The Ballet Theatre of Dover’s annual summer production, featuring dances from “La Sylphide” and “Secret Carnivals Suite” is set for Wednesday, July 30 and Thursday, July 31. The company will perform dances from the Filippo Taglioni and August Bournonville versions of “La Sylphide,” one of the most recognizable ballets of the Romantic Age.


    Desire, magic and secrets. The potentially deadly trio will collide at the Ballet Theatre of Dover’s upcoming summer performances at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 30, and Thursday, July 31, at the Schwartz Center for the Arts.

    The company will perform dances from the Filippo Taglioni and August Bournonville versions of “La Sylphide,” one of the most recognizable ballets of the Romantic Age. “La Sylphide” premiered in Paris in 1832 with choreography by Taglioni, and in 1836 Bournonville choreographed the version that has been danced unbroken since then, according to Teresa Emmons, director.

    The ballet is set in Scotland where a young farmer, James, is getting married. On his wedding day, a sylph, or wood fairy, appears and declares her love for him, telling him she has followed him through the woods protecting him for years. She entices him into the forest, but when a witch who James has scorned enters the story, the couple’s luck starts to fade.

    Challenging choreography, primarily in the form of a Scottish reel in Act I, has made this a strenuous production, Emmons said. Part of that number was tweaked for the dancers, but that was the only concession made.

    “We’re not cutting corners here, we’re actually doing the real choreography,” she said.

    Emmons explained that part of the ballet’s difficulty is that the Bournonville version features a lot of jumps while the upper body has to remain quiet, smooth.

    To get ready for the summer production, students have been undergoing intensive dance, conditioning, composition, choreography and even some French classes.

    “They get a total education on dance, so it’s not just coming into class and learning how to do a plié,” Emmons said.

    Dancers also are getting an education on contemporary movement and the trickiness of secrets.

    The “Secret Carnivals Suite,” choreographed by Emmons and her daughter Andrea Evers, explores the nuances and meaning of the word.

    “Suite” has a dark carnival feel to it, but changes tones through the different pieces. It can go from lighthearted, where partners are constantly changing, to an eerie piece featured a masked dancer.

    Feelings of uncertainty and darkness are not uncommon with actual secrets, so the pieces convey that.

    “It ends kind of with a question mark,” Emmons said.

If you go:
What: Ballet Theatre of Dover’s annual summer production, featuring dances from “La Sylphide” and “Secret Carnivals Suite”
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 30, and Thursday, July 31
Where: Schwartz Center for the Arts
Admission: $15, $10 for students and seniors
Information: Call the Dance Conservatory at 734-9717 or visit www.dancebtd.com, or call the Schwartz Center at 678-5152

Email Sarika Jagtiani at sarika.jagtiani@doverpost.com