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“TOTAL IMMERSION” INDEX

From June 3 - 11, 2005, at Copenhagen's Royal Theatre, the Royal Danish Ballet celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of August Bournonville, the dancer, choreographer, and ballet master who made the company unique and gave it its international cachet. In a SEEING THINGS series called “Total Immersion,” I wrote 15 essays about the performances, which encompassed the entire extant Bournonville repertory, and about the many complementary events that were scheduled. As an introduction to the subject, I posted my essay on the first … [Read more...]

TOTAL IMMERSION: THE BOURNONVILLE FESTIVAL, NO. 15

Royal Danish Ballet: Bournonville Festival / Royal Theatre, Copenhagen / June 3-11, 2005 / Operan, the Royal Theatre’s new house for opera and ballet With the Bournonville Festival, the Royal Danish Ballet looked back to the past and offered telling examples of how it intends to preserve its singular choreographic and stylistic legacy. Appropriately, the Festival performances took place at the Royal Theatre’s Gamle Scene (Old Stage), the ornate, perfectly proportioned opera house on the King’s Square for which Bournonville restaged … [Read more...]

TOTAL IMMERSION: THE BOURNONVILLE FESTIVAL, NO. 14

Royal Danish Ballet: Bournonville Festival / Royal Theatre, Copenhagen / June 3-11, 2005 When I titled my series of articles on the Royal Danish Ballet’s 3rd Bournonville Festival “Total Immersion,” I truly meant total. In the 13 pieces preceding this one, I aimed to concentrate on covering all the performances of the existing Bournonville ballets—which were, after all, the heart of the Festival—and what seemed to me the most compelling Bournonville-related exhibitions. But there was more, much more—some of it open to the … [Read more...]

TOTAL IMMERSION: THE BOURNONVILLE FESTIVAL, NO. 13

Royal Danish Ballet: Bournonville Festival / Royal Theatre, Copenhagen / June 3-11, 2005 The evening of the final, gala, performance in the Royal Danish Ballet’s Bournonville Festival opened with Queen Margrethe II’s entering the Royal Box—as she had every night of the nine-day celebration—to smile down benignly at the audience that had risen in respectful silence at her entrance. Now she was accompanied by her consort, Prince Henrik, and, as she had been several times before, by one of her sisters, Princess Benedikte. The … [Read more...]

TOTAL IMMERSION: THE BOURNONVILLE FESTIVAL, NO. 12

Royal Danish Ballet: Bournonville Festival / Royal Theatre, Copenhagen / June 3-11, 2005 I first saw Bournonville’s A Folk Tale in 1979, at a dress rehearsal to which journalists who’d made the pilgrimage to Copenhagen for the first Bournonville Festival had been invited. (A Royal Danish Ballet dress rehearsal means a full-fledged, uninterrupted performance with almost no one in the audience apart from the company’s current personnel and its venerable retired dancers.) At that time, Bournonville had not yet been fully … [Read more...]

TOTAL IMMERSION: THE BOURNONVILLE FESTIVAL, NO. 11

Royal Danish Ballet: Bournonville Festival / Royal Theatre, Copenhagen / June 3-11, 2005 Just about everyone agrees that, among Jane Austen’s novels, Pride and Prejudice is the “perfect” one, the technical dazzler, and that Emma is the most profound. But Janeites usually have a personal—idiosyncratic—favorite, and mine is Persuasion. I’d be the first to admit that it’s slighter than the Big Two, but I find it uniquely touching in its account of quiet events and barely spoken feelings. I’m highly susceptible as well to its notion … [Read more...]

TOTAL IMMERSION: THE BOURNONVILLE FESTIVAL, NO. 10

Sylfider, Trolde og Linselus: En Fotografisk Rejse i Bournonvilles Balletter (Sylphides and Trolls Caught in the Lens: A Photographic Journey Through Bournonville’s Ballets) / Round Tower, Copenhagen / May 13 – June 12, 2005 Housed in Copenhagen’s Round Tower, Sylfider, Trolde og Linselus: En Fotografisk Rejse i Bournonvilles Balletter (Sylphides and Trolls Caught in the Lens: A Photographic Journey Through Bournonville’s Ballets) is a modest, pleasurable exhibition produced by the Royal Theatre and designed by Mia Okkels with the … [Read more...]

TOTAL IMMERSION: THE BOURNONVILLE FESTIVAL, NO. 9

Royal Danish Ballet: Bournonville Festival / Royal Theatre, Copenhagen / June 3-11, 2005 Bournonville’s Konservatoriet is known and loved both in Copenhagen and internationally for its Degas-like evocation of classes in the dance academy of the Paris Opera. The young Bournonville had studied there in the 1820s, and this is his tribute—created in 1849, just after he had retired from performing—to the scene and, by extension, to the French Romantic ballet. Here, in a studio redolent with echoes of the past, ravishing—and … [Read more...]

TOTAL IMMERSION: THE BOURNONVILLE FESTIVAL, NO. 8

Royal Danish Ballet: Bournonville Festival / Royal Theatre, Copenhagen / June 3-11, 2005 Some of the most wondrous dancing in the Bournonville Festival came not from the ballet-by-ballet excursion through the master’s extant works on the Royal Theatre’s capacious, ornate Old Stage, but from a half dozen 45-minute sessions on the stark, small Stærekassen stage—one each for the six Bournonville Schools. These set classes formed the backbone of the Danish dancers’ training from the end of the nineteenth century through the first three … [Read more...]

TOTAL IMMERSION: THE BOURNONVILLE FESTIVAL, NO. 7

Royal Danish Ballet: Bournonville Festival / Royal Theatre, Copenhagen / June 3-11, 2005 Bournonville’s Far from Denmark is a seemingly frivolous, trifling ballet about life at sea, but it’s anchored by poignant feeling. The Danish navy, from grizzled veterans to barely adolescent apprentices, finds itself harbored in Argentina—one of the exotic Elsewheres of Bournonville’s imagination—where passions are given a brief holiday from the decorum of Danish conduct. Though he has a fiancée (whom we never see) waiting for him back home, … [Read more...]

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