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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Books: Can Bournonville be saved?

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Danish title:


Interview med danserne om Bournonville traditionen


English title:


Interviews with the dancers about the Bournonville tradition


Written by Anne Middelboe Christensen 2002.

261 pages including a 43 page English summary.


A constructive debate book for everybody interested in the Bournonville tradition and the Royal Danish Ballet. It is written in Danish, but since there is long summary in English it can be of interest for non Danish-speaking readers too.


Dance critic Anne Middelboe Christensen has interviewed 56 past and present dancers from the Royal Danish Ballet about the company's situation and the Bournonville tradition. One part of the book are those interviews presented in the form a quote mosaic. The second part is a Bournonville Guide, with the reportoire and artistic directors.


The third part is the essay "Can Bournonville be saved?" (fully translated into English). This is an analysis of the company's history and problems of the last decades, a summary of the Bournonville repertoire and short biographies of directors, instructors, dancers and others who has contributed to the Bournonville style and tradition. A big question is how the upcoming 2005 Bournonville Festival will turn out.


Can be ordered from the publisher at


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Thanks for posting that, Jorgen. I've been meaning to -- I got a review copy about a month ago. Odd photos :) (Scantily clad dancers cavorting in the grass, making you think that Denmark had a summer.)


As the writer says in the book, the project was suggested by her seeing a performance of "La Sylphide" one night (with Hubbe, Schandorff and Englund) that was quite good, and then "A Folk Tale" the next night which was .... not. And she wondered why, and what went into this. (For those who are interested in the Bournonville tradition and what's happened to it over the past decade, there's a Bournonville Archive on the DanceView site, with interviews with dancers and stagers by Katharine Kanter and a long piece by me, printed in DanceView and Dance Now, called Bournonville in Hell Bournonville Archives


Unfortunately, the book hasn't stirred up much debate there. Dance is out of fashion in Copenhagen at the moment. Several of the newspapers have told their writers that they're not going to cover it unless something earthshattering happens.

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