Magazine article Pointe

In Boston: A Tricky Apparition of Ideal Love

Magazine article Pointe

In Boston: A Tricky Apparition of Ideal Love

Article excerpt

In Boston: A Tricky Apparition Of Ideal Love

Karen Campbell is a cultural correspondent for The Boston Globe and The Christian Science Monitor

Boston Ballet's impressive new La Sylphide, presented at the Wang Theatre in March, beautifully illustrates why this work is the cornerstone of Romantic ballet. Created in 1836 by the great Danish choreographer August Bournonville for the Royal Danish Ballet, it tells the simple, rather silly story of James, a feckless young man lured into the woods on his wedding day by the Sylphide, an apparition of ideal love. When a malignant witch gets into the act. Love crosses swords with Trickery, and "happily ever after" gets a tragic twist.

The new production, restaged by the RDB's Sorella Englund, an expert in Bournonville style, dispatches the story with brisk pacing and compelling choreography. The production is both vividly distilled and colorfully theatrical, and Boston Ballet handles the choreography with skill and flair.

On opening night, Englund (alternating in performances with Merrill Ashley) nearly stole the show, portraying Madge the witch with dramatic verve and physical vigor. She released her coiled anger in sharp-edged gestures. Her upper body seethed and roiled, and her crippled shuffle had a sassy edge of menace. But instead of making Madge an evil caricature, Englund underplayed her venom until goaded by mistreatment.

Larissa Ponomarenko, known for her technical brilliance and superb dramatic flair, embodied the Sylphide with ethereal delicacy. …

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