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Heidi Ryom

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There is a book about the great Royal Danish Ballet ballerina Heidi Ryom and her farewell performance celebrating her twentyfifth anniversary in 1997 "En aften jeg aldrig glemmer" (An Evening I shall never forget). Pictures from this last night by Tine Harden from her last Swan Lake with Nikolaj Hübbe. Text by Erik Aschengreen, Peter Bo Bendixen, Nikolaj Hübbe, Peter Martins and others. 120 pages. Photos throughout. Text in both English and Danish.

ISBN 87-90724-14-3

Can be ordered online from:


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Is ths new, Jorgen? There was a book done on Ryom several years ago -- I didn't see it.

It took me a long time to warm to Ryom. I liked the company's more classical dancers, like Jeppesen, Kirk, Schandorff and Gad. Ryom isn't poetic, nor as musical as Jeppesen and Gad, and doesn't have good lines. But she was the greatest Tatiana (in "Onegin") I've ever seen, including Haydee. The Danes were great, generally, in that ballet, through those wonderfully detailed characterizations they did as second nature.

"Onegin" was her stepping stone to the Sylph -- she was demicaractere and best at playing down to earth characters (I had liked her Swanilda very much when she was young). She had to acquire glamour, and "Onegin" did that. She went from curious peasant girl to an elegant, educated woman. Her Sylph wasn't in the traditional mode at all -- it couldn't be, because she didn't have the gifts that Danish Sylphs usually have. She credits Kronstam for her Sylph, and he used HER gifts, her lightness, her extraordinary, crystalline lightness. Her Sylph was a fairy. I've never seen anyone be more fairylike in that part. She was also the clearest mime I've ever seen as Teresina in "Napoli." Others rushed through the mime and made it look like vague gestures. Ryom seemed to have all the time in the world, and gave you every syllable.

She was the most popular ballerina in the company when I was visiting Copenhagen regularly in the early 1990s. The audience loved her in anything she did. Kronstam told me that she was like Margot Lander, THE most beloved Danish ballerina of the 20th century, not in her face or body, but in her humanity (a big deal to Danes). She would dance "Etudes" not as a grand, classical ballerina, but as a hostess, welcoming you into her world -- which is what that role had originally been.

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Thank you for that, Jorgen -- the "Swan Lake" one is gorgeous! I think Ryom is an example of that rare dancer who worked like a demon throughout her career to be better. She wasn't innately musical, but she learned to make herself look musical. (I saw a lot of rehearsals during this period :) ) She didn't have a natural line -- but the line in the "Swan Lake" photo is lovely. And along with that, she kept her natural gifts for drama, not merely good acting, but an ability to make even a rather dull ballet seem interesting.

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