Skip to main content

Full text of "Memoirs Of Joseph Grimaldi"

See other formats


1IEMOIES OP JOSEPH GBIMALDI.                            3

ject of these Memoirs, and the SOB of " Iron Legs," who, holding1
the appointment of Dentist to Queen Charlotte, came to England
in that capacity in 1760 ; he was a native of G-enoa, and long
hefore his arrival in this country had attained considerable
distinction in his profession. "We have not many instances of
the union of the two professions of dentist and dancing-master;
but Grimaldi, possessing a taste for both pursuits, and a much
higher relish for the latter than the former, obtained leave to
resign his situation about the Q,ueen, soon after his arrival in
this country, and commenced giving lessons in dancing and
fencing, occasionally giving his pupils a taste of his quality in

neck, or not." In reference to the dance of "The Millers,'' composed by
Grimaldi, then deemed an innovation, he continues:

" Some people hold dancing to be below the dignity of a regular theatre; but
I can by no means subscribe to their opinion, since one of the principal ends
of every theatre, is to delight; and everything that can contribute to that
purpose, under proper restrictions, has an undoubted right to a place there. I
shall not affect to show my learning, by adding, the ancients not only admitted
dancing, but thought it a necessary ornament in the performance of the most
celebrated tragedies.

" The French in this kind of merit, for many years carried all before them ;
but of late the Italians seem to have the start of them; and it must be allowed,
the latter are much better actors, which, in the comic dance that now almost
everywhere prevails, is infinitely more requisite, than those graceful postures
and movements on which the French dancers for the moat part pique them-
setoes; but in this case a vast deal depends on the MaJtre de Ballet; and
whoever composed ' The Millers,' has, I think, shown himself a man of genius;
the figure of the contra-danse beingpleasingly intricate, and the whole admirably
well adapted to the music. I cannot, however, help observing, he has been
indebted to Don Quixote; for when Signor Grimaldi comes in asleep on hia ass,
it is stolen from under him in the same manner that Gines de Passamont robs
poor Sancho of his, and the same joy is testified by both parties in the re-
covery of the beloved brute."

The Drury Lane play-bill, October 10, 1761, announced as "not acted this
season," a Comedy called the Confederacy; Brass, Mr. King; Flippanta, Mrs.
Clive. At the end of Act II. an entertainment of Dancing, called the Italian
Gardener, by Signor Grimaldi, Miss Baker, &c. Garrick's Pageant of the
Coronation concluded the night's diversion.

From his first appearance in October, 1768, Grimaldi continued at Drury Lane
as MaJtre de Ballet, Primo Buffo, Clown, Pantaloon, or Cherokee, or any part
required in the ballet, till his death. The dancers, it would appear, were not

B 2