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Cultural capital status turns Copenhagen into dance mecca.

COPENHAGEN--As a city that was home to choreographer August Bournonville, storyteller Hans Christian Andersen, philosopher Soren Kierkegaard and painter Christen Kobke, Copenhagen has always boasted a wide variety of cultural expression. And this year, when the city is the official Cultural Capital of Europe, is no exception. Dance offerings alone range from the Royal Danish Ballet, holding forth in the Royal Theatre, to more modern offerings taking place in electricity plants and torpedo halls.

The city of Copenhagen, the Danish Ministry of Cultural Affairs, and several private sponsors have pooled extra resources for cultural activities this year, when the number of events has at least doubled. In the logistics alone, more than 50,000 people are involved. Architecturally, Copenhagen is trying to present itself at its best. The main town hall square is being reshaped with new pavement, a film house combining the different film institutes is under construction, and a new museum for modern art and visual performances has been built along the waterfront south of Copenhagen.

The '96 program has brought extra activities within the arts, and the number of dance performances has exploded. However chaotic this may sound, the dance-going tourist will find dance easily at the classical and modern festivals.

This month, May 13-31, RDB hosts an international ballet festival. Still without a new artistic director, RDB presents a row of repertoire performances: Bournonville's La Sylphide (May 13), Anna Laerkesen's Symphony and Transformation (May 20), John Neumeier's Midsummer Night's Dream (May 25), and a gala with the Dancing School section from Bournonville's Konservatoriet, Harald Lander's Etudes, and a selection of pas de deux featuring international stars.

Four other troupes appear at the Royal Theatre. Ballet National de Marseille has Roland Petit's Ma Pavlova (May 15-16); Bejart Ballet Lausanne brings L'art du Pas de Deux and The Firebird (May 17-18); Kirov Ballet makes its Royal Theatre debut, presenting Le Corsaire (May 21-22) and La Bayadere (May 23-24); and Royal Ballet offers Kenneth MacMillan's Manon (May 27-28) and Frederick Ashton's The Dream, Rhapsody, and A Month in the Country (May 29-30).

From August 1 to 18, the Dancin' City festival, which claims to be the world's largest festival for new and modern dance, takes place, utilizing virtually all of Copenhagen's environs. Most of the existing theaters around the capital will host performances, including the Royal Theatre. Patrons will also find their dance in workaday spaces such as an old electricity plant and a huge torpedo hall that formerly belonged to the Royal Danish Navy. This expansion of dance into real-world venues has attracted an enormous audience. This year, organizers expect about 15,000.

The program offers established companies as well as younger ensembles. The immense international list includes Philippe Decoufle (August 1-3), Alain Platal/Les Ballets C. de la B. (August 2-3), Three City Dance, with Jaron Lanier, Rebecca Stenn, Kitt Johnson, Henrik Termansen, Michiko Akao, and Yumiko Yosheoko (August 1-3), Rui Horta S.O.A.P. (August 3 and 5), Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane (August 6 & 7), Familia Farruco (August 7-9), Sascha Waltz and Guests (August 8-9 and 11-12), Merce Cunningham Dance Company (August 9-11), Saburo Teshigawara (August 16 and 18), and Transform featuring Bo Madvig and Kitt Johnson, Mehmet Sander, and Motion House (August 17-18). What else to tell about Copenhagen? Well, last year there was sunshine all summer.
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Title Annotation:Copenhagen, Denmark
Author:Christensen, Anne Flindt
Publication:Dance Magazine
Date:May 1, 1996
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