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Not of Bournonville Born

Syrene Hvid

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Hello there.

I was so delighted to find this forum! My ballet interest is relatively new (about a year old), but having someone to spar and discuss with is always a very rewarding experience to add on top of the ballet itself.

I'm currently living in Aarhus, Denmark, where I study theology on a half-time basis (due to illness), though I'm originally from a town called Holstebro. As such I've grown up with the Peter Schaufuss ballet and ballet school (although I didn't attend myself, I had several friends who did) and seen multiple of his company's performances while growing up. Not anything that I really took to heart until spring last year.

Having suffered from a severe depression since summer 2009, I found my way into the beauty of ballet through my interaction with the Takarazuka Revue fandom. For those who are not acquainted with the Takarazuka Revue, it is a Japanese all-female revue that stage about ten-twelve different productions (musicals and dance shows) each year. All the actresses who are accepted into Takarazuka Music School have some degree of ballet training, some being more skilled than others and since the actress whom I love most, Rira Maikaze, is a famously skilled ballet dancer, I soon found myself attracted to the art form in its more pure embodiment. Because of this fascination, I was given tickets to last year's M/K Ballerina for me and my girlfriend and after a wonderful weekend in Copenhagen, I was completely smitten. Since then, I have acquired several ballet DVDs and educated myself in some of the most famous ballets. I had planned to go see Swan Lake when it was put on stage this autumn (especially since I'm a great fan of Susanne Grinder), but my admittance to hospital unfortunately got prolonged and I wasn't able to go. Instead I gave myself the New Year present of planning a small trip to Zealand (staying with some family) here in January to watch A Midsummer Night's Dream and the guest performance of Serenade/The Proposition. Seeing that Serenade was one of the choreographies included in M/K Ballerina and the one I was especially taken with, I look very much forward to watching it again - performed by heirs of the American ballet tradition it was born from.

Conclusively, I will say that ballet has become a sort of medication for me. Something beautiful and moving to look at when my mood is horrible or my depression is making itself known in other ways. Watching a performance always makes me feel less sad, if not exactly happy. The act of focusing on the motions of skilled dancers takes my mind off the destructive thoughts and helps me return to real life. It is proving just as theraupeutic as light therapy and my pre-scribed drugs! :)

To sum up some of my likes, I will say that I have taken a special shine to newly announced solo dancer, Susanne Grinder. Although I have yet to see her perform (unfortunately she didn't dance the night I watched M/K Ballerina), ballet master Hübbe's description of her style and personality made me fall for her immediately, and I look forward to see her as Hippolyta/Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream (I bought tickets for the opening night, because I was told that it was when she would most likely be performing) and follow her career as it progresses and develops. I am a great admirer of Polina Semionova and Shoko Nakamura of Berlin Staatsballett and former prima ballerina, Agnés Letestu - with the Paris Ballet's performance of La Dame Aux Camélias being one of my favourite ballets. When it comes to male dancers, I love both Nikolaj Hübbe and Thomas Lund of the Royal Danish Ballet, but sport lots of warm feelings for José Martinez whose expressive face always gives me goose bumps.

Although a Dane, I'm not an uncritical lover of the Bournonville tradition. For Christmas, I was given DVDs of 80s performances of both Napoli and La Sylphide and they made me feel very conflicted about this very Danish style of story telling. I fell immediately in love with La Sylphide and hope to soon be able to watch it on stage, if Hübbe has any intentions of setting up a performance later this year. Napoli didn't entirely win me over, although I was very impressed by the beautiful second act. I plan to go see March's performance of A Folk Tale - to see if perhaps I simply need to stick to the Bournonville stories of elves and fairies. ;) I absolutely love Balanchine's more abstract choreography and John Neumeier's beautiful, dramatic ballets. Although I have not had much introduction to the Russian schools as of yet, that which I have seen hasn't been my thing at all, so I look forward to learning more about it and see if it's simply where my enthusiastic love stops.

I look very much forward to participate in the forum, so please treat me kindly and let me learn from everybody here.

- S.

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Welcome to Ballet Alert, Syrene Hvid; we're very happy to have you with us. It's wonderful that you've discovered ballet and we hope your love of the art continues to grow. You will find all kinds of information on the board; whatever interests you may have will be covered on the board. We hope you enjoy sharing in our discussions.


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