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Ballet at Kastellet

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yesterday saw the annual Ballet gala at Kastellet, an old fortres in Copenhagen harbour. In spite of bad weather some 5000 -8000 people (my estimate) attended this years preview show, hosted by Frank Andersen himself in an amimated effort to sell tickets and arise awreness. This year it was rumoured we will even get a television version and I was indeed interviewed in a vox pop regarding th event.

Was it any good? Well you can make the case that ballet does not fair well under the harsh conditions of a outofdoors impromptu scene. Ballet needs a defined room and space and it is difficult to get an uninterrupted and ideal viewline under the circumstances. I can usualy adapt to the conditions but I must say that compared to the royal Tjeatre very few ballet snippets won by being transported to Castellet and it is my opinion that the choice of ballets was not optimal. Ballet slike Etudes' Sylph scene needs a proper stage and although the galop from Anna Karenina is masterful on stage it does not really function as well out of contects.

Taken from the top:

Harald Landers Old Fest Polonaise pas de deux danced by Gudrun Bojesen and Thomas Lund was partly delightful and partly underreherached. She is a sunny performer and can sell most choreography well. Thomas Lund is less of a classical partner, than what I prefer and had some serious troble in the partnereing aspects but jumped well.

Next up was Anna Karenina with Gitte Lindstrøm and Mads Blangstrup, followed by the galop. Again this was out of context , danced well - without given the full connection of the piece.

The Kings Guard at Amager was respresented by the sailors dances with Peter Bo Bendixen at Eduard. The new costumes lokks extreamly lively and bright.

Nicolaj Hansen and Cecilie Lassen danced a pas de deux by Louise Midjord, he passive, she aggressive. Later in the programme another piece by Midjord to live music of local pop sensation Swan Lee and starring Silja Schandorf with Lassen and Byron Mildvater gained the highest applause (probably to the band). Frank promised us more cooperation with current popstars.

Otherwise we saw a scne from Abdallah, the Etudes pas de deux with Cavallo and Kenneth Greve, the mouse dance from nutcracker and off course Napoli Tarantella and Finale. Before the show the final accolades where carefully reheaaarsed, but I some how wondered if it had not been better if the dancing was rehearsed rather than the applause. In short - no one shined particularly - but it would also have been difficult under the circumstances.

I can understanmd the need to match the Operas annually succesfull free concerts - but in order to do so, repetoire should be considered better and more rehearsal time allowed.

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I too saw the the presentation at Kastellet, i love the surroundings, the whole idea of outdoor ballet, I think we can discuss forever weather or not it is a good idea, but the fact that all theese people show up proves that people have no problem with either the surrounding nor the idea.

but i do still believe improvement could be done, the sound department is still not up to standard with the dancing and the orchestras performance. And personally i would love for the stage and sets to be completely in white instead of this black plastic building which tend to look like a big garbagebin. Not that the dancing is to be called trash!

I think the dancers looked very fresh and already in rather good shape.

Fest Polonaise is a wonderful piece and is much too neglected in the royal danish rep, as is Lander's other ballets.

Things to be said about the dancing was that instruction left the dancers much too light, thinking that it is after all a polonaise one would expect more heaviness in certain movements. Bojesen is a wonderful dancer with streamlined movements but for this piece one misses a bit the glamour and brilliance to bring it to a higher level. Thomas Lund is equally a very nice dancer with a very nice ballon in his jumps but has over a certain time build up some bad manners which takes away the pure joy of just watching great male dancing. It is evident he is trying to put on a more mature act, but maturity should not be acted. And i wish he would use other shoes, he has always had nice feet but they are not in their right with his choice of shoes.

After this there was one of the pas de deux from Anna Karenina, i am not a big fan of this ballet but both Lindström and Blangstrup looked every bit their characters as they looked stunning.

Napoli was "sung" by a singer from the opera, nice singing but i just wanted dance.

Luckily on stage was Bojesen together with Kristoffer Sakurai. I have to add him on my list of the most beautiful dancers i have ever seen. His dancing is developping extremely well and his understanding of the roles he is dancing is very natural. Just a pity that we didn't get to see more of him and his dancing.

The 2 peices by Lousie Midjord did unfortunately not impress me, i feel she has difficulty with the transition from the workshop environment to the stage. I like her vocabulary but she needs to be more daring.

The rest of the programme remained as usual presentation of the companys rep for this season. There IS a lot of Bournonville this season and I feel the dancers look ready for the challenge. The important thing now is for the direction to assemble all this power within the company in top quality productions with top quality instructors and I think this is the real challenge for the Royal Danish Ballet.

all for now

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We have now had the "pleasure" of seing the first part of the performance in Tv, or rather a television presentation in line with a sport event. Snippets with the athlets, sorry dancers, ongoing comentating during the play, sorry performance and much of the camera movement focusing on the audience rather than the performance.

And yet I chose to be happy, we have had so little tv-coverage of the RDBthe last ten years that you treassure every snippet, no matter how badly edited it is

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