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Ca 1905 Royal Danish Ballet footage

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Thanks! These are two of the famous Elfelt films. He was the court photographer who was looking for something to film and, legend has it, these films lay in a desk drawer for decades until they were edited and music was added. These two bits are not the starriest :) There are two of La Sylphide and a bit from the tarantella of Napoli with Hans Beck and Valborg Borchsenius, as well as Beck in the Reel from The King's Volunteers on Amager, but maybe they'll come soon.

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A bit of
is up, too. :) The camera was fixed a bit too close to the subject -- heads escape the frame -- but what a thrill to see what this looked like a hundred years ago!

Great! perhaps someone is putting up every piece. The camera was stationary, so they had to dance in a teeny tiny space and the dancers in Napoli are in their mid-40s, but still.....

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In their 40s? :) They're not young, not skinny, and their torsos aren't pulled up, but their feet are so light! How?

They're Danes :)

More seriously, this is the old old French style. Beck is the man who preserved Bourononville's ballets, and his classes -- the famous Bournonville Schools.

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I love the chance to compare the two clips of the Gypsy Dance. Valborg Borchsenius is really quite amazing. Allowing for differences in "look" and technical fashion, her performance would be captivating even to audiences today.

Comparisons like this are such a rare opportunity learn about both past and contemporary ballet styles. Thanks to all who've posted so far. Any more clips? And comments?

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here is the cat. entry from the NYPL dance coll. concering its copy of the Elfelt films restored by Mueller with sound in 1979:

Royal Danish Ballet, 1902-1906 [motion picture] / a joint production of the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (Danmarks Radio, Historisk Archiv) and the Dance Film Archive, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York ; producers, John Mueller and Ole Brage.c1979.(15 min., 528 ft.) : sd., b&w ; 16 mm.

Danced by members of the Royal Danish Ballet.

Music arranged for piano and performed by Elvi Hendriksen.

King's voluntary corps on Amager: reel / music, W. Holm ; danced by Valborg Borchsenius, Hans Beck, Ellen Price.

The elf-hill: children's dance / choreography, Poul Funck ; music, F. Kuhlau ; danced by Gudrun Christensen and Helga Smith.

La sylphide: opening solo / music, H. Lovenskjold ; danced by Ellen Price.

La sylphide: opening solo (another, longer version) / danced by Ellen Price.

Napoli: tarantella / music, H.S. Paulli ; danced by Valborg Borchsenius and Hans Beck.

Il trovatore: gypsy dance / music, G. Verdi ; danced by Valborg Borchsenius.

Pas de deux / original choreography and music unknown ; music used, E. Helsted (from Flower Festival at Genzano, Act I) ; danced by Margrethe Andersen and Clara Rasmussen.

From Siberia to Moscow: jockey dance / music, C.C. Moller ; danced by Gustav Uhlendorff and Richard Jensen.

Orpheus and Eurydice / choreography, Hans Beck ; music, Gluck ; danced by Valborg Borchsenius, Ellen Price, Elisabeth Beck, and Anna Agerholm.

Choreography, August Bournonville (unless otherwise noted).

Compilation of motion pictures filmed 1902-1906 by Danish court photographer Peter Elfelt. The musical scores have been reconstructed from original annotated scores.

additionally, the attached scans are from publicty stills given out around the time of the release of muller's restoration of the film.

the portrait shows Peter Elfelt

the duet shows Valborg Borchsenius and Hans Beck, "Napoli"

the solo dancer, Clara Rasmussen




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