorf and Isabella Boylston on Amercian Ballet Theatre. It is interesting to read what makes a good partnership. Isabelle Boylston says: “I feel like Alban is a really gifted partner. And when you’re good at something, you get into a positive feedback loop. As your confidence grows, your partnering abilities grow along with it.” You can read the full article by Marina Harss here: How Dance Partners Create Chemistry Onstage
  3. ABT has showcased Alban Lendorf performing part of Rachmaninov's 'Prelude in C sharp minor - not as a dancer but as a pianoplayer: https://www.facebook.com/AmericanBalletTheatre/videos/10154964469601858/ He seems to be a really multitalented person!
  4. RDB's new Giselle

    The transmission will be online until April 8.
  5. Almost everybody with a name in the world of arts frequented Bounonville's home, which was famous for its hospitality. His wife Helene kept an album amicorum (a blank book in which autographs, drawings, poems, etc. from visitors of the house were collected). The album contains contributions from among others Hans Christian Andersen, Bertel Thorvaldsen and the composers Niels W Gade (quoting the Bridal Walz from "A Folk Tale") and J.P.E. Hartmann (quoting "The Valkyrie"), The album was exhibited at the Bournonville Festival in 2005 in Bournonville's own home in Fredensborg, and the unique book was shortly after aquired by the Royal Danish Library. It has been made accessible online on the homepage of the Royal Danish Library: Helene Bournonville's Album (follow the link with the words "Se stambogen her"). Of special interest for ballet fans are also two drawings by Edvard Lehmann which illustrate scenes from the Bournonville ballets "The Conservatoire" and "La Ventana".
  6. RDB's new Giselle

    I have to mention one thing more, concerning the transmission: The filming was fantastic this time! I was so frustrated after seing Napoli and Swan Lake, that I expected the worst. But this time the cameras followed the essential parts of the drama, and also respected that sometimes the dance has first priority and must be in focus. It wasn't cut to pieces so that you loose every sense of direction and space.
  7. RDB's new Giselle

    Thank you, Syrene, for telling me who was the two sole willies (with the new homepage of the RDB it is impossibel to do detective "after-work", ifyou wish to identify a dancer whos hasn't been named in the programme: no pictures of the dancers, no biographies - and the picture galleries are, like Jane Simpson mentioned above, uncaptioned. Total anonymity!). It was the dark one I liked very much, too. She is at the same time precise, as you say, defining every movement with grace and claríty, and soft and expressive. I think she was nearly perfect for that specific dance style. She is a newcomer to the company I can see. I hope we will see more of her!
  8. RDB's new Giselle

    I went, and I was happy I did! My expectations were rather low because I hadn't been too happy with the photographs I'd seen. I'm still not in love with the costumes in act 1. Giselle's dress looks more like the costume of a water nymph from 2nd act of "Napoli", and the attire of the aristocratic ladies makes them look like enormous, colourful beetles dressed up for a horse ride with their funny looking jockey caps. But apart from all that the overall aesthetic impression is very beautiful, though maybe a little too much on the gloomy side in the first half of act 1 where the music is still optimistic, simple and happy. But this sinister, artificial and slightly claustrophobic scenery harmonizes well with what happens later when everything, literally, falls apart and reveals a barren landscape: a world somewhere between cityscape and landscape, between indoor and outdoor. The willies are not far away in the forest - they are much closer, right behind you, maybe even in your own back yard: the black doors in the backdrop gauze are not doors through which you can escape, no, they are doors through which the willies enter your world, and from them there is no escape - except through forgiving and eternal love, as represented by Giselle. The barren landscape behind the stage is changing all the time, and I would love to see it again to be able to find out exactly why it changes at certain times. At one point what in the beginning looks like a battlefield from WW1 with naked trees on a blurred background suddenly lights up and reveals a breathtakingly beautiful mountain landscape bathed in a red-golden light. I cannot remember what exactly happened in this rather short moment where the claustrophobic room opened up to a wide, beautiful but still bleak mountain world. Maybe somebody can help? The willies of this production are the most scary ones I have experienced, and not because the look revengeful, many of them did, but more because they looked so completely frozen with grief. This was clearly visible in the expressive eyes of Kizzi Mattiakis' Myrtha. When I saw her in the former production of Giselle she was more the icy bitch, but her Myrtha here simply cannot do anything else than what she does: Torture and kill men, maybe to relieve herself from the pain that doesn't give her a moment's rest and kills any other feeling in her. Ida Praetorius was a very young Giselle, still a girl prone to giggles but in any other aspect an endearing creature with a healthy appetite for life. She is a wonderful dancer who moves with a charming ease and lightness and who has a refreshing artlessness to her manners. I'm sure she has potential to develop even further, and comes time she hopefully gets the boldness to play more with the steps, daring to either drag or fasten the phrases, to postpone the ending of a movement or a balance till the very last moment - all these things that give the dance light and shadow. I think she has it in her, this deep musicality, which allows for irregularities without being tasteless. Around her evolve other talented dancers: Sebastian Haynes as a very sympathetic Hilarion, who is very much like herself, and therefore stands no chance when Andreas Kaas' Albrecht turns up with his cunning manners and expert courtship. This Albrecht is not a villain but he knows what he does and has just not thought very much about the consequences. His grief and his remorse is true and one hopes for him that his nightly experience with the willies and the enduring and rescuing love of Giselle will give him the freedom to choose his own life - and hopefully another wife than Femke Mølbach's calculating and blasée Bathilde. Both Haynes and Kaas have an enormous capacity for bouncing and floating on the air, which is asked for in the 2nd act. They are lovely dancers, and so is Jonathan Chmelensky who partnered the equally delightful Caroline Baldwin in the peasant pas de deux in act 1. After the transmission I had hoped for a cast list but it ran over the screen so quickly that no one had a chance to read it: It is an insult to the dancers! I would very much like to know who danced the two solo willies. One of them was particularly good. Can anybody help?
  9. RDB's new Giselle

    Yes, you are right - we are a bit off topic now. But thanks anyway for updating me on the pop-up by Rees! It sounds interesting.
  10. RDB's new Giselle

    I think we agree totally on the point of view that both aspects deserve to be equally in focus. But I don't think it has necessarily anything to do with one's sympathies regarding traditional or experimental approach to the classics, as even a very modernized version has to be dramatically convincing. You mention Crandall's and Dorger's Kitri as an example where pyrotechnics were highly appreciated by the audience, and I believe you. In this case, however, bravura is the very raison d'être of the ballet, as the story in itself is so silly that you can only accept it if the steps are brillianly executed. Yet, wouldn't it be an even worse shortcoming, if the dancers performed the steps technically perfectly but without charm or spirits? Wouldn't that degrade it to something even closer to a not-art experience than it already is? (Please don't misunderstand me, I'm no puritan: I do enjoy a well performed Don Quixote immensely!) No, I'm afraid I didn't. I haven't seen any of the pop-ups by Corpus. It seems I have missed out on something important. I looked it up on the theatre's homepage, where it said something about playing with rules and conventions and discussing what actually makes out the art form dance.
  11. RDB's new Giselle

    In the Danish online magazine POV (Point of View Internationally) they have posted an interesting and very detailed review of Hübbe and Schandorff's staging of Giselle by Alexander Meinertz (unfortunately in Danish) : http://pov.international/den-sidste-romantiker/
  12. RDB's new Giselle

    You are right about this, KNA, and, I think, not just regarding Giselle. Danish reviews suffer in general from a lack of comment on the quality of the dancing, except on what is easy for the eye to see, namely whether the corps is in sync or not, like you said. There are probably more reasons for that, one being that the readership is not interested in or even able to understand a description of the dance. We are all much more expert in appreciating acting, and our vocabulary around acting is far more ready. This might also apply on the reviewer himself: It actually takes quite an expert to appreciate dancing AND to be able to put it into words. To get beyond vague appraisals like "beautiful" or "impressive" is where the true challenge lies. Other reasons lie, of course, in the very limited space left to art reviews nowadays. The main focus, therefore, will be on the staging and the direction (and with the many different casts, all with a very limited number of performances, it might also appear a bit futile to focus a lot on any particular dancer...). There is a last and maybe very Danish reason for focusing so much on the acting: RDB has a long and strong tradition for story-telling ballets, where mime and acting play a major role. The heritage of Bournonville has heavily influenced the choice of repertoire and the taste of the audience: The Danes love story ballets, and in a story ballet good acting is crucial. In this kind of repertoire it is indeed possible to become a beloved dancer without being a brilliant technician, whereas the opposite is, I dare to say, nearly impossible. If you can't move the heart of the audience (or make people laugh), a dancer shouldn't build on a career in the RDB. Erik Bruhn might be an exception - he was, however, for the very same reason, not popular with everybody, not until he became famous abroad, that is... (I haven't seen him live, though, so I might not be the right person to say so, but on film his acting looks a bit wooden, to me at least, who hasn't experienced his indisputable charisma on stage). Balanchine had an early encounter with the RDB where he found a sort of dancers, who could in many ways fulfil his technical demands of speed and swiftness. But he didn't like the overall impression. It was apparently too soft and too expressive, I suppose the dancers put too much "meaning" into the movements, and thus deprived the movements of their neutral quality, their "pure dance" quality.
  13. The farewell night for Gudrun Bojesen was a bit untraditional. Instead of letting her perform one of her chore roles, the theatre had put together a mix of interviews, ballet excerpts and video clips. Nikolaj Hübbe was the conferencier of the evening. Probably this way of doing things was due to the facts that Bojesen has been on maternity leave from the theatre for a long time and that she is not – and has never been – cast in any of the running productions. To "warm up" one of the former productions just in her honour was apparently too costly and – I don't know – maybe also too big an effort on her side. These are just my guesses. The programme opened with The Jockey Dance by Bournonville showcasing Gudrun together with her close colleague and fellow prinicpal dancer, Gitte Lindstrøm (who has recently retired). It is a high spirited bagatelle about two competing jockeys, and it was a charming idea to have it performed by two dancers, who have practically grown up together at the royal ballet school and who have, of course, always been competitors (but it certainly looked like friendship had survived the competitive nature of their relationship!). As dancers they have both been very versatile with a strong technique and blessed with a physical strength enabling them to be equally good in adagios as well as allegros. They have shared much of the repertoire, but it has always come out very different due to their artistic temperaments, which couldn’t differ more. By the end of the Jockey Dance the unpleasant discovery had sunk in: No orchestra in the pit. The feeling of a low-budget-evening was unavoidable. After The Jockey Dance followed an interview session led by Erik Aschengreen, who is an institution in the Danish ballet world and whose books cover the history of the company during the last 5 or 6 decades. Bojesen and three of her partners took place in a red sofa: Ulrik Birkkjær, Nikolaj Hübbe and her only long term partner: Thomas Lund. On a big screen, introduced by Aschengreen, we saw a series of video clips with highlights from Bojesen’s long and impressive career, showing the wide range of her talent: We saw excepts from Bournonville’s A Folk Tale, Lander’s Festpolonaise, Neumeier’s Lady of the Camellias, Jiří Kylián’s Silk and Knife, Balanchine’s Dances at a Gathering, Flindt’s The Lesson and finally Nikiya's solo in La Bayadère. Between the clips the dancers were asked questions about their relationship with Bojesen, and Bojesen herself were asked about different aspects of her life as a dancer. This part of the programme was rounded off with a clip from Ulrik Wivel’s short film ”Jeg Dig Elsker” ("I You Love" – my translation), showing Hübbe directing Bojesen and Mads Blangstrup in one of the central mime scenes of La Sylphide. As this long sequence was over we finally had some live dance again, though not immediately: On the screen we saw Blangstrup and Bojesen in the pas de deux from “The Flowerfest of Genzano” in a take from the Bournonville Festival in 2005. Midway through the pas de deux two young dancers, Ida Praetorius and Andreas Kaas, appeared beneath the screen, at first visible only as silhouettes, but then, as the light on the screen faded, they gradually came into full stage light and took over the pas de deux. They are both delightful dancers and a very good promise for the future – there is a wonderful bouncing quality to Kaas' high jumps. However, it is an eye opening experience to watch them immediately after Blangstrup and Bojesen, who, at the time of the festival, were at the very height of their powers and artistic maturity. There is still a long way to go for the young dancers before they can deliver with the freedom and apparent spontaneity of their predecessors That is why it is so important to have both young and less young dancers in the company. With the amazing video of the first pas de deux from The Lady of Camellias in fresh memory, the live performance of the white pas de deux from the second act was looked forward to with great anticipation. Again Birkkjær was her partner. Apart from a short struggle with one of the many complicated lifts, it was a delight to watch the spontaneous and uninhibited way of their partnership. I never saw them as ideal partners, neither physically nor artistically, but their display of Marguerite and Armand's intense happiness and absorption in one another was a heartrending experience and rang absolutely true here. After the interval, we, the audience, was given a surprise: Thomas Lund and Bojesen did the dance of the old Quaker couple from Galeotti's ballet “ The Whims of Cupid and the Ballet Master” , their stoic and stone faced manners giving cause to much laughter in the audience. Another surprise interlude was a long row of dancers and choreographers sending Gudrun a greeting on video: Kylián, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Ulrik Wivel, Anne Marie Vessel, Frank Andersen, Mads Blangstrup and many more. After this, three casts from the new Giselle production (premiere in a fortnight) danced a pas de deux from the second act, one couple taking over from the other: J'aime Crandall/Gregory Dean, Ida Praetorius/Andreas Kaas and Holly Dean Dorger/Ulrik Birkkjær. Apparently it was the wish of the dancers to show this pas de deux to Gudrun – probably her great interpretation of Giselle has been a source of inspiration to the dancers. Giselle was followed by the Pas de Trois from La Ventana danced by Dean, Kizzy Mattiakis and Alba Nadal. Bojesen directed la Ventana a couple of seasons ago, which must have been the reason for choosing this for the programme. Kizzy Matiakis is the new principal dancer in the company, which is very well deserved, but Bournonville is not one of her strongest points, she is a bit to controlled to my taste in that repertoire (though she was a marvelous Birthe in A Folk Tale – mostly due to her acting abilities which are formidable–that is one of the reasons why I would love to see her Odette/Odile). Right from the beginning it was clear that we wouldn't get much dance from Bojesen, and therefore every scrap of live dance was looked forward to with eagerness. A pas de deux from the second act of La Sylphide was the finale of the evening. Thomas Lund, who stopped his dancing career four years ago to be director of the Royal Danish Ballet School had a guest appearance as her James – it was a nice gesture but maybe not a great idea artistically. But it seemed important to have him by her side. He was her long term partner during the first decade of the centenary, a partnership that stopped when Hübbe took over and wasn't replaced by a new one – it seems Hübbe is against the idea of long-term partnerships. Probably it can be a hindrance of development if the partnership stagnates, but in some cases a perfect match can add an extra dimension to the dance. Many of us had hoped for a coupling of Lendorf and Bojesen, as they looked nearly perfect together in Swan Lake. I personally think they could both have grown in a more permanent partnership – the younger can learn a lot from the more experienced dancer, and the more experienced can get fresh inspiration and new vitality from the younger. To end the evening with a death scene, not as the natural ending of a full ballet but completely detached from it, is, when not downright bad taste, just not a happy choice. But apart from that, the evening ended on a very happy note, with the Koppel jazz duo (piano and saxophone) playing a dreamy tune on stage while Bojesen received a red rose from a long row of male partners in the company. She looked really happy, and I'm sure she herself was happy with the night's programme, having received so much proof of her popularity, both with her colleagues, who in many ways showed their huge gratitude towards her – she has apparently been an extremely generous, helpful and inspiring colleague – and with us, her audience. The only thing embittering the joy a little is that she has been so very absent from the stage during the last 5 years, giving all her great roles away to younger dancers. We – or at least I – have missed her in Swan Lake, La Bayadère, Nutcracker, La Sylphide and many other ballets, where she could have shone with her rare talent, but did not, for what reasons I don't know, but it is sad no matter what. The finality of an evening like this is always a bit overwhelming, but it was a great joy to see, that she, the central person of the event, looked really happy at the prospects of her new life – and new career, as many called it – as mother of a lovely little boy, whom we had the pleasure of seeing in one of the video clips. All the best wishes, Gudrun, and a heartfelt THANK YOU for everything you have given to us, your audience!
  14. Gudrun Bojesen will perform for the last time on October 15. It has not been announced what she will dance, only that it is her evening. I wrote somewhere else on this site that there were very few tickets on sale, especially no good ones, but that has changed: A contingent of good tickets, mainly in the stalls and in one of the first upper circles, have been set on sale today. Link to the theatre's page: https://kglteater.dk/det-sker/sason-20162017/ballet/gudrun-bojesens-aften/ There is no description in English.
  15. Gudrun Bojesen's farewell performance will be October 15. I didn't see this before it was almost too late to get tickets (I got some very poor ones, but at least i will be there). Link to the theatre's homepage: https://kglteater.dk/det-sker/sason-20162017/ballet/gudrun-bojesens-aften/ They haven't announced what the programme will be, just that it is "Gudrun Bojesen's night".