2 3 Throwback Thursday and Bournonville | Ballet Webb

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday and Bournonville

Throwback Thursday and Bournonville
Dancers are familiar with the unique grand jeté known as the Bournonville leap.  But many dancers don’t know that this term honors August Bournonville, a famous dancer and dance teacher.  He directed the Royal Danish Ballet for almost 50 years.  He also established the Danish style of ballet, which is instantly recognizable for its quick footwork, jumps and expressive mime.  It is interesting to note that Bournonville’s father was French, his mother Swedish, so this man who became so associated with Danish ballet, wasn’t genetically Danish at all. 
His classes were so admired by his students that they wrote them down – and that is partly why we know so much about his teaching today.  Bournonville also choreographed a ballet called Konservatoriet (1849) that is the only surviving ballet that shows ballet exercises as practiced in the early 19th century classroom.
In 1877, he had the honor of being knighted.  He died on November 30, 1879. 

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #13 
“The Bournonville leap was named for Danish dancer and dance teacher August Bournonville.”


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