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La Sylphide

The Royal Ballet

August Bournonville's tale of a man's doomed love for a magical sylph is a classic of Romantic ballet.

Most recent performance

There are currently no scheduled performances of La Sylphide. It was last on stage 21 May—15 June 2012.


James wakes from a dream on the morning of his wedding to see a beautiful winged sylph before him. His obsession with the creature risks his happiness and that of his fiancé, Effie.


August Bournonville's La Sylphide is an adaptation of an 1832 French ballet of the same name. The original work showcased the technique of the great ballerina Maria Taglioni and announced a new Romantic era of dance. Bournonville was the first choreographer to recreate La Sylphide. It is his version that has survived – the ballet has been performed regularly by the Royal Danish Ballet since its premiere in 1836.

In La Sylphide, the human realm of a small Scottish community – evoked by folk songs in Herman Løvenskiold's score – meets a spiritual realm. James, a classic Romantic hero, is bewitched by a beautiful and otherworldly sylph. Although he is unable to touch her, he movingly echoes her movements in his. Bournonville placed a greater emphasis on the narrative in his version of the ballet and developed the characters of the embittered witch and James (a role he danced himself). The Royal Ballet’s production is staged by the Danish choreographer Johan Kobborg, himself steeped in the Bournonville style.

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On Wikipedia

La Sylphide

La Sylphide (English: The Sylph; Danish: Sylfiden) is a romantic ballet in two acts. There were two versions of the ballet; the original one choreographed by Filippo Taglioni in 1832, and a version choreographed by August Bournonville in 1836. Bournonville's is the only version known to have survived and thus is one of the world's oldest surviving ballets.

Read the complete La Sylphide article on Wikipedia, available under a Creative Commons license.