Bournonville School

The Bournonville School is a very distinctive style of ballet, most associated with the Royal Danish Ballet and its leader for many years, August Bournonville. What is considered today to be the "Bournonville style" is, essentially, the unfiltered 19th century technique of the french school of classical dance, in which Bournonville was trained. Whereas this style of ballet was much altered by the 20th century (particularly in Russia through the teachings of Agrippina Vaganova), the school which Bournonville established in Denmark preserved the technique of their illustrious pedagogue and founder with little embellishments.

The technique features very basic use of arms, usually keeping them in preparatoire position. Perpetual use of simple diagonal epaulements. Vocabulary for men is essentially varied forms of beats. Pirouettes are taken with a low developpe into seconde, then from seconde, for outside turns, and with a low developpe into 4th for inside turns. Also common are the dramatic use of fifth position bras en bas (preparatory position) for beginning and ending movements. The style has many recognizable poses such as pointe derriere one arm in 5th, the other a la taille (at the waist), with a touch of epaulement. Famous dancers from this school include Erik Bruhn and Johan Kobborg.

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