en travestie

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Originally used to describe the practice of a man playing a woman's role on stage (and hence wearing female attire). The need for cross-dressing arose because women in ancient Greece were not allowed to appear on stage and female roles had to be performed by men. In W. Europe the early Christian Church also prohibited women from acting on stage and in Shakespeare's day men routinely played the women's parts. It was not until the 17th century (a century later in Italy) that women were generally allowed to perform in public. Today, the practice of en travestie on the ballet stage is usually associated mainly with burlesque and parody. The term can also be used to describe a woman playing a man's role (and hence wearing male attire). Famous examples of female impersonation in classical ballet today include the Widow Simone in Ashton's La Fille mal gardée, Carabosse in The Sleeping Beauty, and the witch Madge in Bournonville's La Sylphide. Les Ballets Trockadero, founded in New York in 1974, is an all-male troupe of dancers who perform the standards of the classical ballet repertoire en travestie.

Subjects: Dance.

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