In his book, Lettes sur la danse, et sur les ballets (Letters on Dancing and Ballets), Noverre underlines the importance of expressions rather than techniques and masks as these were the skills which showed the purpose of the ballet.
During those days, ballets were based on ancient Greek myths and dramas. But these were becoming obsolete and romance was replacing myths as topics of interest. The realities of life were harsh and there was no better way to escape them than entertainment which dwelt on romantic plots to uplift drooping spirits. (Ballet History)1.
According to Alistair Macaulay, under whose tutelage Bourne graduated in dance, Bourne was endowed "with a particular choreographic talent". Bourne had a love for theater, film and musicals since childhood. But he began taking his dance lessons only when he was 22.
Even while he was still learning, Macaulay did not lose sight of Bourne's special abilities. In the second and third years of his graduation, he was particularly watched by Macaulay who observed the special methodology Bourne was using. "In one piece, it was a special step. In another, it was his nonstop flow of changing dance ideas. In a third, it was his dance rhythm." In each case, Bourne was taken aside by his tutor and told that he was showing something rare (The San Francisco Chronicle)2.
Mats Ek, like Bourne, enjoys the legacy of his forerunners of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. And as a bonus, Ek is doing wonders with the additional benefits of modern inventions and technology. These are times when it is possible to animate non-living objects like the washing machines, refrigerator, television, doorposts, and so on, and vice versa. By this, I don't mean to demean the achievements and facilities available to our grand forefathers. The very fact that they had the foresight to leave an imprint of what they considered vital to perfect art is an achievement. Noverre did not live to enjoy the full fruit of his labor, but he left it with impeccable selflessness for his followers. He exhibited remarkable zeal and faith in etching a living pattern in his sphere of art which he saw from a distance his followers were bound to pick up.
The world, particularly, Europe in Noverre's time was not what that continent is now. The centuries of Noverre's time was experiencing a litmus test, historically, politically and scientifically. Strong undercurrents of unrest in France, coupled with wars between France and England, and the bloody competition between France, England, Portugal and Holland for political and economic gains in Asia, Africa and America, kept the world on its toes, with Europe serving as the epicenter of these unrests.
A look back at History
Jean Georges Noverre, the Shakespeare of ballet, doggedly struggled to infuse expressiveness in dance. He did not like the way dances were being aimlessly performed. He wanted the ballet to be imitative of life. And for this he thought it necessary to supplement movements with appropriate