Dancing and dying for Napoleon: The Schwarzenberg Ball in Paris

On July 1 of the year 1810 Napoleon Bonaparte attended a great ball, which was organized by the Austrian Embassador Prince Karl I. Philipp of Schwarzenberg (1771-1820) to honour Bonaparte´s marriage with the Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria. Among the invited guests we could find Pauline of Schwarzenberg (born d´Arenberg, 1774-1810), wife of the older Karl´s brother Joseph II. Prince of Schwarzenberg (1769-1833). She  was  not  only  present,  but  also began the ball dancing in a solo quadrille with Eugène de Beauharnais, the stepson of Napoleon, joined by the Queen of Naples, wife of Napoleon´s elder brother Joseph, Marie Julie Bonaparte (born Clary) and Prince Paul Anton Esterházy. In my paper I will give not only the account of this ball, which ended by a tragic death in fire of Pauline of Schwarzenberg and 19 other people, but I will also introduce some interesting facts concerning the repertoire of the ball and archive material, surviving at Český Krumlov Castle (Pauline´s diary, dance dress and shoes of her young daughter Marie Pauline, who escaped the fire etc.).

Helena Kazárová is a Professor at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (AMU) and has been Head of the Department of Dance since 2011. In 1997 she founded the Baroque Dance Ensemble Hartig (www.hartig.cz), whose dancers are mostly former or current students of AMU. Her interests include the history and theory of dance, ballet and dance aesthetics, and she specialises in the reconstruction and revitalisation of dances from written and graphic notation, choreography and movement culture of the eighteenth century. She has danced and created dances, or advised on period movement style and gesture, for numerous performances, including Baroque dances for various music festivals, film and TV, and works by Bononcini, Händel, and Gluck. She staged the Rococo ballet La guirlande enchantée of Joseph Starzer in the castle theatres at Český Krumlov and Mnichovo Hradiště. Her publications include Barokní taneční formy/Baroque Dance Forms (AMU 2005), and Barokní balet ve střední Evropě/Baroque Ballet in Central Europe (AMU 2008).


Helena Kazárová
Symposium Title: 
Dancing for Anniversaries and Occasions: Chamber, Court, Theatre & Assembly 2015
Author affiliation: 
Academy of Performing Arts, Prague