About the Film:
This is a work which marks a turning point in the genre: first, it is the oldest of the classical ballets which are known today, second, the ballet of the same name marks the start of dancing on pointe, third, it is not fortuitous that it was in that ballet that the ballerina — Marie Taglioni, the first ballerina of the romantic era — was to rise on pointe, the sylphide, after all, is a maiden of the air.
La Sylphide — produced by the prima ballerina’s father Filippo Taglioni — was premiered in Paris in 1832. Two years later, it was seen by August Bournonville, the man who made the name of Danish ballet, who decided to do a version of it for his Company. He did not have enough money to acquire the rights to the score but, nothing daunted, he commissioned new music from a Danish composer. And so — in 1836 — the Danish La Sylphide which was to become famous the world over, saw the light of day. And, thanks to the reverent attitude to this ballet of generation after generation of Royal Danish Ballet dancers, it has been preserved for posterity.
This new production of Bournonville’s La Sylphide at the Bolshoi is by the Dane Johan Kobborg who is eminently qualified to do the job. He was trained to dance Bournonville’s works from the cradle. At 18, he was chosen as a model for a demonstration of the Danish ’designer label’ technique, to be recorded on video under the title The Bournonville Technique. He has danced in nearly all the Bournonville ballets which have come down to us and he became one of the world’s leading interpreters of the role of James in La Sylphide. Finally, he produced his own version of the ballet for London’s Royal Ballet and received an excellent press.