Ballet Analysis: La Sylphide

947 words - 4 pages

My first choice was a ballet piece named La Sylphide. La Sylphide is a story about a young Scottish man named James who is soon to be wed. He falls asleep and has an intricate dream about a beautiful sylphide, which is a spirit. In his dream they dance and he soon falls in love with the sylphide. When he awakes, he soon forgets about the sylphide and focuses on his fiancée.
A witch soon arrives in the castle that reads palms and tells James he would betray his fiancée on their wedding day. He doesn’t listen and the wedding continues. When he is about to put the ring on her finger, the sylphide appears and snatches the ring away from him. She soon runs off into the forest and James chases after her, leaving his fiancée at the altar.
The witch appears to him again but this time to offer him a magical scarf. She tells him that the scarf will capture her and she will be his forever. James takes the scarf and wraps it around the sylphide, which kills her. James is soon left alone with no one and all alone. His fiancée ended up marrying his best friend.
The original choreographer of this piece was named Philippe Taglioni who was an Italian dancer. La Sylphide was performed by his daughter Marie Taglioni, who also was a very important ballerina at the time of the Romantic Era, at The Paris Oera in Paris of 1832. She played the sylphide in her father’s piece and wore a costume that had real flowers on her dress which was different from the other dancers. She had also dance for August Bournonville who was a part of The Royal Danish Ballet Company.. August soon took over the piece in Copenhagen of 1836. August created more than 50 ballet pieces for the Royal Danish Ballet. He wanted more of a French and English romantic side to the piece, so he added more scenes and more costumes that took on the role of representing Scotland. His take on the piece had become to cornerstone for all romantic pieces.
The costumes and props surrounding La Sylphide capture the sense of the Scottish culture. The men usually would wear a red pleaded kilt with high stockings and garters. The men would also have a purse called the Sporran and a bonnet. The main woman who played the sylphide would usually be dressed in an all-white with a flower head dress. Her costume would almost be fairy like with light loose fitting tu tu. The fiancée or bride would wear a dress similar to the men’s costume, with matching plaid. The witch would be dressed in all black with really ugly makeup. She’d be hunched over or be on crutches. All costumes really catch the essence of the Irish culture and feeling.
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