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Dance as TextIdeologies of the Baroque Body$
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Mark Franko

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199794010

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794010.001.0001

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Constructing the Baroque Body

(p.1) Prologue
Dance as Text

Mark Franko

Oxford University Press

The Prologue situates the critical traditions associated with court ballet historiography, bibliography, and theory since the seventeenth century in France, England, Germany, and America. The greatest impact has been made by Frances A. Yates and Margaret M. McGowan. It acknowledges the importance of McGowan’s work, with which it frequently enters into dialogue. Nevertheless, it subscribes more closely to the ramifications of Yates’s contribution. Beneath the aesthetic surface of court ballet, Yates perceived an invitation to political compromise between warring Catholic and Protestant factions. It show how such politique strategy is reflected in the very structure of ballet itself, as well as how that structure is later altered to reflect opposition and criticism of royal prerogative. The Prologue also introduces problems of reproducing historical dance as performance in the present. The methodology it employs to “construct” the baroque body on paper can be deployed in performance as well. It sketches an approach to choreographic construction (rather than the traditional reconstruction), which is developed at length in the Epilogue.

Keywords:   baroque, court ballet, late Renaissance, Le Balet comique, legibility of dance, Margaret M. McGowan, Mikhail Bakhtin, Norbert Elias

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