A cantankerous old lady with rheumatism takes up classical ballet at age thirty.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Chillin' With the Sun King
A while ago my teacher was instructing us to correct our posture and hold our arms at the proper angle. Keep your elbows lifted, she said, so that you don't crush your beautiful sleeves! And a few of the girls tittered, because come on, we are wearing leotards and booty shorts up in here. She went on to explain that during the reign of Louis XIV (The Sun King) in France ballet was popularized as a court dance for the lords and ladies. They were all, of course, wearing the very finest and frilliest and most cumbersome of clothing, because that was how people rolled back then (like stilettos and strapless gowns are really all that much better?). Big skirts with big panniers. big sleeves with delicate lace work and silk embroidery. And you didn't want to crush that stuff, right? So you stood the heck up and held your arms out so you wouldn't smash anything. It's not like you could take that dress to the fluff 'n fold.
Anyhow, I stumbled upon this photo recently of a court gown of the era. And check it out, yo: