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Dance and Music History

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 CHOREOGRAPHY (ETYMOLOGY) khoreia: “dance” graphein: “to write”

 STYLE in Dance derives from 3 related sets of conventions 1. The quality with which the movement is performed (texture or quality found in movement as it is performed) Rudolph von Laban’s systematization of “quality in movement”: Space: indirect, direct Time: sustained, quick Weight: strong, light Flow: free, bound Acc. to Laban, all human movement exhibits constellations of these factors that form identifiable textures or qualities of movement.

2. The characteristic use of the parts of the body with their symbolic associations. Solar plexus (Duncan), lower abdomen and pelvis as an isolable area (Graham), fixed/vertical torso (ballet). Pelvis: sexual, primitive instincts and desires Chest: emotions and feelings Head: intellect, rationality, process of thinking 3. Characteristic use of “performance space”. (a three dimensional spatial grid symbolically defines the space) i.e. movements that occur in the air (jumps & lifts) or gestures towards upper space – mostly associated with the pure, heavenly, etc. movements on the flor –associations with more earthly existence.

THEATRE DANCE From Aristocratic Entertainments (1300-1600) to Court Spectacles (1530s-1640s) to French Court Ballet – “The Sun King” Dancing (1650-1700s)  French nobility “dancing” in the entertainments and spectacles to show off their power and dignity. Spectacles organized by courts, dukedoms, etc. quickly became competitive, one court trying to display greater power and wealth than another. Idealisation of aristocratic power became the new impetus for dance.  Court entertainments were prepared with great care. They were 4-5 hours elaborate programs consisting of unconnected episodes of allegory, acting, dancing, singing, poetry, music. They were prepared to celebrate a marriage, a birth, a victory, welcoming of a foreign ambassador, etc.

 Printing was invented during Renaissance and these elaborate entertainments were printed and distributed to other courts in order to publicise the glory and power of the rulers.  What did court dancing look like? The court dancing was basically derived from the social dances of the time (galliard, pavane, lavotta). The dancers and spectators were noble aristocrats. Dances defined decorum, grace and elegance, rather than strenght or agility. Body is not down to earth; it is erect, upright, vertical. (WHY? Basically due to noble mannerism & symbolic implications of verticality). Court spectacles were presented in large rooms of the palaces and castles with most of the audience seated on galleries on three sides of the floor.


 Since the majority of the spectators viewed the performers from above, most of the attention was focused on “floor patterns” or geometrical forms created by the dancers as they move. Court ballets are characterized by geometrical order. Geometrical shapes created on the ground were often loaded with symbolic meanings: see “Harmony of the Spheres” theory.  Almost all of the big families had a permanent dancing master. In addition to dancing; swimming, wrestling, hourse riding and fencing were among the required skills for being accepted to the court and high society.  Costumes of the period was based on fashionable court dress of the day. They were meant primarily to impress spectators with their opulence. Freedom of movement was not a primary consideration. Yet, men’s costumes allowed more freedom.

CONTRIBUTIONS to COURT BALLET  Both France and Italy contributed to the development of the court ballet. Yet, Catherine de Medici from Florance deserves special attention. She marries the French king Henry II and brings her ballet master Balthasar de Beaujoyeulx to France. She included dancing in many of the royal entertainments she commanded. One of the first works to be recognized as a true court balet was Ballet de Polonais (The Polish Ballet - 1573) organized by Beaujoyeulx. It was staged to honour the Polish ambassadors who were visiting Paris. Highlight of the balet was an hour long dance by 16 ladies representing provinces of France. (Message was clear: 16 provinces of France, including Poland, “moves” in unity, harmony, and order.)


 Ballet Comique de la Reine (The Queen’s Comical Ballet - 1581) organized by Beaujoyeulx is the first court spectacle to convey a unified dramatic plot. Almost all of the court spectacles derived from Greek mythology, and noble aristocrats portrayed Greek Gods. Most famous of them is Louis the 14th, who is also known as Sun King and/or Apollo.  French court ballet reached its height during the reign of Louis 14th. Message behind appealing to the God’s of Grek mythology is clear: lifting man/nobility to the world of immortality (and legitimizing the hierarchy between the nobles and the rest of the people).


The Rise of Professionalism in Ballet and Development of a unified balletic performance – Ballet d’ Action 18th century As the 17th century progressed, Ballet in France was gradually transformed from entertainment of noble amateurs into a professional art. Professionalization of ballet paralleled important institutional and presentational developments: 1. In 1661, Louis XIV founded Royal Academy of Dance. The Academy was responsible for training dancers to perform in the king’s ballets, educating dance masters, keeping a register of all Parisian masters and passing judgment on all new dances. Idea was to improve quality of dance instruction and establishing ‘scientific principles for art’.


2. In 1672, Royal Academy of Music and Dance was founded. Later it will be known as Paris Opera. 3. With the introduction of “proscenium stage” (1641 – Louis XIII.), presentational qualities and performing conditions of ballet changed. Ballet moved from Palace to the Opera house. Proscenium stage created both physical and psychic distance between the performers and spectators: Seeing and watching rather than participating. Also, since spectators are not watching from above anymore, rather than just creating floor patterns (geometrical designs), dancers started performing technical feats that demanded a high degree of training and skill (such as pirouettes and cabrioles). Gap between skills of professional dancers and those of amateur dancers increased.

4. Dancing teacher of Louis XIV was Pierre Beauchamp, who was one of the highest paid servants of the king, codified ballet technique. He established fundamentals of ballet including numerous steps, postures and forms of ballet into a technical system. Turnout position of the feet was first introduced into ballet technique. It helped the dancer to increase his/her flexibility and balance while permitting the body to open outwards towards the audiğence. (Motto behind systematization and codification of ballet technique is the viewpoint of the time which is rationalism, according to which utmost care must be given to exact rules and measures, and arts should be treated like science, i.e. like mathematics.) 5. In 1681, for the first time female dancers appeared on the stage as professional dancers of a company.

6. In 1700, Raoul Feuillet published his book on dance notation, Choreographie. In that times choreography meant not the art of making dances but dance notation.


Romantic Ballet (First half of the 19th C.) Context:  French Revolution - (1789) Decline of monarchy, emergence of new governmental models.  The rise of capitalism and development of bourgeois class (19th century) is changing the face of the society and ruling strata. Paris Opera is no longer a court property; it became a private enterprise with a government subsidy. Bourgeoisie starts taking its place both in the ruling elite and in the audience.


Romanticism as a Critique of Enlightenment Rationality:  Enlightenment--) the age of reason, religion of mathematics failed to explain new uncertainties, instabilities and anxieties in the society brought about by rapid modernization and rise of capitalism (cities growing, nature is being destroyed, society is divided into opposing classes: working class & bourgeoisie). Promise of Enlightenment failed: priority given to reason and mind also created a big split between mind & body, intelligence & emotion, etc. Inability to capture the emotions and bodily needs also supported the feeling of general anxiety and seperation. For example, Descartes said “I think therefore I am”; Rousseau answered “I feel therefore I am”. Thus romanticism is mainly a call to restore ones unity with one’s self and nature. It is characterized by longing for wholeness, community and harmony to exceed both individual and social splits.

Romantic Ballets:  Ballet achieved its modern identity during the 19th century. It acquired many of the characteristics that are now equated with ballet in the public mind: the pointe technique and toe dancing, tutu, illusion of weightlessness and effortlessness, cult of the ballerina and “trouble” with the male dancer.  Despite the diversity of the Romantic movement, the Romantic Ballet confined itself principally to two major strands. One was the passion passion for the irrational and mystical. This was manifested in ballets by themes dealing with supernatural, especially feminine creatures such as sylphides, water nymphs, peris, demons. The allure that such feminine creatures exercised over mortals became a metaphor fort he artist’s yearning fort he unattainable. Second major


preoccupation of the Romantic ballet was the attraction to “exotic” and distant lands, whether removed in time or space.  Romantic ballet was characterized by binary oppositions: Reality-fantasy, village life-mysterious forest, real people-unearthly creatures, ideal-real, truth-illusion, flesh-spirit.  Transformation of costume: Point shoes, shorter and lighter skirts (tutus) for female dancers; tights are worn by male dancers after 1810.  Romantic ballets owed much to the new developments in theater effects, particularly gas lighting. Gas lights supported the image of female dancer as sylph; without gas ligting it was impossible to create strong illusions of moonlight that was so important for romantic ballets.


 First romantic ballet is considered to be La Sylphide (1832) choreographed by Filippo Taglioni; his daugter Marie Taglioni appeared in the role of Sylphide. She became the prototypical Romantic ballerina, praised highly for her lyricism. Set in Scotland (a place that had been made both exotic and fashionable by Sir Walter Scott’s novels), La Sylphide told the story of James Reuben, a yaoung man, who in order to follow an alluring creature, abondons the mundane world and his fiancee. In desperation he seeks the help of a witch (the horrific aspect of the otherworld), who gives him an enchanted scarf that will bind the Sylphide to him. But the scarf proves to be fatal to the sylphide.  Giselle (1841) is the only romantic ballet that has survived in continuous performance to this day. Choreographed by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot. But Giselle staged today is largely choreographed by Petipa in 1884. (Story: In the

first act set in a medieval village, Giselle is seen as a peasant girl in love with the nobleman Albrecht, who pretends to be a peasant. The revelation of his true identity and his engagement to a girl of his own rank drives Giselle into madness and she commits suicide or in other versions dies of a broken heart. In the second act she reappears as a wili – feminine spirits that appear at night and enforce man to dance till death out of exhaustion. But unlike her “bloodthirsty” sisters she has no desire to revenge upon her lover. Her “undying love” protects Albrecht until dawn breaks the wilis’ power.)  Very few romantic ballets ended happily. (In this world, she is unattainable and perfect union between man and woman is possible only beyond the grave.)  Message: No matter what run after your desire vs. if you follow your desires you will end up in destruction.

 The dilemma of the ballerina: She is the center of the stage, she dominates the stage. Yet, she doesn’t have agency: she exists only as an object of (male) desire/gaze.


RUSSIAN IMPERIAL BALLET (Classical Ballet) – Especially last ¼ of the 19th C.  Until the late 19th century, Russia played the role of follower rather than a leader in the world of dance. This situation was reversed in the late 19th century. Ballet moves East (from Paris).  In Tsarist Russia, both the theater and the Imperial Ballet School were state owned and controlled institutions. Both dancers and ballet masters were employees/servants of the Tsar. Patron of arts was Imperial State and ballet was serving for the norms of Imperial society, for the noble taste (as it used to be in the courts of renaissance until French Revolution).  The reign of Marius Petipa is considered the era of classicism in ballet. The term “classical ballet” indicates a concept of choreography that stresses formal values

such as clarity, harmony, symmetry and order. Classical ballet is based on academic ballet vocabulary (Romantic ballet too is classical in that sense): use of codified steps, turned out legs of academic dance, and 5 positions of the feet. Style and structure of the ballet is also highly formal and fixed.  Most important and popular classical ballets are: La Bayadère (1877) The Sleeping Beauty (1890) Swan Lake (1895)  In general famous composers were not writing for music for dance. Writing music for ballet was not seen as high art. This has changed in the classical period with collaboration of Petipa and Peter Illyich Tchaikovsky.


 Who is the ballet for? What is the text? Where does the subject matter of the ballet take place? The first acts (and third acts) of the ballet take place in the palaces where kings, queens and nobility reside. (no village life as in Romantic ballets). There will be a forest where the conflict between good and evil will be declared. However, these ballets are lighter and less dramatic when compared with romantic ballet. Fantastic stories are replaced by fairytales. The dark quality of the sylph’s and wili’s are replaced by “fairies” and “swans”. Feminine characters/creatures portrayed by ballerinas still represent whiteness, purity and unearthliness as in romantic ballet. Classical ballet is not emotionally engaging, there is a story but it is secondary to the virtuosity and skill displayed. Focus is on dancing, perfection, beauty and richness rather than content, expression or story.


 Petipa standardized pas de deux form and it has a well defined structure in Petipa’s ballets: opening adagio for ballerina and her partner, variations (solo) for each dancer, and concluding coda together. Female dancer (ballerina) is focal point of pas de deux, and male dancer’s function is chiefly to support her and display/present her beauty.  Ballerina’s technique has further developed with point shoes. Her legs are further freed by shorter tutus. So extension of legs is possible and attention is on virtuoso dancing. (also, sexual and racist connotations: exposure of white female body)


 Each act of these ballets has many scenes and contains numerous variations (solos, pas de deux, pas de trois and quatres as well as divertissements for big corps de ballets). Mime scenes and character dances equaled in importance to dancing. These episodes of dancing were designed to show off the skills of the dancers. Dancers come on stage, get ready to perform and complete their dance with a clear ending. Each dance or variation is usually succeeded by applause: no continuity of the story.  In Petipa’s ballets we see use of balleticized folk dances (character dances) which became popular in the romantic era. Now they are performed in a more stylized manner: feet are stretched and and arms rounded in accordance with the rules of academic technique.


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...John Gibson Latin Rhythms and Dance Cuban Son The Cuban Son, both a dancing and singing style, combines both African and Cuban elements and serves as the foundation for salsa music today. The term ‘Son’ literally means sound and traces its roots back to the 16th century. However, the more contemporary version of the Son did not appear until the late 19th century in Cuba. Historically, the Son played an important role in detailing different news events from the countryside, so its societal function was undoubtedly significant. Although the modern form of the Cuban Son dates back to the mid-19th century, it was not until the early 20th century when the Son was enthusiastically accepted by Cuban society. Prior to this acceptance, the “Danzon” was the most popular type of dance in Cuba and could be found virtually everywhere in Cuba, widely accepted by all social classes. However, the appearance of the Son in Cuba during the early 1900’s quickly overtook the Danzon as the most popular national music. And although the Son had many of the same elements present in the Danzon, it varied distinctly in form and instruments. Nonetheless, the Son’s popularity was clearly defined by the formation and success of the Sexteto Habanero, the many prizes they received, their trips abroad, their recordings, their famous Sons and their participation in many popular films. The Son orchestra was initially composed of only claves, maracas, and guitar but later expanded to include tres and......

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Tango Arentina Ibus330

...appears in the elite class in society which the ladies wear glittering evening gowns and gentlemen wear the tuxedoes and dance under tango music, but tango is originated from a lower class in society. In twentieth century, many immigrants came to Argentina from Europe, Africa, and flocked to Buenos Aires suburb, Argentina brothel. From there, a mixture of cultures creates a new kind of music and dance - it was the Tango. Although researchers’ musical history has pretty much controversy about the authenticity of its origin, it is acknowledged that tango was combined from several different countries. For instance, tone was knocked on drums by African slave; milonga was music of South America moors combined between Indian and Spanish, and also the other influences which include Latin. In Latin, tango is “tangere” which means two people are adjacent to each other. Therefore, people believe tango was from Latin. The massive migration of Europeans come to the Argentina affect to both tango music and dance. During 1980, the population of immigrants came to Buenos Aires was increased from 850,000 to 1.7 million (Gannon, 2013, 5th ed., pp. 568). Unskilled worker, women and children had to work in unhealthy environment. Lives of immigrants at that time were a difficult and completely different from elite and middle classes, but at that time they have grown up a dance presented a shadow of their lower class. Most of immigrants were poor men and their lives were miserable. They had to......

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