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Jean Georges Noverre Essay

944 words - 4 pages

Jean-Georges Noverre
Ballet is a form of theatrical dance that has existed for approximately 400 years. This form of dance is very difficult to learn and perform because it is based on specific steps that have been passed down from previous generations. These steps have to be performed with precision according to established standards set by the choreographer. Ballet artistically communicates the story of man’s emotions, beauty, and traditions. All forms of communication evolves over time, ballet is no exception. The ballet of today is not the ballet of yesterday. Jean-Georges Noverre’s revolutionary thinking transformed the ballet of yesterday into the modern ballet we know today.
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During the French Revolution, Noverre produced 150 ballets with the company he performed with at the King’s Theatre in London. None of his ballets are recorded for students and people to view today. Noverre died October 19, 1810 in Saint-Germain-en-Laye while working on publishing Dictionnaire de La Danse.
Noverre was responsible for major reforms in ballet production through his creation of ballet d’action, developing the art of pantomime, and authoring the 35 Letters Sur La danse et sur Le ballets in 1760. The ballet d’action theory called for truthful movement, integrated expression, plot music, and stage decorations. This established ballet as an independent art form. It required ballet to have a story and that the dances were a part of the dramatic actions (Noverre, 1997). The letters each tried to analyze an aspect of dance and offered specific suggestion on what he noticed to be lacking. Noverre’s letters addressed points like: 1. Training dancers to have correct technique and having them be sensitive to their anatomy, 2. Consideration must be given to the dancer’s personality and style, 3. Sincere dramatic context and gestures, 4. Plots must be linked to the movement of the dancer, 5. The music needs to be suited to plot the development of the dance, 6. The unity of design should guide all elements, 7. The dancers should not wear masks, and heavy costumes so their emotions during the dance could be shown (Chazin-Bennahum, 1983). Ballet was just a series of conventional dances that were put together without any real purpose applied to make the performance flow before Noverre. Dancers made technical moves for no reason other than that they were able to do the move. Noverre’s theory of ballet was that “Ballets should be unified works of art in which all aspects of the production contribute to the main theme…”...

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