Ballet is a paradox: much loved but little studied. It is a beautiful fairy tale; detached from its origins and unrelated to the men and women who created it. Yet ballet has a history, little known and rarely presented. These great works have dark sides and moral ambiguities, not always nor immediately visible. The daring and challenging quality of ballet as well as its perceived 'safe' nature is not only one of its fascinations but one of the intriguing questions to be explored in this Companion. The essays reveal the conception, intent and underlying meaning of ballets and recreate the historical reality in which they emerged. The reader will find new and unexpected aspects of ballet, its history and its aesthetics, the evolution of plot and narrative, new insights into the reality of training, the choice of costume and the transformation of an old art in a modern world.
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Table of ContentsForeword Ivor Guest; Chronology; Introduction Marion Kant; Part I. From the Renaissance to the Baroque: Royal Power and Worldly Display: 1. The early dance manuals and the structure of ballet: a basis for Italian, French and English ballet Jennifer Nevile; 2. Ballet de Cour Marina Nordera; 3. English masques Barbara Ravelhofer; 4. The Baroque body Mark Franko; Part II. The Eighteenth Century: Revolutions in Technique and Spirit: 5. Choreography and narrative: the ballet d'action of the eighteenth century Dorion Weickmann; 6. The rise of ballet technique and training: the professionalism of an art form Sandra Noll Hammond; 7. The making of history: John Weaver and the enlightenment Tim Blanning; 8. Jean-Georges Noverre: dance and reform Judith Chazin-Benahum; 9. The French Revolution and its spectacles Inge Baxmann; Part III. Romantic Ballet: Ballet is a Woman: 10. Romantic ballet in France: 1830-50 Sarah Davis Cordova; 11. Deadly sylphs and decent mermaids: the women in the Danish romantic world of August Bournonville Anne Middlebo Christensen; 12. The orchestra as translator: French nineteenth-century ballet Marian E. Smith; 13. Russian ballet in the age of Petipa Lynn Garafola; 14. Opening the door to a fairy tale world: Tchaikovsky's ballet music Thérèse Hurley; 15. The romantic ballet and its critics: dance goes public Lucia Ruprecht; 16. The soul of the shoe Marion Kant; Part IV. The Twentieth Century: Tradition Becomes Modern: 17. The ballet avant-garde I: the Ballet Suedois and its modernist concept Erik Näslund; 18. The ballet avant-garde II: the 'new' ballet: Russian and Soviet dance in the twentieth century Tim Scholl; 19. George Balanchine Matilda Butkas; 20. Balanchine and the deconstruction of classicism Juliet Bellow; 21. The Nutcracker: a cultural icon Jennifer Fisher; 22. From Swan Lake to Red Girl's Regiment: ballet's sinicisation Yangwen Zhen; 23. Giselle in a Cuban accent Lester Tome; 24. European ballet in the age of ideologies Marion Kant.