Boston Ballet‘s latest production La Sylphide runs through June 10, 2018 and it’s the ultimate celebration of spring in the city. This production exudes spring with its light and airy movements and playful musical scores. Before we get too into the production itself however, I wanted to mention a couple of things I love about attending a Boston Ballet performance on the whole.
If you can arrive to the show with a few minutes to spare before taking your seat it’s well worth it. For one, the Boston Opera House is a gorgeous historic theater, and especially if you’ve never been before I would recommend taking your time walking through the lobby to admire the architecture.
More for Boston Ballet productions specifically though, you should arrive early enough to check out The Warm Up: A Pre-Show Experience on the lower level (near the restrooms). Here you’ll find a display about the ballet, along with stations where you can learn about how the dancers care for pointe shoes, and more. For La Sylphide, there was a photo station set up where you can dress up with costume accessories inspired by the performance. Perhaps it’s the former museum employee in me, but I love stumbling upon interactive exhibits where you don’t expect them because it adds another layer to whatever you’re experiencing. Now for the ballet itself…
(Boston Ballet graciously provided me with complimentary tickets to La Sylphide. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.)
The ballet begins with Bournonville Divertissements, an assortment of acts from productions choreographed by August Bournonville. These include a pas de deux from Flower Festival in Genzano, Jockey Dance from From Siberia to Moscow, and pas de six and Tarantella from Napoli. Each of these sequences serve to immerse the audience into a springtime ballet experience offering a little something for everyone before the story of La Sylphide begins. Opening with Bournonville Divertissements is also a real treat because these pieces are rarely performed, especially in the U.S. (The last full-length performance of Flower Festival in Genzano for instance took place in 1929!)
I think most audiences don’t quite know what to expect when a ballet (or any theatrical production for that matter) features a series of routines that they are not familiar with, but the audience with myself and Chaz included LOVED having La Sylphide open with Bournonville Divertissements. The audience reaction to the opening acts really set the tone (and high expectations) for the rest of the performance, and it was a wonderful atmosphere to see so many people really enjoying themselves like this from the moment the curtain went up at the start of the show. (P.S. the Pas de six and Tarantella from Napoli were my favorites!)
La Sylphide follows James, a Scotsman who gives up everything (including his soon-to-be bride) for a woodland sylph. He follows the sylph to the forest, leaving behind his own wedding ceremony, where he encounters Madge. As a powerful sorceress Madge casts a spell on a scarf that she later convinces James will cause the sylph to fall in love with him, though it ultimately causes her to go blind and eventually die. She also uses to her magic to convince James’ friend and bride to marry each other instead, culminating in a tragic ending for James.
This ballet really reminds me of being in Disney in the sense that it’s a truly immersive experience. The story is exciting and the characters believable and the dancing and costumes truly feel like spring. The light and quick movements of the sylphs juxtaposed with the other scenes like Madge crafting the enchanted scarf with her coven make for a gripping story and for an exciting performance that I just didn’t want to end.
It is no surprise to me that La Sylphide is Bournonville’s most famous work, and this performance with additional choreography by Sorella Englund is a must-see if you’ll be in Boston this spring.
Performances run through June 10, and tickets are available online at BostonBallet.org starting at just $35.
OH and there is this beautiful fairy wing mural on the Rose Kennedy Greenway that will be up through June 10 as well.
The mural was inspired by the ballet (look closely and you’ll find some dancers in the wings!) and designed by Kelsey Montague, who is known around the world for her artwork and particularly for her “What Lifts You” campaign.
You can find the right across from the carousel, and it makes the perfect backdrop for an Instagram photo, and you can share your photos using #BBSylphide and #WhatLiftsYou.