Ballet- the Classical School

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Ballet – The Classical School Dance and mime were used in Greek plays. Actors told stories and dancers expressed the actions, emotions and moods of the narrative. Ballet evolved from the Renaissance Spectacles, which involved all forms of art in one performance (music, poetry, drama, scenery etc). They were put on to celebrate important events. In 1643 Louis XIV became King of France. He wanted to make his court the most powerful and magnificent in Europe. Their entertainments became even more spectacular when staged in the newly built Palace of Versailles. The academics laid down rules that had to be obeyed by all artistes working for the Royal court. The Academie Francaise decided upon the plot and meaning of the ballets. Courtiers and Royalty performed in these dances - including the Prince, Princess or even the King himself. The highest rank always came on last just as today in some of the more classical ballets the star parts appear on stage last. Louis XIV often appeared in his favourite part as Apollo - King of the Sun. His entrance was always the last and most spectacular and included lots of people bowing to him. Louis was a good dancer. He was taught by Charles Louis Beauchamp who became responsible for the choreography in the opera- ballets produced by Lully and the comedy ballets produced by Moliere. Beauchamp partnered the king himself –dressed as a girl in Le Triumphe de l’Amour, which was presented, at court in 1681. This opera ballet is important because it was the first one to be danced professionally for the public. Before this, the queen and her ladies always danced the parts. The king did not dance in public. A school for dance was set up in 1672 with Jean –Baptiste Lully at its head. Lully was an Italian composer, conductor and dancer. As a result professional dancers rather than the Royal court danced ballets for the
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