Altered States: The Artistic Quest In The Stone Flower and La Sylphide
The ballets The Stone Flower, derived from a Ural folktale, and La Sylphide, derived from Charles Nodier’s 1822 novel Trilby, ou le lutin d’Argail, both reflect the potential danger of an encounter with an altered state. Danila, the artist in The Stone Flower, undergoes instruction by the Queen of the Mountain and her court but is separated from his beloved Katerina. James in La Sylphide is enticed by a sylphid to the magical forest realm where his time is spent joyfully but is separated from his beloved Effy. These ballets are simple romantic tales that offer a cautionary note for what underlies the artistic quest. The characters and the dance passages are metaphors of transformation, love, and, sometimes, loss.