CriticalDance Forum

Principals & Soloists of the Royal Danish Ballet
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Author:  ksneds [ Mon Mar 14, 2005 2:47 am ]
Post subject:  Principals & Soloists of the Royal Danish Ballet

The 'Principals and Soloists of the Royal Danish Ballet', a group of Royal Danish Ballet dancers, is touring again this spring and summer.

The 21 dancers in the group will be at Sadler's Wells from June 21 - 25, performing excerpts from Bournonville ballets under the artistic direction of principal dancer Thomas Lund. The excerpts will be performed without scenery, but live music will be provided by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia.

The program includes:

Le Conservatoire
Flower Festival in Genzano
La Ventana
Jockey Dance
La Sylphide - Divertissement
Napoli Act III

More information can be found here.

The group will also be performing in Budapest, Hungary at the Thalia Theatre on March 27 and 28. Click here for more information.

<small>[ 24 March 2005, 01:27 PM: Message edited by: ksneds ]</small>

Author:  ksneds [ Thu Apr 21, 2005 4:26 pm ]
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The dancers scheduled to perform:
Mads Blangstrup
Gudrun Bojeson
Caroline Cavallo
Diana Cuni
Morton Eggert
Nicolai Hansen
Tina Højlund
Dawid Kupinski
Cecilie Lassen
Gitte Lindstrøm
Thomas Lund
Jean-Lucien Massot
Tim Matiakis
Christina Olsen
Kristoffer Sakurai
Silja Schandorff
Izabela Sokolowska
Femke Mølbach Slot
Amy Watson

Slot, Olsen, Kupinski and Lassen are in the corps, Matiakis, Cuni, Højlund, Waton, Sakurai, Hansen and Eggert are soloist, the rest are principals.


Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Apr 21, 2005 4:49 pm ]
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For those unfamilar with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, it is the orchestra of Birmingham Royal Ballet and is unusual in that ballet is its main theatre art form. Perhaps as a result of this, many believe that it is the best orchestra for ballet in the UK.

Author:  ksneds [ Mon Jun 13, 2005 3:25 am ]
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Some updates...

After a whirlwind 9 days of Bournonville, the dancers have left for the performance in Malaga on June 14. More information about the Malaga performance is available by clicking here.

Also, for those who have not be reading the Bournonville Forum posts, there have been a number of promotions. Of the dancers coming to London, Kristoffer Sakurai is now a principal (solo dancer) and Izabela Sokolowska and Dawid Kupinski are now soloists.


Author:  Cassandra [ Wed Jun 15, 2005 5:01 am ]
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The open class on Saturday is now completely sold out. I hope this signifies a big success for these wonderful dancers as they will be the first all Danish group to appear in London for a very long time.

I was amazed by the British turnout in Copenhagen last week, so many familiar faces. The Royal Danish Ballet has always been immensely popular here in the past and next week's performances will hopefully attract a whole new audience to the beauty of Danish Ballet and August Bournonville’s choreography.

Author:  ksneds [ Wed Jun 15, 2005 8:30 am ]
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Do you know when the company (or a group like this) last came to London?

It's interesting that they don't come more often - I wonder if it is due to the fact that the RDB's usual touring period (generally January) comes at a time when there are too many other companies performing and/or no appropriate theatres available. It's also possible that the company may prefer to tour farther away (like to Washington and Japan), where audiences are less likely to be able to get to Copenhagen.

After all, from London to Copenhagen is less than two hours, and even from Edinburgh (where without Easy Jet, tickets are more expensive) I can get on the 7am flight and be at the theatre by 11am, including a one hour time difference.

I will be very interested to see the open class, which is to be preceded by a talk with Thomas Lund and a dance historan. It will be interesting to see whether Lund himself teaches class or whether another teacher will be around.

Looking forward to seeing the Danes in London!

Author:  Cassandra [ Thu Jun 16, 2005 10:07 am ]
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The company last came to London in 1995 with a series of performances of Flemming Flindt's "Caroline Mathilde". I have a feeling they were here in the summer as I missed them at the time as I was on holiday.

According to the excellent site of the London Danish Embassy, the last full company visit before that was in 1974. ... Ballet.htm

Note that they claim Caroline Cavallo will be appearing at Sadlers Wells too.

Author:  KANTER [ Fri Jun 17, 2005 3:00 am ]
Post subject:  Wanted, a Milliner who makes Comestible Hats

Wanted: a Milliner specialised in comestible hats

Advance Notes on dancers scheduled for the upcoming Sadlers Wells Event

Given the low-key approach the Danes are wont to adopt when reporting on their own achievements – talking it down, some would say – the Embassy Website's enthusiasm about the upcoming Sadlers Wells week is, surely, a refreshing change !

And enthusiasm is in order, mark my words.

What one hopes will be a proper article on the very major event that was the 2005 Bournonville Festival is forthcoming, and as it was indeed a major event, that cannot be written in a twinkle of the eye, but in the meantime, might one draw two ladies to the attention of next week's London audience ?

The Danish School is reputed for its men, and accordingly one hears about town "the Danes have never produced a ballerina". For my part, having been knocked for a loop in recent history by Toni Lander, Anne-Marie Dybdal and Lis Jeppesen, inter alia, I've never quite understood what is meant by a "ballerina". Someone who looks good in a short tutu?

Be that as it may, may one present two ladies who most definitely are ballerinas ? How they look in a short tutu, though, I cannot say, given Bournonville's rather strict views on the female ballet costume !

Both are soloists (a rank equivalent to premier danseur in France).

First, Diana Cuni, a lady who, on the strength of what I've seen over the last two years, is at the present time the Royal Theatre's leading Bournonville ballerina. I may be sadly wrong, but she can probably out-dance most of our premières danseuses and étoiles here at Paris. Because the point about dancing, is to make it look easy. When a dancer can do that, it has become, on a certain special level, easy for HIM, which means that he is become a master.

The lady is small, dark, very un-Danish looking, and un-photogenic to boot, which is doubtless why she does not appear in promotional brochures (and why she is not a principal?). But this is an absolutely superb dancer, and what a many-sided technique ! Owing to the strength in her back and centre, and to her dance, that will literally grow from the music like tendrils reaching out from a vine, she is, unusually for a small dancer, every bit as elegant and interesting in the adagio passages, as in the allegro.

Diana Cuni's épaulement is truly non-pareil, she has mastered it, she rejoices and exults in it, and she is the only woman in the troupe who does. She is so confident with the épaulement, that she will dare to do what, in anyone else, would be taking tremendous risks – watch her renversés. Again, for so small a dancer, she covers a vast space, shuddering like a bolt of lightning across the stage, without, however, ever opening the articulations beyond their natural ambitus. This is possible because, rather like the interesting, and equally small, Roberta Marquez at Covent Garden, she understands the forces that lift and carry one, and rides upon them as though surfing a wave.

Her batterie in all positions, even in the most difficult turning steps, is impeccable and swift, her elevation thrilling, her landing from the jump silent as a breath. Diana Cuni also happens to be a most vivid mime, vanishing with gusto into each personage - what a portrayal of Cadet Poul!.

All these qualities allow her to abandon herself completely, and as though recklessly, to the dance. A rare experience.

Eating my hat for breakfast, yet again. Seven years back, even five years back, I would never have believed this of Miss Cuni.

The next lady to watch out for is Miss Tina Hoejlund. Although her appearance would mark her out as the brunette equivalent of a dizzy blond, with her heart-shaped face and Cupid's bow lips, this is a serious dancer, and one to be seriously reckoned with. She was seen during the Festival as Teresina in Napoli, as Birthe in A Folk Tale, as Effie in La Sylphide, and in a number of solo variations. Outstanding as Teresina, it was her work in the ungrateful roles of Birthe and Effie that gave one an insight into her special theatrical powers.

Over the past 150 years, the role of Birthe, once almost tragic, as one sees from K.A. Juergensen's book "The Bournonville Ballets, a Photographic Record", has become increasing futile and clownish. Birthe is now tricked out in shrieking orange and yellow, with a hideous red wig, and plays the fool. But what Tina Hoejlund did with it ! Never would I have imagined that, in that awful wig and costume, one could somehow make plain the idea of demonic possession - that Birthe desires ardently to be a human being, but MUST go over to the devils.

As Birthe is led off, in her folly, to a venal marriage, she turns back, looking as it were, for her human self, only to close the shutters of the soul again – well, there are few dancers in this body-obsessed day and age, who can still do such things.

In La Sylphide, Miss Hoejlund's Effie was no stodgy lump of Scots upholstery, but a sensitive and living depiction. Although the ballet was otherwise marred by garish lighting, silly sets, and by mime scenes and dancing frenzied almost to the point of mania, Miss Hoejlund's Effie was the quiet voice of taste, appropriateness and sensibility, that saved a work of art that evening for many amongst us.

The foreign press and observers were, on the whole, very taken with dancers like David Kupinski and Yao Wei, presumably because they conform to the image of what one today expects from a ballet dancer. But the pair's interpretation of the great pas de deux in La Kermesse à Bruges, was a parody of the real thing. And some of us have seen the real thing.

Now, these are people are in their very early twenties, they are foreigners, and have been with the troupe for but two or three years. They cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be described as Bournonville dancers, but are rather products of what today is called "Vaganova School", an athletic or acrobatic side-track that Vaganova herself would not have endorsed.

These youngsters are still at the stage of tacking on a weak and unsupported, purportedly "decorative" arm, to a poker-stiff torso. In the case of Yao Wei, one observes sky-high, uncontrolled extensions that preclude all épaulement, the end-effect being preciosity and mannierism.

Because épaulement is not a tacked-on stylistic "tic", like people who compulsively scratch their nose or pull out their hair. It is, alongside the notion of aplomb, the cornerstone of the Bournonville TECHNIQUE.

Now, I will very likely be eating my hat about Yao Wei and David Kupinski in another three years, because people change, and they may catch the ball and run with it.

Jean-Lucien Massot certainly has. Here is one example of a Frenchman who has been with the Royal Theatre since 1993, and had never, until very recently "got the point" of Bournonville. Suddenly, at about age 31 (!), as he himself acknowledges, he decided to work with his professors on it, intensely, and on the first evening, in La Ventana, I nearly fell off my chair when the fellow stepped out onto on the stage. I simply could not believe it was the Massot we had known !

He has revolutionised his technique after the age of thirty, a thing that most dancers nowadays would have neither the physical, nor the mental energy even to contemplate. M. Massot is become a Bournonville dancer of considerable authority and majesty, though in quite a different genre from his colleagues.

Caroline Cavallo is a dancer somewhat disputed outwith Denmark, where she is extremely, and as we shall see, justifiably popular. She has never gone down well with the French, as her dancing entirely lacks that hard, glittering edge of "chic", that has come in recent decades to replace dance quality and the more elusive and delicate emotions proper to mankind.

Miss Cavallo is also rather a shy person, not wont to boldly "throw it all away" as we have seen with Miss Cuni. However, those who have had the privilege of watching her over the last eighteen years, both in class – where the quality and intensity of her effort must be seen to be believed - and on stage, have seen flashes and shades of Fonteyn, not consistently perhaps, owing to her extreme shyness, but something that draws one in, and that reminds one of what Bournonville said about his ballerina Juliette Price.

Namely, that her intelligence, her truthful feeling and delicacy of gesture, might not carry well in a very large theatre, but are no less real for that.

So if anyone knows of a milliner specialised in making comestible hats, the address will likely come in handy. Otherwise, a milliner who employs fruit-and-flower decorations would do.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Jun 17, 2005 3:32 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks a lot for your views, Katherine, which I will certainly re-read before I go to Sadler's Wells for the performance.

Author:  Cassandra [ Fri Jun 17, 2005 11:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Wanted, a Milliner who makes Comestible Hats

The Danish School is reputed for its men, and accordingly one hears about town "the Danes have never produced a ballerina". For my part, having been knocked for a loop in recent history by Toni Lander, Anne-Marie Dybdal and Lis Jeppesen, inter alia, I've never quite understood what is meant by a "ballerina". Someone who looks good in a short tutu?

II think this myth may have come about because it has been the Danish male dancers that have taken the international route and became famous worldwide with Eric Bruhn and Peter Martins believed by many to be the greatest dancers of their age. Apart from a brief visit with a modern work in 1995 the Royal Danish Ballet were last in London in 1974 which meant that unless they could afford to go to Denmark, a whole generation of dancers were missed by British audiences.

For whatever reasons it seems that the Danish ladies were far more reluctant to leave Copenhagen (well, it is a very nice place) so if ballerinas aren't actually seen it follows that there are a lot of people out there believing that there aren't any.

I think there was an exception though - Toni Lander, the only time I ever saw her dance was in Etudes with ABT in London. She alone attained an international reputation that seems to have eluded her countrywomen.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon Jun 20, 2005 12:28 am ]
Post subject: 

Strictly ballet
Judith Mackrell
The Guardian

Even when Bournonville made ballets with more exotic themes, he still contrived to imbue them with the values of home.

published: June 15, 2005

Author:  ksneds [ Mon Jun 20, 2005 4:59 pm ]
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Debra Craine previews the London performances in The Times:

Sweet Danish pastries

Debra Craine
Treasures from Denmark are coming to London

IT WAS August Bournonville’s misfortune to be born in 1805, the same year as his friend Hans Christian Andersen, arguably the world’s most famous Dane, but that hasn’t stopped the Bournonville contingent. The Danish dance world has mounted its own bicentenary celebration to rival that of Andersen.

Click here for more.

Author:  Cassandra [ Wed Jun 22, 2005 7:09 am ]
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It would be nothing less than criminal for a ballet fan to miss A Celebration of works by August Bournonville at Sadlers Wells this week. The principals and dancers of the Royal Danish Ballet appearing are the very cream of the company led by the incomparable Thomas Lund.

The programme is mouth watering starting with “Le Conservatoire” back in its original version as a 19th century ballet class, followed by “Flower Festival at Genzano”, a pas de deux I thought I knew well, but I’d never seen it danced like this before with Caroline Cavallo and Lund dancing as two people rapturously in love.

After the interval “La Ventana” pas de trois with the outstanding Diana Cuni, followed by “Jockey Dance”, a real hoot with Nicolai Hansen holding his own against natural comedian Morten Eggert. Ending the second part of the programme was the company’s signature work “La Sylphide”

Finally in the last part of this very generous programme was “Napoli” Act III, with the familiar pas de six followed by solos and a tarantella that fairly tore up the stage.

There are two casts for this programme that is running until Saturday and will almost certainly be the finest dancing Londoners will get to see this year.

Author:  ksneds [ Wed Jun 22, 2005 7:47 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for posting about the opening night performance!

I can't wait for Friday, when I'll finally get to head south to see both Saturday performances. Hopefully the casts will alternate on Saturday, so there will be the full range of dancers in each ballet.

And perhaps this time I'll see the 'Jockey Dance' with two men - I've seen it done by Gitte Lindstrom & Gudrun Bojeson as well as Bojeson & Thomas Lund.

I read somewhere else that were 17 dancers performing - do you know who from the above list has not made the trip (possibly Silja Schandorff?)? Also, I would assume that they are just doing the Pas de Six and Tarantella from 'Napoli', not the actual finale with the full cast...


Author:  Cassandra [ Wed Jun 22, 2005 8:19 am ]
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The nineteen dancers listed above have all turned up.

It's some years since I saw the complete 'Napoli', but it loooked like just about everything I remembered was included, 13 dancers are listed on the cast sheet for it, but I think all the 19 dancers were on stage

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