The Loves of Mars and Venus
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English choreographer John Weaver created the ballet The Loves of Mars and Venus in 1717. The ballet made its premiere at the Drury Lane Theater in London. The story of the ballet is derived from Greek mythology, although Weaver's immediate source was Peter Anthony Motteux's play, The Loves of Mars and Venus, written in 1695. The role of Venus was performed by an English dancer Hester Santlow, who was highly regarded for her beauty, dancing, and ability as an actress. Although it is not certain, many believe the role of Mars was performed by the French dancer Louis Dupre.
At the time, most classical ballet was nearly devoid of dramatic content and John Weaver sought to change that with his creation of The Loves of Mars and Venus. Through dancing, pantomime and movement Weaver attempted to convey the plot and emotions of the ballet, without relying on spoken or sung text. The Loves of Mars and Venus was popular enough to inspire a parody version by John Rich.