Faithful to the August Bournonville tradition, Peter Schaufuss’s retelling of the poignant story of impossible love features graceful, seemingly effortless, dancing which is executed with great dramatic impact.
La Sylphide was adapted by August Bournonville in 1936 from an earlier French ballet. Woken on his wedding morning by a beautiful, winged Sylph, a young Scottish farmer named James is immediately enchanted. Elusive and playful, the Sylphide professes her everlasting love for him. She lures him away from the impending nuptials with barely a thought for his earthbound bride-to-be. It is not until James has blindly followed this otherworldly creature into the dangerous realm of the forest sprites that he realises that, through obsessive pursuit of unattainable love, he has lost everything.
A Bournonville ballerina must hover and flit with serene, weightless ease en pointe. The arms are used expressively and no strain whatsoever should be evident throughout the softly held upper body as the legs beat, turn and leap beneath the Sylph’s long gauzy Romantic tutu. Male dancing in Bournonville ballets is equally exceptional to watch and difficult to master. The style demands strength, lightness, precision and virtuoso brilliance.
Casting for Queensland Ballet’s La Sylphide includes third generation Royal Danish Bournonville trained dancers Tara and Luke Schaufuss.
London audiences will see the Schaufuss family’s history come full circle. When he was a young child, Peter Schaufuss watched his father (Royal Danish Ballet’s Frank Schaufuss) dance as James. Having also perfected the role himself, Peter Schaufuss will now witness his own son, Birmingham Royal Ballet Artist Luke Schaufuss, portray the infatuated Scotsman during the run at the Coliseum.
Surely adding to his sense of fatherly pride, Peter Schaufuss’s daughter, Queensland Ballet Company dancer Tara Schaufuss, is cast as the ethereal Sylph for some performances.
Peter Schaufuss’s La Sylphide was created in 1979 and premiered by London Festival Ballet, now English National Ballet. It was last seen in the capital 30 years ago - when it won both the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards.
The production’s highly-anticipated return - and Queensland Ballet’s long-overdue London debut – is set to sweep balletomanes off their feet.
|What||Queensland Ballet La Sylphide, London Coliseum|
|Where||London Coliseum, WC2N 4ES | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Charing Cross (underground)|
04 Aug 15 – 08 Aug 15, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
|Website||Click here to book via the ENO website|