2 3 Throwback Thursday and Beaujoyeux | Ballet Webb

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Throwback Thursday and Beaujoyeux

Throwback Thursday and Beaujoyeux

Balthasar de Beaujoyeux (or Beaujoyleux) was born in 1535. He was a violinist, dancing master and choreographer who was particularly gifted at creating and organizing court entertainment. Early in his career he was employed by several royal households in France, but his fame grew when he became the valet de chamber to Catherine de Medici (wife of Henry II). He served her family for thirty years.

Beaujoyeux is best known for his work Le Ballet Comique de la Reine, which history records as the world’s first attempt to create a choreographic spectacle. It lasted six hours.

In his choreography, Beaujoyeux sought to meld each musical note with each dance step. And, true to the norms of the day, his works utilized symbolic geometric patterns that could be clearly viewed from above (dance was not yet performed on a proscenium stage). The meaning of these familiar patterns would have been clear to the audience of the day. Beaujoyeulx praised his dancers in Le Ballet Comique de la Reine for their accuracy of timing and ability to render his intricate floor patterns.

Beaujoyeux’s choreography merged music, dance and verse, and thus created a new type of entertainment.

Beaujoyeux died in Paris about 1587.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #59:  
Beaujoyeux staged what is believed to be the first attempt to create a choreographic spectacle.

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“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”
Winston S. Churchill

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