Just the barbarism is native – the ballet dancers in Sweden up to 1800

French ballet arrived in Swedenduring the infancy of Queen Christina. It was Antoine de Beaulieu from Pariswho, in 1637, introduced the Swedish noblemen to the new French dancing style of Louis XIII’s Paris. Thanks to his ability and the favours of Gustav Adolphus’ widow Maria Eleonora and their daughter Christina, the Stockholmcourt was able to present twenty court ballets in the grand style, culminating with Cupid out of his humour, La naissance de la paix and Parnassustriumphans in 1649-54. The late seventeenth century produced very few ballets, but in the 1720’s another French dancing master, Jean-Baptiste Landé, arrived and brought the royal court at Stockholmup to date. He even was involved in some divertissements at the court.

Up to now all dance performances were exclusively by and for the court. The professional ballet first appeared when a French troupe of up to fourteen dancers was engaged in 1753-71. In 1757/58 Louis Gallodier from Parisjoined them; he had a background as a dancer at the Opéra Comique and L’Opéra in Paris, and of court performances at Fontainebleau. He remained at Stockholmand became the first ballet master of the Royal Swedish Opera, inaugurated in 1773. Under his direction, until his death in 1803, the Royal Swedish Ballet advanced to international standard, and he gathered such celebrities as Antoine Bournonville and his sister Julie, Jean Marcadet (formerly of De Hesse’s company of le Théâtre des Petits Appartements at Versailles), Giovanna Bassi, Lodovico Casagli and a young Filippo Taglioni.

Magnus Blomkvist
Symposium Title: 
Dancers Abroad – 2006
Author affiliation: 
Sverigesteatermuseum, Stockholm