The Kennedy Center

King Louis XIV (Bourbon) Capet


King Louis XIV of France danced in several court ballets. Many of these ballets featured dances in which performers dressed in elaborate costumes and moved in various geometrical patterns. Louis XIV is most remembered for his role as Apollo, god of the sun, in Ballet de la Nuit, performed at the Palais du Petit Bourbon in Paris in 1653. Each of the four parts of the ballet span three hours of the night. In Part Four, the ballet builds to a climax when the Sun, danced by Louis XIV, rises and leads a corps of virtues. Wearing an ornate golden corselet and a kilt of golden rays, Louis XIV became known as the "Sun King."

Louis XIV appointed Pierre Beauchamps as Superintendent of the Ballet. A French composer, choreographer and dancer, Beauchamps created the ballets danced at the court, often dancing with the King in the ballet de cour. He gave dance lessons to Louis XIV for over twenty years. Pierre Rameau credits Beauchamps with codification of the five ballet positions of the feet and involvement in developing position and use of the arms.
King Louis XIV