La Sylphide is one of the world’s oldest surviving romantic ballets. August Bournonville’s version is an adaptation of an 1832 French ballet of the same name, which showcased the technique of the great 19th-century ballerina Maria Taglioni, and ushered in a new Romantic era of dance. Bournonville was the first choreographer to recreate La Sylphide and it is his version that has survived – it has been performed regularly by the Royal Danish Ballet since its premiere in 1836 and remains one of his most celebrated works. In La Sylphide, the human realm of a small Scottish community – evoked by traditional folk songs in Herman Løvenskiold’s score – meets the spiritual realm of the otherworldly sylphs. James, a classic Romantic hero, is utterly bewitched by a beautiful sylph: although he is unable to touch her, he movingly echoes her movements in his. Bournonville placed a greater emphasis on the narrative in his version of the ballet and developed the characters of the embittered witch and James (a role he danced himself). The Royal Ballet’s production is staged by the Danish choreographer Johan Kobborg, himself steeped in the Bournonville style.
Number of acts2 Acts
Total running time2 hours (with 1 intermission)
Date of performance2012-09-30Share on Facebook