Début in France: Gallodier’s Years of Apprenticeship
Although Louis-Jean Gallodier, the father of the Royal Swedish Ballet, was born in France, he is little known in his own country. Not even in Sweden is very much documentation to be found about the first years of this famous ballet master’s career. He had the prestige of the French academy tradition to thank, however, for the favourable reception he was given – at this time reserved for French-trained dancers in all the courts of Europe. During his years of apprenticeship, the future ballet master encountered all the debates and experiments in which dance and the role it played were tried out in dramatic art. When he left France in 1757, at the age of 24, he had danced at Court with the company of Menus-Plaisirs, at the Opéra de Paris, at Comédie-Française, and in all French dance institutions that mattered. Later in Sweden, when given the responsibility of the Royal troupe, the dancer and choreographer was able to call on his experience of many different genres of performance. He was during his first years able to develop his methods, train his taste and form his future stage practice. Establishing bridges between Gallodier’s professional activity in France and his latter repertoire in Sweden, a lively picture of a young dancer’s environment emerges, showing the intense and abundant French dance life of the mid-eighteenth century.