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Gender in Petipass The Sleeping Beauty - Book Report/Review Example

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During the Russian Imperial (what most people consider the "classical") era of ballet, the dance, which had its roots in the French court of Louis XIV, and the social court dances of the Renaissance reached the pinnacle of technical achievement. It was during this era that the most extreme technical advances of ballet occurred…
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Gender in Petipass The Sleeping Beauty
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Gender in Petipass The Sleeping Beauty

Download file to see previous pages... The costumes, sets, music, the athleticism of the dancers, and the overall lavish display and spectacle echoed the ballet pageantry of the court of Louis XIV, and with similar effect; ballet and balletomania was used to control and inspire the Russian population. As state-sponsored popular entertainment, and entertainment which was considered refined and suitable for the upper classes, ballet was a tool of nationalist propaganda and therefore prominently displayed a demand for technical virtuosity and power. As the "head" of a society represents the entirety of said society, Russian's elite considered themselves symbolic of the power and majesty of Russia as a whole. Their entertainments, especially ballet, were a source of national pride and were successful only inasmuch as they reflected the enhanced qualities the Russian aristocracy felt that they themselves embodied: power, majesty, and grace. Furthermore, Russian ballets had to reflect the ideal order of the world, one that placed Russian values paramount and depicted royalty at the head of a society. This idealized trope relied very heavily on gender and proper gender roles to create this sense of natural order.
The Sleeping Beauty promotes all of these ideals through the visual language of dance, using the techniques developed in the Russian Imperial era of ballet in such a way to literally embody male and female difference on stage; the severe technical requirements of a Petipa choreography require tremendous physical effort on the part of the dancers, and it is this effort which stretches the dancer's physical abilities to the limit.

II Technical Innovation in the Russian Imperial Ballet:
The combination of royal and public support and the infusion of French artists who fled after the French Revolution made Russia fertile artistic soil. Thanks to innovators such as Charles-Louis Didelot, nicknamed "the Father of Russian ballet", who revamped Russian ballet, the technical achievements of Russia's dancers soon surpassed the rest of the world, and in doing so, tested the limits of the human body. Didelot refined technique, extended the training period of dancers, and "Experimented with exercises to strengthen the female dancer's feet for the rudimentary demands of Pointe work-seventy years before the blocked Pointe shoe came into beingmost significantly, he introduced to his students the manner of executing simple lifts, supported arabesques and supported turns in pas de deux work." (Lee 190) In preparing Russian ballet to excel in pointe work and supported lifts and turns, Didelot created the technical tools with which the great choreographers, especially Marius Petipa, would express concepts of gender and power within the dance.
The most striking difference between masculine and feminine in ballet is pointe work. By the era of Petipa's career, pointe work had become de rigueur for all female roles, and not simply for the leads as in years past (for example, the role of the sylph in the romantic classic, La Sylphide)
Didelot presented another novelty of even greater historical ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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