Sunday, December 20, 2009

Today in Dance History: December 20

On this date in 1585: A spectacle was presented for King Phillip II of Spain. As Maurice Esses recounted in Dance and Instrumental Diferencias... "...all the associations representing the manual trades presented dances near the gates of the palace so the ladies of the court might see them. On each side of the palace a stage was constructed on which musicians played for the dancers each day... using small drums, recorders and other lowly instruments, they played together well and maintained the beat very effectively for the dancers... In short, each trade association presented something new. They danced so much that they broke down a 25-foot wall located on the bank of the river next to the palace and many people fell into the water."

On this date in 1911: Swan Lake makes its U.S. debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.

On this date in 1949: John Cranko's ballet Beauty and the Beast premiered.

And on this date in 1981: Michael Bennett's Dreamgirls opens on this date on Broadway. The musical will run more than 1500 performances.