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 Post subject: New Book 'Bournonville history and style'
PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:10 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 223
Location: Barcelona, Spain
A new book “Bournonville history and style” has been launched in Spain. It is only in Spanish for the time being but it seems that it is foreseen to translate it into English.

Written by Elna Matamoros, ballet teacher at Ballet Nacional de España and author of many articles for fotoescena the one on the Boston Ballet(Bournonville and Balanchine) among others, this book about the great Danish choreographer August Bournonville (1805-1879), explores the moment when the Danish School is born and the technique developed along Bournonville’s career.

This is the first time that such a deep analysis of the technical part is carried out, all steps and technical concepts are explained in detail by means of the photographs and info graphics of the movement made by Jesús Vallinas.

Dancers demonstrating the different positions and steps are Tamara Rojo (Royal Ballet) and Sergio García (Ballet Nacional de España). The prologue on the book is by Tamara Rojo and there is an introduction by the Director of the Danish Royal Ballet Frank Andersen.

Edited by Editorial Akal

43 € (without delivery costs).

If you want to know a bit more you can visit here (Spanish).

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To know more about ballet and dance in Spain you can visit "http://balletymas.com/" web page with some articles also in English


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 Post subject: Leif Oernberg
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:58 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 358
Location: Paris
I am extremely dubious about the usefulness of this particular endeavour, now having the book, and having read quite a chunk of it.

First and foremost, the author, Elna Matamoros was a pupil of Leif Oernberg (uncle to Peter Martins of NYCB), and his wife Elna. The reason that Leif Oernberg found himself in Madrid after WWII goes well beyond the term "controversial".

In French terms, he and his wife were deemed to be "collaborators" with the German invaders, and, if I recall aright, were told to leave the Royal Theatre at Copenhagen after the War. This is well-documented.

So, believe as one does in being extremely generous with one's "enemies" so to speak, somewhere, there must be limits. I would not suggest in any shape or form that Miss Matamoros (despite her name!!!) might entertain even the remotest affinity with the political views of her professors, but neither would I, personally, care to promote any endeavour related to that particular pair.

Secondly, the illustrations in the book, posed by Tamara Rojo and a Spanish gentleman, Sergio Garcia, who would appear to be of rather middling ability, are unfortunate, and fail to reflect the essential features of the Bournonville technique - let alone its "aisance". Tamara Rojo, although she is pretty as a picture, and on stage, a good actress, practices wild hyper-extensions nor can she, in any sense of the term be described as a Bournonville dancer. Why she should care to pose as one, is a mystery.

Thirdly, in 2005 the Royal Theatre published a three-volume work on Bournonville technique, in English (DVD, the Schools in detail, and the scores). Whatever reserve one might have about this or that detail, and despite one's doubts about the presence of Fernando Mora on the film, this was a MONUMENTAL endeavour. Any professional can now take the Schools volume, sit there with the DVD, and grasp - at least in outline - the choreographic and technical ideas that lie behind the enchaînements. To bring out a book in Spanish a mere three years later, adds nothing.

The sole original feature of the book is the chapter on the Escuela Bolera and Bournonville. This is so important, that it is worth a BOOK, not a chapter.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:16 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 223
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Dear KANTER, no, I’m afraid it was not Elna who was a pupil of Leif Oernberg, but her mother Carmina Ocaña, one of the best ballet teachers in Spain (together with Víctor Ullate and María & Lola de Ávila, …).

As for the name “Matamoros” it is a Spanish name I do not see why it must be brought up here the way it is.

I agree with you that Mrs. Rojo could not be the perfect example for Bournonville’s style but her deep knowledge of many ballet styles the same Bournonville among and her willingness to participate must only be seen as a kind collaboration in this huge enterprise.

Maybe in English there is better literature and audiovisuals about this topic but there was nothing in Spanish. So, the only thing I can say is that I’m grateful to all those who made this book be possible as in Spain there is so few literature about ballet that only the fact to undertake such a great work deserves all my admiration and I’m learning a lot.

I only can say thank you very much to all those who made it be possible.

Anyway I'm glad to read that at least one chapter of the book interests you.

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To know more about ballet and dance in Spain you can visit "http://balletymas.com/" web page with some articles also in English


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 3377
Location: Canada
Greetings

I think there may have been something lost in the translation - this endeavour is the first book in Spanish, not the first in depth documentation of the Bournonville style. Nor does it seem to be trying to do what the DVD and books published as part of the Bournonville Festival did, which was to provide a comprehensive history and overview.

What I think the gap in Spain is - and parts of this new book may fill that gap - is a Spanish language history of Bournonville and his style. However, ballet being a visual and kinetic art form with a common language (you hear the french terms, no matter the country where you take ballet), I question the need for the sections demonstrating and explaining the style. Most of the DVD is simply dancers dancing, and it could easily be subtitled into Spanish, as it is into English when Danish is spoken. And the books use technical terms (i.e. French) which are used the world round.

No disrespect to Ms. Rojo, who by all account is an excellent dancer, but I'd agree that it seems a bit strange to pick her to demonstrate the Bournonville steps. I believe she did dance in the Royal Ballet's 'La Sylphide', but knowledge of Bournonville (or any other style_ is something gained over years, not months and it's something gained from dancing his full rep, not just one ballet or an excerpt. Many dancers pick up other styles during their careers, but that does not mean they are fully competent in every style, nor that they are good examples of each style. I've certainly seen companies attempt Balanchine pieces with competence, but without really grasping the Balanchine style. It's a bit the equivalent of taking a dancer who's never been to SAB (or was not directly trained by one of Balanchine's dancers) to demonstrate the Balanchine style.

That said, I have no problem with the DVD including Mr. Mora - who had, by the time of the video, been with the company for at least 12 years, having joined right out of his training in Mexico. And who has danced corps and soloist roles in all of the Bournonville ballets currently danced by the company.

Kate


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