Short and Sweet

Alina Cojacaru and Johan Kobborg, principal dancers at the Royal Ballet, have been described as a historical ballet couple.  They’re beautifully matched. Their joy in dancing together is apparent and they’re a couple off-stage as well. She’s the prize winning ballerina from Romania, with long arms and legs making her look taller than her 5’2″ height.  He’s the muscular Dane who is a dancer of the Bournonville technique.

August Bournonville, a 19th century Danish dancer, got much of his dancing experience in Paris at the Paris Opera.  When he returned to Denmark, he began to choreograph and created a new school of dance.  His technique is noted for a modest carriage of the head, arms held in front of the dancer, technical footwork and short, light leaps and jumps.  Jennifer Homans who wrote Apollo’s Angels on the history of ballet says that in the Bournonville technique, the essence of 19th century ballet at the Paris Opera has been preserved.  The Degas dancers probably moved a lot like a Bournonville dancer does today.  But because the stages in Denmark were so small, the dance had to adapt to a smaller space, necessitating the quicker footwork and lighter jumps.  It’s more “lords a-leaping” than giant, virtuoso grand jeteing.  The jumps don’t travel. They’re tighter and happen in a confined space but are no less impressive. The ballet called The Genzano Flower Festival is an iconic example of the Bournonville technique.

But today’s ballet video is a short one act ballet choreographed by Fredrick Ashton of the Royal Ballet based on a Strauss Waltz called Voices of Spring.  It’s light, fresh, a little playful and makes use of the whole stage.  I like it because the male dancer actually gets to dance with his partner instead of just holding her up and it shows Kobborg’s Bournonville style nicely.

It’s a nice ballet to start the day.

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One Response

  1. LOVE your ballet posts. heck, i even love swan lake–i admit the first act is borrring, but act ii makes up for it, and i love the tchaikovsky music.

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