Jean Balon (1676-1739)

Balon is also spelled Ballon. He was a French dancer and choreographer. He appeared in 1688 for the Royal Family and became a member of the Opera in 1691, where he danced with such luminaries as Pecourt, Blondy and Mlle Prevost. He was appointed choreographer of the King, and reset a new production of Rebel's Caracteres de la Danse for the debut of Camargo in 1726. His partnership with Prevost was the Fred and Ginger of their time. In 1714 on the occasion of a Fete of the Duchess de Maine, Balon scored a sensational success in Corneille's Horace which was one of the forerunners of the ballet d'action. His exceptional lightness is said to be where we get the term "Ballon" to describe a dancer's elevation and the softness of their jump.

(First published March 1991)

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