Thematic context-relevant assimilation in ballets de cour

A view to the sources of the masques and the German or French ballets de  cour  shows  that occasions like anniversaries, weddings, christenings or conferences were illustrated with special motives or themes. The muses often appeared in ballets of honor, the seasons described immortal life in the ballets for royal anniversaries and the planets demonstrated the hierarchy. Arcardian motives symbolizing the Golden Age and the mythology of “Paris and Helena” or “Orpheus” were employed in the context of war.

The paper will give an insight into the different methods of motive processing. At first it is an aim to discuss the costumes and the forms of dance or song for transporting the intention of special occasions. How did the  viewer  identify mythological or allegorical figures?  Which kinds of dances and songs were used for illustrating muses, seasons,  planets  or  mythology? Further discussing points are the roles of gestures, mimicry and posture.

Based on documents of text, music and engravings the paper will answer the question whether  occasions were celebrated with special themes.

Uta Dorothea Sauer studied Musicology, Social Science and History at the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science of the Technische Universität Dresden and Psychology at the Faculty of Science, Department of Psychology (TU Dresden). During this time (1999-2005) she had worked at the European Centre for the Arts in Hellerau and at the Medical Academy "Carl Gustav Carus" in Dresden. She is interested in Music Psychology, Science of Dance and European Music History (1600-1900), with a focus on Dresden Music. Her subject-study is about Johann Christoph Schmidt, a Dresden court conductor, focusing on music theatre in the 17th century, in particular the “Ballet de cour” and “opéra-ballet”. In 2009, she received a scholarship by the European Social Fund (ESF) to write her dissertation about the “Ballet” at the Dresden court. Her research was published in the proceedings Poet and Peaeceptor, Christian Weise (1642-1708) zum 300. Geburtstag (2009), Johann Georg Pisendel (2011), Seventeenth-Century Ballet (2011), and was presented at Congresses in Warsaw (2006), Zürich (2007), London (2010) and Rome (2010). Furthermore she is supporting the dramaturgy of Dresdner Kreuzchor (2010), of the Festival on Baroque Music during the celebrations “Dresden800” (2006) and of the Festival “Robert Schumann in Dresden” by the Sächsisches Vocalensemble (2010- 2014). Since 2008, she has worked at the Institute of Art and Music at TU Dresden in the context of Conferences on the composers Robert Schumann (2008, 2010), Richard Wagner (2013) and Richard Strauss (2014).

Uta Dorothea Sauer
Symposium Title: 
Dancing for Anniversaries and Occasions: Chamber, Court, Theatre & Assembly 2015
Author affiliation: 
Technische Universität Dresden