The Teatro alla Scala Ballet Company’s illustrious past goes back to the centuries prior to the inauguration, in 1778, of the world’s most celebrated opera house, where it still has its premises today. Its history is interwoven with the birth of ballet itself. Ballet was in fact promoted in the Renaissance courts of Italy, notably in the Sforza family’s splendid palace in Milan. It was to that city, between 1779 and 1789, that Gasparo Angiolini, the choreographer of Gluckian reform in serious opera, brought a company of more than fifty dancers. Milan was also where Salvatore Viganò, “that supreme choreographer, idolized by Stendhal”, experimented, in such works as Il Noce di benevento (1812), Prometeo (1813), Mirra (1817), Dedalo (1817), Otello (1818), La Vestale (1818) and I titani (1819), his personal interpretation of ballet d’action, which he called “choreodrama”. This had an enormous influence on the creators of dance at the time, such as Gaetano Gioja, and on such favourite star dancers as the danseur noble Carlo Blasis, whose name is forever linked to the glories of the Scala school founded in 1813.
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