Romantic Ballet in France

From Sarah Davies Cordova: Romantic ballet in France: 1830–1850 in Kant 2007: Cambridge Companion to Ballet:

“Romantic ballet changed the way Europeans, in particular, danced and the way they looked at dance. The requirements of its technique ensconced the separation of social and theatrical dance so characteristic now of Western societies. The paradigm shift, which occurred as ballet abandoned its use of spoken language, resulted in romantic ballet’s exclusive reliance on nonverbal movements. Carefully coordinated musical illustration, iconic and objective props such as a portrait or a royal accoutrement, occasional written signposts indication location, a character’s gravestone, and constructed machine-dependent effects which created the illusion of flying, all complemented the bodies’ pantomime and movement to convey ballet’s stories.” (p.119)

“Romantic ballet’s choreographic richness emphasised the language of line, extension and verticality and a belief in the universality of the language of dance and mime. The radical new look of pointe work and adagio, of effortlessly graceful feminine bodies dressed in tutus disguised the increasingly strenuous technical virtuosity and extensive training for these performances. The silent solos of the practitioners, or the pas de deux, pas de trois or pas de quattre wove aesthetic and unified figures in space as their movements patterned their interconnectedness.” (p.120)


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