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Lander Aniverssary Galla


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During his reign as ballet master Harald Lander decided to skip the second part of The Conservatory and only do the dancing school as a divertissement. A few years ago in the wave of reconstructing Bournonville, the full Conservatory was reinstated and everyone could see how wise Lander decision has been. There is nothing in the full performance worth keeping, no divertissements, nor drama nor comedy, and as the performance is dressed almost more Biedermeier than Biedermeier, there is very little dancing to enjoy. You cannot see either steps or dancers in the getup and with a predominently dark stage, you can;t see the faces and expressions very well. So even though you cast a quartet of our finest dancers -- Lindström, Bojesen, Lund and Eggert -- it does not really signify.

The full Conservatorie was chosen as the first part of the Harald Lander 100 year anniverary, and fully pointed out two significant facts. Firstly, that although he's called the most important ballet master in the 20th century, there was not the willingness to produce an whole evening with Lander choreography and that he was so wise in cutting the Conservatory.

One half into the evening it looked like the galla was a perfect miss. The dull and overlong Conservatorie follow by a speech by Frank Andersen, where he did not mention the Lander Scandal, nor was able to pinpoint Landers importance beyond the uncharacteristic Etudes. But suddenly the mood and the evening changed, when we were given first a Grand Pas De Deux, choreographed by Lander in 1969 for Danish Television for Toni Lander and Bruce Marks, now gloriously danced by Mads Blangstrup and Caroline Cavallo. It was a pas de deux with a slavic feel, some reminicence of Zigane, and a great hit with the audience. I guess we will see that one again. It was followed by some videos of Lander himself, and then by Bojesen and Lund in Landers Fest Polonaise, which they also danced at the summer performance at Kastellet, and it was much better done this time.

The last part of the evening was given to Etudes, the untypical Lander ballet and his only lasting success, this time with Agnes Letutsu, Jose Martinez and Jean Guillaume Bart from the Paris Opera as the soloist trio. It was a very elegant trio, but somewhat monotone in their rendering of the solos. Everything was done the same way, we are used to much accents from the home team. The mazurka danced by Martinez had line and flow, but no panache, nor use of gravity. And the same approach was used by the other two, So Letusu was not a sylph and a russian ballerina, but an elegant French ballerina all the way though. The corps did excellently and I think we must get used to a high performance level in Etudes. And I can easily get used to that.

I would only wish that the current Ballet Master, who probably would call himself the most important ballet master in this century, as he has been almost the only one so far, would have followed Landers trend and gut the Conservatory and instead given a few more snippets from Landers repetetoire.

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Effy, would you please describe what a typical Landers ballet would be like? (I've only seen Etudes, performed by American Ballet Theater and the Royal Danish Ballet.)

Was all or part of the Lander/Marks TV performance shown during the gala, or the live performance with Blangstrup and Cavallo?

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It is difficult to describe a typical Lander ballets, as there is none that has been performed for over 25 years. Wannabe Massine is probably the closest allergy. A Lander ballet would likely include some mixture of modern everyday life, mytologic contents, Spanish or other type of folk dances. He had made ballets called Football and Benzin (Petrol).

Re. the pas de deux, no television footage were providet just the dancing, and that looked great.

There has not been any editorial coverage re. the galla, but a few months back reviews and articles o Erik Ashengreens book.

May I also use the opertunity to say that the programme handed out free with an article by Erik Ashengreen was very biased re. the Lander Scandal. In Aschensgreens word the issue was a bourgeois traditional moral as a opposed to a free artistic moral. But Aschengreen seems to forget that Lander was an omnipotent ruler who controlled every aspect of the dancers career, so the term sexual chicane was probably an appropriate term to decribe the situation. According to Aschengreens book, Lander ad a least twived dated members of the corps under the age of 18 at a time he was still married to his third wife.

According to Aschengeens book, the dancer chose the moral issue as a tactical choice to get rid of the ballet master. Realising that artictic reasons woyld no move politicials mind (they were probably right in their analysis), but what Aschenreen do not discus i the wiseness of Lander o leave himself open to the moral accusations.

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