The first of the Interdisciplinary Lecture Series began Thursday afternoon at the Palmer Museum of Art’s Palmer Lipcon Auditorium.
Associate Professor of Music Theory Eric McKee gave the first lecture called “The Politics of Pleasure: French Court Dancing in the Time of Louis XIV and Louis XV.”
“After discussing the repertoire of French court dances and the gestures and conventions of the ballroom, I discuss how dance both defined one's status and rank within the nobility,” McKee said. “And how it was used as a means to distract nobility from politically threatening activities.”
The lecture was 75 minutes long and covered how 17th century French ballroom dancing affected the entire continent of Europe beginning with the reign of King Louis XIV, McKee said.
McKee spoke passionately about the subject, intertwining a history lesson with dance. The lecture seemed similar to something you may find in a music theory class, minus the large sum of a tuition bill.
“This draws intellectuals,” said Kathy Rosenberg , a State College resident.
Rosenberg, whose husband is a retired Penn State economics professor, said they came to the lecture because they enjoy classical music and history, as well as feel a tie to the university.
“My husband and I retired back to [State College] for this [same] reason,” Ruth Cooper , friend of Rosenberg, said.
McKee articulated the power of the French court dances using art, dance diagrams, video and music throughout the lecture.
This is the first of a series of lectures was set to take place at the Lipcon Auditorium. They are a part of the Classical Music Project by the Penn State Center for Performing Arts.
“The lectures will provide the opportunity to hear from distinguished scholars and artists whose work is at the cutting edge of their field,” Marica Tacconi, the project’s Faculty Leader for Curricular and Academic Programs, said.
The next lecturer will be Michael Broyles , professor of musicology at Florida State University. The lecture is called “Beethoven in Hollywood ” and will take place at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5 in the Palmer Museum of Art’s Palmer Lipcon Auditorium.