Royal Danish Ballet’s Summer Tour
June 12, 2018
Giving little– and wrongly presented and produced - Bournonville made Nikolaj Hübbe´s festival fell flats on its face. However, seeing the annual summer tour´s performance in the beautiful Silkeborg, the Danish answer to “The Lake District” showed that the old school values of the Danish repertoire is still standing strong. The big surprise was that Nikolaj Hübbe is listed as one of the directors of the tour programme.
The programme consisted of four Bournonville outtakes, “Pas de Sept” from “A Folk´s Tale”, “Kermes in Brügge” Pas de Deux, “La Sylphide” Divertissement sans corps and the Tarantella from “Napoli” in older costumes and as in the old version danced by leading dancers, and not by character actors and children as in the new version.
These changes Hübbe earlier made in the new version of the tarantella, slows it down and the crescendo was compromised. Returning to the older version, probably by practical and logistic reasons the harmony and joy, as danced wonderfully by Tobias Praetorius, returns.
Likewise seeing veterans Amy Watson and Marcin Kupinski as the Sylph and James in their beautiful classical costumes and in a real forest setting instead of a white box was manna from heaven. Watson and Kupinski showed their complete dedications to the roles.
It can easily be their last shot of the roles as “La Sylphide" is not on next year’s repertoire and they are both approaching retirement age. The same sentiments also colored the outtake from “Swan Lake” where Kizzy Matiakis reprised her heartbreaking Odette in partnership with Andreas Kaas’ caring Siegfried.
As it turned out we got not only two swans, but three. Jaime Crandall was supposed to dance Giselle and Albrecht´s Pas De Deux, but probably do to missing her partner Meirambak Nazargozhayev, she danced a very fine dying swan instead. Holly Jean Dorger and Jonathan Chmelensky took care of the Black Swan Pas de deux.
It takes two to …
Much of the evenings joy was due to the two last outstanding Pas de Deux’s “Kermes in Bruges” from 1851 and Harald Lander´s “Dworák pas de deux” from 1966.
The Lander Pas de Deux is also scheduled to be part of next season´s Dance2Go programme. In many it is an odd pas de deux, however it is also a fascinating one. I have never been able to figure out whether Lander really understands classical dance and the very fine dancing by Jon Axel Fransson and upcoming dancer Emma Riis Kofoed almost made me believe he did. Still it is an odd and extremely difficult work.
Due to injury, Andreas Kaas toke over the male role in “Kermes at Bruges” and thereby restored the Pas de Deux to its usual qualities and strength with a likewise outstanding Ida Praetorius as the ingenue Eleonora. When Praetorius danced the Pas de Deux with Alexander Bozinoff in the “Ballet de Luxe” this spring, the balance between the two dancers was wrong. He was too timid which made her to dominant. With Kaas, her frequent partner in this and dozens of other ballets, the balance was right and breathtaking.
Somehow, it was like the forest spirits turned everything that had been wrong with the Bournonville and Pepita productions right again. I do not believe that Nikolaj Hübbe has had a significant change on how to present Bournonville. It is rather a case of logistic issues that somehow made the wrongs rights. But who says that logistics cannot be art?
- Pas de Sept from "A Folk´s Tale"' by Per Morten Abrahamsen
- Amy Watson in "La Sylphide" by Costin Radu
- Kizzy Matiakis as Odette in Swan Lake (here with Gregory Dean as Siegfried) by Costin Radu
Copyright(c) Royal Danish Ballet