By Judith Bennahum

The trap of Perfection: type and Ballett, 1780-1830 bargains a distinct examine how ballet stimulated modern model and women's physique snapshot, and the way road models in flip have been mirrored through the costumes worn by means of ballet dancers. via years of analysis, the writer has traced the interaction among style, social developments, and the advance of dance. throughout the eighteenth century, ladies actually took up two times as a lot area as males; their billowing clothes ballooned out from their figures, occasionally a whole fifty-five inches, to exhibit expensive jewelry and advantageous brocade paintings; comparable costumes seemed on level. yet garments additionally restricted her circulation; it actually disabled them, making the dances themselves little greater than tableaux. move used to be additional inhibited by means of excessive footwear and tight corsets; therefore a twin of the rigidly instantly, long-lined dancer is as a lot a manufactured from garments as aesthetics. notwithstanding, with altering instances got here new tendencies. An elevated curiosity in traditional move and the typical people ended in less-restrictive garments. As audience demanded extra virtuosic dancers, girls actually danced their solution to freedom.

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Clothing had serious meanings that resonated throughout court and opera life. Theaters catered to the court, often the source of their privilèges and subsidies. Everything connected to the public theater had some link to the aristocracy and could be manipulated. The costume, a minor ornament, related to the fashions and tastes of the moment. It took several broad-minded and informed theatrical and boulevard artists, some in England as well as in France, to discover the value of a knowledgeably conceived production.

16 At the end of the eighteenth century, but French and English fashion not only followed the idiosyncratic desires of the court, it also responded to changing attitudes toward the body, as important writers and philosophers brought fresh ideas of democracy to popular attention. Performances in the theater and at court catered to stunning women in search of power and fame. As English styles penetrated all levels of society, less ornate and freermoving dress became the norm. Marie Antoinette The quintessential moderators of fashion and the arts were, naturally, the heads of the court—the king and queen.

8 Madame de la Tour du Pin’s diaries remain as important commentaries during the late eighteenth century. Sometimes a court rehearsal for presentation took several days because of the amount of training needed. A young woman had to adjust to the pain of a whale-boned bodice that cut into the upper arms. Her costume, to which a long cloth train was attached, had to be manipulated repeatedly with little kicks to move forward, and after curtsying low several times, the wearer had to retreat backwards from the royal presence without tripping.

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