French Ballet Class (Gershwin)

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French Ballet Class is a six-minute piece written by George Gershwin in 1937 for two pianos for the movie Shall We Dance . [1] This sequence was meant to accompany a scene of dozens of ballet dancers practicing their positions. It is written in the style of the galop.

Only two minutes of this music was used in the final film.

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Ballet as a music form progressed from simply a complement to dance, to a concrete compositional form that often had as much value as the dance that went along with it. The dance form, originating in France during the 17th century, began as a theatrical dance. It was not until the 19th century that ballet gained status as a "classical" form. In ballet, the terms 'classical' and 'romantic' are chronologically reversed from musical usage. Thus, the 19th century Classical period in ballet coincided with the 19th century Romantic era in music. Ballet music composers from the 17th–20th centuries, including the likes of Jean-Baptiste Lully, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Igor Stravinsky, and Sergei Prokofiev, were predominantly in France and Russia. Yet with the increased international notoriety seen in Tchaikovsky's and Stravinsky's lifetime, ballet music composition and ballet in general spread across the western world.

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  1. "Shall We Dance (1937)". Library of Congress. Retrieved 12 February 2024.