CriticalDance Forum

Bournonville Festival - La Ventana
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Author:  ksneds [ Mon Jun 06, 2005 8:36 am ]
Post subject:  Bournonville Festival - La Ventana


Author:  AnaM [ Wed Jun 08, 2005 6:17 am ]
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As with Napoli, I will be posting the review later on.
The performance I saw was on Monday evening, as part of the programme shared with La Sylphide.
To be honest, a very uninspiring affair... There was something missing in the performance of the piece. Maybe something as simple as its soul. Though the story is not really meant for transcendental truths, there is still a certain charm in it and it could have been nice to get more involvement in the action from the dancers performing the ballet.

Author:  AnaM [ Wed Jun 15, 2005 2:58 am ]
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The Royal Danish Ballet presented La Ventana as part of a double bill with La Sylphide on Monday 6th June. La Ventana was first performed in 1856 and my only knowledge of the piece was the male variation and a fragment from the finale from a recording with Lis Jeppesen and Frank Andersen featured in Peter Schauffuss series The Dancer in the eighties.

The ballet is only 30 minute long and the story is very simple. A young girl is followed by a man to her house and he serenades her. She dances to his music in her room and then receives a flower as token of his love. She throws a ribbon at him as a response to his advances. In the street, the man dances and a woman appears wearing a mantilla that hides her face. Of course, the woman in question is the young girl. When she reveals herself, the man asks three of his friends to dance for her and the ballet finishes with the whole street celebrating the romance of the couple.

As it can be seen, the story is not a deep transcendental one, but as it is set in Spain, it reflects a certain aspect of Spanish romance and manners in the nineteenth century that allow the choreography to explore its folklore in a very peculiar way. The costumes and atmosphere are very much in the goyescas style as depicted by the great paintings of Goya where majos and majas were depicted in scenes of dance and courtship. In fact, Goya’s Naked Maja is featured prominently in the backdrop used for the girl’s bedroom [an anachronism, as no woman in Spain would have had that painting in her room!]

The main roles were danced by Izabela Sokolowska as la Señorita and Mads Blangstrup as el Señor. There was certainly a lack of chemistry between the two, especially from Blagstrup’s part, who danced his final variation with such lack of feelings –of any kind- that it was quite uninspiring. Sokolowska tried hard, but she was left on her own in her displays and it seems the courtship was a bit desperate on her part. The pas de trois was danced elegantly, though unremarkably by both Diana Cuni and Femke M. Slot, and with greater sense of style by Andrew Bowman.

A not greatly inspired performance. Blangstrup’s apparent boredom did not really help the ballet to shine or even entertain, which is a pity, as it is one of the very few attempts from Bournonville’s part to tackle Spanish dance, a major source of inspiration for nineteenth century choreographers. He apparently had problems with its lack of decorum –the programme notes explained- and he tried very hard to keep it as devoid of sexual allure as possible. The choreographic result is a unique exploration of Spanish dance re-elaborated under Bournonville’s strong style. It could have been a charming little ballet to open the evening, unfortunately it failed to establish any sense of character and the ballet remained and uninspired affair, lacking both in soul and charm.

Author:  Jean-Luc [ Wed Jun 15, 2005 6:27 am ]
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Ana Abad-Carles, thank you for these comments. It's very pleasant to read some reports about the Festival... :D !

Well, you're going to think that I'm a little crazy but I have another question about music.

Actually, I have an old videorecording of La Ventana (with Simone and Flindt), and I have noticed a surprising point : in a male variation from La Ventana, I guessed to recognize the Peasant pas-de-deux music from Giselle (Introduction).

As far I know, the Peasant pas-de-deux music is by Bergmüller, while the Ventana music is by Lumbye... :roll: :?: :roll:

Author:  ksneds [ Wed Jun 15, 2005 7:29 am ]
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I have the CDs from the Bournonville ballets, so I will look when I get home to see if the music might have been taken from somewhere else. Just from looking at the notes I entered on my IPod, there is no note of music from another source.

My guess would be that it just sounds similar. Composers certainly are influenced by what they hear, so it's not unknown to have pieces that are not dissimilar.


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