Auguste Vestris


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The collection of films held by Danmarks Radio is the sole documentary source on the works of Auguste Bournonville, direct heir to Auguste Vestris. Some of those films date back almost a century, notably the famous "Elfeld" series (1905-1911), which includes frames of Bournonville's successor Hans Beck, and Ellen Price de Plane dancing in "La Sylphide".

None of those films are commercially available, apparently for Copyright reasons, and few outside Denmark even know they exist. They can be viewed on Danmarks Radio premises, by any member of the general public on request, in exchange for a fee.

With the sole exception of "Napoli" filmed in 1986, and "La Sylphide" filmed in 1987, no works of Auguste Bournonville have been made commercially available on film.

Of particular interest to professionals, is a six-part, six-hour television series directed by the late Allan Fredericia in 1966, on the Bournonville Schools bearing the name of each day of the week. The Schools were prepared by the great professor Hans Brenaa, who appears briefly, and amongst the dancers illustrating technical points, are to be found Arne Bech, Flemming Flindt, Anna Laerkesen, Toni Lander and, in enchaînements of transcendental virtuosity, Flemming Ryberg. Dr. Fredericia's commentary has never been dubbed into a foreign language, regrettably.

The creator of this Webpage would be most grateful to any readers who might wish to agitate with Danmarks Radio for the release of its priceless collection to the general public.

In the year 2005, to mark the Bournonville Bicentenial, the Six Schools were filmed with Thomas Lund, Caroline Cavallo, Gudrun Bojesen, Fernando Mora, Kristoffer Sakurai and Mads Blangstrup. Published as a three-volume package (Scores, Steps, DVDs), they are, somewhat inconveniently, available solely on order from the Royal Theatre at Copenhagen (On-line Boutique - beware, the order form on the Website is in Danish only).

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