Herman Lovenskjold



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a ballet in 2 acts

Choreography Auguste Bournonville (1805–1879)
Production Choreographer Johan Kobborg (Denmark)
Designer Peter Farmer (UK)
Conductor Martynas Staškus

August Bournonville, the man also known as the father of Danish ballet, was born in Copenhagen on 21st August, 1805. This was the same year that Hans Christian Andersen came into this world - he was a close friend to Bournonville. The two friends had a lot in common in their views on life and goals of creativity. Their works - ballets and fairytales, in which both children and adults find wisdom and meaning, in which demonic creatures of romanticism are kept much more silent and succumb to goodness. Their romanticism spoke in the name of purity, truth, folk and interest, fighting everyday routine hidden underneath the veil of the boring aristocratic hypocrisy.

Pointe work was not the most crucial part of ballet to Bournonville. His greatest talent was for making wonderful combinations of dance steps, creating impressive “dance pictures”. Bournonville was greatly influenced by his year in Paris where he took in all essential ideas of the romantic ballet.

The Danish La Sylphide premiered on November 28th, 1836, with main roles performed by Lucille Grahn and Auguste Bournonville. Sometimes innovation stuns at a very right moment; the novelty of La Sylphide was so great, that all witnesses had to justify its right for success.

The Sylph turned into a symbol that caused many different discussions. Some people were charmed by her, others displayed anger, Christian democrats stated open contradictions to the Christian dogmas… The idea of human nature as a dual subject arose together with Christianity; however, it was in the Romantic period that it became crucial. A question was born: do we need to bid farewell to a part of our soul in order to achieve harmony? The duality of existence became the background for La Sylphide. The sadness that circles this ballet is not only a result of Scottish mountains and German forests, helping to create theatrical atmosphere; this sadness is born out of the feeling that our life lost lightness and harmony forever.