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Ballet Timeline -- discussion thread

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[AT editing to add: this thread has been split off from the Ballet History Time Line, which has now been made a sticky, and includes links to web resources for art, music, theater and history of literature. This explains why Hans' post seems to begin a thread rather abruptly!]

I have the Clarke/Crisp book too, Alexandra (the one with the hideous orange cover, right?). The only other book I have that might be considered any sort of history book is The Simon & Schuster Book of the Ballet, which is really just a catalogue of ballets starting with the Ballet Comique de la Reine. Great descriptions where possible, but doesn't attempt to say anything about the various periods.

I think "Imperial Ballet" is the perfect name for the time of Petipa :blushing:.

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I used to have several but I couldn't find them last night. I've become fascinated by the whole "classical follows Romantic" issue. So many of us remembered reading that in the '70s and '80s -- I wonder if more current histories have changed. In the 80s, too, Bournonville came in in 1979 (!!!!) because of the Bournonville Festival (in American texts, not Danish ones, of course). The Clarke and Crisp is the first one I've seen that considers him in his period. Before 1979 he was a sentence or a footnote.

I would also imagine, since there has been so much research by early dance history scholars in the past two decades, that what's generally considered the "ballet de cour" period covers an awful lot of territory. I'm sure now it's easier to make distinctions. This may be too much of a generalization, but I think most artistic periods last only for a generation; or, to put it another way, each generation has created its own "movement," some more important or more exciting than others.

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I'm sure it does cover a lot of territory, Alexandra, especially when you consider that (as I think you posted somewhere else) ballet began long before Catherine de Medici, and even the Ballet Comique de la Reine was not the first of her ballets at the French court, just the one we seem to know the most about--there's a awonderful description of it in "Book of the Ballet;" it seems to have been very long and elaborate.

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I've never known why the "Ballet Comique" is always given as the starting point. Kirstein has details on several earlier ones in "Movement and Metaphor" -- now called "Four Centuries of Ballet," I think. It might be because it was intended to be art and not merely an entertainment for a wedding? (That's purely a guess.) I think it was 12 hours long -- there's an original libretto at the LIbrary of Congress, if you ever have the time. I hope when you take your early dance classes you'll talk about them here -- I'm sure you'll find out a lot about measures and floor patterns and steps and carriage and will be able to relate them to what we now consider ballet.

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"Book of the Ballet" says it was almost six hours long--though I would love to see a 12-hour long ballet :D, especially one as magnificent as this seems to have been.

I also love that the choreographer, Belgioioso, was appointed not only violinist and choreographer, but also Master of Revels. Great title :blushing:

I'm really excited about the historical dance class, too; I will be sure to post about it at every opportunity.

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I've added web resources for art, music, theater history and history of literature, and made the original thread a sticky.

I hope that there will be further questions and discussions. I've moved this thread into Discovering Ballet and would ask that we keep the thread general; all questions and comments welcome. If people would like to discuss a particular period in depth, or get into sub-levels and scholarly detail, I'd ask that it be done in Ballet History or Aesthetic Issues and that this thread remain BASIC. If such topics arise in the course of the discussion, I may split them off and move them into another forum and I hope this will not upset anyone. Thanks!

Cliff and Amy had raised some good questions when this discussion began. Feel free to repeat them if you'd like.

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