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What Is Your Favorite Bournonville Ballet?

By September 16, 2019Ballet

By TurnedOutPointeOfView on Monday, September 16, 2019

Photo: Henrik Stenberg

Thank you for the Question, cvisintin.

Good Question. I have so much respect for August Bournonville and for all of the ballets he created. Being at the Royal Danish Ballet, his home, you truly learn a lot about him, his style, and the love of the Bournonville tradition.

My favorite Bournonville Ballet is, Napoli. I love the joy that is bursting out of this ballet. Third act, is one of the greatest examples of Bournonville steps with Pas de Six! Everyone has a big smile, the stage is filled with so many dancers, character dancers and children, all having a great time. I love how our joy, gets projected in to the audience with the happy ending, making it nearly impossible to walk away from the show without feeling good.

Holly Dorger & Jonathan Chmelensky as Teresina and Gennaro in Napoli. Photo: Henrik Stenberg

Fortunately, Napoli is a ballet that comes up quite often in our repertoire. Another reason why I hold Napoli in particular close to my heart, is because I’ve danced so many of the roles.

12 Finale Couples. Corps de Ballet.

When I first moved to Denmark, I played the mom in first act that eats spaghetti with her two children. I remember at eighteen feeling kind of funny, being so young and playing a mom.

Next, I became one of the twelve finale couples in third act. Then, the next time Napoli was danced, I did finale couples and second act corps de ballet.

Young me in 2nd Act Corps de Ballet.

A few year later, I went the next level up. I joined Pas De Six. I was SO excited when I first got cast to dance pas de six. It felt like I had finally gotten some sort of invisible, Bournonville approval, to be dancing this ballet among dancers specifically trained to dance Bournonville.

My first time dancing in Pas de Six
Pas de Six

Then last year, I was humbled to be cast as the lead role, Teresina. I loved every second.

Teresina!

I personally, am a huge fan of the additions that Nikolaj Hubbe and Sorella Englund added to our current version of Napoli. They added a very sweet and romantic pas de deux in act 1, which uses Bournonville inspired steps and gives the rather mime- filled act, another dancing number.

Corrections with Nikolaj Hubbe & Sorella Englund.

Act 2, they completely re-did. They changed the music and all the steps. Louise Alenius, is the composer of the new music. She is the definition of cool.

Their version of Act 2 is soooo beautiful from the front. The lights truly make it look like everyone is underwater, which is an amazing effect. The pas de deux that was created for Golfo and Teresina, is one of the most fun to dance. The steps make you feel like you are turning in to a sea creature, which is super interesting as an artist to play with.

Act 2. Photo: Henrik Stenberg
Act 2 with Ryan Tomash as Golfo. Photo: Henrik Stenberg

Third act is almost untouched, except for the addition of a small pas de deux between Teresina and Gennaro, in the very beginning of the act. This pas helps to tell the story and really shows off the love the characters have for each other. I love it!

3rd Act. With Jonathan Chmelensky as Gennaro. Photo: Henrik Stenberg

On years when we don’t dance Napoli, I miss it! I’m always hoping to hear that it will be in the coming repertoire!

Photo: Henrik Stenberg

Bournonville has many beautiful ballets that I can only hope, one day I’ll be lucky enough to dance.

xoxo
-Hol