What is the course about?
This course examines the origins of ballet, leading up to the start of the nineteenth century. We will look in detail at the first Romantic ballet, La Sylphide, and others in France, Russia, and other European countries, leading up to the early works of the choreographer Petipa. We will listen to many musical examples and watch extracts from all sorts of ballets, from recreations of early works up to the major ballets at the end of the century, in order to examine how the choreography and the music communicate meaning and tell the story on stage. It is hoped that we can visit a performance or Company Class in London during the term, though this will be optional and not part of the course.
What will we cover?
- How ballet and music tell a story
- Ballet and choreographic styles during the nineteenth century
- Musical styles which go with these ballets
- The basics of ballet mime
- The basics of musical expression through melody, harmony and rhythm
- The instruments used in a typical ballet orchestra and their sounds.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- understand how nineteenth-century ballet and its music tell a story
- comment on musical and choreographic styles of this period
- understand how ballet music can provide a variety of styles and sounds to complement the dance.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is aimed at those with a love of 19th century ballet and its music. There is no requirement to have any technical or historical knowledge of either ballet or music.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will be taught using a range of techniques including short lectures, slide shows and discussions, practical demonstrations on the piano and guided listening sessions. Courses use a variety of materials including audio recordings, DVDs and youtube clips. Between classes, you may like to watch complete ballets or longer extracts from the ballets we study by following the YouTube links given on the weekly handouts.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No. However, you may wish to buy some of the music or books recommended in class. We may visit a ballet performance or Company Class in London during the course, but this will be optional, and the cost of the ticket will be in addition to the course fee.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
City lit has a vibrant music appreciation programme with a wide range of classes throughout the academic year (September-July) and shorter courses in our Summer School (July-August). Please contact the music office if you require any help finding a suitable course.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details