Investigating the aesthetic ideals of another era can evoke questions about our own assumptions of what is beautiful and what is considered “art” today. In this course, we will explore early European ideals of beauty and harmony through the preclassical dance forms and choreographies of the 17th and 18th centuries. Using as our material original texts of dance (treatises and notation systems), music, painting, and letters, we will delve into the juxtaposition of art and life in the 17th and 18th centuries. Special attention will be paid to developing a physical sensitivity to musical phrasing, spatial awareness, and how one embodied “character” on the stages and in the ballrooms of Louis XIV and Louis XV. Discussion will be encouraged as we make connections to our current performance and training practices. We will create a new work based on our investigations; live music, spoken text, and historically inspired costuming will be used in the final creation. Students will showcase their work with an end-of-semester performance.