Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

Thomas Lund staging Lander's "Etudes" in Vienna


Recommended Posts

The Danish paper "Weekendavisen" brought an interview with Thomas Lund last Friday under the headline" Triumph For a Masterpiece". Lund has been in Vienna to stage Harald Lander's "Etudes" with the Vienna Opera Ballet". He has done it twice before, once with the RDB in 2010 together with Nikolaj Hübbe and Lander's widow Lise Lander, and again in 2012 with the Boston Ballet. The ambition for their version was to scrape off the many layers of use and tighten it up musically and stylistically.

Lund tells (in my translation): "We stayed a week with Lise Lander in her wonderful place in the south of France. Harald Lander in his time entrusted her with the management of his artistic heritage, and he taught her to understand the dance from inside. Lise has taken part in most of the productions all over the world. She knows everything even though she has never been a dancer herself. She has the final say. When we visited her in 2010, we viewed 12-15 versions: from the 1969 television-version, which was produced by Lander himself, till newer versions from Paris, Boston, The Royal Danish Theatre [e.g. the RDB], the St Petersburg-version from 2010 etc. Even though the work is laid down to some extent, a ballet remains a living organism. There are always small details, which can be discussed. We dug into things like style, technique, timing, pauses, lighting, scenography, costumes, headpieces – and we listened to tempi. Completely down to the nerdy level."

About the the collaboration with Manuel Legris, former star dancer of the POB (a company who has its own history with "Etudes" because Lander mounted it there, when he was maitre de ballet at this company from 1956-63), now head of the Vienna State Ballet, Lund says following: "Manuel Legris, who has his French eyes on the work, has also been both an inspiration and a help. This meeting of the French and the Danish gives some special finer points. […] It is as if one here in Vienna see a melting together of Danish and French traditions, and with a company of brilliant dancers, of whom many come from Russia. […] This mixture is somewhat different from what we had in Boston, where the more physical – american – approach dominated."

"Etudes" was premiered on the 15th of December and will run again in February.

Link to comment

Boston is slated to do Etudes again this spring. A question - I had never seen it done live until Boston did it several years ago. In the version I saw from Royal Danish, the sylph and the ballerina girl were dance by separate individuals. In the version in Boston (which Lund and Landers set), the sylph and ballerina girl were the same dancer. Does anyone know which was the original? I must admit I liked it better when danced by separate individuals.

Link to comment

ABT's site gives this information, which doesn't seem to answer the question:

World Premiere: Royal Danish Ballet, Royal Theatre, Copenhagen, 1/15/48
Designer: Erik Nordgreen
Original Cast: Margot Lander, Hans Brenaa, Svend Erik Jensen, Inge Sand, Inge Goth
ABT Premiere: 54th Street Theatre, New York, 10/5/61
Cast: Toni Lander, Royes Fernandez, Bruce Marks, Eleanor D'Antuono, Elisabeth Carroll

Link to comment

There's an RDB video of Etudes on YouTube with two ballerinas, but that was a special gala and I guess they wanted to get as many principals on stage as possible - otherwise so far as I know the same dancer always does the whole ballet in Copenhagen apart from occasional mid-performance injury crises. (Though the romantic pas de deux wasn't there in the original production - Lander added it when he restaged the piece for the Paris Opera Ballet in 1952. The lists I've seen show that there was one POB ballerina, early on, who only danced the romantic section. )

Going back to the Viennese production - the company has put up a short video of rehearsals of this bill - the Etudes section is in the middle.

Link to comment

This great piece from 2003 that Alexander Meinertz wrote on "Etudes" for "Dance View" and published online (tiphat.gif ) gives a lot of background on the evolution and style of the work, including the changes from the 1948 original and the 1952 production for Paris Opera Ballet:


He wrote:

Today the principals perform all of the solo variations, the pirouette, foutté, and brisée variations in the center, for instance, but previously they, too, were done by "students," members of the corps de ballet. Consequently, the idea of the classe de perfection has been lost in favour of opportunities for stars to shine.

I've only seen it with a single ballerina, when Marianna Tcherkassky danced it in 1987 with ABT, and when Christina Olsen danced it in Copenhagen in 2003.

"Etudes" was on a program with "La Sylphide." A casting shuffle moved Lund from James to one of the Soloherrer in "Etudes," but just from that glimpse of Lund, I knew I was watching a very great dancer.

ABT's site gives this information, which doesn't seem to answer the question:

Original Cast: Margot Lander, Hans Brenaa, Svend Erik Jensen, Inge Sand, Inge Goth

The RDB program from 2003 lists one ballerina and three solo dancers, but also lists three "Sylfider": Olsen, Mette Bodtcher, and Josee Howard. Is it possible that Sand and Goth were the Sylphides in the original?

Link to comment
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...