There are many powerful attempts to write about dance and its importance in human life. Among the existing variety of authors, it is hard to define which work is the best or the most helpful project. Still, it is always interesting to compare their worth, the authors’ intentions, and their possible impact on readers’ intentions. In this paper, two works from the Age of Romanticism will be discussed: Bournonville’s La Sylphide and Alice’s An Account of the Principles of Our Traditions. On the one hand, it seems that these two writings have nothing in common except the intentions of the authors to make contributions to the field of dance and choose the theme of ballet for discussions. Bournonville’s story is a narrative with several main characters, a setting, and an idea that it is so easy to lose everything in several seconds. On the other hand, a detailed analysis of the articles helps to discover several common and powerful issues about how dance should look like. This paper is developed to describe how the analysis of Bournonville’s and Alice’s articles may improve a personal understanding of the concept of dance and its role in personal experience.
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I believe that both authors under consideration have the same intentions which are to introduce their visions of ballet, to explain the essence and peculiarities of this form of dance, and to prove that it is wrong to come to a certain conclusion after having one or two definitions only. The peculiar feature of the analysis of these two articles at the same time is the possibility to observe the nature of ballet from different perspectives.
Advice explains ballet as a combination of rules which cannot be neglected by those involved in ballet. The goal of Advice is to describe a ballet class that is based on the Blasis’ lesson and explain how to use energy and enthusiasm by every dancer. From the very first lines, several terms and explanations may be observed: petits and grand battements, attitudes, ronds de jambe sur terr and en l’air. The presence of such words and the necessity to comprehend each of them may intimidate the reader and create the image of ballet as something too strict, definite, and full of rules and instructions. Still, this is one of the best approaches for people to understand the basics of ballet. They are crucial in case a person wants to achieve the results, which are perfectly described by Bournonville.
In La Sylphide, ballet turns out to be the manner of speaking and acting. Bournonville introduces ballet as a powerful narration with its beginning and ending. There are no complicated terms or rules for people. La Sylphide is the story of life translated with the help of ballet. In those several pages of narration, no character said a word, but the reader is lucky to observe an interesting and educative story. Human actions and movements are what matter, and ballet, like nothing else, discovers the beauty of human decisions and life.
In general, Alice’s and Bournonville’s articles influence my understanding of dance and ballet, in particular, considerably. They provide me with a guide on how several rules and too complicated terms turn into a powerful story on stage. These articles show me the way how people should learn dance concepts and forms. It is wrong to believe that dance is a story with a captivating plot and movements. Dance is a whole theory with rules and obligations, and people should not neglect the fact that a person could hardly observe the beauty of dance without grasping certain theories and norms.