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Dance ResearchThe Journal of the Society for Dance Research$
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Richard Ralph

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748635849

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748635849.001.0001

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Burlesque Ballet, a Ballad and a Banquet in Ben Jonson's The Gypsies Metamorphos'd (1621)

Burlesque Ballet, a Ballad and a Banquet in Ben Jonson's The Gypsies Metamorphos'd (1621)

Chapter:
(p.144) Burlesque Ballet, a Ballad and a Banquet in Ben Jonson's The Gypsies Metamorphos'd (1621)
Source:
Dance Research
Author(s):

Marie-claude Canova-green

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748635849.003.0006

In summer 1621, George Villiers, then Marquess of Buckingham, invited the king and an exclusive circle of courtiers to inaugurate his newly restored countryside residence Burley-on-the-Hill in Rutland, Lincolnshire. On this occasion, he commissioned Ben Jonson with a masque, The Gypsies Metamorphos’d, in which he himself and various friends performed as dancing, pick-pocketing and palm-reading gipsies. The Gypsies Metamorphos’d was a risqué piece which experimented with innovative features, some of them outrageous. In particular, Jonson and his collaborators drew upon French-style ballet and banqueting fashions which they combined with traditional English music and song. This essay explains the reason for these artistic choices.

Keywords:   Ben Jonson, burlesque ballet, ‘Gypsies Metamorphos'd’ (1621), influence of French Court Ballet, the English Masque

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