Summer is at the doors and it is inseparably linked with leisure & vacations. So it was in the 17th century. I won’t break this sacred tradition and will devote the summer time telling you about dancing, arts, theatre the king was fond of so much.

Louis XIV had a perfect art taste. It was expressed not only in contemplation of various sorts of art, among which, I would especially mark dancing & gardening. He was a great artist himself. His personal impact, no matter that it was created with hands of his devoted art team, has passed through centuries and amazes us yet. Starting with beauties of Versailles and finishing with dancing, everywhere we feel his spirit & behold the sunshine calling us to touch a bit of the eternal beautiful.

In this post I would like to tell you about Louis XIV as a dancer. Indeed, he used to dance. And I must say he did it very well. His first serious début happened on the 23rd of February 1653. It was a ballet known as Ballet Royal de la Nuit. Louis appeared as the Sun in this performance and he was only 15 years old. His artistic career, if we might say so, lasted until 1671 when due to problems with the leg, he ceased the ballet performances, but not the court dancing, of course.

We, modern people, won’t hardly be surprised with this way of self-expression…But wait a moment! Even dancing was never an entertainment for the king of France. As the whole Royal life happened under floodlights of publicity, as his personality was sacred, any action of his had the meaning. Ballets, for example, helped Louis XIV to establish the new order at his own Court, to make rebellious courtiers serve their king, to control his favours & disgraces. Soon dancing near His Majesty at the same stage became a great honour any grand wished to obtain, as it made him participate directly in his monarch’s life. This concept was extremely important for the courtiers as any act of the Royal daily routine meant serving for them.

Speaking about the plots of the ballets, I wish to highlight that even most allegoric one was a reflection of the real life in the country and abroad. I also suppose that even dances & movements had the hidden sense which was easily comprehended by people of that time. It is a pity that this beautiful language of movement is partially lost at present…but we will hope that one day it will reappear in the world and we will learn the full meaning of bewitching ballets of the 17th century shone with the Divine rays of Louis XIV’s grace.

Vive le Roy!

Maria KethuProfumo


About kethuprofumo

Reconstructing the Past for the glorious Future
This entry was posted in Art, ballet, Beauty, culture, France, History, Louis XIV, Society, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Well done. Maria. It would be nice to see dance return to its former glory. I think people are too busy with texting etc. to learn.

  2. Great post, Maria. Your knowledge of these times is amazing. Thanks for sharing this. I’m a musician, but I can’t dance a step. I enjoy music by sitting behind the piano.

    • kethuprofumo says:

      Thanks, dear Don! I appreciate your opinion! Oh, well! Musicians are to play the music, are not they? 🙂 By the way, have you tried playing any baroque compositions? They are mostly for clavecin,,,but I guess there are transcriptions for the piano. What sort of music do you usually play?

  3. I had no idea King Louis XIV danced, and ballet no less; incredible Maria. There are still beautiful ballet performances coming out of Russia.

  4. smilecalm says:

    your royalty
    well dressed
    & expressed, Maria 🙂

  5. Aweni says:

    I agree…..dance as an art form is going through a transformation at present…..to be honest I’m not sure where we are going with it….but we are definitely headed somewhere….hopefully a semblance of its former glory will remain.

  6. moiragoff says:

    Good evening Maria, at last I have time to respond to your lovely post. Louis XIV not only danced (and I think he was a truly accomplished dancer) he also cared about dance itself. He established what we now know as classical ballet – watching a great ballet like The Sleeping Beauty gives just a glimpse of the dancing created at Louis XIV’s court. He also wanted dancing to achieve the permanence of music, so he commanded his dancing masters to create a for of notation – and they did! That is how we still have such wonderful solos as the Passcaille of Armide (the video you posted). There is so much more to say, but this is enough for now.

    • kethuprofumo says:

      Thanks, dear Moira for your wonderful professional review! True! He was the King from all the sides & as a great amateur of arts he cared of the dance too. Ah! What an amazing time it was!

  7. theburningheart says:

    I wonder dear Maria, if you are an accomplished dancer yourself, and too shy to let us know of your dancing gift?

    Just as well as a gourmand cook, after reading some of your old recipes it made me wonder and think you may have cooked them already!

    En hora buena, saludos y felicitaciones por tu blog, Maria. 🙂

    • kethuprofumo says:

      Thanks, dear Mr. Brigido. First of all, I’m a specialist on LOUIS XIV. 😉 And it includes not only history. I would say it includes all in history. Best wishes,

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