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date: 14 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines sexuality and magic in baroque dance records. It explores occlusions within ballet history, focusing on the experience of archival research; notions of metamorphosis, alchemy, and witchcraft; and relationships of dancing and print at interstices between “theater” and “dance.” It explores the blending of performance traditions, gender, and cross-dressing in performance, reception, and politics. It focuses on two major early figures and works—Balthazar de Beaujoyeulx and the Balet comique de la Royne and Estienne Durand and the Ballet de la Délivrance de Renaud considering Circe and Armide as foundational roles. It addresses movements and sensations thought to be affected by magic and the elision of sorcery in historiographies of baroque arts thereby reconsidering early ballet dramaturgy through recourse to knowledges later disavowed during the Enlightenment. It addresses artists’ responses to “anti-theatrical” discourses through dance and considers shape-shifting and the “modern invention” of new genres of baroque performance.

Keywords: alchemy, baroque, ballet, Circe, early modern, France, gender, magic, sovereignty, witch

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