University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Le Ballet Comique de La Reine
Le Ballet Comique de la Reine is considered to be the first ballet by most dance historians. This ballet took place in Paris, France in 1581. This special ballet was produced by Catherine d`Medici, and Balthazar de Beaujoyeaulx was responsible for the choreography. The dancers in this weren’t professionals by any means, just simply members of the court that were trained in the Renaissance Dance Suites by each courts dancing master. This production was recorded to have lasted more than six hours. Although there was no dollar amount specified, but it was known that productions of this much importance came to be highly expensive. This cost included unique sets, ornate costumes and music, of which all equally contributed to this grand occasion. Oddly enough they did not perform on a stage, the dancers merely took their places on the hall floor itself. The set was scattered widely across the floor being described as elaborate, as well as the costumes also being described in the same way. The significance of this ballet was that it was a party of which Catherine decided to throw for her daughter-in-law. Queen Louise was in fact Catherine’s daughter-in-law and happened to be reining at that time. The plot of this ballet tells the story on Circe and her burning desire to become Queen of all nature. But not even Circes witchcraft could win over the powers on Minerva, Pan and Jupiter. The winning Queen, Minerva, pays homage to Queen Louise and the end of the production as a symbolic acknowledgement of the greatness of France. If Ballet Comique de la Reine were reconstructed today, I believe it would take a lot of altering from the original version to make it successful today. Although this ballets history is fascinating to read and learn about, a six hour performance wouldn’t be very practical in the world today. Not to mention the widely spread out set would likely loose peoples focus. If someone, someday were to recreate this special performance, I would be highly interested in seeing Ballet Comique de la Reine come to life with my own two eyes!