On March 2, 1717, The Loves of Mars and Venus premiered in England. It is considered the first modern ballet. Choreographed by John Weaver, the ballet premiered 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 which told the story of Vulcan trapping his wife Venus and her lover Mars in his net.
Mars was the god of war and Venus the god of love. There was a child born to their union, Harmonius. But theirs was an extra-marital affair; some say to intimate the temporary nature of harmony. Others, more optimistic, say that war had been waged to ultimately achieve peace.
In 2017, to celebrate its 300th birthday, The Barefoot Opera of Hastings, UK, produced The Loves of Mars and Venus or Mr Weaver’s Dramatick Entertainment, which told the story of the original ballet and its creator John Weaver.