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Favourite ballets: Les Sylphides

Favourite ballets: Les Sylphides

Favourite ballets: Les Sylphides

When I was a young girl, one of my favourite treats was a visit to the ballet. For this special occasion my parents my sister and I wore evening clothes. The Sayed Darwish Theatre in Alexandria, which in those days was called the Mohamed Ali Theatre, hosted some of the most admired ballet companies in the world: the Bolshoi and Leningrad, and plays from La Comédie Française.

When I was a young girl, one of my favourite treats was a visit to the ballet. My sister and I would take care dressing in our best attire, and my mother and father would accompany us on what was a treasured family outing. The theatre in our nearby town hosted some of the most admired ballet companies in the world: the Bolshoi and Leningrad, and La Comédie Française. Through the years, I saw many performances, but there was one that most stood out for me and awakened my romantic sensibilities: Les Sylphides.

What makes Les Sylphides so special is that, unlike most ballets, it has no story, no plot. It is, instead, what dance historian Olga Maynard called ‘a romantic reverie’. A troupe of dancers in white dance in the light of moon with a young man. The ballet is short, dreamy and simple, and it allows the audience to create of the romantic scene their own interpretations.

The music, by Chopin, master of Romantic music, is beautiful, and it is the fine accompaniment together with the graceful choreography that have made the ballet a worldwide favourite – so revered, in fact, that it has attracted the greatest of ballerinas, such as the Russian principal, Anna Pavlova.

For me, as a young girl, and even now with more worldly experience, the romance is bound with the magic of the piece embodied by the dancers, the sylphs. These are mythological creatures – fairies, spirits, elementals who inhabit the air, so-named for the Latin sylvestris (of the woods) and nympha (nymph). Indeed, the ballerinas are so light on their feet, it is not hard to imagine they may be beings of another realm.

In my novel, Burning Embers, Rafe tells Coral that her translucent, fragile looks remind him of a nymph from Les Sylphides, which is his favourite ballet. Such is the ability of the romance author to create sylph-like heroines and heroes who appreciate the ballet! And why not – for as the song in the musical A Chorus Line tells us, ‘Everything is beautiful at the ballet.’

This is a blog hop…  The hop is hosted here: http://omnificpublishing.blogspot.co.uk/. Enjoy!

 

 

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Bex
Bex
10 years ago

One of my favourites too!

Marian Vere
Marian Vere
10 years ago

I’m more of an opera girl myself, but the strength of the dancers in ballet never fails to amaze me! And hey, there is nothing wrong with buff guys in tights! 😉

Feather Stone
10 years ago

Being a farm girl, there was no opportunity for partaking in the arts. Heavens, we had no phone or TV until I was about 13. That’s how far from civilization my family lived. Even so, I can’t explain why I had this desire to be a ballarina. Must have been inspired by a magazine article. However, my mother was quick to point out that a 5’9″ girl does not become a ballarina. I hope you give it a whirl, Hannah.

Nicki Elson
10 years ago

Oh how lovely to simply soak in all the beauty and let your romantic mind wander. I’ll keep an eye out for Les Sylphides coming to Chicago.

Hannah Fielding
Hannah Fielding
10 years ago

I too wanted to be a ballerina, but the discipline is exhausting! I gave up dancing in my teens, but I love to watch it now.