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Ballet and Modern Dance. Italian Beginnings. Gugliemo Ebreo (1420-84), teacher of dance to the nobility, wrote a study of dance that includes first examples of choreography.

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15 th century italian beginnings
GugliemoEbreo (1420-84), teacher of dance to the nobility, wrote a study of dance that includes first examples of choreography.

Dance moved from court feasts to ballrooms to the theatres.Intermezzos: dances performed between acts of classical drama or operas

Balletti: originally referred to dance in ballrooms, came to refer to dance in theatres.

15th century:Italian Beginnings
16 th century dance at the french court
16th century:Dance at the FrenchCourt

Evening Ball for the Wedding of the Duc de Joyeuse c.1581

Le BaletComique De La ReinePerformance commissioned by Catherine de Medici in 1581at the Valois Court of Henri III
le balet comique de la reine
Le Balet Comique De La Reine
  • 1581: First ballet -- Le Balet Comique de la Reine aka Circe composed by Balthazar Beaujoyeulx
  • Court entertainment for wedding festivities at the French Valois Court
  • Three geometrical dance entries carefully woven into the plot of the production
  • First conscious effort to blend verse, music, dance, scenic elements and costume into a unified and coherent theatrical statement.
16 th century dance at the court of queen elizabeth i
16th century: Dance at theCourt of Queen Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth I dancing with Robert Dudley, The Earl of Leicester

elizabethan court dance
Elizabethan Court Dance
  • A skilled musician and dancer, Elizabeth I encouraged dance among all her subjects and required it of her courtiers.
  • Dances differed between the Upper and Lower classes.
  • Many Upper class dances were imported from Europe and required Dancing Masters to teach the steps.
  • Elizabethan dancing:
    • from Elizabeth I and Elizabeth: The Golden Age
    • from The Virgin Queen (BBC)
ballet de cours court ballet at versailles
Ballet de Cours: Court Balletat Versailles
  • Ballet as Western civilization knows it is an invention of artists associated with the French court of the Sun King, Louis XIV
  • The king's own dancing master and perhaps the first great French dancer, Pierre Beauchamps, was head of the Dance Academy.
  • Court composer Jean-Baptiste Lully oversaw all productions.
  • The ballet de courdancers traced inventive patterns on the stage as one component of an elaborate stage presentation.
  • The codification of technique helped to create the later dance vocabulary and the self-contained ballet.
romantic ballet
Romantic Ballet
  • A trend toward a greater degree of self-expression began early in the 18th century.
  • Marie Camargo introduced new steps to the vocabulary and raised her skirt several inches to show off her technique.
  • Emphasis on en pointe dancing.
  • 19th century ballerinas, Marie Taglioni, Carlotta Grisi, Fanny Cerrito ,Lucile Grahn and Fanny Elssler symbolize the essence of Romantic ballet, a style that stresses above all else an ethereal and floating lightness.
  • Title roles were created in such works as La Sylphide and Giselle that exploited their airiness and “other-worldliness”
romantic ballet1

'Pas de Quatre' by Jules Perrot "as danced at Her Majesty's Theatre, London July 12th, 1845 by the four eminent danseuses Carlotta Grisi, Marie Taglioni, Lucille Grahn and Fanny Cerrito"in command performance for Queen Victoria.

Romantic Ballet

ballet d action story ballet1
Ballet d’Action: Story Ballet
  • Ballet tells a self-contained story.
  • French choreographers in the vanguard:
    • Pierre Rameau codified the five absolute positions of the feet and encouraged a livelier, less earthbound style of dancing
    • Jean-Georges Noverre, the father of the ballet d'action, urged a full range of facial and bodily gestures be used to express emotion.
  • Milanese Carlo Blasis’ Code of Terpsichore, a manual of instruction became the standard ballet handbook throughout Europe
russian ballet1
Russian Ballet
  • Marius Petipa came from Italy to St. Petersburg in 1847.
  • As ballet master of the Imperial Maryinsky (now the Kirov) Ballet, Petipa created the core of the Russian repertoire with such works as Don Quixote, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and Sleeping Beauty.
  • Important composers such as Tschiakovsky collaborated with Petipa.
  • Rigorous training for dancers from a young age ensured brilliant technique.

Marius Petipa


diaghilev s ballets russe
Diaghilev’s Ballets Russe
  • Preeminent Ballet Company of first three decades of 20th C.
  • Led by Serge Diaghelev (1872-1927), the company toured Europe and the Americas.
  • Choreographers included Fokine, Massine, Nijinsky and Balanchine.
  • Dancers included Pavlova, Nijinsky and Karasavina.
  • Scenic designers included Leon Bakst and Pablo Picasso.
  • Composers included Stravinsky, Debussy, and Satie
  • When company disbanded after Diaghelev’s death in 1929, many artists moved to America and England.
diaghilev s ballets russe1
Diaghilev’s Ballets Russe

Anna Pavlova Vaslav Nijinsky

1881-1931 1880-1950

Le sacre du printemps :The Rite of Spring, 1913
new york city ballet
New York City Ballet
  • After the Ballets Russes disbanded, Balanchine was asked by Lincoln Kirstein to form a ballet company in America.
  • In 1933 the School of American Ballet accepted its first students.
  • A succession of companies evolved to become the New York City Ballet in 1948.
  • Balanchine created a body of works unequaled in stylistic range and emotional variety --
  • Balanchine collaborated with Stravinsky and moved ballet to a purer, abstract expression
  • NYCB stars include Suzanne Farrell, Jacques d'Amboise, Edward Villella, and Peter Martins.
new york city ballet and george balanchine 1904 1983
New York City Ballet and George Balanchine1904-1983

isadora duncan 1878 1927
Isadora Duncan1878-1927

denishawn ruth st denis and ted shawn
Denishawn: Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn
  • Denishawn School of Dancing and Related Arts, dance school and company founded in 1915 by Ruth St. Denis and her husband, Ted Shawn;
  • Fostered such performers as Martha Graham, Doris Humphry, and Charles Weidman
  • St. Denis turned to Oriental dances for ideas about dance as spiritual art; later cofounded of Authentic School of Oriental Dancing, called Natya, in New York City
  • Shawn pioneered the role of male dancer, training male dancers and creating dances based on Native American and Western folklore. Founder of Jacob’s Pillow Festival
martha graham
Martha Graham
  • “Martha Graham was to modern dance what Pablo Picasso was to modern art.”
  • In a career spanning 70 years, Martha Graham created 180 dance works using a variety of motifs including:
    • Fusion of abstract gestures to psychological symbols (Primitive Mysteries)
    • American mythic heritage (Appalachian Spring)
    • Classical tragedy (Medea, Clytemnestra)
  • Technique includes: emphasis on the center of the body, not its extremities; angular stances; explosive, stylized gestures, spare and abstract stage settings
  • Trained or influenced every important modern dancer--José Limón, Paul Taylor, Merce Cunningham, and Twyla Tharp --and made America the center of modern dance.
appalachian spring music by aaron copeland choreography by martha graham
Appalachian SpringMusic by Aaron CopelandChoreography by Martha Graham

katherine dunham
Katherine Dunham
  • Anthropologist (PhD, U of Chicago), dancer, choreographer and educator
  • Ethnic dance research in the Caribbean led her to found in 1940 the first all-black concert dance troupe, Les Ballets Negre, to perform 'Tropics and le Jazz Hot'
  • Choreography combined black island dances with ballet and theatrical effects.
  • 1945 the Dunham School of Dance was opened in New York City.
  • Choreographed opera (Aida, Treemonisha), Broadway (Cabin in the Sky), and film (Stormy Weather)
  • 1965-67 Senegal’s Cultural Minister
  • Ran inner-city school in East St. Louis teaching performing arts to gang members

Katherine Dunham

Stormy Weather

american ballet theatre
American Ballet Theatre
  • The Ballet Theatre presented its first performance on Jan. 11, 1940.
  • Struck a balance between tradition and experimentation.
  • Led for 40 years by Lucia Chase and Oliver Smith, ABT commissioned works by such leading choreographers as Anthony Tudor, Agnes DeMille and Jerome Robbins.
  • Celebrated performers have included Alicia Alonso, Rudolph Nureyev, Natalia Makarova, Antony Tudor, and Mikhail Baryshnikov, its artistic director from 1980 to 1989.
American Ballet TheatreRodeoComposed by Aaron CoplandChoreographed by Agnes de Mille
dance theatre of harlem1
Dance Theatre of Harlem
  • Arthur Mitchell, the first black dancer to perform with the New York City Ballet, founded the Dance Theatre of Harlem in 1971
  • Began with 30 children in a church basement--two months later, 400 children were attending classes
  • The interracial company won a new audience for ballet and opened opportunities for young black dancers
  • Repertory expanded to encompass classical, modern, and ethnically oriented works
  • "Dancing Through Barriers" is designed to make children worldwide aware of dance.
alvin ailey
Alvin Ailey
  • Born in Texas in 1931, Ailey spent his formative years going to Sunday School --see Revelations
  • Trained with Lester Horton, Katherine Dunham and Martha Grahman, Stella Adler among others
  • 1958, Ailey founded his own company, the Alvin AileyAmerican Dance Theater, company dedicated to enriching the American modern dance heritage and preserving black cultural expression.
  • First American dance company invited to the Soviet Union.
  • 1969, Ailey founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center now training 3500 students a year