on 29 April the world celebrates international dance Day. According to tradition, on this day, any well-known representative of choreography, reference is made to the world community with a private message. And to this day timed a presentation of the most prestigious ballet awards and prizes, such as prize Benois de La Danse, commonly referred to as the ballet Oscar. Ballet Benois and was founded on this day in 1991, and now is presented annually at the Historic Bolshoi theatre the most recognized dancers, choreographers, artists, making performances, and composers who write music to it. Had to give this year, but because of the events associated with the pandemic COVID-19, it was moved to the next. Other ballet prize, too often awarded on this day – “spirit of dance”. But why in this day there are all important ballet event of the year? And why this day was declared by the United Nations (UN) world Day of dance? Try to understand…

the date Itself was proposed by the famous teacher and choreographer Peter Gusev in memory of born on this day, the French choreographer, theorist and reformer of the ballet, Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), known in history as “the father of modern ballet”.

the generation takes off his mask

What did such a great never the dance that his name, only, in General, of the few names in the history of ballet, so revered descendants? And his birthday declared a Day of Dance? Even the era in which lived Never in ballet history and call – the era of Navarra… it’s very simple: it this dance is reformed. And reformed not just a dance, but also everything associated with him. Because of how important the event we don’t have to remember in the history of the dance, almost all of them will be associated with the reforms, Navarra. Even the right dance on its independence from other theatrical art forms is also connected with it. After all, a ballet performance to Noverre often was part of some operatic or dramatic performance and was just one of his acts. Never the same subordinate position of ballet changed in the strongest.

Other innovations included in the practice of theatre since the mid-eighteenth century, are also associated with it. For example, the scenery. In the XVII and XVIII centuries, theatrical stage resembled a luxurious, intricate pattern, where in a rich frame of the portal was enclosed parks, palaces, squares and cities. What did not come up artists to attract the audience. And as soon as the ballet became an independent art form with such “embellishment”, especially in the performances of Navarra was finished. Artwork should accurately reflect the era and scene of the play �� make room for dancing.

Or theatrical makeup… To Noverre dancers, as you know, wearing theatrical masks. Wore them and the Sun King Louis XIV, when dancing to put on the ballet, and professional dancers until the mid-eighteenth century. And it Never strongly demanded to abandon them in their performances, arguing that “face is the mirror of the soul”, and that its expression was easier to consider the audience in the theater began to apply makeup. I believe that the first of the ballet actors refused the mask was Vestris the father: his appearance on stage with open face “almost made a commotion in the stalls” of the Paris Opera.

His thoughts the reformer of the ballet is formulated in a special book, which is still the catechism of ballet dancers and ballet schools future ballet artists carefully studied and outline. In 1760 in Lyon and Stuttgart, this book was first published under the title “Letters on dancing and ballets” (“Lettres sur la danse et les ballets”). Actually made a revolution in ballet theatre, this work brought Noverre European fame. In it the reformer of ballet art tried to make sense of all the previous ballet experience. The main expressive means of the ballet Noverre became a pantomime, she obeyed the dancing, which also needs to encompass dramatic idea. In his “Letters on dancing and ballet” he has developed the theoretical tasks of pantomime, has introduced a new ballet, the term pas d’action, that is, “effective ballet”.

This large theoretical work has subsequently withstood many editions and was translated into all major European languages. And in 1803-1804 this work was published in 4 volumes in St. Petersburg under the title “Letters on dancing” — the book was published in Russia due to student Novarra – Charles Le Pico, invited to St. Petersburg in 1787 as the first dancer, and then choreographer. Since then in Russia the book was reprinted up to the present time.

Theater massacre in London

on April 29, 1727, nearly three centuries ago, near Paris, was born Jean-Georges of Noverr. His biography, the dancer and choreographer of the time, because he came not from an acting family, and, accordingly, the profession of a dancer came to him by inheritance are not that often met in those days. His father Jean-Louis of Never, a native of Lausanne, was an adjutant in the army, the bellicose Swedish king Charles XII, the same one that lost to Peter I, the battle of Poltava. So the boy was expecting a great military career if he hadn’t chose military service classes at the theater and dancing. And this behavior of the offspring of a good family far went beyond the accepted norms of life of mid-eighteenth century.

he Studied Nover the famous teachers: Jean-Denis and Louis dupré and also the elderly then the dancing master Marcel. Dupree and offered 16-year-old student his first engagement as a dancer in the theatre of the Comic Opera, because Paris is the main ballet company in the world – at that time it get failed. After Paris was Berlin, Marseille, where Never was a partner of the famous ballerina Camargo, included in the annals of history the fact that was the first of the dancers korolivka the hem of her ballet skirt to the calf, putting on display the most beautiful legs. Them dancer cut a caper and Cabriole that to it under force to execute only male virtuosos. Do not forget that the master of the scene until the late eighteenth century in the ballet, and indeed the theatre remained still, actor or dancer. In 1751-1752 years of Never himself headed in the Marseilles theatre troupe of dancers, which included his wife, née Marie-Louise Sauveur, soon, however, left a dance career for the role of a comedic actress.

Repeated attempts to get in the first theatre of France – the Royal Academy of music or the Great Paris Opera (as it will be called later), was still unsuccessful. But in 1754 27-year-old choreographer revealed to Parisians the ballet “the Chinese feast”, in fact, made his name. “The Chinese feast” brought Noverre such popularity that ballet in England. The greatest tragic actor of the eighteenth century David Garrick in 1754 invited Noverre to put this ballet in the theatre Drury lane. Never went to put the play in London, not quite true, calculating the political situation at that time – here were ready to begin the Seven years ‘ War between England and France.

Apparently in anticipation of anti-French sentiment of the public, reigned before the war in English society, Garrick made a clever move: he has made a presence at the premiere of king George II and notified the public that Never, in General, not French, but born in Switzerland, his wife is German, and 60 actors that participate in ballet, a 40 – British. The first time it worked, and despite the fact that the premiere took place in a tense atmosphere and ended with shouts of protest, the play supported know. But on the second run of the play in Drury lane erupted a real battle. Right during action in the hall a fight broke out, and in the course went to the sword. Armed nobles still managed to stop the pogrom, beating opponents and causing them much injury. However, at the fourth performance, when the elite went to the opening of the season of Italian Opera, blinded by hatred of everything French gallery smashed the chandeliers and mirrors were thrown to the ground benches. Ballet had to cancel.

But stubborn Never not in a hurry to leave England. After talking to Garrick forced the choreographer to largely reconsider their views on ballet. According to the outstanding ballet of the researcher V. M. Krasovskaya, “Garrick has reinvented the English of Shakespeare, reworking, however, his play in the conventional rules of its own era. The work of Garrick became the top, which then rushed Never, sometimes ignoring the limitations of his own art. Influenced him in a conversation with Garrick about the aims and objectives of the modern theatre”. Garrick also appreciated Noverre and sunset stage their own activities in a letter to a friend regretted that he was forced “to talk about Noverre plain and boring prose” and called it “fantasticness of dancers and a great Genius.”

the Audience crying, and the scenes of murder of children faints

In 1757 Never returned to France and headed the ballet troupe in Lyon, which was then one of the leading musical and choreographic centers in France. The Paris Opera is kept to tradition and resisted the new trends well in the province was possible experiments. There was born the first innovative “efficient ballets” Noverre, in which he totally refused from heavy costume, developed a dramaturgic basis of the performances, “and even encroached on the symmetry corps de ballet dancing, leading the origin from the court dances of Louis XIV”.

of Course, like any choreographer, Never wanted to put his ballets at the Paris Opera house – the Royal Academy of music. But the citadel of traditionalism did not want to see talented, full of daring reformist ideas of the choreographer. In order to realize their ideas, to translate theory into practice and to show Europe what path to move, leaving Noverr in Stuttgart and works there for seven years.

In Stuttgart for Duke Karl II of Württemberg, a great connoisseur and lover of the theater, created for the servants of art free creative atmosphere that attracted many talented musicians, actors, artists. In 1763, the birthday of the Duke of Never set a ballet to the music of J. Rodolphe “Medea and Jason”, where embodied their basic ballet reform. The play was just about half an hour and consisted of three parts. The years before the revolution in literature and theatre in great Vogue scenes with bloody murders and all sorts of horrors. Therefore, the choice of the Greek myth, which turned Noverr, was far from accidental.

a Passionate and dynamic performance made such an impression that the audience was crying. And in the most tragic moments in the scenes of Medea killing their children, impressionable women in the audience just fainted. Medea played by Nancy Levie, and in the role of Jason was the Premier of the Paris Opera, the most famous artist of that time,��and “God dance” (a modest man, he called himself at first, he followed and his contemporaries) of the eighteenth century Gaetano Vestris. Followed by many artists of the Paris Opera, such as Jean Dauberval, came to Stuttgart to dance in productions of Navarra.

Having performed in dance revolution, “Medea and Jason” became the most famous ballet of the decade and had such a great success that Europe began the gradual development of reform Navarra. To have it in the repertoire of all major theatres from small to large. Went to the ballet in Russia, where he loved to write from abroad are the most fashionable and advanced. On the Petersburg stage in 1789 he showed the student Noverre, the party’s first Prime Minister Charles Le Peak. The ballet was so popular that in the staged version of Giuseppe Solomon in 1790-ies, it is danced serf actors richest Sheremetiev.

In 1764 Noverr led the troupe in Stuttgart from fifteen soloists and corps de ballet of twenty-three men and twenty one women. Now a European celebrity, he was still waiting for invitations from the Paris Opera, which continues to be the choreographer ignored. And without waiting for a contract with Paris ballet master moved to Vienna, where he signed a contract as a choreographer of two Viennese theatres and dance teacher in the Imperial family, where his pupil was the young Princess of the Habsburg dynasty Marie Antoinette, future Queen of France. Music the Princess was taught by Christoph Gluck. He included in his Opera ballet divertissements, which often put Never. But the little Princess, becoming Queen of France, will fulfill a longtime dream Noverre, to the coveted place of chief choreographer of the Paris Opera.

Schemers of the Paris Opera house forced Noverre to leave Paris

And early in the autumn of 1776 in Paris, rumors of Never engaged by the Royal Academy of music. The magazine “Secret memoirs” on 14 August announced that the theater will soon receive “reinforcements, which can be very useful in the face of the famous Noverre. He went to Paris already famous and venerable choreographer. He was about fifty, he is full of energy and hoped to conquer the city, which for so long did not recognize his merits. But the triumph was short. Aristocrats and artists whom they patronized, immediately started a war against him.

the Newspapers railed about his appointment: “… he built a Golden bridge to convince to leave Vienna. He agreed to give 20 thousand livres salaries, and it is without a doubt too much”. Hand went a letter to his mother Gardel, a dancer of the Paris Opera, also laid claim to the coveted post, in which she was indignant: “son, have achieved fame and praise of his talent for those 19 years which he held at the Opera house, must give place to a foreigner, twenty times in vain tried to impose itself on Opera… Have a little Noverre too much ambition and complacency.”

Shown soon premiere of the five-act ballet the tragedy of Cornelia “the horaces and curiaces.” failed. The artists refused to participate in the play. Journalists laughed in reviews that his ballets are not to understand without the booklet with the libretto that the audience is disappointed and wants instead of his usual heroic stories lyrical and pastoral. The Directorate refused him money for the performances, the artists put forward new terms of its collaboration with the choreographer. Since 1778 Never at the Royal Academy of music set just dances in operas. Although the success of the ballet “Trinkets” to the music of W. A. Mozart and resumed, “Medea and Jason”, the intrigue surrounding Noverre actually drove him into a corner. After 5 years, in 1781, humiliated, misunderstood and offended Noverr, in exchange for promised him a big lifetime pension, was forced to leave. He left Paris.

“I left home with the decision never to use his abilities,” wrote the choreographer. He went to England. The season opened on 17 November 1781 new ballet master “of the Newly joined lovers”. There was also a revival of. Critics here and extolled the “power of genius” Noverre, his “high taste” and the ability to combine the “quality of the poet, artist and actor”. To top the successes of the London season, they have published translations of “Letters on the dance.” And then Never sick. And only in the spring of 1887, resumed its activities. In the autumn he brought to England a select troupe which included a young Charles Didelot. Many years later he would become the founder of the Russian ballet schools.

a Plot to rescue Marie-Antoinette

Advancing 1789, France was on the verge of revolution, and after the fire of the Royal theatre, where performances took place, the choreographer returns home. He settled in the provincial town of Triela, where he lived for three years. In 1792 ohms, when come to power, the Jacobins, head over to the sixty Noverre threatened. Fearing persecution, Never hastily departing to England with a group of dancers. Legend has it that before leaving the country, Never involved in the conspiracy, and tries to save his Queen, the one that appointed him to the position of chief choreographer of the Paris Opera… In one of his books on the history of ballet, the researcher Irina Dashkova writes: “From abroad through secretly passed him a large sum of money to bribe prison guards. However, after several earlier attempts to free Marie Antoinette, a failed new brave not nashlos��”. The Queen ascended the scaffold. Although fled to England Noverra “informed that he was given the Republican passport, that France does not consider him a refugee, and even that new government going to reimburse their losses, mindful of his greatest merits before Fatherland, Never remained true to himself. As if in answer, he puts in London choreographic miniature to the music of the English anthem begins with the words: “God save the king”.

Back in France, Never faced with deception: the promise and promises of the new government was a farce, Peter nziu he stopped, putting the blame “of relations with the representatives of the old regime”, and the foundations of the Paris Opera during the revolution languish. Find a job failed. Only 1800 of Never seeking assistance and leaves with his wife in the town of Saint-Germain-EN-Laye, occasionally still visiting Paris and visited the Opera. “He looks at the rehearsal, which gives advice to young performers, lamenting that not bring more dancers, making their number exceeded dancers. It saddens necrotic monotony, stealthily penetrating the performances of the Opera, and, above all, how Vestris-Junior forgets all of the principles, spending a talent for pirouettes”. 19 0ктября 1810 of Never died.

What’s more, reminisced about Noverre his contemporaries, of course, do not guess that from his name in the future will forever connect the world Day of Dance? Contemporaries said about him obstinate and imperious nature, which (as is now becoming clear) for ballet masters of the XVIII century and later times, no exception but rather the rule. Never his entire creative life was demanding and harsh to the artists. Michael Kelly, Director of the London theatre Royal when he was there Novarra, remembers him “as the desperate kicker, who was wrong, so fumed and raged behind the scenes that, really, could have escaped from control freak”. But all this costs the creative process at all times. Importantly, the indefatigable hard work of the choreographer, his creative combustion and demanding in creativity not only for artists, but also to himself. This Never also eminently possessed, would not otherwise have been able to do for ballet what he actually was able to do for him!