August Bournonville, born in Copenhagen in 1805, was a dancer and choreographer who directed the Royal Danish Ballet for nearly 50 years and established the Danish style based on bravura dancing and expressive mime. He studied under his father, Antoine Bournonville, one of the major dancers of his day, before going to Paris for further training under Auguste Vestris and Pierre Gardel. After appearances at the Paris Opera and in London, Bournonville returned to Copenhagen as soloist and choreographer for the Royal Danish Ballet.
A strong dancer with excellent elevation and an accomplished mime, he emphasized these qualities in his ballets. His choreographic style also reflected the pre-Romantic approach of his teacher Vestris. Many of his ballets have remained in the repertoire of the Royal Danish Ballet for more than a century. Bournonville also directed the Swedish Royal Opera at Stockholm (1861-64) and staged several of his works in Vienna (1855-56). In 1877, after his return to Denmark, he retired and was knighted. He died on November 30, 1879 in Copenhagen.
Bournonville ballets in The Sarasota Ballet repertoire: Flower Festival in Genzano Pas de Deux, The Jockey Dance, The Kermesse in Bruges Act I Pas de Deux, William Tell Pas de Deux