Pierre Beauchamp



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– Pierre Beauchamp Pierre Beauchamp lived from 1636 to 1705 he was born in Versailles a wealthy French area into a family of French dance masters; he was a French dancer, teacher and choreographer. He was the ballet tutor of King Louis XIV also known as the Sun King and was regarded as one of the finest dancers of his time. Beauchamp is also known to be the first to officially codify the five basic positions of ballet.

The first assigned date of ballet is in 1581, when the so called Ballet Comique de la Reine was produced, this was in the early baroque period where dance was moving of court dancing which was an interpretation of fencing the baroque period was from 16th to 18th Century. During the baroque period during the Reign of King Louis XIV ballet progressed a great deal, King Louis XIV was an excellent dancer as a young man and was one of the most helpful patrons dance has ever known.

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In 1661 King Louis asked his ballet master Beauchamp to establish rules for ballet which resulted in the five basic positions of ballet. Beauchamp was a brilliant dancer himself, he was known for his pirouettes, elevations and tours en l’air. During King Louis’s reign the proscenium arch was introduced to France, this stage was elevated and only had one front; this differed to the stages before it because they had 3 view points, also, because of the elevation of the stage the royalty watching the ballet could not mingle with the dancers on the floor, before the stage was at the same level as the audience.

Because of the one view point, to show the audience the most aesthetic and best display of their technique dancers rotated their feet so their precise footwork could be seen from the front. Beauchamp was made director of the Academie Royale de Danse in 1671 which was a famous French dance school. Beauchamp made his debut to the court of Louis XIV at age 17 (1648), in the Ballet du dereglement des. During King Louis XIV time France stabilized and become one of the strongest countries in Europe.

Dancing in the Renaissance period, was based mainly on court dancing, it was important for noblemen to show their skill expertise and masculinity through dance, dancing was seen as a more social activity for the royalty were there were set dances which everyone knew. These wealthy royals employed dance masters to improve. During the Baroque period 16th to 18th century was when ballet first started to form (Ballet Comique de la Reine), elaborate spectacles ere displayed for the courts entertainment, Beauchamp was highly influential in French Baroque dance. This was because of his skill as a dancer, the status given to him by being King Louis XIV dance tutor and also his work in codifying the ballet positions. Beauchamp affected the development of classical ballet by creating the five basic ballet positions of ballet which all traditional ballet moves and transitions are derived from.

During the Renaissance period dancers were encumbered by extremely heavy wigs, masks and costumes. This changed during the Baroque period because the style of dancing became much more elevated, with leaps and spring steps. Also women for the first time were introduced to the stage. Beauchamp had a major affect on the development of classical ballet through many events and features of his life, being a teacher ,dancing, codifier and choreographer. He made the path of ballet more set in stone.

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