Dance of the Month

First Saturday of the Month

Catherine Turocy, photo by Alexis Silver

Rezooms on Zoom!

From 3:30-4:30 Eastern Standard Time.
Class fee: $10
Catherine Turocy is happy to be teaching the first figure of the Bourree de Mlle. Charollois from Gaudrau’s collection of dances 1712/13.
The music is from Lully’s Isis (1677) and choreographed by Pecour. This is a charming duple meter dance suitable for all ages. Join her on Saturday, July 4th for a revolutionary dance interlude before the fireworks begin!
Signing up is easy. Go the online link above and once you have made your payment NYBDC will be notified and can send you the zoom class link.
Looking forward to seeing you on the Holiday weekend!

James Weaver 1937-2020
“Weaver turned the Smithsonian Institution and its extensive collection of historic musical instruments into a center of the early music movement”  David Von Drehle, Washington Post
I met Jim while still a student at Ohio State University in the early 1970’s and dancing with the Baroque Dance Ensemble directed by Shirley Wynne. He housed us in his “barn” studio in the country during our visits to Washington, DC. Through his program at the Smithsonian he produced some of the first Baroque dance concerts and opera ballet in the United States. In fact, the first performance of The New York Baroque Dance Company was with Jim at Canal Square in Washington DC, August of 1976. As I danced the Passacaille d’Armide to his harpsichord a loud motorcycle drove past our outdoor stage . Even though I could not hear the music, we never dropped a beat. Many years went by and we reconnected this past October for a performance he produced called “Keyboard and Key Moves” at the Memorial Art Gallery at Eastman in Rochester, New York. Joined by harpsichordist Lisa Crawford and NYBDC member Alexis Silver as well as organist Stephen Kennedy, we gave the first of what we thought would be annual presentations. I am sad our rekindled friendship was so short-lived. On April 16 he died of Covid-19.
Catherine Turocy
Chrystelle Trump Bond 1938-2020
by Caroline Copeland, Associate Director of the New York Baroque Dance Company
In early May, we lost a true devotee to history and a fabulous educator; a scholar and a professor of the highest order, Professor Emerita, Chrystelle Trump Bond.  Like many of us, she had her feet in multiple epochs at once but never harbored any prejudice towards one form of expression over another. Her egalitarian style of teaching was equally passionate no matter what the topic.
At Goucher College, Dance studies were originally tied with the Physical Education wing. So just like our Renaissance Dancing masters hundreds of years earlier, Professor Bond created the case for Dance as an art and academic discipline. Chystelle presented to the Dean a body of dance literature and notation; she won her case, creating the Goucher College Dance Department in 1975.
Professor Bond went on to Chair the Dance Department and also founded Chorégraphie Antique, a historical dance group comprised of students and local citizens. Generations of Goucher “girls” and, eventually, “boys” have fond memories of Chrystelle dashing down the corridors in her signature uniform of black tights, t-shirt, white socks, and white jazz shoes. She taught Anatomy and Kinesiology, Dance History courses, Dance Criticism, as well as social dance history practice class. Her zeal and energy seemed boundless and in each class her spirited imperative was that EVERYTHING we studied was essential knowledge.
On a personal level, she lit the fire of history in me and encouraged me to explore the world of Baroque dance. It never occurred to me that I could create a career in embodied historical practice! I passed through that door and still wander in its vast and intricate world where so may disciplines interact in lively and meaningful dialogues. It is because of Professor Bond that I truly understand the concept of a Liberal Arts education. And it is because of her that I am living the life I never thought to have but cannot imaging exiting without.
Chrystelle’s first Baroque steps were taught to her by Wendy Hilton and through Professor Bond, Goucher College hosted many historical dance workshops in the 1980’s and 2000’s.  In 2009, The New York Baroque Dance Company presented the last of these events where Professor Bond proved to be an enthusiastic student, always questioning, always earnest. Over our last lunch together, she turned to look at me and said, “Well, it is up to you now.” And by me, she means us.
Find your passion and persevere. This is her extraordinary legacy to all she touched.
Chrystelle recommended Caroline for a scholarship to our summer workshop in Napa, California in 1996 and Caroline has been with us ever since. I am forever grateful to Chrystelle. (Catherine Turocy)
Judson Griffin 1952-2020
What a shock it was to hear of Judson’s illness and then to hear of his death days later. Judson played violin and viola for my husband’s 2 orchestras, Concert Royal in NYC and the Dallas Bach Society. We have fallen out of touch with him over the past decade as he became more involved with his own group and other projects. This is part of the life of performers. We have intense, almost family-like ties in our youth…growing together as people and artists. Eventually careers become successful and we are performing more with different groups, then people move out of town and fewer and fewer experiences are shared. Looking back to 1994-95 when Judson was on tour with our group in Germany and then Italy, we had the good fortune of renting a car with him for our visit to Italy. With our sons (ages 1 and a half and almost 4) Judson would be the fifth passenger. Early on he decided he would be the third child in the car rather than the third adult which resulted in much laughter and many jokes. This was Judson, an oblique sense of humor. Jim took this picture of us at the car…even though Judson was the third child, he was the best at packing the trunk with instruments and suitcases. In 2006 we had the opportunity to work with him at the Connecticut Early Music Festival bringing Mozart’s Les Petits Riens to life. We did not expect this to be the last time. We miss him and regret there was no time for a last exchange of words. He did not die of Covid-19, but perhaps his illness would have been discovered earlier if all doctor appointments could have taken place instead of being postponed. he passed away on May 27th.
Catherine Turocy
Michael McCraw 1947-2020
Michael McCraw was one of the first members of Concert Royal directed by James Richman and this is when I met him, in 1976. When Jim and I married in 1977 he was the Best Man at our wedding in Ohio. We were sorry to see him move to Europe in 1979 and always welcomed the rare occasion to re-connect. We did spend 5 days together in Venice in 1989 and this is one of the photos you see taken by Jim. When Michael moved back to the States and eventually landed as a professor at the University of Indiana in Bloomington we were able to renew our friendship and artistic collaboration with performances of Pygmalion and a program dedicated to Moliere and Lully. However, distance and busy careers and family have a way of limiting bonds of those who are living in another region. He was a man who loved life, a loyal friend and an artist who illuminated music. I am so grateful to his dear friends Wendy Gillespie and Elisabeth Wright who watched over him these last years and kept his spirits up. I am sure Michael would prefer I honor him by linking all of you to this witty and insightful podcast, The Bad Boy of the Bassoon, so well crafted by Wendy. Michael passed away of Covid-19 on May 30th.
Catherine Turocy

I hope you enjoy our video from the vault this week! Three of the artists from this production appeared in the original production of Christie’s Atys a year later… Ann Monoyios and Howard Crook sang the leading roles and Ken Pierce joined Ris et Danseries as a dancer. The NYBDC has mentored lead artists in the fields of early dance and music, especially opera-ballet, since 1976.

Today our NYBDC is grateful to Gibney and the Mark Morris Dance Center for helping us continue our rehearsals and classes in a supportive and affordable space. But most of all, both centers act as a meeting place and catalyst for dance innovation and study. As artists, we value the opportunity to randomly bump into other choreographers, dancers, teachers, actors and musicians in the lobby or warm-up areas where we are able to share ideas and catch glimpses of works in progress as dancers of all styles prepare their work.

Most recently we were preparing Scylla et Glaucus dances for the April 15th premiere in San Francisco and the Versailles premiere April 25th. We are sorry it was cancelled/postponed because of the coronavirus.  Here is a glimpse of the sarabande rehearsal at Gibney 280 Broadway:

Both dance centers are suffering from being closed during the pandemic. If you are able, please make a contribution to Gibney  and/or Mark Morris Dance Center

Minister of Circe designed by Marie Anne Chiment

Minister of Circe designed by Marie Anne Chiment

Scylla and Glaucus,  April Premiere in San Francisco and Versailles

by Jean-Marie Leclair (1697–1764)
Tragédie en musique with one prologue and five acts on a libretto d’Albaret, created in 1746 in Paris.


“It is an honor not only to be chosen as the stage director and choreographer for this new production, but to also bring ten dancers from The New York Baroque Dance Company with me to San Francisco and Versailles, is a dream come true.”

Catherine Turocy, Artistic Director

Glaucus, designed by Marie Anne Chiment


Véronique Gens:  Circé
Chantal Santon-Jeffery:  Scylla
Judith Van Wanroij:  Vénus, Témire, Dorine
Aaron Sheehan: Glaucus
Douglas Williams:  Chef de Peuple, Licas, Hecate

Les Chantres du Centre de musique baroque de Versailles (conducted by Olivier Schneebeli)
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Nicholas McGegan Musical: conductor
The New York Baroque Dance Company
Catherine Turocy: Stage director and choreographer
Marie Anne Chiment: Costume designer
Pierre Dupouey: Lighting and video designer
Antoine Fontaine: Set designer



Jean-Marie Leclair, at 49, composed his first (and single) opera, Scylla and Glaucus, created at the Académie Royale de Musique in 1746, and performed seventeen times to great acclaim… A meteoric work strongly influenced by Rameau, this opera is undoubtedly one of the achievements of French 18th century.


Plot: To gain the love of beautiful and chaste Scylla, Glaucus calls the magician Circe to the rescue: but she falls in love with him, dragging the trio into an implacable and dramatic spiral, ending in tragedy for all and Scylla’s metamorphosis into a deathly rock. This beautiful score (with irresistible choruses and dances), where virtuosity serves a gripping plot, will be premiered in a “historically informed” staging and choreography in San Francisco, conducted by Nicholas McGegan.

Coproduction: Centre de musique baroque de Versailles, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale. Scores realized by the Centre de musique baroque de Versailles with surtitles in French and English

Who is Jean-Marie Leclair?

The son of a skilled haberdasher and amateur musician, Leclair was born in Lyon on May 10, 1697, one of six siblings, five of whom were also to become musicians. He is often called “the elder” to distinguish him from a younger brother also known as Jean – Marie who enjoyed a musical career in their native city. Nothing is known of his early masters though we do know that for a decade Leclair performed both as a dancer and a violinist. His stage debut most certainly took place early in life, for at age nineteen he wedded a ballerina of the Lyon Opera, Marie – Rose Casthanie. Soon thereafter we find the man who was to become the most travelled French musician of his day in Rouen; in 1722 he joined the Teatro Regio of Turin as premier danseur and ballet master. For all of his responsibilities he found time to compose three intermezzi for Semiramide, an opera by Giuseppe Maria Orlandini.

Leclair came to Paris in the fall of 1723, (take me to article, http://www.early-music.com/what-is-early-music/jean-marie-leclair-1697-1764/)

Nereid design from 17th century

Buy Tickets for San Francisco: https://philharmonia.org/2019-2020-season/scylla-et-glaucus/

Buy Tickets for Versailles:


Dance of the Month at Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, 3:30-5:30pm with teacher/choreographer, Catherine Turocy and live music by Isaac Hutton. Cost: $17

What are we teaching?  The Tambourin from Scylla et Glaucus in Act V!

go to 2:38:52 for the music


From January 16-February 20, 1986 The New York Baroque Dance Company was in residence at the Opera de Lyon where I was the choreographer for this beautiful opera by Jean Marie Leclair. Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists under the direction of John Eliot Gardiner [conductor] collaborated with us on this first modern day production of the opera. Philippe Lénaël was the stage director and our glorious production won le Prix Claude Rostand (Critic’s choice for the Best Lyrical Opera Production of the Year).

From Catherine Turocy…

“What many people forget is that the dancers were half from The New York Baroque Dance Company and half from Ris et Danceries. This was an experiment on my part to see if we could combine our forces and have as many dancers as chorus members on stage…eventually… trained in the technique. La Compagnie de Danse l’Eventail director, MarieGeneviève Massé, was one of the dancers from Ris et Danceries. Sadly, my invitation to Ris et Danceries was never reciprocated, and, as the company has now disbanded (1980 to about 1995),  I am no longer anticipating an invitation.”

The internet was not active in 1986 and it is impossible to find even a program from the 5 performances given in Lyons.  The NYBDC files are currently in storage but hopefully we will be able to re-discover the cast list before too long.

Happily we are returning to France for performances at Versailles April 25 and 26, 2020:

link to information


Catherine Turocy in one of her 7 choreographies for this dance which she has created over and over again from 1983 to 2018.

The Characters/ Diversity and Transformation (Location in NYC TBA)

Exploring A master work of historical significance, Les Caractères de la Danse (1715)

Honoring the Women’s Suffrage Centennial in 2020, The Characters/Diversity and Transformation is a workshop exploring one of the first professional women choreographers, Françoise Prevost, and her iconic creation, Les Caractères de la Danse.


Original descriptions of this dance can be found in the Mercure de France Paris Journal and what is described is a unique portrayal by one dancer of 11 different faces of humankind; young and old, men and women, privileged and vulnerable.


Françoise Prevost, a principal dancer at the Paris Opera passed this work on to her pupils, the famous “Maries”, Camargo and Sallé, who both created their own versions and passed the work onto to the next generation of performers in Europe.  These original choreographies by women reflected social and theatrical practices of 18th century France. Catherine Turocy, internationally celebrated for her work in Baroque dance, will teach her original period choreography as a way of introducing the students to Baroque compositional structure. Each day a specialist with a focus on Black Haitian dance (Marcea Daiter), Ballet Folklorico of the Hispanic heritage (Roberto Lara), Native American dance (We are in conversation with Tohanash Tarrant of the Shinnecock Reservation on Long Island) or Gender bending in the Burlesque (Austin McCormick (in negotiation) and Joe Williams), will lecture on their topic and introduce students to the “characters” of these cultures. The second weekend of the workshop the students will create their own dances of “characters” that represent America in 2020-21.  We are asking Joe Williams, an expert in Delsarte, to assist in coaching the students. And through sharing the template of this famous work with the current generation of dancers, we hope to facilitate honest discussions of current and past ideas of gender, social class and age and a safe creative space for performers to explore identity in all its complexity.

The duet version with Timothy Kasper and Catherine Turocy at Florence Gould Hall, New York City, September 23, 2005

The ability to perform such a dance demands a “state of transformation” from the dancer. The changes are not made with costumes or masks or props. The performers must own all the characters and emotions within their being, connected by a line of energy. Discovering this line of energy which allows the performer to shift on a breath, builds empathy for these characters both in the performer and in the audience. The truth of this statement was discovered by Turocy in her January 2019 workshop at ODC in San Francisco where she taught this dance for the first time to dancers outside of her company. The students felt enriched by a common humanity by broadening their understanding of ourselves as individuals and as a society.


Encouraged by Turocy’s experience and students in the workshop, NYBDC is eager to expand the workshop to include a creative performance aspect.

Turocy’s original 1983 version in performance with Mercury Baroque in 2007.

Produced by the NYBDC this workshop will be in several cities across the U.S.:  NYC at Gibney Studios in June of 2020 and in April of 2021 it will go to Dallas, Texas and Chicago, Illinois.  As part of the workshop, a public performance with the students in collaboration with the Dallas Bach Society Orchestra will take place at the Saluna International Music and Arts Festival dedicated to bridging the classical arts and contemporary life.  Next, the NYBDC will take the workshop to Chicago. Currently we are speaking to collaborators.s conducting an 8 week workshop this fall. Because of the mimetic nature of the dance it is not required to have previous Baroque dance instruction. The workshop is truly inclusive and invites dancers of all styles and ages as well as musicians and actors. The public performance will contain many styles of dance as represented by the students.

Catherine Gallant

A few words from the director of the workshop, Catherine Turocy…

Livia Vanaver worked directly with Jane Sherman, the youngest dancer in the Denishawn tour of the Orient in 1925-26. Jane was so impressed with Livia and her company that she taught Livia White Jade, a solo of Ruth St. Denis.  We are so fortunate to have Livia teaching White Jadeand directly relaying inspiration from the legacy of Ruth St. Denis to our students.

Catherine Gallant has dedicated her teaching and performing career to the dances of Isadora Duncan. She will share her profound experience with Duncan choreographies and emphasize their musicality. She will also share her process of modern dance reconstruction. Here is a link to the choreography we will be learning:

Allegretto video

Joe Williams has studied the movement theory of Delsarte and has practiced this theory as a teacher, performer and stage director. I have studied with him and found his keen eye to be uncanny in analyzing movement and guiding the student to a fuller expression of a pose or gesture. Delsarte is at the basis of early 20th century modern expression and is an important area of study.

Modern Dance and Delsarte article

Caroline Copeland and I will be teaching Pre-Delsarte expressive gesture and posture from 17th and 18thcentury masters in dance and in the art of declamation.  My choreography, inspired by Marie Sallé’s creation and performance of La Gelosia to music of Handel, will act as a template for our period dance expression exploration.

 How to Think Like a Baroque Choreographer by Jack Anderson, NYTimes


Meggi is teaching Dance of the Month this Saturday, May 4th, from 3:30 to 5:30 at the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn. The dance of the month is the Gavotte and if you attended Catherine’s class in April, there will be a review of the gavotte phrase from that class. All are welcome and the fee is only $17.

Who is Meggi Sweeney Smith?

A soloist with the New York Baroque Dance Company since 2010, she has trained with Catherine Turocy, Lieven Baert at the Stanford Historical Dance Week and Thomas Baird.  In addition to teaching private classes in the Baroque period, Meggi just finished teaching workshops in Basics, Ornamentation, and Improvisation and Notation/Reconstruction at the Mark Morris Dance Center.  In 2011 she instructed students in Renaissance dance and acrobatics for the Roving Classical Commedia University Summer Workshop.  In addition to teaching private Baroque lessons and advising in historic etiquette, Meggi dances with companies such as CorbinDances, Cohen/Suzeau, Kazuko Hirabayashi Dance Theater, and the Anna Sokolow Dance Company.  Meggi is so thankful to be part of this beautiful community of artists.

She studied at the University of Kansas where she received highest honors for her BFA in dance and a minor in music. While there, in addition to modern, ballet and East Indian, she studied Renaissance and Baroque reconstruction and notation,  while performing group and solo works for concerts and lecture demonstrations. She received the School of Fine Arts Collaborative Initiative Award and Undergraduate Research Award for her dance research in historic fields.  Meggi received Honorable Mention for the Sara and Mary Edwards Paretsky Award for Creativity in her curriculum for teaching music through dance.  She began dancing at the age of ten in her hometown of Carrollton, Missouri.

Her interests have also included playing the piano, flute, tumbling, and participating in madrigal and theater works.

Catherine Gallant to teach the Isadora Intensive
at Mystic Fountain Workshop
June 20-23, 2019

Legacy and interpretation in the works of Isadora Duncan

June 22 2:30-5pm followed by lecture 5-6pm and June 23 2:30-5
Catherine Gallant will share the history of Duncan’s work (her movement and use of music) with a focus on the innovations she made that initiated the development of “modern dance” in the US and internationally. Ms. Gallant will lead a Duncan technique session and teach excerpts from her recent choreography which honors Duncan’s 1908 work to Beethoven’s Allegretto (from the Symphony No. 7). Movement activities will be followed by a discussion which highlights the process, and inherent questions, involved in such acts of interpretation as “reconstruction”, “re-staging” and “reimagining”.
How does a dance exist when it is over?
What happens to a dance when it becomes “lost”?   The Allegretto sections from Isadora Duncan’s untitled work to Beethoven’s Symphony No.7 Op.92, was performed in 1979 when Maria Theresa Duncan presented a reconstruction of this “lost” work with her Heritage Company. Originally Duncan performed three movements of the symphony as a solo and was accompanied by a full orchestra. She performed the work between the years 1904-1909 in the US, France and the Netherlands. This dance is an important representation of Duncan’s musical intelligence and marks her primary foray into abstraction as a catalyst for her dance making process. Critics of the time were outraged at her choice to dance to Beethoven and called it a “sacrilege”.

March 19 in Dallas!

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