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From The Archives: Choreography by Bournonville

Related: Bournonville, BBC Archives, Flower Festival in Genzano, La Sylphide, Royal Danish Ballet, Merle Park, Rudolf Nureyev, Lucette Aldous, Flemming Flindt, Shirley Dixon

From The Archives: Choreography by Bournonville

From The Archives: Choreography by Bournonville

By Jennifer Fried

I often find myself infuriated with my favorite ballet teacher, trained from the Royal Danish Ballet School since age 8, and his obsession with little jumps. I never quite comprehended why we needed to spend twenty minutes doing maddeningly technical and precise jumps, while other teachers would spend maybe seven minutes, until I watched the 1961 BBC productions of Bournonville version of La Sylphide and the 1974 BBC production of Flower Festival in Genzano.

Many may find themselves skeptical of watching La Sylphide, one of the oldest ballets in ballet's repertoire. However, Bournville's take was particularly delightful. The constant petite allegro kept my attention and drew me in as the dancers exploded with energy over the stage. Particularly delightful was the wedding scene, full of wit, character, and charm, between James (Flemming Flindt) and Effie (Shirley Dixon). The jealous Sylph (Lucette Aldous) steals the wedding ring, eagerly places it upon her finger, and dances around the stage. When tragedy strikes in the end it is even more pitiful, given the beauty of the Bournonville mise-en-scène

Next, the pas de deux from Flower Festival in Genzano. The ballet tells the story of two real life Italian lovers, Paolo (Rudolf Nureyev) and Rosa (Merle Park). Playing upon the Danish fixation with Italy, the piece may often be seen at Bournonville Tributes. Similar to La Sylphide, the piece was loaded with the energetic little jumps I dread doing myself. However, juxtaposed with the slower controlled movements, the story of the joy, confusion, hesitation, and even pain that accompanies passionate love is strikingly well communicated.

The Bournonville style differs ever so slightly from other classical ballet techniques, with its emphasis on vigorous movement and simple clear lines. The dancers also appear to utilize a lower eye level, allowing them to appear more relatable and less regal than those from the Royal Ballet. The Bournonville renditions of La Sylphide and Flower Festival in Genzano are timeless classics certainly worth revisiting.

Photo Credit: Nureyev.org

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Jennifer Fried Jennifer Fried originally from Northern California received her BA in Classical Languages and Literature in 2012 from New York University. After attending New York University Jennifer enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania?s Post Baccalaureate program in Classical Studies.??While at New York University and the University of Pennsylvania, Jennifer spent a considerable amount time studying dance.?She has taken classes contemporary and ballet classes at Peridance Center in New York City as well as at Koresh Dance Company in Philadelphia.??Prior to dancing in New York and Philadelphia, throughout her childhood she attended dance competitions throughout California performing in Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Hip Hop, and Tap numbers.???She often attends dance shows in her spare time and recently has seen Cedar Lake Contemporary, Pennsylvania Ballet, New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Alvin Ailey, New York City Ballet, Ballet X, Pilobolus Dance Theatre, Australia Ballet, and numerous other companies. Jennifer has recently moved back to New York City and is excited to continue her dance education attend dance shows.


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