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									                     Chapter 8 The 19th Century

I. The 19th century was a time of change with the Industrial Revolution affecting

the economy, society and politics.

A. The steam engine expanded industries.

1. Western Europe saw many inventions during this period as well as the notion of

developing national identities.

2. Russia was emerging from feudalism during this time and did not embrace


a. Russia had become one of the most powerful countries in the world and was able

to play a role in European affairs after especially after the defeat of Napoleon in


3. The English society in the 19th century was called the Victorian era because of

the long and peaceful reign of Queen Victoria.

a. This time appeared to be dignified and restrained but there was child labor,

prostitution, and the exploitation of colonials.

b. On the surface, women were placed on pedestals while men dominated business,

but there were undercurrents of feminism.

4. The 19th century was a prolific and popular period for literature with novels,

short stories and magazine articles being published. In Russia, writers avoided the

censors by using linguistic tricks and allusions their readers would understand.

a. Russian nobility spoke French and wore French fashions. Russian artists in

theater, literature and music emerged.

II. Romantic Ballet emerged in the Paris Opéra when the director produced a

spectacle in a weak opera hoping to achieve box office success since royalty no

longer controlled or supported the Opéra. The dance section of Robert le Diable

was the Dance of the Dead Nuns in which a group of dancers rose from their

tombs with their lead dancer, Marie Taglioni. It was a ghostly stage vision that was

enhanced by the use of new gas lighting. The result was box office success and

prompted the production of La Sylphide which paved the way for the romantic era

of ballet.

A. Romanticism in art and literature was a revolt against reason and a spontaneous

overflow of powerful feelings.

1. Germany critics defined this term as arts based in medieval tales of romance and

those derived from classical sources.

2. The romantic period last a little more than ten years in France, it had a profound

impact of ballet s development and romantic ballets continued to be

performed in the United States, Denmark and Russia throughout the 19th and 20th

century and some are still performed today.

3. With the advent of factories, many people in Europe were employed as factory

workers and sought relief from their humdrum lives by attending the ballets and

other forms of theater. They sought entertainment and to indulge in being swept

away to faraway lands and fantastic places.

4. Although many romantic ballets were performed at the Paris Opéra, many

dancers had been trained at the La Scala opera house in Milan, Italy. Dancers and

ballet masters traveled throughout Europe and often performed in Russia.

B. During the 18th century, males were the lead dancers in ballets and the 19th

century saw females as the leading stars and characters of ballets. Male dancers

took supporting roles in the romantic ballets and continued as ballet masters and

arranged the ballets. Ballerinas danced on the tips of their toes to enhance their

ethereal quality. The establishment of pointe work during this period became an

essential feature of ballet.

1. Fillipo Taglioni was an Italian dancer, choreographer and ballet master and

father of Marie Taglioni. His contribution to the ballet was a light and gracious

quality featuring the mystical quality of woman. In rehearsals, he was very

demanding and often his daughter, Marie, had to be carried out of rehearsals from


2. Marie Taglioni is known for her unique quality of purity and lightness. The tips

of her ballet slippers were darned and she would rise up on her toes as if she was

defying gravity. She was famous and popular and adored by her fans. She had a

brother named Paul who also danced.

3. Carlotta Grise was a pupil of Perrot and started entered the La Scala ballet in

1829. She danced the role of the first Giselle. Many people believe she was the

first ballerina to wear a blocked slipper to dance en pointe.

      I would like to detour from our textbook to discuss the origins of the pointe

shoe and I believe it is pertinent in discussion of the romantic period. As often

happens, even in recorded and documented history, the origins and the development

of ideas and technique are sometimes credited to different people or groups. Some

historians credit the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova with being the ballerina

responsible for creating the pointe shoe due to her high arches, weak feet and her

inability to dance on her toes without support.

      Reviewing how this came into being, it was Marie Camargo who first took

the heels off her shoes to enable her to leap and jump which would not have been

possible wearing a shoe with heels. In order to keep the slippers on, ribbons were

attached to the slipper and laced around the ankle. Looking also at the romantic

period of ballet when women were seen as sylph-like creatures who danced on the

tips of their toes and sometimes even wore wings to enhance the ethereal quality.

Marie Taglioni darned the sides of her slippers to allow her to rise up on the tips of

her toes. Her fans in Russia loved her so much they cooked her slippers and at

them with a sauce. Research indicates that it was considered cheating to put leather

or wood in the toes of ballet slippers for more support and re-enforcement of the

shoes, although it appears many ballerinas did exactly that.

      The French school of Ballet emphasized refinement and the Italian school

was more athletic and pushed technique to the limit in order to achieve dazzling

virtuosi feats. Pierina Legnani did thirty-two fouettes en pointe on the tips of her

toes to the amazement of audiences, which would have been impossible without a

wooden support in her shoes and so, this then became the standard for all ballerinas

to perform. As the evolution of the pointe shoe changed the ballet form, it should

be noted that this advancement of the ballet form and the technical difficulty

actually rose out of a period when women were sen as ethereal beings who were

delicate and light and dancing on the tips of their toes and floating

without effort. During this period, and up until this time, most of the ballet masters

and influential contributors were men. It is common knowledge in all ballet

schools, academies or colleges that during this time, ballerinas made choreographic

and technical contributions to dance, but there is very little acknowledgment of this

historically. For the purposes of discussion, Anna Pavlova is most often credited

with the actual development of the pointe shoe, but it is important to know that the

actual technique of dancing on one s toes was initiated by Marie Taglioni which

would not have been possible without Marie Camargo dancing without heels, but

Carlotta Grise is believed to be the first ballerina to wear a blocked slipper to dance

en pointe.

      When ballerinas were putting wood or leather in their shoes for extra support,

it was at first considered cheating and then when the use of the shoes demonstrated

the increased support would allow technical advancement of the for of ballet

dancing, it then became the stand that all female dancers were to achieve. The

influence of the romantic period remained in the continuing show of effortlessness

while performing extremely physically demanding feats of technical and athletic

execution. One source for this lecture makes note of the acceptance of the football

players being able to grunt and groan while playing football and the beauty of the

execution of for in the sport of football or baseball might happen, but in ballet, it is

imperative that it happen. Dance is a performing art, although at this

point in history we see ballet advancing to a very technically demanding and

athletic form, with students having been carried out of dance rehearsals from

exhaustion. On stage, the performing art continued to maintain that it was and is

effortless. Thinking on this note, during the industrial revolution, audiences

attended the theater and the ballet to escape from their humdrum lives and to be

taken to a more magical place and this became the development of dance from

entertainment to dance for escape. The advancement of the pointe shoe along with

the theme and the attitude of fantasy melded and created an illusion that an

extremely difficult technical feat was effortless.

      Earlier in our review of this period of romantic ballets, there was reference to

a somewhat feminist uprising and in the world of dance, what is evident from the

development of the pointe shoe is that women, in the role of the ethereal sylph,

developed no only their technique, but the actual pointe shoe to enable them to have

the strength to achieve the look of being light and flying on the stage. Ballet, at this

point, changed the focus from the male dancer being dominate to the female dancer

with the man performing the supporting role.

Wikipedia and Gaynor Mindon s homepage,

4. Fanny Cerrito was born in Italy and danced at La Scala. She had brilliant

technique and became the star of the London Stage. She was married to Arthur

Saint-Léon, a dancer and choreographer and composer for a short time.

5. Lucille Grahn was a Danish dancer and danced the title role in August

Bournoville s first production of La Sylphide. Grahn left Denmark to dance in

Paris tour and mostly performed sylph roles in which she excelled. She also

danced in Pas de Quatre. After she retired from performing, she became a ballet


6. Fanny Elssler was a Viennese dancer who trained at Theater an der Wien.

She traveled throughout Europe and was an instant success in America. She was

able to execute the most difficult technique en pointe and was a rival to Taglioni.

In Moscow she was given more than 50 curtain calls hundreds of bouquets and gifts

of jewels. Essler offered a contrast to the femininity of the other romantic-era

ballets with her versatility and her ability to display earthy movements as opposed

to the ephemeral nature of the sylph.

7. Jules Perrot was a French dancer and ballet master who had danced in Paris and

become a soloist at the King s Theatre in London. He was Taglioni s partner and

Carlotta Grisi s teacher. Perrot is considered the greatest male dancer of the

romantic era. He created ballets using dramatic plots and expressive

choreography. His choreography for Pas de Quatre brought the four leading

ballerinas of the romantic era together and showed off their personal syles.

8.   Jean Coralli was of Italian descent but born in Paris and was a dancer,

choreographer and ballet master. He produced his most important ballets at the Paris


9. August Bournoville was a Danish dancer, choreographer and ballet director. He

studied with Auguste Vestris at the Opéra and absorbed much of the French style of the

danseur noble and the technical virtuosity of the 19th century French-school male

dancer. His ballets became the foundation for the Royal Danish Ballet and he kept

ballet alive and flourishing in Denmark while it declined in Europe in the late part of

the 19th century.

10. Salvatore Viganò was a son of dancing parents and in addition to being a dancer

himself was a talented musician, poet and painter.         He focused on individual

movements of stylized gestures for the corps de ballet and became known as the

 Father of Italian Ballet . His technique and ideas about the corps de ballet resurfaced

in the next century in the work of Michael Fokine.

11. Carlo Blasis was a dancer but his greatest contributions to ballet were as a teacher

and his writings as a ballet theorist. He invented the ballet position of attitude .

Among Blassis writings are The Elementary Treatise Upon the Theory

and Practice of the Art of Dancing and The Code of Terpsichore a book written for

dancers that established the basis of modern classical ballet. He trained dozens of

dancers using the system he created including Enrico Cecchetti and others who would

dazzle the audiences in Russia near the end of the century.

12. Théophile Gautier was a French writer who wrote critical and dramatic art reviews

and scenarios for romantic ballets including Giselle and La Péri.

C. During the first part of the 19th century, the contradance was popular in English

ballrooms as well as the minuet which had lost its popularity in France. French had

fled to England where they taught dance and etiquette in fashionable boarding schools.

The distinction between dance for theater and dance in the ballroom became even

greater in the 19th century as ballerinas were dancing en pointe. With the invention of

gas lighting, a large curtain separated the audience from the stage to protect the

audience in case of fire from the new form of stage lighting.

1. There was a code of rules for both men and women attending the ballroom dances

and guides including the written instructions for the dances of the period.

a. The minuet, contradance, Scottish reels and others continued to be the popular

dances for the ballroom.

1. The cotillion, or the French cotillion developed in the court of Louis XVI but

continued its popularity until the end of the 19th century in the rest of Europe. This

dance contained many figures that required practice by a group with a dance master. It

was eventually supplanted by couple dances.

2. Polonaise was an old court dance which originated in the 16th century Polish court


3. Quadrille was a very old dance which might have originated in France before the

18th century and was first danced very stately and then later danced very quickly. It was

very popular with the middle class after the French revolution and was very

popular in English ballrooms. The steps were very intricate and was danced with four


4. Waltz comes from the German word for turn and it was a gliding dance in triple time

while the couple remained in an embrace. Many countries claim the waltz, historians

believe that the waltz originated in Germany. It was introduced in England in 1812 and

was both a popular dance and a controversial one as well. The morality of the waltz

was under criticism of the clergy, mothers and social dignitaries due to the closeness of

the couples when they waltzed and the breathlessness of the young women.

5. The Polka was a popular social dance any might have originated in Poland or the

former Czechoslovakia. The dance performed in 2/4 time was performed in the


ballroom in Prague in the 1830's and dancing masters took it to Paris. There was a
polka mania that swept Europe and by 1844, the polka had arrived in English


D. Dance designs made a part of the ballroom dances had distinct formations and the

choral dances were similar to previous periods.

E. Orchestras were used for the ball and bands played in the Vauxhalls. In the

a short concert was paled before the evenings theatrical event and at intermission. The

dancing teachers often composed and arranged songs for their ballets and only a few

composer began to write music specifically for ballet as part of the attempt to create a

unified artistic performance.

F. The fashionable upper class in England and Europe led lives of leisure and

extravagance and during the romantic era, women s fashion, hairstyles and footwear

were often similar to those of the dancers on the stage. The most notable influence was

Marie Taglioni s white muslin dress from La Sylphide. Fashionable ladies of the

romantic period wore dresses made in this ethereal-looking style and adorned with


ribbons. The poor during this time were doomed to drudgery in the factories.
G. Romanticism in music surfaced in the 1820s and continued until around 1910 with

composers such as Johannes Brahms, Frédéric Chopin and Franz Shubert.

H. Romantic ballet was unity of forms with a plot, dramatic action, the corps de ballet

supporting the main characters with the music and the costumes setting the mood and

reflecting the dramatic action of the dancers. Romantic-era female dancers rose onto

their toes and wore gossamer gowns and often wings while male dancers wore knee

breeches or short pants over tights and poet s shirts sometimes with jackets or vests.

I. Theaters had an orchestra pit and tiered boxes and a balcony. The open flames from

gas lights posed a danger to both performers and audience.

J. La Sylphide was choreographed by Fillipo Taglioni for his daughter, Marie. Giselle,

ou les Wilis premiered with Carlotta Grisi dancing the title role with Lucian Petipa as

Albrecht, the lead male role. Both are fantasy ballets which were influenced by the

Dance of the Dead Nuns and are still performed today. La Sylphide is considered the

oldest surviving ballet and was first performed in Paris in 1832. The


ballet was then remounted in a production choreographed by August Bournoville for
the Royal Danish Ballet and the lead role was danced by Lucile Grahn. This is the

version that has survived. Because of the similarities of the names, I would like to talk

about Les Sylphide which was choreographed by Michel Fokine with music by Frédérec

Chopin and is a short, non-narrative ballet blanc. The twentieth century ballet is often

described as romantic reverie and holds the distinction of being the first ballet to be

simply that. Les Sylphides has no plot and is a ballet of many white-clad sylphs dancing

in the moonlight with the poet or young man dressed in white tights and a black top. I

mention this ballet during this part of the lecture because of the possibility of confusion

of the names as well as the style. This ballet is still performed today also and at this

point in our review of history, we will start to see a trend of ballets and dances

continuing to be performed.

K. Pas de Quatre was a ballet without a plot that was choreographed for the four

leading ballerinas of the romantic era; Marie Taglioni, Fanny Cerrito, Carlotta Grisi and

Lucille Grahn. The reason for the choreographer was to feature each of the ballerina s

unique talents.

J. Dance manuals became prolific during this time as dance master wrote instructions

for dances and manners for the ballroom.


L. Classical Ballet in Russia was funded by the czar of Russia and European artists and
dancers were imported to work with Marius Petipa to produce some of the most

extravagant and elegant ballets. Aristocrats in Russia had been speaking French and

emulated French style and arts as early as the 17th century. The last half of the 19th

century was dominated by the development of classical ballet in Russia. The teachers

were mostly male and many dancers were European.         During the second half of the

19th century, Russia became more industrialized and expanded its power to Afghanistan,

China and the Pacific. Serfdom was abolished in 1861 after the autocratic rule of

Catherine the Great.

1. Arthur Saint-Léon was a French dance, choreographer, violinist and compose as well

as being considered one of the best dancers of his time. He was company teacher at the

Paris Opèra and succeeded Perrot as ballet master of ST. Petersburg s Imperial

Theatre. He developed a notation system for dance and choreographed many ballets

including Coppélia.

2. Marius Petipa was born in France but made his fame in Russia. During his career in

Russia, Petipa created fifty or more ballets among them what we now consider to be the

classics of ballet. They include Don Quixote, La Bayadère, The Sleeping Beauty,

Cinderella and Swan Lake. Petipa worked closely with Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky and his

ballets had lavish costumes. He demanded technically strong


ballerinas and premier dancseurs and imported Italian dancers to star in Russian ballets
and to provide competition for developing Russian dancers.

3. Lev Ivanov was a Russian dancer and choreographer born in Moscow. He was

known for his sensitivity as a dancer and choreographer and Petipa allowed him to

choreograph full sections of Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. His work was mostly

overlooked by a regime that focused on European talent and leadership and was

overshadowed by Petipa.

4. Enrico Cecchetti was born in Rome to an Italian dancing family and was a dancer,

mime and teacher. Most of is career was connected with the Russian ballet under Petipa

and then under Serge Diaghilev. He developed a method of ballet instruction which is

still used today and is a rigid training regime. The goal is for the student to learn dance

by studying and internalising the basic principles in an effort to become self-reliant

rather than imitating movements executed by their teacher. He published A Manual of

the Theory and Practice of Classical Theatrical Dancing in 1922. Ceccheitti method

has set exercises for each day of the working week to ensure that different types of steps

are practiced in a planned sequence and that each part of the body is worked evenly and

all exercises are done on both sides of the body. The method emphasizes quality as

opposed to quantity and requires that it is more important and beneficial to do an

exercise once correctly than many times carelessly.


 The method also requires that new sequences of steps are taught each day to develop
the students ability to learn quickly.

5. Pierina Legnani was born in Milan where she studied and performed with the ballet

at La Scala. She toured Europe and went to Russia in 1892 where she performed her

renowned 32 fouettés en tournant in Cinderella. Each year she returned to Russia to

perform and she was the only European ballerina to be appointed as prima ballerina


6. Virginia Zucchi was an Italian dancer who performed in Italy Berlin, London and St.

Petersburg. She was a technical dancer of virtuoso skill and the results of her influence

was revealed in the next generation of Russian dancers.

M. In the early 19th century, Russia had a rich dance history of preserved folk dances.

These dances became a part of Russian ballets and under the reign of various czars,

dance flourished. The czars had an amusement room which was a forerunner of the

court theater and students of the military academy performed.

1. The lessor nobility replicated theaters in their home or as separate buildings on their

estates and serfs performed for their masters in their homes.

2. Public ballets performed in Moscow can be traced back to 1759. Giovanni Baltista

Locateilli built a private theater for the performance of ballets and operas.


3. In 1764 Filippo Beccari organized a dancing school at the Moscow orphanage.
When he was hired to train professional dancers in 1773, almost one-third of the

orphans he had trained became soloists with professional careers.

4. In 1780 the Petrovsky theater was built and after it burned down, Czar Alexander

established the Moscow Ballet and Opera Theatre as an imperial theater. The Bolshoi

of today is now on the site of the obsolete Petrovsky Theater. In 1862, the Moscow

Theatre separated from the jurisdiction of St. Petersburg. Opera, ballet and dramatic

theaters in Moscow were influenced by the city s university and enlightened circlues of

society and in the opinion of Russians Moscow Ballet Theatre had an advantage over

St. Petersburg in that it was less influenced by the court.

5. The Maryinsky Theatre was an outgrowth of the court theater in St. Petersburg and

Catherine II created the position of the director of the imperial theaters in 1766 whose

task was to bring all of the performing arts under the authority of the director.

a. The Mariinsky Ballet was originally known as the Imperial Ballet of Russia and is

most commonly known by its former Soviet name the Kirov Ballet.

b. Ballroom dance of the second half of the 18th century continued in Russia to include

the quadrille, polka and schottische which were all surpassed by the waltz and the music

of Johann Strauss.

c. The classical ballets ranged from two acts to four acts and there was an


establishment of a hierarchy of soloists and a corps de ballet. The grand pas de deux
was reserved for the ballerina and the premier danseur. Acting roles were played by

retired dancers.

d. The ballerina and other females performed en pointe and wore tutus that ranged from

above the knee to mid-calf depending on the ballet.

e. Male dancers wore tunics or peasant shirts and vests, tights, and either knee breeches

or shorter pants.

f. Character dancers wore stylized national costumes, usually with boots.

N. The grand pas de deux structure developed from the pas de deux in romantic ballets.

All grand pas de deux have a similar structure and are performed by a male and female

dance who is en pointe.

a. Part I is adigio and slow with the man supporting the woman as she turns slowly or

promenades on one leg.

b. Part II is the male variation which exhibits his virtuosity with jumps and turns and

leaps and ends with a pose, often on one knee.

c. Part III is the female variation where the ballerina exhibits her technical virtuosity and

ends with a pose.

d. Part IV is the finale or coda and is another dance for two but is quick and includes


supported lifts and rapid turns. Then each dancer displays their technical virtuosity in
solos and the last part is performed together.

O. The bridge from romantic to classical ballet is Coppélia. In the latter part of the 19th

century, Petipa and his artistic staff turned out ballet after ballet for audience demand

and these dances have been passed down from generation to generation and are still

performed today. Coppélia or The Girl With Enamel Eyes was choreographed by

Arthur Saint-Leon. The ballet was based on the story          The Sandman       by E.T.A.

Hoffman who was also the writer for the genesis of The Nutcracker. A doll maker

named Dr. Coppélius makes a doll with a soul. The ballet has many elements of the

romantic era along with the elements of the classical period.

1. The Sleeping Beauty and the Nutcracker are two ballets choreographed in the late 19th

century based on fairy tales.

2. Swan Lake was originally not a successful ballet but was re-created by Petipa and

Ivanov with music by Tchaikovsky in 1877 and has become an enduring classic and

prototype of a classical ballet.


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