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Dance during the Enlightenment

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In my history class (a Highschool AP European history) we will be creating a "Salon" from the period of Enlightenment, approximately the late 17th, early 18th century. A salon was a place that the well-educated could go to take part in and discuss the arts, sciences, etc. Our Salon includes dialogues about subjects of the time and music and costumes, like a play. I would also like to include dance, as ballet was just beginning to emerge(this is around the time of Louis XIV, though our text mentions nothing about his role in ballet). I know that ballet was quite quite different at the time, and not always recorded, but I was wondering if there was someone who knew a piece from the period, or a place where I can get more information about the styles so I could put my own piece together. Thank you so much!


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though it's a whole book, as opposed to a 'piece', the following work by ivor guest would be about as sound and thorough a presentation of the material you're looking for, in one place, as any:

Guest, Ivor Forbes.

Title :The ballet of the enlightenment : the establishment of the ballet d'action in France, 1770-1793 / Ivor Guest.

Imprint :London : Dance Books, c1996.

Description:xiv, 456 p., [49] p. of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 24 cm.

Notes:Includes bibliographical references (p. [433]-441) and index.

Vestris the father -- Noverre -- Maximilien Gardel -- Pierre Gardel -- Dauberval.

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This is also one of those periods when social dance and theatrical dance divided. Educated people would be expected to know and perform the social dances of the day, just as they might have during the Renaissance. Check your library for

Dance of Court and Theater: the French Noble Style 1690-1725, Wendy Hilton


May I Have the Pleasure, Belinda Quirey

The Hilton is a tome, very thorough, with details on the notation used at the time. You can, with patience, teach yourself some of the dances using her book.

The Quirey is more of an introduction, covering social dance in several different eras, but is a fast read and very helpful for beginners.

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