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Title: The Dance (by An Antiquary)
       Historic Illustrations of Dancing from 3300 B.C. to 1911 A.D.

Author: Anonymous

Release Date: December 12, 2005 [EBook #17289]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

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                  THE DANCE

     _Historic Illustrations of Dancing
        from 3300 B.C. to 1911 A.D._

                      BY
                 AN ANTIQUARY


                   LONDON
      JOHN BALE, SONS & DANIELSSON, LTD.
83-91, GREAT TITCHFIELD STREET, OXFORD STREET, W

            Respectfully dedicated
            to Dr. Eleanor Maxwell.

                    1911




PREFACE.

       *       *       *       *       *

This sketch of the iconography of the dance does not pretend to be a
history of the subject, except in the most elementary way. It may be
taken as a summary of the history of posture; a complete dance cannot
be easily rendered in illustration.

The text is of the most elementary description; to go into the subject
thoroughly would involve years and volumes. The descriptions of the
various historic dances or music are enormous subjects; two authors
alone have given 800 dances in four volumes.[Footnote: Thompson's
complete collection of 200 country dances performed at Court, Bath,
Tunbridge, and all public assemblies, with proper figures and
directions to each set for the violin, German flute, and hautboy, 8s.
6d. Printed for Charles and Samuel Thompson, St. Paul's Churchyard,
London, where may be had the yearly dances and minuets. Four volumes,
each 200 dances. 1770-1773.]

It would have been interesting if some idea of the orchesography of
the Egyptians and Greeks could have been given; this art of describing
dances much in the manner that music is written is lost, and the
attempts to revive it have been ineffective. The increasing speed of
the action since the days of Lulli would now render it almost
impossible.

It is hoped that this work may be of some use as illustrating the
costume, position and accessories of the dance in various periods to
those producing entertainments.

To the reader desirous of thoroughly studying the subject a
bibliography is given at the end.




CONTENTS.


CHAPTER I

Egyptian, Assyrian, Hebrew, and Phoenician Dancing. The Ritual Dance
of Egypt. Dancing Examples from Tomb of Ur-ari-en-Ptah, 6th Dynasty,
British Museum. Description of Dancing from Sir G. Wilkinson; of the
Egyptian Pipes and Hieroglyphics of Dancing, &c. Phoenician Round
Dances, from a Limestone Group found at Cyprus, and Bronze Patera from
Idalium, Cyprus.


CHAPTER II

Greek Dancing. Bacchanalian Dance, by the Ceramic Painter Hieron.
Description of some Greek Dances, the Geranos, the Corybantium, the
Hormos, &c. Dancing Bacchante from a Vase and from Terra Cotta. The
Hand-in-hand, and Panathenaeac Dance from Ceramic Ware. Military Dance
from Sculpture in Vatican, Greek Dancer with Castanets. Illustration
of Cymbals and Pipes from the British Museum. The Chorus. Greek
Dancers and Tumblers.


CHAPTER III

Etruscan, South Italian and Roman Dancing. Illustrations from the
Grotta dei Vasi, the Grotta della Scimia, and the Grotta del
Triclinio, Corneto. Funeral Dances from Albanella, Capua, &c. Pompeii
and the Baths of Constantino. The Dances of the Etruscans and South
Italians. The Roman, Dance of the Salii. The Bellicrepa. The social
position of Dancing. The Chorus.


CHAPTER IV

Early English and Mediaeval Dancing to the 14th Century. Dancing in
Churches and Religious Dancing. The Gleemen's Dance. Military Dances.
The Hornpipe. Tumbling and Jest Dances. Illustrations of Gleemen's
Dance, Hornpipe, Sword Dances, Tumbling and Various Comic Dances.


CHAPTER V

Society Dancing, the 15th to 18th Centuries. Out-of-door Dances.
Chamber Dancing. Comic Dances. The Ball. Illustrations from Italian
15th Century, German 15th and 16th Centuries, French 15th, 16th, 17th,
English 15th, 16th and 18th Centuries Dancing.


CHAPTER VI

The Modern Theatre Dance: its Origin. Introduced into France from
Italy. Under Henry III., IV., Louis XIII., XIV. Influence of Cardinals
Richelieu and Mazarin. Foundation of the Academic de Danse et de
Musique. The Court Ballet. Moliere. Corneille. Lalli, &c. The Theatre
Ballet. The Influence of Noverre. Its introduction into and its
Present Condition in England, &c. Illustrations of Mlles. de Camargo,
Duvernay, Taglioni. Fanny Ellsler. Ferraris, Carlotta Grisi. Adeline
Genee. Anna Pavlova. Fedorova, &c. Various Eastern Examples.

[Illustration: Fig. 1.--Dancing to the clapping of bands. Egyptian,
from the tomb of Ur-ari-en-Ptah, 6th Dynasty, about 3300 B.C. (British
Museum.)]

       *       *       *       *       *

Historic Illustrations of Dancing.




CHAPTER I.


EGYPTIAN, ASSYRIAN, HEBREW AND PHOENICIAN DANCING.

In this work it is not necessary to worry the reader with speculations
as to the origin of dancing. There are other authorities easily
accessible who have written upon this theme.

Dancing is probably one of the oldest arts. As soon as man was man he
without doubt began to gesticulate with face, body, and limbs. How
long it took to develop bodily gesticulation into an art no one can
guess--perhaps a millennium.

In writing of dancing, one will therefore include those gesticulations
or movements of the body suggesting an idea, whether it be the slow
movement of marching, or the rapid gallop, even some of the movements
that we commonly call acrobatic. It is not intended here to include
the more sensual movements of the East and the debased antique.

Generally the antique dances were connected with a religious ritual
conceived to be acceptable to the Gods. This connection between
dancing and religious rites was common up to the 16th century. It
still continues in some countries.

In some of the earliest designs which have come down to us the dancers
moved, as stars, hand in hand round an altar, or person, representing
the sun; either in a slow or stately method, or with rapid trained
gestures, according to the ritual performed.

Dancing, music and poetry were inseparable. Dancing is the poetry of
motion, and its connection with music, as the poetry of sound, occurs
at all times. In our own day musical themes are marked by forms
originally dance times, as waltz time, gavotte time, minuet time, etc.

[Illustration: Fig. 2.--Greek figures in a solemn dance. From a vase
at Berlin.]

Amongst the earliest representations that are comprehensible, we have
certain Egyptian paintings, and some of these exhibit postures that
evidently had even then a settled meaning, and were a phrase in the
sentences of the art. Not only were they settled at such an early
period (B.C. 3000, fig. 1) but they appear to have been accepted and
handed down to succeeding generations (fig. 2), and what is remarkable
in some countries, even to our own times. The accompanying
illustrations from Egypt and Greece exhibit what was evidently a
traditional attitude. The hand-in-hand dance is another of these.

The earliest accompaniments to dancing appear to have been the
clapping of hands, the pipes,[Footnote: Egyptian music appears to
have been of a complicated character and the double pipe or flutes
were probably reeded, as with our clarionet. The left pipe had few
stops and served as a sort of hautboy; the right had many stops and
was higher. The single pipe, (a) "The recorder" in the British Museum,
is a treble of 10-1/2 in. and is pentaphonic, like the Scotch scale;
the tenor (b) is 8-3/4 in. long and its present pitch--[Illustration:
a] [Illustration: b] the guitar, the tambourine, the castanets, the
cymbals, the tambour, and sometimes in the street, the drum.

The following account of Egyptian dancing is from Sir Gardiner
Wilkinson's "Ancient Egypt" [Footnote: Vol. i., p. 503-8.]:--

"The dance consisted mostly of a succession of figures, in which the
performers endeavoured to exhibit a great variety of gesture. Men and
women danced at the same time, or in separate parties, but the latter
were generally preferred for their superior grace and elegance. Some
danced to slow airs, adapted to the style of their movement; the
attitudes they assumed frequently partook of a grace not unworthy of
the Greeks; and some credit is due to the skill of the artist who
represented the subject, which excites additional interest from its
being in one of the oldest tombs of Thebes (B.C. 1450, Amenophis II.).
Others preferred a lively step, regulated by an appropriate tune; and
men sometimes danced with great spirit, bounding from the ground,
more in the manner of Europeans than of Eastern people. On these
occasions the music was not always composed of many instruments, and
here we find only the cylindrical maces and a woman snapping her
fingers in the time, in lieu of cymbals or castanets.

"Graceful attitudes and gesticulations were the general style of their
dance, but, as in all other countries, the taste of the performance
varied according to the rank of the person by whom they were employed,
or their own skill, and the dance at the house of a priest differed
from that among the uncouth peasantry, etc.

"It was not customary for the upper orders of Egyptians to indulge in
this amusement, either in public or private assemblies, and none
appear to have practised it but the lower ranks of society, and those
who gained their livelihood by attending festive meetings.

"Fearing lest it should corrupt the manners of a people naturally
lively and fond of gaiety, and deeming it neither a necessary part of
education nor becoming a person of sober habits, the Egyptians forbade
those of the higher classes to learn it as an amusement.

"Many of these postures resembled those of the modern ballet, and the
pirouette delighted an Egyptian party 3,500 years ago.

"The dresses of the females were light and of the finest texture, a
loose flowing robe reaching to the ankles, sometimes with a girdle.

"In later times, it appears more transparent and folded in narrow
pleats.[Footnote: There is a picture of an Egyptian gauffering machine
in Wilkinson, vol. i., p. 185.] Some danced in pairs, holding each
other's hand; others went through a succession of steps alone, both
men and women; sometimes a man performed a solo to the sound of music
or the clapping of hands.

"A favourite figure dance was universally adopted throughout the
country, in which two partners, who were usually men, advanced toward
each other, or stood face to face upon one leg, and having performed a
series of movements, retired again in opposite directions, continuing
to hold by one hand and concluding by turning each other round (see
fig. 3). That the attitude was very common is proved by its having
been adopted by the hieroglyphic (fig. 4) as the mode of describing
'dance.'"

[Illustration: Fig. 3.--The hieroglyphics describe the dance.]

[Illustration: Fig. 4.--Egyptian hieroglyphic for "dance."]

Many of the positions of the dance illustrated in Gardner Wilkinson
are used at the present day.

The ASSYRIANS probably danced as much as the other nations, but
amongst the many monuments that have been discovered there is little
dancing shown, and they were evidently more proud of their campaigns
and their hunting than of their dancing. A stern and strong people,
although they undoubtedly had this amusement, we know little about it.
Of the Phoenicians, their neighbours, we have some illustrations of
their dance, which was apparently of a serious nature, judging by the
examples which we possess, such as that (fig. 5) from Cyprus
representing three figures in hooded cowls dancing around a piper. It
is a dance around a centre, as is also (fig. 6) that from Idalium in
Cyprus. The latter is engraved around a bronze bowl and is evidently a
planet and sun dance before a goddess, in a temple; the sun being the
central object around which they dance, accompanied by the double
pipes, the harp, and tabour. The Egyptian origin of the devotion is
apparent in the details, especially in the lotus-smelling goddess
(marked A on fig. 6) who holds the flower in the manner shown in an
Egyptian painting in the British Museum (fig. 7).

[Illustration: Fig. 5.--Cyprian limestone group of Phoenician dancers,
about 6-1/2 in. high. There is a somewhat similar group, also from
Cyprus, in the British Museum. The dress, a hooded cowl, appears to be
of great antiquity.]

From the Phoenicians we have illustrated examples, but no record,
whereas from their neighbours the Hebrews we have ample records in the
Scriptures, but no illustrations. It is, however, most probable that
the dance with them had the traditional character of the nations
around them or who had held them captive, and the Philistine dance
(fig. 6) may have been of the same kind as that around the golden calf
(Apis) of the desert (Exodus xxxii. v. 19).

[Illustration: Fig. 6.--Phoenician patera, from Idalium, showing a
religious ritual dance before a goddess in a temple round a sun
emblem.]

When they passed the Red Sea, Miriam and the maidens danced in chorus
with singing and the beating of the timbrel (tambour). (Exodus xv. v.
1.)

[Illustration: Fig. 7.--Female figure smelling a lotus. From a
painting in the British Museum.]

King David not only danced before the ark (2 Samuel vi. v. 16), but
mentions dancing in the 149th and 150th Psalm. Certain historians also
tell us that they had dancing in their ritual of the seasons. Their
dancing seems to have been associated with joy, as we read of "a time
to mourn and a time to dance"; we find (Eccles. iii. v. 4) they had
also the pipes: "We have piped to you and you have not danced"
(Matthew xi. v. 17). These dances were evidently executed by the
peoples themselves, and not by public performers.

[Illustration: Fig. 8.--Dance of Bacchantes, painted by the ceramic
painter, Hieron. (British Museum,)]




CHAPTER II.


DANCING WITH THE GREEKS.

With the Greeks, dancing certainly was primarily part of a religious
rite; with music it formed the lyric art. The term, however, with them
included all those actions of the body and limbs, and all expressions
and actions of the features and head which suggest ideas; marching,
acrobatic performances, and mimetic action all came into the term.

According to the historians, the Greeks attributed dancing to their
deities: Homer makes Apollo _orchestes_, or the dancer; and amongst
the early dances is that in his honour called the _Hyporchema_. Their
dances may be divided into sections somewhat thus: (1) those of a
religious species, (2) those of a gymnastic nature, (3) those of a
mimetic character, (4) those of the theatre, such as the chorus, (5)
those partly social, partly religious dances, such as the hymeneal,
and (6) chamber dances.

Grown up men and women did not dance together, but the youth of both
sexes joined in the _Horm[)o]s_ or chain dance and the
_G[)e]r[)a]n[)o]s_, or crane (see fig. 11).

[Illustration: Fig. 9.--Dancing Bacchante. From a vase in the British
Museum.]

[Illustration: Fig. 10.--Greek terra cotta dancing girl, about 350
B.C. (British Museum.)]

According to some authorities, one of the most primitive of the first
class, attributed to Phrygian origin, was the _Aloenes_, danced to the
Phrygian flute by the priests of Cybele in honour of her daughter
Ceres. The dances ultimately celebrated in her cult were numerous:
such as the _Anthema_, the _Bookolos_, the _Epicredros_, and many
others, some rustic for labourers, others of shepherds, etc. Every
locality seems to have had a dance of its own. Dances in honour of
Venus were common, she was the patroness of proper and decent dancing;
on the contrary, those in honour of Dionysius or Bacchus degenerated
into revelry and obscenity. The _Epilenios_ danced when the grapes
were pressed, and imitated the gathering and pressing. The
_Anteisterios_ danced when the wine was vatted (figs. 8, 9, 10), and
the _Bahilicos_, danced to the sistrus, cymbals, and tambour, often
degenerated into orgies.

[Illustration: Fig. 11.--The G[)e]r[)a]n[)o]s from
a vase in the Museo Borbonico, Naples.]

[Illustration: Fig. 12.--Panathenaeac dance, about
the 4th century B.C.]

[Illustration: Fig. 13.--A military dance, supposed
to be the _Corybantum_. From a Greek bas-relief in the Vatican
Museum.]

The _G[)e]r[)a]n[)o]s_, originally from Delos, is said to have been
originated by Theseus in memory of his escape from the labyrinth of
Crete (fig. 12). It was a hand-in-hand dance alternately of males and
females. The dance was led by the representative of Theseus playing
the lyre.

[Illustration: Fig. 14.--Greek dancer with castanets. (British
Museum.) See also Castanet dance by Myron, fig. 63a.]

Of the second class, the gymnastic, the most important were military
dances, the invention of which was attributed to Minerva; of these the
_Corybantum_ was the most remarkable. It was of Phrygian origin and of
a mixed religious, military, and mimetic character; the performers
were armed, and bounded about, springing and clashing their arms and
shields to imitate the Corybantes endeavouring to stifle the cries of
the infant Zeus, in Crete. The Pyrrhic (fig. 13), a war dance of Doric
origin, was a rapid dance to the double flute, and made to resemble
an action in battle; the _Hoplites_ of Homer is thought to have been
of this kind. The Dorians were very partial to this dance and
considered their success in battle due to the celerity and training of
the dance. In subsequent periods it was imitated by female dancers and
as a _pas seul_. It was also performed in the Panathenaea by Ephebi at
the expense of the Choragus, but this was probably only a mimetic
performance and not warlike.

[Illustration: Fig. 15.--Cymbals (about 4 in.) and double flute.
(British Museum.)]

There were many other heroic military dances in honour of Hercules,
Theseus, etc.

The chorus, composed of singers and dancers, formed part of the drama,
which included the recitation of some poetic composition, and included
gesticulative and mimetic action as well as dancing and singing. The
Dorians were especially fond of this; their poetry was generally
choral, and the Doric forms were preserved by the Athenians in the
choral compositions of their drama.

The tragic dance, _Emmelia_, was solemn; whilst that in comedy,
_Cordax_, was frivolous, and the _siccinis_, or dance of Satyrs, was
often obscene. They danced to the music of the pipes, the tambour, the
harp, castanets, cymbals, etc. (figs. 14, 15, 16).

[Illustration: Fig. 16.--Greek dancers. From a vase in the Hamilton
Collection.] [Illustration: Fig. 17.--Bacchanalian dancer. Vase from
Nocera, Museum, Naples.]

In the rites of Dionysius the chorus was fifty and the cithara was
used instead of the flute. From the time of Sophocles it was fifteen,
and always had a professed trainer. The choric question is, however, a
subject in itself, and cannot be fairly dealt with here.  The social
dances, and those in honour of the seasons, fire and water, were
numerous and generally local; whilst the chamber dances, professional
dancing, the throwing of the _Kotabos_, and such-like, must be left to
the reader's further study of the authors mentioned in the
bibliography at the end of the work.

[Illustration: Fig. 18.--Greek dancers and tumblers.]

It may astonish the reader to know that the funambulist or rope-dancer
was very expert with the Greeks, as also was the acrobat between
knives and swords. Animals were also taught to dance on ropes, even
elephants.

The important religious and other dances were not generally composed
of professionals. The greatest men were not above showing their
sentiments by dancing. Sophocles danced after Salamis, and Epaminondas
was an expert dancer. There were dancers of all grades, from the
distinguished to the moderate. Distinguished persons even married into
excellent positions, if they did not already occupy them by birth.
Philip of Macedon married Larissa, a dancer, and the dancer
Aristodemus was ambassador to his Court. These dancers must not be
confounded with those hired to dance at feasts, etc. (figs. 9, 14 and
18).  [Illustration: Fig. 19.--Etruscan bronze dancer with eyes of
diamonds, found at Verona. Now in the British Museum.]




CHAPTER III.


ETRUSCAN-SOUTH ITALIAN, ROMAN DANCING, ETC.

One of the most important nations of antiquity was the Etruscan,
inhabiting, according to some authorities, a dominion from Lombardy to
the Alps, and from the Mediterranean to the Adriatic.

Etruria gave a dynasty to Rome in Servius Tullius, who originally was
Masterna, an Etruscan.

[Illustration: Fig. 20.--Etruscan dancer. From a painting in the
Grotta dei Vasi dipinti--Corneto.]

It is, however, with the dancing that we are dealing. There is little
doubt that they were dancers in every sense; there are many ancient
sepulchres in Etruria, with dancing painted on their walls. Other
description than that of the pictures we do not possess, for as yet
the language is a dead letter. There is no doubt, as Gerhardt
[Footnote: "Ann. Institut.": 1831, p. 321.] suggests, that they
considered dancing as one of the emblems of joy in a future state,
and that the dead were received with dancing and music in their new
home. They danced to the music of the pipes, the lyre, the castanets
of wood, steel, or brass, as is shown in the illustrations taken from
the monuments.

[Illustration: Fig. 21.--Etruscan dancing and performances. From
paintings in the Grotta della Scimia Corneto, about 500 B.C.]

That the Phoenicians and Greeks had at certain times immense influence
on the Etruscans is evident from their relics which we possess (fig.
20).

A characteristic illustration of the dancer is from a painting in the
tomb of the _Vasi dipinti_, Corneto, which, according to Mr. Dennis,
[Footnote: "Etruria," vol. i., p. 380.] belongs to the archaic period,
and is perhaps as early as 600 B.C. It exhibits a stronger Greek
influence than some of the paintings. Fig. 21, showing a military
dance to pipes, with other sports, comes from the _Grotta della
Scimia_, also at Corneto; these show a more purely Etruscan character.

[Illustration: Fig. 22.--Etruscan Dancing. From the Grotta del
Triclinio.--Corneto.]

The pretty dancing scene from the _Grotta del Triclinio_ at Corneto
is taken from a full-sized copy in the British Museum, and is of the
greatest interest. It is considered to be of the Greco-Etruscan
period, and later than the previous examples (fig. 22).

There is a peculiarity in the attitude of the hands, and of the
fingers being kept flat and close together; it is not a little curious
that the modern Japanese dance, as exhibited by Mme. Sadi Yacca, has
this peculiarity, whether the result of ancient tradition or of modern
revival, the writer cannot say.

Almost as interesting as the Etruscan are the illustrations of dancing
found in the painted tombs of the Campagna and Southern Italy, once
part of "Magna Grecia"; the figure of a funeral dance, with the double
pipe accompaniments, from a painted tomb near Albanella (fig. 23) may
be as late as 300 B.C., and those in figs. 24, 25 from a tomb near
Capua are probably of about the same period. These Samnite dances
appear essentially different from the Etruscan; although both Greek
and Etruscan influence are very evident, they are more solemn and
stately. This may, however, arise from a different national custom.

That the Etruscan, Sabellian, Oscan, Samnite, and other national
dances of the country had some influence on the art in Rome is highly
probable, but the paucity of early Roman examples renders the evidence
difficult.

[Illustration: Fig. 23.--Funeral dance in the obsequies of a female.
From a painted tomb near Albanella.]

Rome as a conquering imperial power represented nearly the whole world
of its day, and its dances accordingly were most numerous. Amongst the
illustrations already given we have many that were preserved in Rome.
In the beginning of its existence as a power only religious dances
were practised, and many of these were of Etruscan origin, such as the
Lupercalia, the Ambarvalia, &c. In the former the dancers were
demi-nude, and probably originally shepherds; the latter was a serious
dancing procession through fields and villages.  [Illustration: Fig.
24.--Funeral dance. From Capua.]

A great dance of a severe kind was executed by the Salii, priests of
Mars, an ecclesiastical corporation of twelve chosen patricians. In
their procession and dance, on March 1, and succeeding days, carrying
the Ancilia, they sang songs and hymns, and afterwards retired to a
great banquet in the Temple of Mars. That the practice was originally
Etruscan may be gathered from the circumstance that on a gem showing
the armed priests carrying the shields there are Etruscan letters.
There were also an order of female Salii. Another military dance was
the _Saltatio bellicrepa_, said to have been instituted by Romulus in
commemoration of the Rape of the Sabines. The Pyrrhic dance (fig. 13)
was also introduced into Rome by Julius Caesar, and was danced by the
children of the leading men of Asia and Bithynia.

As, however, the State increased in power by conquest, it absorbed
with other countries other habits, and the art degenerated often, like
that of Greece and Etruria, into a vehicle for orgies, when they
brought to Rome with their Asiatic captives even more licentious
practices and dances.

[Illustration: Fig. 25.--Funeral dance from the same tomb.]

As Rome, which never rose to the intellectual and imaginative state of
Greece in her best period, represented wealth, commerce, and conquest,
in a greater degree, so were her arts, and with these the lyric. In
her best state her nobles danced, Appius Claudius excelled, and
Sallust tells us that Sempronia "psaltere saltare elegantius"; so that
in those days ladies played and danced, but no Roman citizen danced
except in the religious dances. They carried mimetic dances to a very
perfect character in the time of Augustus under the term of _Musica
muta_. After the second Punic war, as Greek habits made their way into
Italy, it became a fashion for the young to learn to dance. The
education in dancing and gesture were important in the actor, as masks
prevented any display of feature. The position of the actor was never
recognized professionally, and was considered _infamia_. But the
change came, which caused Cicero to say "no one danced when sober."
Eventually the performers of lower class occupied the dancing
platform, and Herculaneum and Pompeii have shown us the results.

[Illustration: Fig. 26.--Bacchante leading the Dionysian bull to the
altar. Bas-relief in the Vatican.]

In the theatre the method of the Roman chorus differed from that of
the Greeks. In the latter the orchestra or place for the dancing and
chorus was about 12 ft. below the stage, with steps to ascend when
these were required; in the former the chorus was not used in comedy,
and having no orchestra was in tragedies placed upon the stage. The
getting together of the chorus was a public service, or liturgia, and
in the early days of Grecian prosperity was provided by the choregus.

Tiberius by a decree abolished the Saturnalia, and exiled the dancing
teachers, but the many acts of the Senate to secure a better standard
were useless against the foreign inhabitants of the Empire accustomed
to sensuality and licence.

[Illustration: Fig. 27--Bacchante. From a fresco, Pompeii, 1st century
B.C.]

[Illustration: Fig. 28.--Dancer. From a fresco in the Baths of
Constantine, 4th century A.D.]

Perhaps the encouragement of the more brutal combats of the Coliseum
did something to suppress the more delicate arts, but historians have
told us, and it is common knowledge, what became of the great Empire,
and the lyric with other arts were destroyed by licentious
preferences.




CHAPTER IV.


THE "EARLY ENGLISH" AND "MEDIAEVAL" DANCE TO THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY.

The last illustration from the Baths of Constantine brought us into
the Christian era, although that example was not of Christian
sentiment or art. It is possible that the dance of Salome with its
diabolical reward may have prejudiced the Apostolic era, for we find
no example of dancing, as exhibiting joy, in Christian Art of that
period. The dance before Herod is historical proof that the higher
classes of Hebrews danced for amusement.

As soon, however, as Christianity became enthroned, and a settled
society, we read of religious dances as exhibiting joy, even in the
churches. Tertullian tells us that they danced to the singing of hymns
and canticles. These dances were solemn and graceful to the old tones;
and continued, notwithstanding many prohibitions such as those of Pope
Zacharias (a Syrian) in A.D. 744. The dancing at Easter in the
Cathedral at Paris was prohibited by Archbishop Odo in the 12th
century, but notwithstanding the antagonism of the Fathers, the dances
were only partially suppressed.

They were common on religious festivals in Spain and Portugal up to
the seventeenth century and in some localities continue even to our
own time. When S. Charles Borromeo was canonized in 1610, the
Portuguese, who had him as patron, made a procession of four chariots
of dancers; one to Renown, another to the City of Milan, one to
represent Portugal and a fourth to represent the Church. In Seville at
certain periods, and in the Balearic Isles, they still dance in
religious ceremonies.

We know that religious dancing has continually been performed as an
accessory to prayer, and is still so used by the Mahommedans, the
American Indians and the Bedos of India, who dance into an ecstasy.

[Illustration: Fig. 29.--Gleemen's dance, 9th century. From Cleopatra,
Cotton MS. C. viii., British Museum.]

It is probable that this sort of mania marked the dancing in Europe
which was suppressed by Pope and Bishop. This _choreomania_ marked a
Flemish sect in 1374 who danced in honour of St. John, and it was so
furious that the disease called St. Vitus' dance takes its name from
this performance.

Christmas carols were originally choric. The performers danced and
sang in a circle.

The illustration (fig. 43) of a dance of angels and religious shows us
that Fra Angelico thought the practice joyful; this dance is almost a
counterpart of that amongst the Greeks (fig. 11). The other dance, by
Sandro Botticelli (fig. 44), is taken from his celebrated "Nativity"
in the National Gallery. Although we have records of performances in
churches, no illustrations of an early date have come to the knowledge
of the writer.  [Illustration: Fig. 30.--Dancing to horn and pipe.
From an Anglo-Saxon MS.]

That the original inhabitants of Britain danced--that the Picts,
Danes, Saxons and Romans danced may be taken for granted, but there
seems little doubt that our earliest illustrations of dancing were of
the Roman tradition. We find the attitude, the instruments and the
clapping of hands, all of the same undoubted classic character.
Tacitus informs us that the Teutonic youths danced, with swords and
spears, and Olaus Magnus that the Goths, &c., had military dances:
still the military dances in English MSS. (figs. 31, 32) seem more
like those of a Pyrrhic character, which Julius Caesar, the conqueror
of England, introduced into Rome. The illustration (fig. 29) of what
is probably a Saxon gleemen's dance shows us the kind of amusement
they afforded and how they followed classic usages.

[Illustration: Fig. 31.--Anglo-Saxon sword dance. From the MS.
Cleopatra, C. viii., British Museum.]  The gleemen were reciters,
singers and dancers; and the lower orders were tumblers,
sleight-of-hand men and general entertainers. What may have been the
origin of our hornpipe is illustrated in fig. 30, where the figures
dance to the sound of the horn in much the same attitudes as in the
modern hornpipe, with a curious resemblance to the position in some
Muscovite dances.

[Illustration: Fig. 32.--Sword dance to bagpipes, 14th century. From 2
B vii., Royal MS., British Museum.]

The Norman minstrel, successor of the gleeman, used the double-pipe,
the harp, the viol, trumpets, the horn and a small flat drum, and it
is not unlikely that from Sicily and their South Italian possessions
the Normans introduced classic ideas.

Piers the Plowman used words of Norman extraction for them, as he
speaks of their "Saylen and Saute."

The minstrel and harpist does not appear to have danced very much, but
to have left this to the joculator, and dancing and tumbling and even
acrobatic women and dancers appear to have become common before the
time of Chaucer's "Tomblesteres."

[Illustration: Fig. 33.--Herodias tumbling. From a MS. end of 13th
century (Addl. 18,719, f. 253b), British Museum.]

That this tumbling and dancing was common in the thirteenth century is
shown by the illustration from the sculpture at Rouen Cathedral (fig.
34), the illustrations from a MS. in the British Museum (fig. 33) of
Herodias tumbling and of a design in glass in Lincoln, and other
instances at Ely; Idsworth Church, Hants; Ponce, France, and
elsewhere. It is suggested that the camp followers of the Crusaders
brought back certain dances and amongst these some of an acrobatic
nature, and many that were reprehensible, which brought down the anger
of the Clergy.

[Illustration: Fig. 34.--A tumbler, as caryatid. Rouen Cathedral, 13th
century.]

In the fourteenth century, from a celebrated MS. (2 B. vii.) in the
British Museum and other cognate sources we get a fair insight of the
amusement afforded by these dancers and joculators. In the
illustration (fig. 35) we get A and C tumblers, male and female; D, a
woman and bear dance; and E, a dance of fools to the organ and
bagpipe. It will be observed that they have bells on their caps, and
it must have required much skill and practice to sound their various
toned bells to the music as they danced. This dance of fools may have
suggested or became eventually merged into the "Morris Dance" (fig.
50) of which some account with other illustrations of "Comic Dances"
will be given hereafter. The man dancing and playing the pipes with a
woman on his shoulder (fig. 36), the stilt dancer with a curious
instrument (C), and the woman jumping through a hoop, give us other
illustrations of fourteenth century amusements.

[Illustration: Fig. 35.--14th century dancers. A and C are tumblers;
B, tumbling and balancing to the tambour; D, a woman dancing around a
whipped bear; E, jesters dancing.]

[Illustration: Fig. 36.--A, man dancing and playing pipes, carrying a
woman; B, jumping through a hoop; C, a stilt dance. 14th century.]




CHAPTER V.


SOCIETY DANCING FROM THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY.

[Illustration: Fig. 37.--Italian dance. From an engraving, end of 15th
century, attributed to Baccio Baldini.]

Concerning the dance as a means of social intercourse, it does not
appear to have been formulated as an accomplishment until late in the
thirteenth century, and at a later date was cultivated as a means of
teaching what we call deportment, until it became almost a necessity
with the classes, as is shown by the literature of that period. The
various social dances, such as the Volte, the Jig and the Galliard,
although in early periods, not so numerous, required a certain
training and agility. These, however, soon became complicated with
many social and local variations, the characteristics of which are a
study in themselves. The dances (figs. 37 and 38) in a field of
sports, from an Italian engraving of the fifteenth century, show us
nothing new; indeed, with different costumes it is very like what we
have from Egypt (fig. 3), only a different phase of the action, and
the attitude of this old dance is repeated even to our own time.

[Illustration: Fig. 38.--Italian dancing, the end of the 15th
century.]

In the Chamber dance by Martin Zasinger (fig. 39), of the fifteenth
century, no figures are in action, but we see an arrangement of the
guests and musicians, from which it is evident that the Chamber dance
as a social function had progressed and that the "Bal pare," etc.,
was here in embryo.

The flute and viol are evidently opening the function and the trumpets
and other portions of the orchestra on the other side waiting to come
in.

[Illustration: Fig. 39.--Chamber dance, 15th century. From a drawing
by Martin Zasinger.]

The stately out-door function, in a pleasure garden, from the "Roman
de la Rose" (fig. 40) illustrates but one portion of the feature of a
dance, another of which is described in Chaucer's translation:

       "They threw y fere
    Ther mouthes so that through their play
    It seemed as they kyste alway."

Fancy dress and comic dances have handed down the same characteristics
almost to our own time. The Wildeman costume dance (fig. 41) is
interesting in many respects, it not only shows us the dance, but the
costume and general method of the Chamber.

[Illustration: Fig. 40.--Dancing in a "pleasure garden," end of the
15th century. French, from the "Roman de la Rose," in the British
Museum.]

The fifteenth century comic dancers in a _fete champetre_ (fig. 42)
and those of the seventeenth century by Callot (fig. 52) are good
examples of this entertainment--in the background of the latter a
minuet seems to be in progress. The Morris dance (fig. 50) shows us
the development that had taken place since the fourteenth century.

[Illustration: Fig. 41.--Fancy dress dance of Wildemen of the 15th
century. From MS. 4379 Harl, British Museum.]

[Illustration: Fig. 42.--Comic dance to pipe and tabor, end of 15th
century. From pen drawing in the Mediaeval House Book in the Castle of
Wolfegg, by the Master of the Amsterdam Cabinet.]

[Illustration: Fig. 43.--A dance of Angels and Saints at the entrance
to Heaven. Fra Angelico.]

[Illustration: Fig. 44.--Dancing angels. From a "Nativity" by Sandro
Botticelli _circa_ 1500 A.D.] [Illustration: Fig. 45.--Albert Duerer,
1514 A.D.]

[Illustration: Fig. 46.--Albert Duerer.]

Allusion has already been made to the beautiful paintings of
Botticelli and Fra Angelico, which tell us of Italian choral dances of
their period; these do not belong to social functions, but are
certainly illustrative of the custom of their day. Albert Duerer (figs.
45, 46) has given us illustrations of the field dances of his period,
but both these dances and those drawn by Sebald Beham (fig. 47) are
coarse, and contrast unfavourably with the Italian, although the
action is vigorous and robust.

[Illustration: Fig. 47.--Scenes from dances. German, dated 1546, by
Hans Sebald Beham.]  The military dance of Dames and Knights of
Armour, by Hans Burgkmair, on the other hand, appears stately and
dignified (fig. 48). This may illustrate the difference between
chamber and garden or field dancing.

[Illustration: Fig. 48.--A torchlight military dance of the early 16th
century. From a picture by Hans Burgkmair.]

At the end of the sixteenth century we get a work on dancing which
shows us completely its position as a social art in that day. It is
the "Orchesographie" of Thoinot Arbeau (Jean Tabouret, Canon of
Langres, in 1588), from which comes the illustration of the
"Galliarde" (fig. 49) and to which I would refer the reader for all
the information he desires concerning this period. In this work much
stress is laid on the value of learning to dance from many points of
view--development of strength, manner, habits and courtesy, etc. Alas!
we know now that all these external habits can be acquired and leave
the "natural man" beneath.  [Illustration: Fig. 49.--_La Galliarde_.
From the "Orchesographie" of Thoinot Arbeau (Jean Tabourot), Langres,
1588.]

Desirable, therefore, as good manners and such like are, they do not
fulfil all the requirements that the worthy Canon wished to be
involved by them.

[Footnote: The advice which he gives is valuable
from its bearing on the customs of the 16th century. It even has great
historical value, indicating the influence dancing has had on good
manners. That the history of dancing is the history of manners may be
too much insisted upon. For these reasons we insert these little known
passages. The first has reference to the right way of proceeding at a
ball.

   "Having entered the place where the company is gathered for the
   dance, choose a good young lady (honneste damoiselle) and raising
   your hat or bonnet with your right hand you will conduct her to
   the ball with your left. She, wise and well trained, will tender
   her left and rise to follow you. Then in the sight of all you
   conduct her to the end of the room, and you will request the
   players of instruments to strike up a 'basse danse'; because
   otherwise through inadvertance they might strike up some other
   kind of dance. And when they commence to play you must commence
   to dance. And be careful, that they understand, in your asking
   for a 'basse danse,' you desire a regular and usual one.
   Nevertheless, if the air of one song on which the 'basse danse'
   is formed pleases you more than another you can give the
   beginning of the strain to them."

   "_Capriol_:--If the lady refuses, I shall feel very ashamed.

   "_Arbeau_:--A well-trained lady never refuses him who so honours
   her as to lead her to the dance.

   "_Capriol_:--I think so too, but in the meantime the shame of the
   refusal remains with me.

   "_Arbeau_:--If you feel sure of another lady's graciousness, take
   her and leave aside this graceless one, asking her to excuse you
   for having been importunate; nevertheless, there are those who
   would not bear it so patiently. But it is better to speak thus
   than with bitterness, because in so doing you acquire a
   reputation for being gentle and humane, and to her will fall the
   character of a 'glorieuse' unworthy of the attention paid her."

   "When the instrument player has ceased" continues our good Canon
   "make a deep bow by way of taking leave of the young lady and
   conduct her gently to the place whence you took her, whilst
   thanking her for the honour she has done you." Another extract is
   not wanting in flavour: "Hold the head and body straight, have a
   countenance of assurance, spit and cough little, and if necessity
   compels you, turn your face the other side and use a beautiful
   white handkerchief. Talk graciously, in gentle and honest speech,
   neither letting your hands hang as if dead or too full of
   gesticulation. Be dressed cleanly and neatly 'avec la chausse
   bien tiree et Pescarpin propre.'

   "And bear in mind these particulars."
]

We have have seen from the fourteenth century (figs. 35 C, 36 A, 46)
how common the bagpipe was in out-of-door dances; in the illustrations
from Duerer (fig. 46) and in fig. 53 from Holtzer it has developed, and
has two accessory pipes, besides that played by the mouth, and the
player is accompanied by a sort of clarionet. This also appears to be
the only accompaniment of the Trio (fig. 58).  [Illustration: Fig.
50.--Morris dancers. From a window that was in the possession of
George Tollett, Esq., Birtley, Staffordshire, 16th century.]

[Illustration: Fig. 51.--Court dance. From a drawing by Callot, 1635
A.D.]

In the sixteenth century certain Spanish dances were introduced into
France, such as la Pavane, which was accompanied by hautboys and
sackbuts.

[Illustration: Fig. 52.--Comic dancers. By Callot, from the act
entitled "Balli di Sfessama," 1609 A.D.]

[Illustration: Fig. 53.--Country dance. From a drawing by John
Evangelist Holtzer, 17th century.]

[Illustration: Fig. 54.--A ball-room dance, _Le Bal Pare_, of the 18th
century. From August de l'Aubin.]

[Illustration: Fig. 55.--A dance in the 18th century. From a painting
by Hogarth.]

There were, however, various other dances of a number too
considerable to describe here, also introduced. The dance of the
eighteenth century from Derby ware (fig. 59) seems to be but a
continuation in action of those of the sixteenth century, as
out-of-door performances.

[Illustration: Fig. 56.--Caricature of a dancing master. Hogarth.]

We have now arrived at the modern style of ball, so beloved by many of
the French Monarchs. Henry IV. and Napoleon were fond of giving these
in grand style, and in some sort of grand style they persist even as a
great social function to our own time. The Court balls of Louis XIII.
and XIV. at Versailles were really gorgeous ballets, and their
grandeur was astonishing; this custom was continued under the
succeeding monarchs. An illustration of one in the eighteenth century
by August de l'Aubin (fig. 54) sufficiently shows their character.
There is nothing new in the postures illustrated, which may have
originated thousands of years ago. As illustrating the popular ball of
the period, the design by Hogarth (fig. 55) is an excellent contrast.
The _contredanse_ represented was originally the old country dance
exported to France and returned with certain arrangements added. This
is a topic we need not pursue farther, as almost every reader knows
what social dancing now is.

[Illustration: Fig. 57.--Spring dancing away from winter. From a
drawing by Watteau.]

[Illustration: Fig. 58.--The Misses Gunning dancing. End of the 18th
century, from a print by Bunbury, engraved by Bartolozzi.]

[Illustration: Fig. 59.--Dancing. Close of the 18th century. From
Derby ware.]

[Illustration: Fig. 60.--Spanish dance in the Hall of Saragoza, 19th
century.]




CHAPTER VI.


THE MODERN THEATRE DANCE.

Although the theatrical ballet dance is comparatively modern, the
elements of its formation are of the greatest antiquity; the chorus of
dancers and the performances of the men in the Egyptian chapters
represent without much doubt public dancing performances. We get
singing, dancing, mimicry and pantomime in the early stages of Greek
art, and the development of the dance rhythm in music is equally
ancient.

The Alexandrine Pantomime, introduced into Rome about 30 B.C. by
Bathillus and Pylades, appears to have been an entertainment
approaching the ballet.

In the middle ages there were the mysteries and "masks"; the latter
were frequent in England, and are introduced by Shakespere in "Henry
VIII."

In Italy there appears to have been a kind of ballet in the 14th
century, and from Italy, under the influence of Catharine de' Medici,
came the ballet. Balthasar di Beaujoyeulx produced the first recorded
ballet in France, in the Italian style, in 1582. This was, however,
essentially a Court ballet.

The theatre ballet apparently arose out of these Court ballets. Henry
III. and Henry IV., the latter especially, were very fond of these
entertainments, and many Italians were brought to France to assist in
them. Pompeo Diabono, a Savoyard, was brought to Paris in 1554 to
regulate the Court ballets. At a later date came Rinuccini, the poet,
a Florentine, as was probably Caccini, the musician. They had composed
and produced the little operetta of "Daphne," which had been performed
in Florence in 1597. Under these last-mentioned masters the ballet in
France took somewhat of its present form. This passion for Court
ballets continued under Louis XIII. and Louis XIV.

[Illustration: Fig. 61.--Mlle. de Camargo. After a painting by
Lancret, about 1740 A.D.]

Louis XIII. as a youth danced in one of the ballets at St. Germain, it
is said at the desire of Richelieu, who was an expert in spectacle. It
appears that he was encouraged in these amusements to remedy fits of
melancholy.

Louis XIV., at seven, danced in a masquerade, and afterwards not only
danced in the ballet of "Cassandra," in 1651, but did all he could to
raise the condition of the dance and encourage dancing and music. His
influence, combined with that of Cardinal Richelieu, raised the
ballet from gross and trivial styles to a dignity worthy of music,
poetry and dancing. His uncle, Gaston of Orleans, still patronized the
grosser style, but it became eclipsed by the better. Lulli composed
music to the words of Moliere and other celebrities; amongst notable
works then produced was the "Andromeda" of Corneille, a tragedy, with
hymns and dances, executed in 1650, at the Petit Bourbon.

[Illustration: Fig. 62.--Pauline Duvernay at Covent Garden,
1833-1838.]

The foundation of the theatrical ballet was, however, at the
instigation of Mazarin, to prevent a lowering of tone in the
establishment of the _Academie de Danse_ under thirteen Academicians
in 1661. This appears to have been merged into the _Academie Royale de
Musique et de Danse_ in 1669, which provided a proper training for
debutants, under MM. Perrin and Cambert, whilst Beauchamp, the master
of the Court ballets, had charge of the dancing. The first
opera-ballet, the "Pomona" of Perrin and Cambert, was produced in
1671. To this succeeded many works of Lulli, to whom is attributed the
increased speed in dance music and dancing, that of the Court ballets
having been slow and stately.

[Illustration: Fig. 63.--Mlle. Fanny Ellsler. From a lithograph by A.
Lacaucbie.]

The great production of the period appears to have been the "Triumph
of Love" in 1681, with twenty scenes and seven hundred performers;
amongst these were many of the nobility, and some excellent
_ballerine_, such as Pesaut, Carre, Leclerc, and Lafontaine.

A detailed history of the ballet is, however, impossible here, and we
must proceed to touch only on salient points. It passed from the
Court to the theatre about 1680 and had two characteristics, one with
feminine dancers, the other without.

[Illustration: Fig. 63a.--Dancing satyr playing castanets, by Myron,
in the Vatican Museum. The action is entirely suggestive of that of
Fanny Ellsler, and might be evidence of the antiquity of the Spanish
tradition.]

It is not a little curious that wearing the mask, a revival of the
antique, was practised in some of these ballets. The history of the
opera-ballet of those days gives to us many celebrated names of
musicians, such as Destouches, who gave new "verve" to ballet music,
and Rameau. Jean Georges Noverre abolished the singing and established
the five-act ballet on its own footing in 1776. In this it appears he
had partly the advice of Garrick, whom he met in London. The names of
the celebrated dancers are numerous, such as Pecourt, Blaudy (who
taught Mlle. Camargo), Laval, Vestris, Germain, Prevost, Lafontaine,
and Camargo (fig. 61), of the 18th century; Taglioni, Grisi, Duvernay,
Cerito, Ellsler, etc., of the 19th century, to those of our own day. A
fair notice of all of these would be a work in itself.

[Illustration: Fig. 64.--Mlle. Taglioni. From a lithograph of the
period.]

The introduction of the ballet into England was as late as 1734, when
the French dancers, Mlle. Salle, the rival of Mlle. Camargo, and Mlle.
de Subligny made a great success at Covent Garden in "Ariadne and
Galatea," and Mlle. Salle danced in her own choregraphic invention of
"Pygmalion," since which time it has been popular in England, when
those of the first class can be obtained. There are, however, some
interesting and romantic circumstances connected with the ballet in
London in the last century, which it will not be out of place to
record here. Amongst the dancers of the last century of considerable
celebrity were two already mentioned, Mlles. Duvernay (fig. 62) and
Taglioni (fig. 64), whose names are recorded in the classic verse of
"Ingoldsby."

    "Malibran's dead, Duvernay's fled;
     Taglioni has not yet arrived in her stead."

[Illustration: Fig. 65.--_Pas de Trois_ by Mlles. Ferraris, Taglioni,
and Carlotta Grisi.]

Mlle. Duvernay was a Parisian, and commenced her study under Barrez,
but subsequently was under Vestris and Taglioni, the father of the
celebrity mentioned in the verse.

[Illustration: Fig. 66.--Mlle. Adeline Genee, 1906. Photo, Ellis and
Walery.]

Duran hangs over the mantelpiece of the refectory of the presbytery.

[Illustration: Fig. 67.--Mlle. Anna Pavlova, 1910. From a photo by
Foulsham and Banfield.]

Having made a great Parisian reputation, she came to London in 1833,
and from that date until 1837 held the town, when she married Mr.
Stephens Lyne Stephens, M.P., a gentleman of considerable wealth, but
was left a childless widow in 1861, and retired to her estate at
Lyneford Hall, Norfolk, living in retirement and spending her time in
good works. She is said to have spent L100,000 in charities and
churches, and that at Cambridge, dedicated to the English martyrs, was
founded, completed, and endowed by her. She led a blameless and
worthy life, and died in 1894. Her portrait by Mlle. Taglioni (fig.
64), her co-celebrity, married Count Gilbert de Voisins, a French
nobleman, in 1847, and with her marriage came an ample fortune;
unfortunately the bulk of this fortune was lost in the Franco-German
war. With the courage of her character the Countess returned to London
and gave lessons in dancing, etc., in which she was sufficiently
successful to obtain a fair living. She died in 1884 at 80 years of
age. Of the other celebrities of the period--Carlotta Grisi, Ferraris
(fig. 65), and Fanny Ellsler (fig. 63)--some illustrations are given;
besides these were Fanny Cerito, Lucile Grahn, a Dane, and some others
of lesser notoriety performing in London at this great period of the
ballet.

[Illustration: Fig. 68.--Mlle. Sophie Fedorova.]

The recent encouragement of the classic ballet has introduced us to
some exquisite dancers: amongst these are Mlle. Adeline Genee (fig.
66) and Mlle. Anna Pavlova (fig. 67); the latter, with M. Mordkin and
a corps of splendid dancers, are from Russia, from whence also comes
the important troupe now at the Alhambra with Mlle. Geltzer and other
excellent dancers. The celebrated company at Covent Garden, and Lydia
Kyasht at the Empire, are also Russian. It is not surprising that we
get excellent dancing from Russia; the school formed by Peter the
Great about 1698 has been under State patronage ever since.

Notices of all the important dancers from Italy, Spain, Paris, or
elsewhere, performing in England in recent years, would occupy
considerable space, and the reader can easily obtain information
concerning them elsewhere.

That the technique and speed of the classic dance has considerably
increased is historically certain, and we must hope that this speed
will not sacrifice graceful movement. Moreover, technique alone will
not make the complete fine-artist: some invention is involved.
Unfortunately, some modern attempts at invention seem crude and
sensational, whilst lacking the exquisite technique desirable in all
exhibitions of finished art.

Before concluding it is almost imperative to say something about the
naked foot dancers, followers of Isidora Duncan. Some critics and a
certain public have welcomed them; but is it not "sham antique"? It
does not remind one of the really classic. Moreover, the naked foot
should be of antique beauty, which in most of these cases it is not.
Advertisements tell us that these dance are interpretations of classic
music--Chopin, Weber, Brahms, etc.; they are not really
interpretations, but distractions! We can hardly imagine that these
composers intended their work for actual dancing. One can listen and
be entranced; one sees the dancer's "interpretations" or
"translations" and the music is degraded to a series of sham classic
postures.

The idea that running about the stage in diaphanous costumes, with
conventional mimicry and arm action, is classic or beautiful is a
mistake; the term aesthetic may cover, but not redeem it. There is not
even the art of the ordinary ballet-dancer discernible in these
proceedings.

On another plane are such as the ballets in "Don Giovanni" and
"Faust." Mozart and Gounod wrote these with a full knowledge of the
method of interpretation and the persons who had been trained for
that purpose--the performers fit the music and it fits them. This
opera-ballet is also more in accordance with tradition before the
time of Noverre.

Neither do the "popular" and curious exhibitions of Loie Fuller strike
one as having a classic character, or future, of any consideration,
pretty as they may be.

The operetta or musical comedy has given us some excellent art,
especially at the end of the 19th century, when Sylvia Gray, Kate
Vaughan, Letty Lind, Topsy Sinden, and others of like _metier_ gave us
skirt and drapery dancing.

This introduces us to the question of costume. That commonly used by
the _prima ballerina_ is certainly not graceful; it was apparently
introduced about 1830, presumably to show the action and finished
method of the lower extremities. If Fanny Ellsler and Duvernay could
excel without this ugly contrivance, why is it necessary for others?

At the same time it is better than indifferent imitations of the
Greek, or a return to the debased characteristics of Pompeiian art, in
which the effect of the classic and fine character of the material are
rendered in a sort of transparent muslin.

With these notices the author's object in this sketch is completed. Of
the _bal-masque_ garden dances, public balls and such-like, he has no
intention to treat; they are not classic dancing nor "art," with the
exception perhaps of the Scottish reels. Nor is he interested in the
dancing of savage tribes, nor in that of the East, although some few
illustrations are given to illustrate traditions: for example, the use
of the pipe and tabor in Patagonia, the dancer from Japan, winged,
like that in the "Roman de la Rose" (fig. 40), and the religious dance
of Tibet, showing the survival of the religious dance in some
countries. In Mrs. Groves' book on dancing there is an excellent
chapter on the Ritual dance as now practised, to which the reader can
refer.

[Illustration: Fig. 69.--Japanese Court Dance.] [Illustration: Fig.
70.--Indian dancing-girl.]

[Illustration: Fig. 71.--Patagonian dancers to fife and tabor.]

[Illustration: Fig. 72.--Tibetan religious dancing procession, 1908
A.D.]




BIBLIOGRAPHY.


Baron, A. "Lettres et Entretiens sur la Danse." Paris, 1825.

Emmanuel, M. "La Danse grecque antique." 1896.

Menestrier, Pere. "Des Ballets anciens et modernes." 1682.

Bonnet. "Histoire generale de la Danse sacree et profane." 1723.

Cahusac. "La Danse ancienne et moderne." 1754.

Noverre. "Lettres sur les Ballets." 1760.

Charbonnel, R. "La Danse de Lettres, &c." 1807.

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