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Le Conservatoire


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I love this ballet so much! August Bournonville's style is so different - I love it. I would like to see the whole of "Marriage Through a Newspaper" or whatever it's called but unfortunately it doesn't exist anymore. I have seen two versions, though and here's my dilemma.

The first version I saw was Paul Gnatt's reproduction. This went straight from the acting into the class with Victoria, Eliza and Alexis. In the other version I have seen (I am not sure which version it is - I saw it on someone's video tape) the ballet goes from the acting to a junior class then to an intermediate class and then to the senior class.

By the way, does anybody have all of the names of the students? I know there's Eliza, Alexis, Victoria, Josephine, Danni, Ashley but I don't know the rest. If you have the notation of it then it should be on there.

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I love this ballet so much! August Bournonville's style is so different - I love it. I would like to see the whole of "Marriage Through a Newspaper" or whatever it's called but unfortunately it doesn't exist anymore.

It certainly does exist as I saw it danced at the Bournonville Festival in Copenhagen last month. The story concerns the directer of the conservatoire who advertises for a wife even though he has promised to marry his housekeeper. The more familiar version of the ballet which consists of the ballet class, forms most of the first act. Harold Lander cut it down to just the class about 60 years ago and I don't think it's now danced in two acts anywhere other than in Denmark.

My personal preference is for the one act ballet without the operetta style story attached.

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The version now danced by the Royal Danish Ballet is a reconstruction, after many years out of repertory. I don't remember the names of all the characters, I'm afraid, MP; the two ballerinas are Eliza and Victorine. The leading male dancer is usually referred to as only the Dancing Master.

There's only one class in every version I've seen -- including the one-act one. As the American critic Arlene Croce once wrote, "It's center practice arranged for stars." A line of children comes in at one point and does a few very simple exercises, then leave, and the adults continue dancing. But at least in Denmark in this century there isn't a beginner, intermediate and senior level class.

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