Biography of Balthasar de Beaujoyeulx (s. XVI)

The Italian Baldassare's Belgiojoso, name that was translated into French as Balthasar de Beaujoyeulx, was one of the brightest creators of 16th-century France, as well as one of the most inspired representatives of the mentality and the aesthetic typical humanist of the Renaissance. His artistic training allowed him to play violinist, teacher, music composer of dance and choreographer professions, which, over time, would allow him to include virtually all points of view from which you can see the idea of the "comprehensive show", which, if in the Italian Renaissance is the germ of the original opera, in the French case gives rise to the genre of the ballet de cour.

Balthasar de Beaujoyeulx arrived in France as part of a grouping of musicians Piedmont and remained in this country responsible for the Organization of various courtiers shows that were held at the Court of King Henry II, married the Queen of Italian-born Catherine de Medici, who, in turn, had been educated in the refined Roman Palace of the Medici, under the tutelage of Pope Clement VII, one of the most representative of the Italian Renaissance patrons. The Queen, able to appreciate like no one else in the French court the aesthetic values of the Renaissance culture, could not fail to repair in the talent of the musician and choreographer Beaujoyeulx, who, in addition, shared origin. Therefore, it gave him the office of valet de chambre (Batman). Beaujoyeulx service to the sovereign and, later, his three sons, would be maintained over thirty years. Among functions Beaujoyeulx played in the service of the Queen was the organizing entertainment for the Royal Court. These entertainments consisted in all sorts of games and activities in which the members of the Court took part, as well as various shows that are represented well on the stage, in the eyes of the courtiers, as in the different halls of palaces where he resided the Court. Activity of Beaujoyeulx as teacher of dance, a charge that in the Renaissance and Baroque courts always deserved serious consideration, allowed him to form the members of the Court that attended his lessons for the implementation of the more complicated choreography which, later, represented in the eyes of other courtiers in the course of the palatial holiday.

The role of Balthasar de Beaujoyeulx developing geometric dance and the invention of theBallet de Cour.

Balthasar Beaujoyeulx main contribution to the French scene consists of the invention of the genre of the ballet de cour, which consisted of an integration of various art forms (dance, music, recited verse, scenic resources, etc.) in a single show. This new genre was to become the Foundation on which you build the French operatic tradition. Main Beaujoyeulx creations at the service of the French Court include the masquerade entitled Paradis d´Amour; composed in 1572, and the dance performance entitled Le Ballet des Polonais, produced the next year to celebrate the election of the second son of Henry and Catherine, the Duke of Anjou Kings, such as King of Poland. But, undoubtedly, his most famous creation was the spectacle that has gone down in history as the first known example of ballet de cour: entitled Le Balet Comique de la Reine, represented the French court on October 15 of the year 1581, a work composed by order of Queen Louise, wife of King Henri III, the third of the sons of Catherine de Medici. The time in which Beaujoyeulx was commissioned to produce this show, already had rooted in the influences of the Academy of music and poetry (Académie de Musique et Poésie), directed by the poet Jean Antoine de Baïf, an institution that had an extraordinary importance in regards to the dissemination in the Renaissance France of Pythagorean and Platonic ideas about the nature and function of the artsin a way similar to what, in the Italy of the time, was taking place at the heart of the humanist academies. As well as in the Academy that met in Florence in the surroundings of count Bardi, known as Camerata Florentina, poets and musicians of the Renaissance Italy were trying to recreate, through various procedures, style and speech typical of classical tragedy, also French intellectuals, gathered at the Academy of music and poetry, sought, on the one hand, recreate the representations of the classical composing for this "vers et musique mesures to l´antique" (' verse and measured music) (the old ') and, on the other, to achieve a unity among all the arts on the basis of the idea of achieving the common goal of the beauty and order of art as a representation of the order of the universe: the Cosmos. Balthasar de Beaujoyeulx, influenced by the ideas that were discussed at the Academy, got to imagine a new type of show that would be present the notion of universal harmony emanating from the philosophy of the Greeks and represented by the mathematical and geometrical proportions applied to the choreography and music. According to this conception, if music should express the harmony of the spheres, i.e. the idea of perfect beauty and order, also in the choreography should be present these mathematical proportions ideals that resemble the ideal configuration of an ordered Cosmos. Dances imagined by Beaujoyeulx, in which various members of the Court, usually taking part would thus constitute a representation of the dance of spheres, universal harmony.

The application of geometry to the dance was not a novelty in the France lived Beaujoyeulx, but that the trend to dance in group, in formations that reproduce the most basic geometric shapes (circles, squares, or triangles), turns out to be a constant since time immemorial in all cultural universes of Earth. On the other hand, attributed to numerical ratios or geometric forms a transcendent meaning nor was to be a revolutionary concept in times of Balthasar de Beaujoyeulx. Thus, while it is true that Beaujoyeulx was not really the inventor of dance composed according to geometric patterns, the truth is that Yes it can be considered its most brilliant grower, in addition to the choreographer who most helped to give the dance a real category that eventually would lead her, also in the French traditionto become one of the most popular models of the stage show.

Internet links. ; Geometric Dance Description. ; Comportment in Renaissance Dance. ; Le Balet Comique de la Reine. An Analysis.


Le Balet Comique de la Reine. (Edition facsimile; introduction of Margaret M. McGowan, New York, 1982).

PRUNIÈRES, H.: Le Ballet de Cour en France. (Paris, 1914).

MCGOWAN, Margaret: L´art du Ballet de Cour en France (1581-1643).

KIRSTEIN, Lincoln: Movemente and Metaphor: Four Centuries of Ballet. (New York, 1970).

MILLER, James: Measures of Wisdom: The Cosmic Dance in Classical and Christian Antiquity (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986).