Denmark’s Dance Master

“Stepping back in time is an experience much more available to actors and musicians than it is to dancers, most of whose history lacks a written literature and has vanished, step by step, into the mists of fading memory. Except in Denmark. There, the 19th-century ballets of August Bournonville are part of daily dancing life… When Bournonville retired in 1877, his half-century dominance of Danish ballet threatened to diminish slowly. We can thank one of his dancers, Hans Beck, who documented the step designs in the early 1890s, for giving succeeding generations the basis for preserving Bournonville’s training program and, with it, the means to dance his ballets properly.”