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New Director for RDB

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After so many seasons with "Bournonville in Hell" (as in the title of Alexandra's essay), perhaps some hope for a "Bournonville in Heaven" ? ;)

Yes! Bournonville, classical dancing, taste, artistry -- all are about to get a huge dose of antibiotics. :)

It's not that he'll make the whole repertory Bournonville, though. I've interviewed Hubbe several times over the last 15 years, and one of the things he's said consistently is that Bournonville is the well to which you return after dancing other ballets, and your Bournonville dancing will be enriched by your experiences. I think that's a very good metaphor. The "Sylphide" staging he did for the RDB, which the company brought to DC, was almost perfect, and the most amazing thing of all -- this company which had so many foreign dancers actually had the style.

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I wish I could be happy over this announcement but, selfishly, I'm despondent. Nikolai has been dancing lately like such a god.

His Square Dance last season was the first time I've REALLY been dazzled by the male solo since Bart Cook days. Very different from Bart but mesmerizing. The entire theater seemed to hold it's breath. I loved Boal in this role but the Cook comparison was still in my head. I thought of no one but Hubbe when he was on.

I suppose, considering his age, we wouldn't have had him too much longer & this is a great move for him and for RDB ... BUT ...

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During the Erik Bruhn Competition in Toronto, Frank Anderson was asked about a successor....I thought at the time that it was a rather rude question, seeing as he still had some time to go as AD....

This is wonderful news for the RDB. I'm sorry that I haven'te seen Mr. Hubbe dance live...maybe there's still time??


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I'm glad for this appointment. Hubbe is an artist, and this will force even more out of him; he's needed this kind of challenge for a while. This is only a prediction, but I don't think the big change will be in repertory or slant of the company. It will be in the attitude of the dancers. And that will mean a lot.

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The press release is, as yet, only in Danish. Here is a link to a Danish page with Hubbe's accomplishments -- and some nice photos. (The photos are in English :) )

Nikolaj Hubbe

I can sympathize with NYCB goers. After so many seasons when he was injured, though, I'm glad he's going out on a high. His one role here this "season" was the divertissement in "Miidsummer" and he was, as zerbinetta wrote in a different context, mesmerizing.

Leigh, I think I would disagree on the repertory. I think there will be a change -- less neogrunge :blink: I do agree on morale. I did a piece on his production of "La Sylphide" for the Post when the company came to Washington a few years ago, and talked to most of the principals. Every one of them was very enthusiastic about working with Hubbe and talked about how inspiring he was.

Editing to add:

I just checked this link and the page is blank (6:21 p.m. Friday EST) Perhaps they're updating it?

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A few years ago my daughter attended a master class Nikolaj Hubbe taught in Hartford. He is an impressive teacher with a great deal to offer. He also provided some Q&A time where he spoke at length about the Danish system and how his training and early career developed, including his decision to come to NYCB. I observed the class and I am sure that his natural leadership style will make him a well respected AD.

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I remember that master class... and his comment about them not turning on the heat for the children's classes! I do remember him talking about his childhood in the Danish system, but interestingly, he didn't talk much about the Bournonville technique, and I think I remember he didn't teach the class in the Bournonville style... I think I remember asking him what in the class would have represented Bournonville, and I think he responded that there was nothing... so... does that mean he's a convert to Balanchine? Is he in the wonderful position of being able to look back into the Bournonville technique and forward to dancers' contemporary technique? How might this affect the new repertoire the company may commission or acquire?

Anyone remember that short film about Hubbe where he hears he didn't get the AD job a couple of years ago? :)

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The Danish paper Jyllands Posten has a video of a short interview with Hubbe - go to this page and scroll down to the heading 'Ny Balletmester er barn af huset' (New balletmaster is a child of the house) and click on 'Se video'. I assume it's in Danish but I can't get it to play any sound - would love to know what he's saying!

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Hubbe was in Toronto not so very long ago to set Sylphide on the NBOC - I think he even danced the role of James once or twice (not the day I had tickets though)...so I would say that at the very least he is considered an expert interpreter of Bournounville by companies around the world....

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It doesn't like my browser (Safari) so I can't help -- although I doubt I'd understand much. Sorry!
If you have a Firefox browser and understand Danish, it might be worth a try. My feed is a bit jerky (even on DSL) and volume is very low, though.

Nikolaj looks every bit the spiffy Viking!

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I can get it to resolve on Firefox and IE 7, but I get about three seconds, and then it starts buffering again. He's got great bones, though!

The article says he will dance in New York until January or February of 2008 and then assume his role with RDB in the summer of 2008.

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The RDB press release, now in English:

The Royal Danish Theatre Board of Directors has on 29 March appointed Nikolaj Hübbe as new Artistic Director of the Royal Danish Ballet for the tenure of 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2012. The decision embraces the unanimous nomination by the recruitment committee. The managing director of the Royal Danish Theatre has furthermore appointed Nikolaj Hübbe as principal stage director of the Royal Danish Ballet for the period of 1 August 2007 to 30 June 2008 with responsibility for co-managing the repertoire for the upcoming seasons.

Nikolaj Hübbe is an obvious choice as artistic director. He has for many years enjoyed international acclaim as principal dancer at the New York City Ballet. He has over the years nurtured close ties with Denmark and the Royal Danish Ballet both as visiting performer and as director, such as his recent staging of La Sylphide. With his Danish background and international experience Nikolaj Hübbe is well prepared to lead the ballet in the years to come.

Mads Øvlisen, Chairman of the Board

Excerpt from Nikolaj Hübbe’s application:

"Despite my many years of absence from Danish ballet, I still consider myself to be a Danish dancer. Naturally, with the term ‘Danish’ I mean my upbringing and the training I received at Kongens Nytorv – Bournonville and dramatised ballet, the art of storytelling through dance. I know that the Royal Danish Ballet is born of this tradition. I would find this an exciting point of departure in creating new and modern storytelling ballets to thus bring the Royal Danish Ballet profile in tune with the new audience of the 21st century."

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