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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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Ut Vox Corpus, 1581

Ut Vox Corpus, 1581

(p.31) Two Ut Vox Corpus, 1581
Dance as Text

Mark Franko

Oxford University Press

This chapter is devoted to an analysis of Le Balet comique de la Royne (1581). Le Balet comique is unusual for its theoretical coherence. It combines geometrical dance with a theory that the various arts should be harmonized by ballet and that this can be achieved through the techniques of measured verse applied to dance. The chapter compares information on the geometrical dances with the theoretical preface by choreographer Balthazar de Beaujoyeulx. It argues that the sheaf of theories underlying Le Balet comique ultimately conceptualizes dance as a kind of vocal presence, an intermediary of text and physicality. The harmony alluded to on so many levels in Le Balet comique is Heraclitean rather than Platonic in nature. That is, it signifies opposition or tension between unlike entities brought into proportion rather than to a blending into oneness. This is, essentially, the aesthetic equivalent of political compromise. The chapter links this baroque concept of harmony to earlier Italian musical humanists such as Zarlino, Mei, and Artusi, and, in France, to Pontus de Tyard. Le Balet comique makes an intellectual rather than a purely visual or visceral statement.

Keywords:   allegory, body, dissonance, expression, harmony, interlude, Le Balet comique, libretto, voice

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