Every other year the Royal Danish Ballet produce a youth oriented ballet, where the apprentices and younger dancers gain valuable stage experience. Young Alban Lendorf toured colleges all over the country as Iago. The crop two years ago counted 11 appetencies, making it possible to create a ballet version of a Danish classic about a school class and their tormentor, the Latin professor.
This year’s apprentice class is down to five which necessitates bringing in more experienced dancers and cutting the numbers of roles in the chosen story (Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night).
When Tim Rushton presents his newest oeuvre he talks more about the scenography than about the dancing. And that is maybe why this performance is far from making the impact normally associated with Dansk Danseteater. His focus is simply on the wrong component.
A great décor can enhance the dancing, but in this case, the massive diamond wall, even with its own balcony defines the stage, kills the feeling of space and limits the movement patterns. The dancers can only move sideways, and it looks like there has been more emphasize on uncountable costume changes than steps. Adding props like lightning ropes it look like effects, suitable for opening an Olympiad or for Circe de Soleil rather than creating movement.
Rushton try to make a work about the use and particularly misuse of power, but it all come across as rather pathetic and you never get the chance to really bond with the much put upon dancers. In short a smart title and very little substance.
The photo artist Ingrid Bugge has joined a movement of Danish and International arts photographers trying to capture the magic of Royal Danish Ballet. She has spent almost two years getting close to the art form and that shows in her book and exhibitions, which manage to combine the documentation of the dance in progress with the artistic view.
In the last years several arts photographers has worked with the RDB. Paul Wesolek did an exhibition of “La Sylphide” in the nude. Gregers Heering made an exhibition of his work at the Hotel D´angleterre and most importantly, John R. Johnsen’s groundbreaking photos of RDB and other international company was exhibited at the Royal Library and made available in a book and on the Royal Library home page.
The interest from the photographers is understandable. Ballet makes good photos, but the result all depends of the eye and plan of the photographer. The Heering exhibition showed prettified pictures, but clearly Heering had not bothered tying them to the original work of art. A picture of the key moment in Ohad Naharin’s “Minus 7” where the dancers sits on chairs in a half circle and repeating the same movement pattern again and again to a Jewish repetition song, clearly a statement on Jewish history, is inserted in a heart shape. In my view not a fair interpretation of the ballet in question.
Mads Blangstrup ended his career as a principal dancer at Royal Danish Ballet on May 7, with his celebrated performance in the role of The Brahmin in “La Bayadére”. He had reached the retirement age of forty, but the happy news is that he has signed on as a character dancer and, as importantly, is also teaching boys at the ballet school.
Mads Blangstrup has done less than a handful of interviews in his career. He prefers to let the dancing speak for itself and has also declined the farewell performance and accolade normally given to retiring principal dancers.
In 2011 I was lucky to make an interview with Mads Blangstrup, who is known for doing very few interviews. He prefere to make the dancing do the talking. As Blangstrup is now retiring as a principal dancer and starting a new career as a character dancer and teacher, it is a good time to celebrate his impressive career by making the interview available on the net.
With Ida Praetorius’ superb performance as Emma (Gamzetti) the Royal Danish Ballet’s ”La Bayadére” for the first time came across as a two ballerina vehicle.
For most international productions of “La Bayadére” the role of Gamzetti is cast on the highest level, but in Nikolaj Hübbe’s production it has with the exception of Principal Amy Watson been cast with strong technically gifted soloists and members of the corps. Most of these have been challenged, not only in the dramatic department, but also in the presentations skills needed for the Pas de Action extravaganza. Being a ballerina demands more than strong pirouettes and jumps.
Presentation of Royal Danish Ballet's next season 14 -15
Season 14 -15 will be dominated by two big productions, masterminded by Nikolaj Hübbe himself.He waves goodbye to the Peter Martins version of "Swan Lake" and creates a new version of his "La Sylphide", which will be set in a more austere environment with limited use of tartan.
Following a season mostly consisting of reruns, the new season includes big bang ballets, a healthy dose of Bournonville, a new take on Swan Lake, Etudes, a popular Neumeier return, a rerun of the Tharp Sinatra and some small scale contemporary fillings.
7th Copenhagen International Choreography Competition
April 8 2014
New Stage Royal Theatre
On paper it looks like good idea. An international choreography competition, where young talented choreographers can earn recognition and forward their butting careers. The Copenhagen International Choreography Competition, founded seven years ago by members of Royal Danish Ballet, Cedric Lambrette and Constantine Baecher is growing in numbers of applicants, but as this year’s competition shows, either not attract the really big talents or are incapable of recognizing them through the application process.
The annual report 2013 shows that Royal Danish Ballet has no problems bringing in the crowds. With that in mind the strategy for attracting new audiences could be reviewed and more focused on artistic programs.