The Origin of Eighteenth-Century Dance Notation or Choreography
FEUILLET, [Raoul Auger]. Choregraphie ou L'Art de décrire la dance, par caracteres, figures et signes démonstratifs, Avec lesquels on apprend facilement de soy-même toutes sortes de Dances. Ouvrage tres-utile aux Maîtres à Dancer & à toutes les personnes qui s'appliquent à la Dance. Par M. Feuillet, Maître de Dance. Second édition, augmentée. Paris: Chez l'Auteur…Et chez Michel Brunet…, 1701.
Second edition (first published in 1700). Quarto (9 3/8 x 7 1/16 inches; 238 x 179 mm.). , 86, , 87-106 pp. The four unnumbered pages have heading: "Supplément des tables precedentes ou ce trouve plusieurs pas qui n'avoyent point encore été marqueés cy devant. Decorative woodcut head- and tail-pieces and initials. Magriel, p. 81 (citing the 1700 first edition).
[Bound together with:]
FEUILLET, [Raoul Auger]. Recueil de dances, composées par M. Feuillet, Maître de Dance. Paris: Chez l'Auteur…Et chez Michel Brunet…, 1700.
Quarto. , 84 pp. Engraved throughout. Pages 65-72 (four leaves) and 77-84 (four leaves) are folding. "A collection of the dances of the time written in the dance script of the author. The dances include gaillardes, chaconnes, sarabandes, bourées and others, accompanied by the airs" (Magriel, p. 98, citing the 1709 edition).
PÉCOURT, [Guillaume Louis]. Recueil de dances, composées par M. Pecour, Pensionnaire des menus Plaisirs du Roy, & Compositeur des Ballets de l'Academie Royale de Musique de Paris. Et mises sur la Papier par M. Feuillet, Maître de Dance. Paris: Chez l'Auteur…Et chez Michel Brunet…, 1700.
Quarto. , 72 pp. Engraved throughout.
Contemporary mottled calf. Spine decoratively tooled in gilt in compartments with brown morocco gilt lettering label. Board edges decoratively tooled in gilt. Head and foot of spine neatly repaired. Some light foxing and occasional staining. Paper flaw in the lower margin of preliminary pp. [7/8], just affecting one word on recto and catchword on verso, but with no loss. Neatly repaired tear to B1 (pp. 9/10), tiny tear to outer blank margin of pp. 81/82. A few additional minor marginal paper flaws. Armorial bookplate of Lodovico Armorini Bolognini on front pastedown. Early ink annotations on rear pastedown. An excellent copy of this extremely scarce work. Housed in a brown cloth clamshell case.
Only two copies have sold at auction in the last thirty years (one copy in 1979 in modern cloth, and another copy in 2003 in contemporary red morocco which brought over $110,000) and no copy of the 1700 first edition has sold at auction in the last thirty five years.
Printed using a combination of type, woodcut, and engraving. Where the manual is predominantly text with simple dance figures as examples, the text is in type and the figures are woodcut. Where the figures predominate or include music examples and there is little text, the entire page is engraved. Only the pages using type and woodcut have the gatherings signed.
Raoul Auger Feuillet (c1653–c1709) was a French dance notator, publisher and choreographer most well-known today for his Chorégraphie, ou l'art de d'écrire la danse (Paris, 1700) which described Beauchamp-Feuillet notation, and his subsequent collections of ballroom and theatrical dances.
"Among the important facets in the development of French Baroque dance was the invention of a dance notation system, which was originally conceived as a method whereby courtiers could learn the fashionable dances. With the adoption of this system for recording various dances, the French court dance and manners spread far beyond the borders of France. Feuillet's 1700 publication, Chorégraphie (this online collection contains the 1713 edition), was the first to set forth charts and notations for a full range of steps and their variations, including ballonné, jeté, pas de bourrée, pas de courante, pas de gaillarde, pas de menuet, pas de passacaille, and pas de rigaudon. Multiple pirouettes and entrechats trois, quatre, cinq, six, and huit were also fully described in the literature. This step vocabulary was utilized by both ballroom and professional dancers, although the more complex steps were reserved for the stage" ("An American Ballroom Companion: Dance Instruction Manuals ca. 1490-1920").
"Originally published in 1700, this manual details a dance notation system that indicates the placement of the feet and six basic leg movements: plié, releveé, sauté, cabriole, tombé, and glissé. Changes of body direction and numerous ornamentations of the legs and arms are also part of the system. The system is based on tract drawings that trace the pattern of the dance. Additional[l]y, bar lines in the dance score correspond to bar lines in the music score. Signs written on the right or left hand side of the tract indicate the steps. Chorégraphie was reprinted three times and translated into English by John Weater in 1706" (Library of Congress).
Ballet: 1582-1984. Three Hundred Books and Manuscripts from the Collection of Parmenia Migel Ekstron (Ximines catalogue 90), no.98The first item only: Hirsch, i 171 (plate no.10); RISM Ecrits, p.314; Magriel p.81
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