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La Sylphide A Discussion Essay Research Paper

La Sylphide: A Discussion Essay, Research Paper La Sylphide La Sylphide brought more than just another ballet into the world. It marks the beginning of a remarkable period of time – the Romantics. Up until this time in history, ballets were relatively predictable and in no ways a challenge to the status quo.

La Sylphide: A Discussion Essay, Research Paper

La Sylphide

La Sylphide brought more than just another ballet into the world. It marks the beginning of a remarkable period of time – the Romantics. Up until this time in history, ballets were relatively predictable and in no ways a challenge to the status quo. Often times they consisted of the pavanne, social dances, and the like (Anderson 38). Of course, ballet had evolved, but it had by no means, been a challenge to society. La Sylphide began to alter this concept.

The setting is France in 1832. With the French Revolution, long behind them, the people of France were no longer able to rely on the organization of dance that had previously existed. Ballet had virtually disappeared (Davis). For some time, however, a generation of young artists brought new ideas to the ballet. These people were referred to as the Romantics (Davis).

When La Sylphide debuted on March 12, 1832, it was seen largely as a rebellion movement – one based on the feelings of the youth movement (Davis). These people shocked the world with their bold ideas focusing on a disgust for reality and a true passion for illusion and even fantasy. The entire philosophy can be expressed as “the hero on the brink of complacency, who suddenly throws it all away in a search for true happiness – a search that always proves fruitless, and the notion of a lyrical netherworld (Davis).

The choreography in La Sylphide was representative of these ideas. Choreographed by her father, Filippo Taglioni, the ballet was created for Marie Taglioni. The story was based on a novel, “Trilby”, written by Charles Nodier. Adolphe Nourrit, the leading tenor of the Paris Opera at the time, adapted the story from the novel with one major change. The change was the role reversal of the leading character – the sylphide. In Nodier’s novel, the character was a man, and in the ballet, Marie Taglioni, a woman (Anderson 79). This change began a pivotal point in dance history – the performance of Taglioni as the lead began the uprising and appreciation for the ballerinas.

Of all of Marie Taglioni’s performances, her role as the sylphide in La Sylphide can be recorded as her most popular (Anderson 79). Woman began to idolize the ballerina and want to emulate her. Her costume also began a new area with the addition of the Romantic tutu. With her character’s supernatural livelihood, Taglioni wished to depict the ethereal vision. She wore a tight bodice with a long, full, skirt that reached almost to the floor (Anderson 79). Dancers later on in history shortened the skirt to form the new classical version, however, the Romantic-style tutu is still worn today.

The basic plot of La Sylphide centers around a young man James. James is a poor man of low stature in Scotland, considered a remote and unreachable land at the time (Marks). He is engaged to marry a peasant woman named Effie. Enter the sylphide. A sylphide was a mystical character consisting of half-human and half-bird features. She was difficult to see and difficult to hold. The sylphide falls in love with James and he then leaves his wedding in order to run away with her (Marks). Unfortunately, James comes to the realization that he will never be able to keep the sylph because of her supernatural qualities. He is heartbroken.

At this point in the story, the witch Madge offers to solve James’ problem. She gives James a scarf, with which to tie around the sylphide’s waist. The idea is to hold her wings, make them drop off, and disable her flying abilities. In desperation, James accepts the offer and ties the scarf on his love (Davis). To his dismay, his hopes are shattered as the sylphide dies almost immediately. The ballet comes to a conclusion with James confronting Madge with his anger and grief. She curses him with a blow, and kills him as well. The story then ends with sounds of Effie and Gurn (another man) celebrating their wedding, and the rejoicing of Madge in her victory.

Of course, this ballet did not end with the typical happy resolve. Instead, it followed true Romantic style with a bold illusion (Marks). A true reach for the unattainable, a trip into the realm of the spirit world, and separation from the human side marks this new era in dance. In the end, James counted himself a failure, having lost both reality and fantasy in one.

Filippo Taglioni’s La Sylphide did not follow the usual patterns, instead, it virtually changed dance as it was known at the time (Davis). It was highly successful, even though it was not preserved well for historians today. One version, however, still survives and is performed all over the world even now. This adaptation by August Bournville in 1836, still maintains the truly Romantic feel of Taglioni’s daring ballet. La Sylphide

La Sylphide brought more than just another ballet into the world. It marks the beginning of a remarkable period of time – the Romantics. Up until this time in history, ballets were relatively predictable and in no ways a challenge to the status quo. Often times they consisted of the pavanne, social dances, and the like (Anderson 38). Of course, ballet had evolved, but it had by no means, been a challenge to society. La Sylphide began to alter this concept.

The setting is France in 1832. With the French Revolution, long behind them, the people of France were no longer able to rely on the organization of dance that had previously existed. Ballet had virtually disappeared (Davis). For some time, however, a generation of young artists brought new ideas to the ballet. These people were referred to as the Romantics (Davis).

When La Sylphide debuted on March 12, 1832, it was seen largely as a rebellion movement – one based on the feelings of the youth movement (Davis). These people shocked the world with their bold ideas focusing on a disgust for reality and a true passion for illusion and even fantasy. The entire philosophy can be expressed as “the hero on the brink of complacency, who suddenly throws it all away in a search for true happiness – a search that always proves fruitless, and the notion of a lyrical netherworld (Davis).

The choreography in La Sylphide was representative of these ideas. Choreographed by her father, Filippo Taglioni, the ballet was created for Marie Taglioni. The story was based on a novel, “Trilby”, written by Charles Nodier. Adolphe Nourrit, the leading tenor of the Paris Opera at the time, adapted the story from the novel with one major change. The change was the role reversal of the leading character – the sylphide. In Nodier’s novel, the character was a man, and in the ballet, Marie Taglioni, a woman (Anderson 79). This change began a pivotal point in dance history – the performance of Taglioni as the lead began the uprising and appreciation for the ballerinas.

Of all of Marie Taglioni’s performances, her role as the sylphide in La Sylphide can be recorded as her most popular (Anderson 79). Woman began to idolize the ballerina and want to emulate her. Her costume also began a new area with the addition of the Romantic tutu. With her character’s supernatural livelihood, Taglioni wished to depict the ethereal vision. She wore a tight bodice with a long, full, skirt that reached almost to the floor (Anderson 79). Dancers later on in history shortened the skirt to form the new classical version, however, the Romantic-style tutu is still worn today.

The basic plot of La Sylphide centers around a young man James. James is a poor man of low stature in Scotland, considered a remote and unreachable land at the time (Marks). He is engaged to marry a peasant woman named Effie. Enter the sylphide. A sylphide was a mystical character consisting of half-human and half-bird features. She was difficult to see and difficult to hold. The sylphide falls in love with James and he then leaves his wedding in order to run away with her (Marks). Unfortunately, James comes to the realization that he will never be able to keep the sylph because of her supernatural qualities. He is heartbroken.

At this point in the story, the witch Madge offers to solve James’ problem. She gives James a scarf, with which to tie around the sylphide’s waist. The idea is to hold her wings, make them drop off, and disable her flying abilities. In desperation, James accepts the offer and ties the scarf on his love (Davis). To his dismay, his hopes are shattered as the sylphide dies almost immediately. The ballet comes to a conclusion with James confronting Madge with his anger and grief. She curses him with a blow, and kills him as well. The story then ends with sounds of Effie and Gurn (another man) celebrating their wedding, and the rejoicing of Madge in her victory.

Of course, this ballet did not end with the typical happy resolve. Instead, it followed true Romantic style with a bold illusion (Marks). A true reach for the unattainable, a trip into the realm of the spirit world, and separation from the human side marks this new era in dance. In the end, James counted himself a failure, having lost both reality and fantasy in one.

Filippo Taglioni’s La Sylphide did not follow the usual patterns, instead, it virtually changed dance as it was known at the time (Davis). It was highly successful, even though it was not preserved well for historians today. One version, however, still survives and is performed all over the world even now. This adaptation by August Bournville in 1836, still maintains the truly Romantic feel of Taglioni’s daring ballet.

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