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Nikolaj Hübbe's La Sylphide


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I think that by definition James must be a dreamer, or how can you explain the Sylph appearing to him? I also think that the Sylph, in and of herself, has no moral value. She is innocent to the point of not knowing that anything might be wrong. At least those are the portrayals of those characters that have spoken most vividly to me.

Gurn strikes me as very down-to-earth. His contrast is not James, but the Sylph. James' dilemma is being caught (without realizing it, probably, until too late) between the realm of the earth and the realm of the spirit.

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I can follow Hockey-fan some of the way regarding Gudrun Bojesens sylph. She is still partly in the one end of the scale, where the sylph is presented as a lovely girl in love. This was exactly where Rose Gads interpretation originated som 15 years ago. I would like to see her move more in the fairy/illusion direction. However, it is my opinion that Hubbe has directed the Sylphs to on the sweet and girlish side, as Silja Schandorff whos sylph is usually on the other side of the scale than Bojesens has also become sweeter and more girllike. The roles as James and the Sylph can be interpreted in as many ways as Hamlet. As James You can be poetic and a dreamer (a male sylph), you can be lord of the manor, arrogant, passionate, young, mature etc. The Sylph can be girlish, dramatic, ice queen, fairy, aloof, wicked, young, eternal etc. Each dancer is supposed to find his or hers own take on the part. However it should be Man meet Sylph not Boy meets Girl.

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I caught a performance last week with Silja Schandorff, Mads Blangstrup, Mette bødcher and Nicolaj Hansen. I was pleased to see that both Hansen and Bødcher are getting stronger in their parts as Madge and Gurn and that Schandorff has returned to her original and stunning take on the Sylph, rather than the sweet young girl approached she was coached to by Hubbe.

The combination Schandorff/Blangstrup is the stongest and most interesting of the ones present, and I sincerely hope that this will be the premier cast at the festival next year. Silja Schandorff has just been norminated for a Danish Drama award for the Sylph. She also won another Danish award last year for the same part. This time La Sylphide was paired with Napoli III act and allthough this is an ok combination for a festival performance I do not think it work for repetoiry use.As both stagings are big and complicated we end up with 2 X 30 minutes intermissions. The company has problems because of injuries and sickness to get a well matched cast on Napoli. For this performance Silja Schandorff had to dance Pas de Six and solo to cover for another dancer. And a young dancer Kristoffer Sakurai danced the Gennaro solo while Jean Lucien Massot danced and played Gennaro. I do not like to see the split in the role, even though it might be forced by injury. But what I in particular missed in this performance and in other recent Napolis is a common and clear perception presented by all the dancers (and mostly the director) on what and how Napoli III act should look like. You see in the small things as the cannot place the dancers rightly in the combinations so th small guy ended up lifting the tallest girls while the tall andrew Bowman lifted to tiny girls

and the larger view on how this should be performed. castingwise the first male solo has been the archilles heal for Napoli Act III. ever since Ib Andersen departed the company in 1980. On a good day Thomas Lund can handle the solo well. Otherwise it seems like they have decided that if you are slightly build, you get that solo and that looked like the main qualification for this nights offender. Giving so much problems to get the ballet on, the amount of casts, costumes, make-up, extras etc. and the missmatch with the tone of La Sylphide my advise would be to do another ballet before la Sylphide or conclude with an abstract ballet with little scenery demands.

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I totally agree. La Sylphide should be the last ballet on the program. I fear that it may be the fact that the decor for the first act is so heavy and diffucult to mount that have been the decisive factor for the planning of the program. As itist now the intermissions are to long and it is a strange sensation to see the Sylph rejuvinated as an Italian gypsy girl after her tragic demise

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In the interest of fairness, considering the discussion of Caroline Cavallo on another thread, I wanted to report that I had a long talk with a Danish friend (former RDB dancer from the Brenaa era) who'd seen all the "La Sylphides" this season. Like me, this person had found Cavallo too bland as the Sylph in prior years, but thought she was excellent when dancing with Hubbe, really transformed, much more relaxed and with a deeper understanding of the role.

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I thought someone had posted a link to this earlier, but couldn't find it; apologies if this is a repost.

There is a brief trailer on the company's web site of La Sylphide:


This is not a direct link. Click BALLET in the lefthand nav bar. Then click on the photo from LA SYLPHIDE.

You'll have three choices, depending on your connection, and there's an instruction in Danish to download Windows Media Player if you don't already have it.

There are two trailers, one of the dancing (about 2 minutes, mostly of Rose Gad wiith Mads Blankstrup, although there are split-seconds of others in rehearsal) Nikolaj Hubbe, who staged the production, is talking (in Danish) throughout. There's also a separate trailer that's only of him talking.

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