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Royal Danish Ballet

The Bournonville Festival -- 'The King's Volunteers on Amager'

by Cassandra

June 9, 2005 -- Royal Theatre, Copenhagen

After my disappointment with “Far From Denmark” the night before, I approached “The King’s Volunteers on Amager” rather warily, fearing it was going to be more of the same. Happily, I couldn’t have been more wrong as this ballet was pure enjoyment from start to finish with dancing all the way. Oddly enough the story line has similarities with “Far from Denmark”, as this is also about a serviceman away from home and seeking local female companionship.

Edouard Du Puy (Peter Bo Bendixen), who is a musician as well as a soldier, likes the girls and they like him, too. Stationed on the island of Amager, he whiles away the time with flirtations, principally with the two pretty maids, Else and Trine. The boyfriends of these two get jealous and when three ladies from Copenhagen arrive, they complain to them about Edouard and his romantic leanings. Unfortunately, the unknown ladies are actually Edouard’s wife, Louise, and her two friends. Not surprisingly Louise is pretty upset to discover how her husband behaves away from home and decides to teach him a lesson. Disguising herself as a ‘vivandiere’ she sets about attracting her husband with a vivacious dance before unmasking and enjoying his embarrassment (shades of "Die Fledermaus"). Anyway, she forgives him and puts on a brave face and the ballet ends with a ‘festive galop’.

It turns out that Edouard Du Puy was a real person, a French opera singer and composer who seemed to identify a little too much with his signature role, Don Giovanni. After an amorous interlude with a Danish princess he was kicked out of the country. Much of the music of “The King’s Volunteers on Amager” is based on his original tunes.

The curtain rises on Edouard playing the piano, lost in a personal reverie peopled by four beautiful young women who dance beguilingly to his music, and from then on the dancing doesn’t stop. I loved the pas de trois for Kristoffer Sakurai as Otto, Edouard’s friend and his fiancée Sophie (Diana Cuni) together with her friend Andrea (Susanne Grinder). But for me the highlight of the evening was the reel with Peter Bo Bendixen in a sailor outfit, dancing a hornpipe that drove the audience wild. They don’t cheer in Copenhagen, they stamp their feet instead and that night it sounded like they were stamping fit to break the floorboards.

 

Edited by Staff.

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