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, by M. Feuillet, maître de dance; 1701; Chez l’auteur et chez Michel Brunet, Paris.
First published in 1700, this manual details a dance notation system invented by Raoul-Auger Feuillet which revolutionised the dance world. The system 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 which is based on tract drawings that trace the pattern of the dance. Additionally, 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. Voltaire ranked the invention as one of the “achievements of his day” and Denis Diderot devoted ten pages to the subject in his Encylopdédie. The book was translated into English by John Weaver in 1706 under the title Orchesography. Or the Art of Dancing.
See extracted images from the second half of the book over in our Images collection.
Open Library link
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