Essay about The impact of the French Revolution on Ballet

Essay about The impact of the French Revolution on Ballet

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The impact of the French Revolution on Ballet

The French Revolution was a bloody civil war that lasted from the years 1789-1799. [1] The revolution arose out of hard economic times that had befallen France. Widespread famine and hunger, due to a grain shortage, rampaged through sections of the country. The economic crisis led to an increase in taxes on the lower classes, known as the third estate, to upkeep the lavish lifestyle of the nobility. [1] All of these are the known factors that led to the rise of the French Revolution.
The revolution emphasized the ideals of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” and was characterized by the strong will of the French people who stood up for what they believed in. It was also an extremely bloody time, which saw the rise of the guillotine, a contraption used for public executions and to instill a sense of fear in those opposed to the revolution. The revolution saw the public execution of the King and Queen, Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette as well as thousands of others. The upper class feared for their lives.
The French Revolution was one of the bloodiest and terrifying times that France as a nation had to undergo. As would be expected, the Revolution pervaded all forms of life, and arts and culture were not immune to its reach. Ballet in France was commonly associated with Louis XIV at the onset of the Revolution because of the huge impact that he played in the growth of ballet. He established the Academie Royale de Danse, which was the first recognized school of ballet.
Ballet in Louis XIV's court was characterized by extreme ornamentation and gaudiness. The ballet master, Jean Baptiste Lully, sought to show the dignified style of the Sun King. The themes of ballets at court range...


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...ledge, 2002. Print.
[2] Chazin-Bennahum, Judith. "Unmasking the Body: From Lully to the Revolution." Dance Chronicle 33.2 (2010): 310-19. Print.
[3] Chazin-Bennahum, Judith. Dance in the Shadow of the Guillotine. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1988. Print.
[4] "Chapter 5: The Baroque Period and the Courts of LOUIS XIII and XIV (1600-1715)." Ballet History 4410: Chapter 5. University of Utah, n.d. Web.
[5] "THE ROCOCO PERIOD, 1715-1800." Ballet History 4410: Chapter 6. University of Utah, n.d. Web.
[6] Cohen, Selma Jeanne. International Encyclopedia of Dance: A Project of Dance Perspectives Foundation, Inc. New York: Oxford UP, 1998. Print.
[7] Hunt, Lynn. Politics, Culture, and Class in the French Revolution. Berkeley: U of California, 1984. Print.
[8] Brown, Frederick. Theater and Revolution: The Culture of the French Stage. New York: Viking, 1980. Print.

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