Timeless: Boston Ballet Dances Bournonville La Sylphide

Patrick Yocum and Misa Kuranaga in August Bournonville's La Sylphide; photo by Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy Boston Ballet
Patrick Yocum and Misa Kuranaga in August Bournonville’s La Sylphide; photo by Rosalie O’Connor, courtesy Boston Ballet

Henry and I love watching the show Timeless on NBC (and Netflix). The show takes us into snippets of history. We travel back to a different setting; The clothes are different, as are the dialects and mannerisms. We have witnessed the shooting of Abraham Lincoln, hopped in a car with Bonnie and Clyde, seen the Hindenburg crash, and met Harriet Tubman on the underground railroad.

More than Just Dance: History

Boston Ballet is a bit like Timeless in a ballet world. They take us on a journey not only with the stories they tell, but also with the specific choreography and stylistic movement that reflect the style of the ballet’s time, place and choreographer.

Boston Ballet in August Bournonville's La Sylphide; photo by Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy Boston Ballet
Boston Ballet in August Bournonville’s La Sylphide; photo by Rosalie O’Connor, courtesy Boston Ballet

La Sylphide is a story of love, mystery, and loss with the help of nymphs and witches.  It is set in Scotland.  Think of it as a twist on four weddings and a funeral only there is just one wedding and one funeral… and there is a witch and nymphs.  Okay so maybe the only thing tying the two together would be kilts.

“La Sylphide is considered by many the epitome of Romantic ballet—with its timeless tale, storytelling through mime, and ethereal dancing. Paired with rarely-performed Bournonville Divertissements, this program is an excellent showcase of the Bournonville style of dancing,” said Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen.

A Little Divertissement

The performance begins with Bournonville Divertissements, which were playful and entertaining.  This is one of my favourite classical performances of the year.  I love the stylized ballet.  It reminds me of some of the old Degas paintings and black and white photos of the ballerinas with their softer curves and long airy tutus.

Maria Alvarez and Boston Ballet in August Bournonville's La Sylphide; photo by Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy Boston Ballet
Maria Alvarez and Boston Ballet in August Bournonville’s La Sylphide; photo by Rosalie O’Connor, courtesy Boston Ballet

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Before your children head off to college or camp, spend some time together doing something new or different.  Take your dancer, musician, actor or art lover to the ballet and check out La Sylphide.  The role of Madge was performed incredibly by María Álvarez with coaching by Sorella Englund.  Whereas Kathleen Breen Combes’ witch in Sleeping Beauty was a Disney-like villain, María Álvarez’s Madge was a bit Edward Gorey, classic Brother’s Grimm, and Tim Burton layered into one.  It was creepy and fabulous.

“Sorella Englund… is a Bournonville ballerina of the 1970s who has become the foremost interpreter of that choreographer’s mime roles today.” (Alastair Macaulay, The New York Times, June 13, 2011)

The Details

All performances of La Sylphide take place at the Boston Opera House (539 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111)

  •  Friday, Jun 1, 2018 at 7:30 pm
  • Saturday, Jun 2, 2018 at 7:30 pm
  • Sunday, Jun 3, 2018 at 1:30 pm
  • Thursday, Jun 7, 2018 at 7:30 pm
  • Saturday, Jun 9, 2018 at 7:30 pm
  • Sunday, Jun 10, 2018 at 1:30 pm

Tickets start at $35. For more information, visit bostonballet.org or call 617.695.6955

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