"When selecting passages from history for the purpose of adapting them to the Ballet, it is not necessary to make choice of those horrible deeds that have disgraced mankind, nor to extract from fiction those atrocities of which human nature appears almost incapable. The composer should reject those shocking and sanguinary events which generally form the subjects of the Spanish and English dramas. He should avoid also the slightest imitation of that gloomy and improbable stuff with which certain authors are filled; those poets who take a pleasure in describing all that is most desperate and dreadful in nature are not to be followed. Perhaps this species of subject may be adapted to the deepest tragedy; but even then, good taste would reprove and reject productions carried, by an overheated imagination, beyond the bounds prescribed to imitative arts. We must, in short, banish from the Ballet the Fausts, the Manfreds, and the Frankensteins."From:
The code of Terpsichore. The art of dancing, comprising its theory and practice, and a history of its rise and progress, from the earliest times ... by C. Blasis. 1831
After a post by Leonid led me to Blasis and his writing I followed the link and found this chapter. What struck me then was relating Blasis's thoughts to ballets such as Mayerling, Ivan the Terrible and Macbeth.... There are moments in these that are "horrible" and "shocking" in nature and personally I find these moments quite confronting but deeply moving. And I have thought in the past that it is intriguing that ballet was being used as a vehicle for these stories. However, the physicality of dance gives these subjects a meaning that is not available through words.
I was wondering if others agree with Blasis and feel that there are subjects that should not be used in ballet.