The Royal Danish Ballet showcases works by the acclaimed Danish choreographer August Bournoville, the creator of the infamous La Sylphide.
Bournoville’s (1805-1879) choreography was influenced by his dance career and he saw the male and female dancers of equal importance, rather than the male dancer on stage just to support the female. This was reflected in the companies performance, which saw the male dancers shine on the night.
The Royal Danish Ballet’s programme of six exerts from Bournoville’s romantic ballets opened with A Folk Tale (1854), a wedding festival pas de sept with the dancers in gorgeous red mid-length tutus dancing with their red clad suitors. A Folk Tale showed the essence of Bournoville with complex steps, pointe work, romantic partnering and story-telling.
A highlight of the evening was Jockey Dance from From Siberia to Moscow, from the programme that included the pas de deux from The Flower Festival in Genzano (1858), La Sylphide Act II, pas de trois from The Conservatory and pas de six and tarantella from Napoli.
Jockey Dance was a joyful energetic performance by the youthful Marcin Kupinski and Sebastian Haynes, that excited the audience from the moment they pranced onto the stage in their dazzling jockey costumes. They danced together with enthusiasm, strength and humour and their individual solo pieces were of high intensity and well executed with joy.
Another highlight was La Sylphide Act II, with principal dancer Ulrik Birkkjaer giving a commanding and characterful performance as James. This beautiful and famous ballet is one of 50 works Bournoville created for the company and it was wonderful seeing the company perform Act II.
The Royal Danish Ballet is the world’s third oldest ballet company, but it was the young male dancers who shone on stage, with Sebastian Haynes and Andreas Kass from the corps de ballet dancing as strongly as their principal counterparts Gregory Dean and Alban Lendorf. The boys performed with confidence and musicality embracing the difficult choreography and bringing character and exuberance to the stage.
The Royal Danish Ballet are performing at Sadler’s Wells Peacock Theatre on 9 & 10 January 2015.