Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Top Ten Ballets - La Sylphide

La Sylphide danced by the Paris Opera Ballet, with Mathieu Ganio, Aurelie Dupont and the Corps de Ballet. Mathieu reminds me of Baryishnikov, with his ability to fly!

[Excerpt taken from dance.about.com] On the morning of his wedding day, a Scottish farmer named James falls in love with a vision of a magical sylph, or spirit. An old witch appears before him, predicting that he will betray his fiancee. Although enchanted by the sylph, James disagrees, sending the witch away.

All seems fine as the wedding begins. But as James begins to put the ring on his fiancee's finger, the beautiful sylph suddenly appears and snatches it away from him. James abandons his own wedding, running after her. He chases the sylph into the woods, where he again sees the old witch. She offers James a magical scarf. She tells him that the scarf will bind the sylph's wings, enabling him to catch her for himself. James is so enamored by the sylph that he wishes to catch her and keep her forever.

James decides to take the magical scarf. He wraps it around the sylph's shoulders, but when he does, the Sylph's wings fall off and she dies. James is left all alone, heartbroken. He then watches his fiancee marry his best friend.1

La Sylphide Trivia
  • First performed in Paris in 1832
  • Originally choreographed by Philippe (or Filippo) Taglioni, who created it for his daughter, Marie Taglioni, who went on to be one of the world's best dancers of her time. The surviving version of this ballet was choreographed by August Bournonville in 1836.1
  • Considered the first romantic and longest surviving ballet, or ballet blanc (white ballet) for the scenes where ballerina and female corps de ballet all wear white.2
  • Often confused with the ballet Les Sylphides, which is about forest spirits, but the two are completely unrelated.
 Photo: Martin Mydtskov Rønne Dancer: Gudrun Bojesen of the Royal Danish Ballet

    1. http://dance.about.com/od/reviewsandrecommendation1/a/La_Sylphide.htm
    2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Sylphide

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