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Open Access The Jesuit College Ballets: What We Know and What’s Next

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The Jesuit College Ballets: What We Know and What’s Next

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The existence and nature of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century ballets produced at Jesuit colleges in Catholic Europe, most often in France and German-speaking lands, is better known now, in the United States and in France, than it was several decades ago. Researchers have come to understand much more about the ballets, their motivation and widespread production, and their professionalism. The Jesuit college ballets are a rich nexus of art, theology, philosophy, and culture. Looking again at what we already know reveals questions that need to be addressed in future research. The most fruitful future research is likely to come from scholars committed to interdisciplinary work, including some physical understanding of dance as an art form. As with any phenomenon involving the meeting of an art form and theology, historians of the art form and historians of the theology tend to know and be interested in very different things. And their colleagues, historians of culture, may be interested in yet something else. As scholars approach a variety of possible future Jesuit college ballet projects, this interdisciplinary challenge can illumine more completely the commitments and intentions of the ballets’ Jesuit producers, as well as the ballets’ influence on their surrounding cultures, and the cultures’ shaping of the ballets.

Affiliations: 1: Independent scholar wingrock@att.net

The existence and nature of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century ballets produced at Jesuit colleges in Catholic Europe, most often in France and German-speaking lands, is better known now, in the United States and in France, than it was several decades ago. Researchers have come to understand much more about the ballets, their motivation and widespread production, and their professionalism. The Jesuit college ballets are a rich nexus of art, theology, philosophy, and culture. Looking again at what we already know reveals questions that need to be addressed in future research. The most fruitful future research is likely to come from scholars committed to interdisciplinary work, including some physical understanding of dance as an art form. As with any phenomenon involving the meeting of an art form and theology, historians of the art form and historians of the theology tend to know and be interested in very different things. And their colleagues, historians of culture, may be interested in yet something else. As scholars approach a variety of possible future Jesuit college ballet projects, this interdisciplinary challenge can illumine more completely the commitments and intentions of the ballets’ Jesuit producers, as well as the ballets’ influence on their surrounding cultures, and the cultures’ shaping of the ballets.

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2017-06-01
2018-07-22

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