Paris began to wane as the centre of the ballet world with the rise of the Russian and Danish masters. Ballet training became more formalised, with daily classes and uniforms, the expansion of the vocabulary and the formation of the many schools of training we know today; Cecchetti, Bournonville, Vaganova and so on. Popular themes included European folklore and exotic destinations which captured the imagination of audiences.
The Dance can, with the aid of music, rise to the heights of poetry. On the other hand, through an excess of gymnastics it can also degenerate into buffoonery. So-called “difficult” feats can be executed by countless adepts, but the appearance of ease is achieved only by the chosen few
Gudrun Bojesen in the title role of Bournonville’s La Sylphide. Royal Danish Ballet, Lincoln Center, June 2011. Photo: Martin Mydtskov Rønne.
Bojesen duplicates the virtues of her footwork in the suppleness of her entire body as she moves through space, thistledown style. Her mimed gestures are woven into her dancing so that the barrier between poetry and prose miraculously dissolves. She plays the Sylphide, rightly, as amoral, a creature of nature, driven by her own desires, and utterly poignant in her death, which results from her loving a mortal man.
Jaime Crandall as Rosa and Alban Lendorf as Paolo (Royal Danish Ballet) and corps of Leonid Yakobson Ballet, “The Flower Festival in Genzano” choreography by August Bournonville, 2015 Dance Open Ballet Festival Gala, Alexandrinsky Theatre (April 27, 2015)
Students of the Paris Opera Ballet School in Bournonville’s Conservatoire, Petit’s Les Forains and Taras’ Piège de Lumière. From top to bottom: Nine Seropian and Lien Geslin-Vinck, Adèle Belem and Gaétan Vermeulen, Célia Drouy and Andréa Sarri
Jaime Crandall as “Rosa”, Alban Lendorf as “Paolo” (Royal Danish Ballet) and corps of Leonid Yakobson Ballet, “The Flower Festival in Genzano” choreography by August Bournonville, 2015 Dance Open Ballet Festival Gala, Alexandrinsky Theatre (April 27, 2015)