Symphonie Fantastique - Royal Danish Ballet 1948, Erik Bruhn, Henning Kronstam

DVD: Symphonie Fantastique - Royal Danish Ballet 1948, Erik Bruhn, Henning Kronstam

A blast from the Past - Former Ballet Master Niels Bjørn Larsen was an early adapter of filming ballet productions for documentation and class purposes. This is the reason why we now can enjoy a true gem, The RDB filmed in 1948 in Massine's "Symphony Fantastique". It does not look like the stage production as the dancers are in practice clothes (the educational purpose!) but it documents not only a major Massine work, but also gives an impression of the Danish ballet pre-Vera Volkova and there is much to be impressed by. The large casts includes not only Niels Bjørn Larsen and Mona Wangsaa as the central protagonist, but the corps also includes the young Eric Bruhn, Toni Pihl (Lander) Stanley Williams and a teenaged Henning Kronstam together with the most significants dancers of the Lander period. It is easy to forget that Massine is his heyday was generally viewed as the greatest choreographer in the world, whereas Balanchine was considered more of a niche player. History changed that perception and most Massine ballets are not performed anymore. This gem gives us an idea of his work and although it is philosophically messy, it is an ambitious and well choreographed piece. If more treasures from the trunk of the RDB could be published, it would help us to understand not only the period in RDB history, but also gives us an idea of the taste of the period. If you want to see what Harald Lander 's choreography looked like, some numbers which he choreographed for a Danish movie "Balletten Dancer" is available on Video and DVD. You would have to sit through one hour of a not to good Danish movie, but it does allows you to see dancers like Margot Lander, Else Højgaard, Ulla Poulsen and Børge Ralov, who was the first Danish Apollo. - Eva Kistrup on Danceviewtimes