The Evolution Of Classical Dance And The Romantic Era

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Between 1830 and 1850 classical dance has evolved significantly from its early years in French aristocratic court life, but no other period in its history created such monumental change as the Romantic Era. Despite the brevity of this period, it created radical change and helped form ballet into what it is today. Its impact can be seen in simple changes to costuming and theatrical innovations, which made a significant and substantial impression on how the public perceived dance. These technological advances revolutionised the theatre going experience. Iconic themes that were generated by the likes of Marie Taglioni brought depth and emotion to what were previously one-dimensional storylines, along with the development of how the
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The Romantic Era, as it later became known, was thus named due to the influence of romanticism throughout Europe in the 1800s. Reflected also in the art, music and lifestyle of that time, these years became known as Romantic due to the popularity of such a lifestyle. In relation to dance, it was not so much a transition from one type of classical dance to another, but more major developmental phase that helped ballet emerge as a completely different art form.
The Romantic Era can be described as a codified collection of ballets that follow similar key themes of betrayal, love and a spiritual connection between the living and dead, as well as the evolutionary development of the female dancer. Choreographers such as Filippo Taglioni, Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot wove these themes
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The Romantic Era created more significant changes to costuming than any other time period. The ballets created in this historical era were full of passion and 'out of this world events ', and it was important that costumes were altered to suit this change. Ballets such as `La Sylphide ' required the female dancers to appear ethereal and weightless. The illusion of this airiness was created with the use of a tight, fitted bodice and a bell shaped skirt constructed from layers of material that complimented the line of the dancer yet billowed 'like a cloud ' as she leapt around the stage. The tight bodice was crucial in displaying the slender physique of the dancers, whe eas the appropriately named 'romantic tutu ' was designed to conceal rather than convey. Costumes were unique to each production. In the 'moonlight ' phases of a ballet, the costumes were more simplistic, with well-crafted detailing and softer colours. In the happier sections of the piece (the peasants waltz in Giselle par example), the costumes were plainer, but with vibrant colours. The only areas of bare skin on display were the neck and shoulder area, and it was essential that the tutu was long enough to cover the ankle. In the 1800 's, the ankle was considered the most sensual part of the female body. Creators of the ballet were concerned

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