Pas de Terpsichore, Reconstructed by Alan Jones especially for our students

Access to this little known pas de trois reconstructed from the Montargis Manuscript by Alan Jones Alan Jones Biography is of great interest to dance departments and professional dance companies. Technically challenging, yet accessible to intermediate-level ballet students, it debunks the myth of early ballet as being simple in nature.  Its length is about four minutes.  This dance will be taught at the Santa Barbara Historical Dance Workshop, produced by The New York Baroque Dance Company (NYBDC). Our work on this pas de trois represents the first reconstruction ever performed from the Montargis Manuscript.

Compiled by at least four anonymous French dancing masters between 1790 and 1815, the Montargis Manuscript is preserved at the library of the Paris Opéra, where it is catalogued as C. 515, Chorégraphies de divers ballets réglés sans doute au Collège de Montaigu. This is a little known document on dance training in provincial France during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic periods. Fragile pages bound in white calfskin include descriptions for numerous hornpipes and other danses de caractère, notes on the allemande and the waltz and a few short ballets of pastoral and noble character. Among these is a Pas de Terpsichore in which the muse of the dance instructs her disciples who obediently repeat her every movement. We will also explore the world of expressive gesture using melodies recommended by the manuscript to evoke various dramatic moods for story ballets: naïve joy, misfortune, threats, etc.

A parallel class will be taught by Catherine Turocy exploring gesture and expressive body postures as seen in period publications of Gilbert Austin and Carlos Blasis. These two classes offered over a 5 day period will inform the dancers on the early ballet style of the 19th century.

The Montargis Manuscript is in the form of verbal instructions, (coupé devant, grand développé, rond de jambe) The tunes are identified by the title.  Jones has already completed the musicological project of locating the scores.  The ballet music consists mainly of isolated melodies from assorted opéras comiques, plus romances and ariettes, including music from Annette et Lubin, an opéra comique of 1762, which was later made into a ballet by Noverre (then others). The melodies in the manuscript are identified with emotional content. What is fascinating in particular is the “American connection.” Of the half-dozen ballet livrets included, all of these ballets were performed in the US in the 1790’s except one.

The Pas de Terpsichore is in the form of an echo, with Terpsichore demonstrating and her disciples repeating. This dance is an opening movement to a ballet consisting of:

I) Pas de Terpsichore (melody, the sentimental song “Charmantes fleurs” by the Italian-born Antoine Albanese [1729-1800])

2) Lively ensemble dance (melody, “Vive la danse,” a lively dance in 6/8 by Stanislas Champein, a late-18th-c composer of opéras comiques).

3) Allemande, a brief but complex theatrical allemande, a fashionable dance remarkable for its sophisticated use of partnering which had a lasting influence on the Romantic pas de deux.

In the context of the workshop we would like to use the Pas de Terpsichore as a first step in recovering this ballet and in continuing the workshop’s exploration into early 19th century ballet which began with Sandra Noll Hammond in 2012 (funded by Dance Preservation Fund of The Ohio State University). We would like to work intensively on the port de bras as well as step variations which are no longer in use in today’s ballet practice.  Both Turocy and Jones will use their expertise with the Genarro Magri treatise from 1779, Trattato Teorico-Prattico di Ballo and the Auguste Ferrère manuscript to guide their interpretation of the Montargis Manuscript. In addition, there are only three generations separating Alan Jones from this period, as he studied ballet mainly with former students of Olga Preobrajenska, who studied with Marius Petipa (among others), who in turn was a student of Auguste Vestris.

If you would like to be a part of this historic event but cannot attend our workshop, kindly Contribute a tax deductible donation to cover the expenses of making a video documentation for the Pas de Terpsichore.  (Click the link or scroll to PayPal on the right side bar.)

Thank you for being a part of our dance legacy.

MarieSalle-749249Telling the history of dance is not an easy task.  I applaud anyone who undertakes such an effort. At the same time, our idea of history needs to be re-examined on a regular basis as new information comes to light.

Recently, I talked with  Mark Franko and he shared with me his review of Apollo’s Angels by Jennifer Homans. His analysis and criticism of the book is insightful. I have uploaded the review with his permission.  I am interested in our readers comments so please do respond!

Apollo’s Angels: review

Marie Sallé, pictured here, was an important choreographer/dancer in her day.  She also had her own troupe of dancers to perform her choreography.  Even La Barbarina was mentored by Sallé and performed her choreography at Sans Souci for Frederick the Great.  So far Sallé’s great accomplishments are not to be found in dance history books other than a brief mention of her gifts in dancing, and a shallow nod to her as a choreographer.  If I have missed this “yet to be written book” or even chapter, please let me know.

Jack Edwards passed away on March 1, 2015.  I was introduced to Jack by Peggy Dixon in 1980 when Jim and I were living in London on a research grant that year. In 1976 he and Peggy, among other dancers, appeared in several episodes of Dr. Who.  What a fun time this was for historical dancers.  His sense of humor, love of the theater and quick mind quickly drew me into his world of reconstruction where he seemed to be able to handle all questions of costumes, sets, dancing, acting, singing…a “jack of all trades” so to speak.  We will miss him and we will be forever grateful for the talent he has shared with us all.
Here is a photo of L’Orfeo staged by Jack and performed at BEMF.



This is Jack’s most recent bio for those who do not know him:

 Artistic Director/Stage Director: Jack Edwards
Originally trained as an actor and designer Jack Edwards has worked in the field of Baroque opera for twenty-five years. As Artistic Director of
Opera Restor’d he has directed all the company’s shows. As an independent director he has travelled the world, directing Purcell’s The Fairy Queen in Adelaide, Dido and Aeneas in Bremen, and Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona in Nova Scotia.  


For the Boston Early Music Festival, USA he has directed Purcell’s King Arthur, Luigi Rossi’sL’Orfeo and Cavalli’s Ercole Amante which transferred to the Utrecht Early Music Festival. The Boston production of L’Orfeo was also presented at the 18th century theatre in Drottningholm, Sweden and shown on Swedish television. He directed Caldara’s Dafne in Chile for a national tour and returned in 2000 to direct Dido and Aeneas and take up a residential post at the Instituto de Musica de Santiago. As an actor he has performed over one hundred anthologies of poetry and music with many of the leading early music ensembles. He holds a teaching post in Theatre Studies and movement at the Drama Studio London.

Golf club or shepherdess crook?  Period of Charles I or Charles II of England? Come to my pre-concert lecture with the Four Nations Ensemble and discover the answer!  Facebook Event for Lecture

1635 Paulus Moreelse (Dutch artist, 1571-1638)  Lady as Shepherdess (6)

Register Today!

You won’t want to miss the summer workshops in beautiful Santa Barbara this year.  Follow this link for information and to register.

2015 Summer Workshops

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February News

Dance of the Month this Saturday, February 7th, 3-5pm
L’Aimable Vainqueur
14th century Book of Hours, Flanders
14th Century, Book of Hours, Flanders,
 thank you Valerie Eads!

Anticipating Valentine’s Day, Ani Udovicki will be teaching phrases of  this popular loure at our Dance of the Month class this coming Saturday.

Catherine Turocy will speak briefly on the dance’s inclusion in one of the first published French cookbooks from 1738 and Jude Ziliak will accompany the dance lesson on Baroque violin.

Bring your Valentine to class and make this a Valentine Week!

Cost: $16

Location: Mark Morris Dance Center, 3 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

iTunes: The New York Baroque Dance Company Now Available on Digital Download
Baroque Dance Unmasked
The dancers and I are excited to join 21st century technology. Let us delight you with this “behind the scenes” look at bringing a production to life. The work involved is common to all time periods and branches of the performing arts. We are happy to make this documentary available at a discounted price to individuals for only $7.99.
Rare Opportunity to study with Catherine Turocy
 in Europe,  Centro  Coreográfico Galego
  La Coruña, Spain
April 9-11, 2015
Dates: April  9-10 -11  from 10am to 3pm
Tuition: This workshop, assisted by the town government, is only 45 euros.   
Catherine Turocy, Artistic Director of The New York Baroque Dance Company and Chevalier dans L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, continues to develop ideas of interpretation and performance practice in 17th and 18th century dance.  Bringing her vision to the present, most recently she has worked with L.A. Dance Project, the experimental company of Benjamin Millepied, Director of Dance at the Paris Opera Ballet, in exploring the origins of theatrical dance and application of period concepts to contemporary creations.
Eager to share her experience and ideas, classes will cover the knowledge of themask in period performance, the use of cosmography theory in the dancing body of 17th century France,  the expressive gesture and attitudes basic to early dance performance style and interpreting period dance notation.
Her own dancing, period reconstructions and choreographies are recognized by both colleagues and the press as being true to the aesthetic of the period without looking stiff or mechanical.  She has achieved this through her unique teaching style developed over the past 40 years on professional dancers in her own company and in the field at large.
“My goal,” says Turocy, “is to inspire dancers on their own path in working with history.  The ideal relationship with dance and with historical dance is one where the inner gifts of the individual are released into the form.”
If you live in Europe, or you were thinking of visiting Europe, do not miss this opportunity to study with a Master Teacher in 17th and 18th century dance performance.
Baroque Dance Makes the Cover of French Dance Magazine
Even if you do not read French, browse through the photos of this exciting edition where Baroque is featured along with Lucinda Childs, Beyonce and Lady Gaga.  Sarah Edgar, Associate Director of The New York Baroque Dance Company, and Bruno Benne, guest artist at our 2013 and 2014 Santa Barbara workshops are interviewed. It is interesting to read the French perspective through Bruno’s comments on the value of Turocy’s approach to Baroque dance performance.

The Tumultuous Tambourin Taught by Meggi Sweeney Smith  history3

 A lively duple-meter dance of Provençal origin, the tambourin, was often found on the French stage during the eighteenth century.  Looking specifically at Rameau’s vibrant examples, we will explore the elements and character of the tambourin as a delightful group dance. Please join us for this first Dance of the Month in 2015, all levels are invited.

Location: Mark Morris Dance Center, 3 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

Time: 3-5pm on Saturday,  January 3rd

Thomas Hampson, baritone

Film Documentary to be aired in Germany

Link to European Broadcast Information

Just received this word from director, Jason Starr.  This is the film Catherine Turocy worked on as Production Designer and movement director:

“Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde will have its broadcast premiere next weekend on 3sat.   It will be aired at 8:15 on Saturday evening, the 22nd of November.   The name of the film is Überall und ewig – Mahlers Das Lied von der Erde.   In addition to the usual documentary techniques (interviews, archival material, performance clips) I created short dramatizations for each song aimed to stimulate interest in this unlikely yet mesmerizing combination of a fin de siècle Viennese symphonic style with 8th century Chinese poetry—the two creative worlds at the heart of this symphony.  What’s also satisfying is that 3sat will immediately follow the one-hour documentary with a re-broadcast of the complete concert film I directed of Das Lied von der Erde.  This was the 2012 inaugural performance for Neeme Järvi as music director of Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.  It features baritone Thomas Hampson and tenor Paul Groves.  “

Dance of the Month Coming on Saturday, December 6th  and January 3rd with Meggi Sweeney Smith

December 6: The Simple to Complex Bourree   3-5pm
 Come join us for an introduction to the basic Baroque dance steps of the bouree as we learn the opening figure of La Savoye (1709). The second portion of class will play with these steps, their development, and beautiful spatial patterns, as they appear in Rameau’s notation of the magnificent couple dance La Royalle.
January 3:  The Tumultuous  Tambourin      3-5pm 
 A lively duple-meter dance of Provençal origin, the tambourin  was often found on the French stage during the eighteenth century. Looking specifically at Rameau’s vibrant examples, we will explore the elements and character of the tambourin as a delightful group dance.

Where: Mark Morris Dance Center at 3 Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn, New York (corner of Flatbush Ave).  www.markmorrisdancegroup.org/schoollocate.cfm.

Cost: only $16 per class!

Summer Workshop, Hold the Dates: August 20-25, 2015 in Santa Barbara, California

Special Guest, Alan Jones, author of Dictionnaire du desir de la bonne chere,  will share his knowledge in food, dance and music from the first French cookbook of 1738. Click below to see what Julia Child has to say about the cookbook

Fall Events


Dance Classes at Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn

Period clothing is not necessary for the dance classes.

Period clothing is not necessary for the dance classes.

Saturday, September 6th, 3-3:45pm: Open House Free Class with Ani Udovicki

Soloist and teacher with the New York Baroque Dance Company, Ani Udovicki will conduct a sample Baroque Dance class to give students a taste of the Baroque. Cost: Free

Saturday, September 13, 3-5pm: Hogarth’s Line of Beauty in Baroque Dance with Catherine Turocy

According to William Hogarth, the S-shaped curved lines signify liveliness and activity: “the waving line, which is a line more productive of beauty than any of the former, as in flowers, and other forms of the ornamental kind: for which reason we shall call it the line of beauty.” Join Catherine Turocy, decorated by the French Republic as a Chevalier for her work in historical stage practice, as she explores posture, arm gestures and positions of the hands while in the action of dancing a slow air.   Cost: $16

Location: Mark Morris Dance Center, 3 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, NY



Performances in October


Monday, October 6th: Premiere of Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour, ou Les Dieux d’Égypte, The last of Jean Philippe Rameau’s large-scale opéra-ballets to be revived and performed in recent times, will be performed by an international cast. Each act is directed by one of the production’s three contributing choreographers: Catherine Turocy of the New York Baroque Dance Company, Anuradha Nehru of Kalanidhi Dance, and Seán Curran of the Seán Curran Company. Conductor Ryan Brown will be leading Opera Lafayette Orchestra and Chorus in this staged and costumed production. Twenty-one dancers are participating in this opera as part of the 250th Anniversary Year for Jean Philippe Rameau.

Performance in NYC: Thurs., October 9, 2014 – Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, 7:30 p.m. Premiere in Washington DC: Monday, October 6, 2014 – The Kennedy Center Concert Hall, 7:30 p.m.

More Information and Tickets

KalanidhiDance_02  Kalanhidi Dance2COUPLE-thumbs

Sean Curran Dance Company



Sunday, October 12, with the Dallas Bach Society If you are in Dallas, celebrate the 250th anniversary of Jean Philippe Rameau with a wide-ranging selection of his work, featuring renowned soprano Ann Monoyios. James Richman will conduct the The Dallas Bach Society orchestra and chorus in dances, chamber music, Pièces de clavecin, and two pieces of opera-ballet as performed at the Paris Opera during the Baroque period: La Danse from Les Fêtes d’Hébé, and the Prologue to Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour (see description above.)

Location: SMU campus, Caruth Auditorium at 3pm

Dallas Bach Society Website


rehearsal for Court/Garden

rehearsal for Court/Garden

Thursday, October 9- Saturday, October 11: Court/Garden at St. Mark’s Danspace Project   Directed by Yanira Castro, this spectacle in 3 acts, Court/Garden, is a new dance and live music performance by a canary torsi. It takes as its inspiration the imperial ballets of Louis XIV’s French Court, the spectatorship of the proscenium stage and the presentation of video feeds as cultural, social and political frames of experience. CG delves into an operatic, spectacle-driven vocabulary to reflect on how power functions in contemporary theatrical images from the fashion runway to the creation of cultural icons.
Catherine Turocy conducted an intense workshop for the dancers and choreographer/director Yanira Castro as a kick-off for their exploration into this period. Turocy has also been acting as the historical consultant on this contemporary work and stands in admiration of the collaboration directed by Castro.
To watch a short video about the early part of our process at Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, please visit: https://vimeo.com/83345700

Court/Garden Flyer

Catherine Turocy

Catherine Turocy

La Danse by Adolphe -William Bouguereau reflects the importance of dance in French culture.  His portrait of Mademoiselle Martha Hoskier hangs in the museum at Santa Barbara. She is beautifully dressed in the painting and one wonders what she must have looked like while dancing.  Join our faculty and students from the Santa Barbara Historical Dance Weekend Plus as we dance our way through time, linking the eras of the dances and the paintings to give a more physical understanding of the shared aesthetics between popular and high culture.


This free event offered at noon is co-sponsored by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the New York Baroque Dance Company funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. DIRECTIONS