As some of you will know, I’ve done quite a bit of writing about dance in the past few years. However, I’ve never really ventured into reviewing – I always felt uncomfortable about it because I am terribly soft at heart when it comes to judging the work of people I know, regardless of whether they’re friends, colleagues or just acquaintances. But last week, I decided to do a tiny foray into the world of evaluation and assessment – mainly because I figured, hey, this is my blog, I can be biased and soft at heart as much as I want, but also because the performance I wrote about was so brilliant that I felt like I had to share it with you guys. And yesterday, the committee behind the Danish Theatre Awards proved me right, when they nominated Tina Tarpgaard’s Living Room as Dance Performance of the Year.
While I’ve never officially reviewed a performance I have done more than my share of recommendations – on Facebook, at parties, through friends, you name it. Get me talking about dance and you’ll be sure to leave an hour later with your head full of dance performances for the next few weeks. And while I am lucky enough to live in a city filled to the brim with amazing dance performances of all sorts, I am also still very much involved with the dance world in Copenhagen, and every once in a while there will be a performance that I really, really, REALLY want to see, but I’ll have to miss out on it because I just can’t make it to Copenhagen. And this is where you come in, dear readers. Because not only will I be throwing around recommendations of dance performances in London, I will also be telling you about what I’m missing in Copenhagen – thus encouraging those of you based in CPH to go, so I can live vicariously through you.
Anyway, I just wanted to give you a bit more of an idea about these dance-related posts, because I feel like I stumbled into it a bit last week, with my very quick and rather short post about Living Room. Moving on to today’s subject – who would have thought I’d be so sentimental about a ballet company?
When you move to somewhere new it seems there are two different categories of changes – the ones you expect and the ones that catch you completely by surprise. The first category is quite obvious – food, traditions, mannerisms and so on. Those aren’t terribly exciting, especially if you’ve visited your new country or city before moving there. The latter category however seems to be full of little revelations – both in terms of lovely discoveries in your new home, as well as things you didn’t expect to miss.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am still getting to know my new local ballet company, The Royal Ballet. They are currently performing Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo & Juliet at The Royal Opera House – a wonderful production, I’m sure. However, I won’t be seeing it this time around. Partly because it has been hopelessly sold out for what seems like forever, but also because there is already a production of Romeo & Juliet in my heart, and it isn’t by Kenneth MacMillan – it is by John Neumeier. The Royal Danish Ballet has been performing Neumeier’s production since 1974 and I have lost count of how many times I’ve seen it and how many splendid Romeos, Juliets, Tybalts and Lady Capulets I’ve had the pleasure of watching. Whenever Prokofiev’s music starts, I simply cannot help but see Neumeier’s brilliantly timeless steps before my inner eye. His Romeo & Juliet is my Romeo & Juliet.
When I was at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen the week before last, I had the immense privilege of watching the magnificent principal dancer Gudrun Bojesen perform a small excerpt from another John Neumeier masterpiece – Lady of the Camellias. Gudrun Bojesen is one of the finest dancers of her generation and standing there in the wings, watching her bare her soul on the stage, I realized how much I’d missed watching her perform – and how much I am going to agonize over not seeing her full performance in Lady of the Camellias. So here is my recommendation of the day: Go watch Lady of the Camellias. It opens tomorrow night, and if you like drama, unrequited love and terribly sad endings, you can’t go wrong. (Click here to see which days Gudrun will be dancing the title role)
All in all, dance in London has surprised me in many ways. And while I still need to work on my relationship with MacMillan, I have no doubt that we will become friends eventually. Quite close friends, in fact. He is, after all, considered one of the greatest choreographers of the 20th century, so there’s got to be something about all the fuss. However, even though I always knew that dance can be an emotional thing for me (No wonder with all those tragic love stories. And don’t even get me started on farewell performances!), I didn’t expect to miss the Royal Danish Ballet that much. But I think it’s safe to say that I am adjusting well, albeit slowly. And to make things a little easier for me, The Royal Ballet has been kind enough to program one of my absolute favorite ballets: August Bournonville’s La Sylphide, one of the classics on the repertory of the Royal Danish Ballet, will be joining me in London in May. And you'll be hearing about it. A lot.