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From a 1979 picture program - "Soloists of the Royal Danish Ballet, The Bournonville Centenary", I'm reading about a ballet called: BOURNONVILLE ETUDES.

"Bournonville Etudes is a composite of excercises from the famous Monday-Saturday classes of the Bournonville school. The classes were arranged and codified by Hans Beck using choreography and steps which occur in Bournonville ballets. Each day's class concentrates on specific steps and technique problems, and the classes ascend in difficutly from Monday's to Saturday's into which the famouse Pas de La Vestale is incorporated. Bournonville choreographed these steps for the debut of his favorite pupil Lucile Grahn, and performed on the stage with her. He performed each series of steps, followed by her performing the series exactly duplicating the steps of her ballet teacher."

Has anyone every seen this ballet performed? Is it filmed?

I need it! :sweating:

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Glebb, there's a Danish TV show from the late 1960s -- Peter Martins is in it as a very young dancer. I've seen it, but don't have it. (You're going to have to make Danish friends :thumbsup: Preferably older ones, who started taping stuff as soon as VCRs were out!)

I don't know how much is on there. It's certainly not all six classes.

There are still teachers who could set the classes (I have some recommendations :wink: ) I'm also sure they are written down. Anne Marie Vessel Schluter, who's the head of the school, might be the one to contact.

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Thanks Alexandra! It's cool to know that something of the ballet exists on film or video.

I saw Anne Marie Vessel (before Schluter was added) in "The Lesson" at the MET. "The Four Seasons" choreographed by Frank Anderson (?) was also on the program.

It would be fun to see the classes on video. I think a portion of a class is shown on an episode of Makarova's "Assoluta".

My picture program has wonderful pictures of all the young soloists, Peter Martins, Frank Anderson, Ib Anderson, Peter Shaufuss, Dinna Bjorn, Annemarie Dybdal-(real nice photo in "Napoli"), Bjarne Hecht, Linda Hindberg, Niels Kehlet, Eva Kloborg, Adam Luders, Lise Stripp, Anne Marie Vessel, and Arne Villumsen. Nice to see what Jens-Jacob Worsaae looks like after hearing so much about him over the years.

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"The Four Seasons" is by Flemming Flindt. (Frank Andersen has never choreographed.)

I saw Vessel in that, too, with Nureyev, at the Uris, on one of his Nureyev and Friends program. The night I went (his birthday) he slammed her into the barre so hard it broke. Ah, those were the days.

Sadly, Jens-Jacob Worsaae died quite awhile ago, August of 1994, I believe.

Edited by Alexandra
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stanley williams staged a 'vestale' for school of american ballet. patrick bissell danced it the year the left the school.

the following is the film in the linc.cent.library/dance coll.

alas it's permission required:

School of American Ballet workshop performance 1977.

Videotaped during the 12th annual workshop performance, May 23, 1977 (7 p.m.), at Juilliard Theater, New York. Performed by students of the School of American Ballet, with the Juilliard Conductors Orchestra, conducted by Victoria Bond.

CONTENTS. - Cassette 1 (46 min.): La vestale, pas de deux. Choreography: Auguste Bournonville, restaged by Stanley Williams. Music: Gasparo Spontini. Danced by Vicky Hall and Patrick Bissell. Pianist: Lynn Stanford

another cast was also filmed - Lindy (Melinda) Roy & Douglas Hay, but same 'permission required' restriction.

here's the library's 'authority term' for the williams' staging:

Vestale pas de deux (Choreographic work : Bournonville)

Authority Note : Chor: August Bournonville; mus: Gasparo Spontini. First perf: Copenhagen, 1834; Lucile Grahn & August Bournonville.//Revival: New York, Juilliard Theater, May 23, 1977; School of American Ballet annual workshop performance; staged by Stanley Williams.

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There are a lot of bits of ballets in those classes -- that's how "Flower Festival" got saved, a few others -- Konservatoriet, I think. Stanley Williams staged a lot of Bournonville for the school --others as well. Adam Luders staged a pas de sept (cinq?) from "Erik Menved," a long, long lost ballet, but one that was noted.

There's a missing, and now probably lost forever, "Sunday Class" set by one of Beck's pupils, Karl Merrild, who taught all the great dancers who went through the school in the '30s and '40s. He put in variations from ballets he'd loved that hadn't gotten into the original six, and taught it to the children. This was written down too, but Merrild left the Theatre in 1949, and no one knows what happened to his notes. When I found out about this, I asked dancers who were interested in Bournonville, and some of the Danish critics, who all shrugged. Or said, "Oh, yes. Merrild had a lot of notebooks."


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a composite of excercises from the famous Monday-Saturday classes of the Bournonville school

glebb - you probably also know that the classes have been written down and published, in english/french, in labanotation and in benesh notation, together with the music scores to go with the exercises, in a set of 4 soft-cover books. out-of-print, of course, but a remarkable little collection -which you might want to know about - all the same. :)

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I think if you try the Alibris books web site(Alibris.com), they may be able to find some of those soft cover classes with notation and piano accompaniment. I bought a partial set for my daughter's piano teacher (who also plays for ballet classes!) less than a year ago.

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I've seen copies of Kirsten Ralov's book (The Bournonville School/ The Daily Classes)on eBay (there's one there to date) and Amazon. I found a good bargain on one that was "marked" with margin notes and notations (which I find an extra value, not a deterent). The enchainements are notated in easy-to-follow bars and beats. Friday's class includes several variations from Konservatoriet. It still feels like Twister to me sometimes. An honored volume on my dance shelf.

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Thanks for the tip, crockerg727, and welcome to BalletTalk! As veteran readers of this board know, purchasing from Amazon through the link on this site adds a few pennies to our coffers, so we encourage it whenever possible.

The margin notes would send me off wondering all sorts of things about the notator. Yes, I can see how they would add something to the book. Like the very enchainements, they a sharing (however inadvertent) of knowledge from one person to one other.

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I'd like to add my welcome, crockerg727. And thanks for reviving this 2003 thread, which I've never seen before.

The material sounds fascinating. Now that over 5 years have passsed since it the thread was opened, has anyone else seen this material or have any thoughts about it. I'm still trying to visualize just what it might be like. How, for example, does one USE it in class?

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as someone who reads neither kind of notation used in these volumes (nor for that matter music notation), i find them intriguing but not exactly practical.

in any case here's how the NYPL lists them, as you can see, the title is THE BOURNONVILLE SCHOOL (not ETUDES, in this case.)

The Bournonville school. Kirsten Ralov, editor.

New York, Audience Arts, c1979.

Description: 4 v. chiefly illus. 28 cm.

Series: The Dance program ; v. 12

CONTENTS. - pt. 1. Ralov, K. The daily classes. - pt. 2. Agersnap, H. and Gnatt, P. Music. - pt. 3. Caverly, S. Benesh notation. - pt. 4. Guest, A. H. Labanotation.

the scan below is the start of the text 'proper' it shows p. 18 - the intro. pp. include such topics as:

Ballet Terminology

Fixed Points of the Classroom and Stage

Arm Positions [in somewhat basic line drawings]

Enchainements Recommended as Preparatory Exercise

Classification of the Enchainements and Variations

Nicknames for the Enchainements


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the introductory sections of the volume scanned above include things like diagrams to show what 'fixed points' are meant by this system, etc.

as noted, the scanned page is no. 18 - the previous 17 pp. are taken up by introductory text and diagrams to set the stage for the exercises as spelled out in the running text of vol. 1 (and then in the notation texts of vols. 3 and 4).

furthermore, i don't know how much these explications differ from the more recently produced vols. - with accompanying DVD - released in 2005 in 2 hardcover volumes [the '79 publications are soft cover] - the title page for "Ballet Terminology" is credited as "By Kirstein Ralov, revised by Anne Marie Vessel Schluter."

this latest publication is given in two volumes and two DVDs, one book is called "The Music" and the other "The Dance Programme" ( the first page of explication in the latter, p. 36 compares word for word w/ that of p. 18 in the '79 publication).

the illustrations of the '05 publication are photos, likely 'grabbed' from the companion vidoes, of the demonstration dancers: Caroline Cavallo, Gudrun Bojesen, Thomas Lund and Mads Blangstrup.

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