The Sun King taps into the Supreme Power of Ballet

March 27, 2022

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The Sun King taps into the Supreme Power of Ballet

Discover the Underlying Origin & Purpose of an Unrivaled Artform.

Forever heralded as The Sun King, Louis XIV of France brings Ballet to the world in the 17th century.

Louis XIV Ballet-1800-pix
stage production still from BBC Documentary: "The King Who Invented Ballet"

In 1653 he exhibits its supreme power with his eternally iconic performance in Ballet de la Nuit or ballet of the night. The production runs from sundown to sunset, lasting twelve hours straight. It is a picture of his country rising from darkness into light.

Discover the underlying origin & purpose of Ballet.

The Underlying Origin & Purpose of Ballet

Originating in 15th century Italy, belletti as they were called then, moved to the courts of France where they transformed into impressive court performances known as ballets de coeurs or court ballets.

“… danced by royalty, nobility and foreign dignitaries who aimed to entrance their peers in the audience” [D.Bintley] they served as political and cultural promo methods.

Besides being early broadcasting tools ”presenting events of the day with a twist” [Canova Green] and PR devices, promoting “the glory of France, the grandeur of the monarch” [Canova Green] ballet served a much deeper purpose: it denoted the profound strive towards understanding and expression of universal ORDER, through its mediums of leadership on earth, ie. royal figures and those in positions of power.

Prof. Canova Green says it another way: “… by performing dance you could bring down celestial influence… it was all about trying to recreate harmony on earth.”

The court ballets employed a form of conscious, or intelligent movement and posturing as a language used to define and convey the real dynamic and hierarchical order among the elite and ruling classes. This language defined the level of nobility, social rank, status of power and the expressions of respect, allegiance, recognition and obedience to it.

Bottom line: Ballet is the code of conscious, or intentional movement, with a visual, physical vocabulary representing the principles of presence, focus, order, purity, power, grace and integrity. 

Ballet is our active awareness through practice, of a higher state of being.

What is ballet?

Ballet is:

  • the essence of nobility, meaning to live a higher, more elevated way of life
  • a powerful tool with universal appeal – ballet ‘speaks’ to everyone because it is the language of:

— Beauty (pure and refined, requiring true strength and discipline to attain the skills of this high art)

— Power (a tamed and refined power over the lower animal nature of man)

— Order (it takes organization and coordination of many parts working together as one to express ballet poses and posture)

— Grace (moving in a stalwart, confident manner with intention and awareness of every movement)

— Integrity (this implies an ‘integration’ or ‘connection’ of multiple qualities within a person, resulting in actions that create harmony, prosperity and build-up people)

This defines why Ballet has the power to unite nations, cultures & politics like nothing else.

  • ballet is at the heart of civilized culture & social hierarchy because it reflects intelligence, pedigree and refined taste

Where did ballet originate?

The Ballet we know today originated in the royal courts of France, in the mid 1600’s. 

Although the early roots of Ballet began in the regal palaces of Italy, Ballet was developed and refined into a visible artform being introduced to the world by the French King, Louis XIV.

Influenced by elaborate entertainment that took place in royal celebrations and aristocratic weddings of France and Italy, Ballet de cour or “court ballet” was the earlier name given to ballets danced at royal courts by nobility during the time of Louis’ reign.

Historically, dance has been an important part of the social hierarchy, and one of the most important skills for a gentleman (i.e. a noble, educated man) to master. As a king, Louis was expected to dance as soon as he could walk.

Who started ballet?

The Sun King Louis XIV in the 17th Century

Born in 1638, the longest-reigning monarch in French history, Louis XIV, who is known as the “Sun King” and the “King who invented Ballet”, gave birth to the ballet we know today.

Louis used ballet as the ultimate PR (public relations) tool to glorify his monarchy and place ballet at the heart of civilized culture. As a teen, his iconic appearance in “Ballet of the Night” (1653), where he danced the Sun King, conveyed strength and victory, bringing confidence and power to France on a national and international scale. He was like a political leader and rock star in one.

Most impressive, is the final ballet legacy that Louis XIV left to the world. Specifically, in 1661 he established the first formal national academy of dance called Académie Royale de Danse. The institution was comprised of 13 of the most experienced dance masters from ballet productions at his court. It is here that court dance began to be analyzed and codified into a teachable system of artistry and craftsmanship.

This opened the door to a closely related opera and ballet company that sprang up in 1669, and although the Académie Royale de Danse did not survive after the overthrow of the monarchy in 1789, the latter institution did. Today it is known as the Opéra National de Paris (aka,The Paris Opera Ballet) and it is the oldest national ballet company in the world.

How did King Louis IX get into ballet?

Louis XIV was brought up and groomed to embrace the art of ballet by the Italian-born Cardinal Mazarin as part of his high-level education.

Louis XIV loved beauty and power, and as an extension and outgrowth of his love for the art of ballet, he expressed and cultivated his passion for fashion and architecture, which includes building the elaborate Palace of Versailles (1661 to 1715).

As France’s longest serving monarch, the “Sun King” reigned over a period of unprecedented prosperity in which France became the dominant power in Europe and a leader in the arts and sciences.

How can ballet affect your mind?

It is no coincidence that the “King who invented Ballet” had an exceptional mind which enabled him to have unprecedented and unbeatable success as a leader and world influencer.

Ballet integrates the mind and body, beyond separation, as one functional unit of expression.

Ballet integrates the left and right hemispheres of our brain, through poses and movements that require developing coordination, endurance, flexibility, strength, agility and conscious control of our expression.  

This creates and activates pathways in the brain unavailable to those who do not practice ballet. Therefore, those who practice ballet are at an advantage mentally and physically to be creative, constructive, excel in various activities and successfully pursue their interests.

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on a last note...

Just after finishing this piece, I walk out to the parking lot of the cafe where I did my writing - when lo and behold, I see this magnificent SUN medallion hanging off the mirror of the car parked next to mine - our Greater Self is always speaking to us!

Midsummer Mayerling in LA

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Midsummer Mayerling in LA

streets of LA

There are few things that can get a long-time local to make the drive into hectic downtown LA.  What got me to do it? Seeing the Royal Ballet perform their signature repertoire piece at The Music Center.

Yes, this past weekend I made the trip to Dorothy Chandler Pavilion which typically hosts the dance events at the landmark performing arts complex.

Since it was my first time visiting, I gave myself some x-tra, x-tra time to get there, and arriving with plenty to spare, I took a walk down the streets of angel city capturing the shots below.

The Music Center

Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s raw, unapologetic portrayal of the agonizing cage of human existence – no matter how rich and mighty you are – through the true life drama of Austro-Hungarian Crown Prince Rudolf and his teenage mistress Baroness Mary Vetsera, which ended in the couple’s successfully executed suicide plan in 1889, Mayerling did not disappoint!

But it was dance historian Elizabeth Kaye’s talk prior to the performance that took it to another level, as her talks so often do.

I have come to greatly appreciate the rare aptitude of Ms. Kaye to transport us to another space and time no matter where we are in the moment, and in so doing elevate the entire artistic experience.

enjoy the snaps & check in soon!

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photo above: Elizabeth Kaye prepares to talk

Colburn Performing Arts Complex
concert on Grand Ave
view of LA's famous Angel's Flight railway
downtown LA view from 350 Grand Ave
fountain in courtyard near Colburn School
banner with LA Phil music director Gustavo Dudamel
view of courtyard with reflecting pool from Colburn School
The Music Center
"Nureyev" statue in reflection pool of Dorothy Chandler lobby
Mayerling cast & LA Phil conductor take bows after performance
Mayerling marquee at Disney Concert Hall
LA architecture
close-up of LA's famous Angel's Flight railway
long oval reflecting pool behind MOCA
The Broad contemporary art museum
The Walt Disney Concert Hall on 111 Grand Ave
The Music Center entrance... up the stairs
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Lobby
dance talk space at Dorothy Chandler
wall art installation at upper level of Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
curtain call for Sarah Lamb in role of Mary Vetsera
MOCA: Museum of Contemporary Art
landscapes around Bunker Hill area of downtown LA
view next to Angel's Flight
MOCA Museum courtyard view
Colburn School courtyard entrance
Colburn School CAFE
The Founders wall at Dorothy Chandler
"Ballet Shoes" statue on opposite side of Nureyev statue in lobby of Dorothy Chandler
during intermission.... dance lecture hall at Dorothy Chandler
curtain call for Matthew Ball in role of Prince Rudolf