Can you say more about the Royal Danish Ballet approach to Bournonville?
I believe that dancers, even in the old days, wanted to be challenged. The classes they took in the 1930s and 1940s were not organized in the order we have nowadays, but we were still getting our daily technique. Then, in the early ’50s, when we turned to Vera Volkova, we were challenged with a different way of thinking and using our bodies. She created the distinct Danish style by combining French and Russian traditions with the Bournonville style. We took the arms, épaulement, fast footwork and melded them, then created the dancer who could do them. Volkova died when I was 22, but she selected me as an apprentice and dancer. It was she who proposed that we incorporate the best from both worlds into what I teach today. We owe a debt to her for this great artistic legacy. Photo: John R.