Cathy Marston’s “Lolita” may very well be the best ballet created for Alexander Kølpin´s Summer Ballet. The small ensemble of seven dancers including Royal Danish Ballet stars Ida Praetorius and Mads Blangstrup managed to transfer the great American novel to a new territory and create an exciting and well-choreographed ballet. There is, however, as in the novel, one big character error at play.
For the 11th season, Danish Dance Theatre is hosting the annual summer festival in one of the most remarkable pieces of architecture in Denmark, Copenhagen Police Headquarters’ marvelous circular courtyard. Fans of Danish crime series “The Killing” and “The Bridge” may know the stunning location. Its scale and beauty make it a perfect and magical place for dance on a summer night.
However, a perfect surrounding also demands high quality dancing to match. Although both the Police director and the Mayor for Cultural Matters in Copenhagen both used and overused the term: "High International Level”, the works presented more or less all struggled to match that specific expectation.
A press release from ABT states that Alban Lendorf will be joining the company as Principal Dancer. The release also states that he will continue as Principal Dancer at Royal Danish Ballet for the coming season.
Alban Lendorf has taken on a growing number of guest assignments during the last seasons, including several performances with ABT. Reaching principal status in RDB as a very young dancer has also implied that he is at the second turn of many of the roles in the repertoire. He has already starred in two different productions of "Swan Lake" and "La Sylphide", so it is understandable that he might be eager for new experiences.
The financial cuts at RDB has also led to fewer news productions and reruns. Nicolaj Hübbe is working hard to stretch what is available for the large crop of talented dancers. With six casts of "Swan Lake" including a very strong line up of Siegfrieds, the company can afford to share Lendorf with the World. Luckily he will continue to dance with his parent company as well.
I hope that ABT can offer him, what he needs most at this point of his career: a tailormade big scale leading role choreographed on him. With former RDB principal Alexei Ratmansky on board as House Choreographer at ABT the odds are good that this goal can be reached.
Photo by Costin Radu (Copyright(c): Royal Danish Ballet)
Alban Lendorf as Siegfried in "Swan Lake" with Jon Axel Fransson as Von Rothbart
With an unprecedented intake of 13 foreign dancers in one season, Royal Danish Ballet took on the quest of getting the group, representing nine different countries, and integrated them into company life and the Danish style.
Judging by the production of “Swan Lake” in April the synthesis has happened. The new crop are seamlessly integrated in the company and several of the new dancers are taking on featured roles. I met with Canadian Liam Redhead to learn how the process looked from the incoming dancer’s point of view. Another reason for speaking with Liam Redhead is that the 19 year old dancer has been the most prolific of the new crop and has danced several soloists’ roles in his first season.
Silja Schandorff has in few years developed from being Royal Danish Ballet’s prima ballerina to not only the deputy artistic director but also a strong artistic force and the co-creator of the impressive “Swan Lake” production. She hints that there could be more productions under here name in the coming future.
Soloist Diana Cuni retires from the Royal Danish Ballet. She will be remembered as the ultimate female Bournonville dancer. She has made it her quest to preserve the Bournonville heritage and teaches dancers home and abroad how to make the old master shine.
One of the most loved ballerinas at Royal Danish Ballet; Gitte Lindstrøm retires at the end of the season. Gitte Lindstrøm has enjoyed a long and varied career covering major Bournonville, Russian classic and new dramatic roles. Through her whole career she kept developing and her range is demonstrated by her last roles, which include Nikiya in “La Bayadére”, “Lady Capulet in “Romeo & Juliet” and Frau van Everdingen in “Kermesse in Bruges”
Royal Danish Ballet kicked of their annual summer tour with a special performance in Christiania, the alternative hippie commune/tourist attraction in Copenhagen.
As RDB and the Royal Theatre, more unfairly than fairly, is considered stuffy high art, the event has gained public notice and draw a large public. If the plan by dancing at Christiania was to attract a younger audience, the goal was more than reached. The new audience got a healthy dose of classical dancing as well as several never edgier works.