Tag Archives: Choreographers

Mr. Isaac and The Union

The 1707 Act of Union joined England and Scotland as a single entity. For the birthday of Queen Anne that year the choreographer Mr. Isaac created The Union, a couple dance that conveyed some of the tensions involved in forging a new national identity.

The doctrine of affections linked the genres of the dance’s loure and hornpipe sections with specific emotions. The loure was connected with pride, even arrogance, as well as a tinge of nostalgia; in this section of The Union, the two dancers pass and join with an air of circumspect ambivalence, expressing cultural rapprochement. Associated with Scotland, the hornpipe was linked with vigor and vitality, and the second section of The Union presents an idealized, anglicized vision of Scottishness.

This according to “Issues of nation in Isaac’s The Union” by Linda J. Tomko (Dance research XV/2 [winter 1997] pp. 99–125). Above, excerpts from John Weaver’s notation of the piece using the BeauchampFeuillet system.

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Filed under Baroque era, Dance, Politics


To create the virtual dance installation Ghostcatching the digital artists Paul Kaiser and Shelley Eshkar used a computer-based optical system to track the movements of the choreographer Bill T. Jones. The data from this motion-capture system formed the basis for three-dimensional digital animation.

The work challenges previous modes of commodification and enjoyment of the racialized other; it also provides a new generation in a genealogy of mechanized figures and automatons, as exemplified by the photographic work of Étienne-Jules Marey (1830–1904).

This according to “Ghostcatching: An intersection of technology, labor, and race” by Danielle Goldman (Dance research journal XXV–XXVI/2–1, pp. 68–87).

Above, some of Marey’s 1870 locomotion studies; below, excerpts from Ghostcatching.


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Filed under 20th- and 21st-century music, Dance, Science

Choreographic practices

Founded by Intellect in 2010, Choreographic practices (ISSN 2040-5669; EISSN 2040-5677) seeks to engender dynamic relationships between theory and practice, choreographer and scholar, so that these distinctions may be shifted and traversed. The journal is edited by Vida L. Midgelow and Jane M. Bacon.

Encompassing a wide range of methodologies and critical perspectives so that interdisciplinary processes in performance can be understood as they intersect with other territories in the arts and beyond—e.g., cultural studies, psychology, phenomenology, geography, philosophy, and economics—Choreographic practices  aims to illuminate an emerging and vibrant research area by opening up the nature and scope of dance practice as research and drawing together diverse bodies of knowledge and ways of knowing.

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Filed under Dance, New periodicals

Stravinsky the global dancer

Stravinsky the global dancer: A chronology of choreography to the music of Igor Stravinsky is a free online database that aims to list all dances choreographed to Stravinsky’s works, with references to about 100 compositions, about 1250 dances, and about 700 choreographers. Compiled by Stephanie Jordan and Larraine Nicholas, it is searchable by title of composition, year of composition, year of choreography, name of choreographer, dance company, and country.

Jordan’s “The demons in a database: Interrogating Stravinsky the global dancer” (Dance research XXII/1 [summer 2004] pp. 57–83) presents analyses of findings in the database regarding the distribution of new Stravinsky dance productions over the years, incidence of choreographing the narrative vs. the concert scores, distribution by choreographer, and distribution by country, along with case studies of the choreographic histories of Le sacre du printemps, Apollo, and Agon.

Above, the composer in his Ballets Russes days with Serge Diaghilev and Serge Lifar, who originated the role of Apollo. Below, the Houston Ballet performs an excerpt from Balanchine’s choreography for that work.

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Filed under 20th- and 21st-century music, Dance, Resources

Basse danse with attitude I

The jurist Antonius deArena (fl. ca. 1520–50) wrote several lengthy poems, including Ad suos compagnones studiantes qui sunt de persona friantes bassas danzas de nova bragarditer, translated as “Rules of dancing” by John Guthrie and Marino Zorzi (Dance research: The journal of the Society for Dance Research, vol. 4, no. 1 [autumn 1986], pp. 3–53). This treatise describes the basse danse and other French social dances of the period in considerable detail, interspersing the technical information with colorful and humorous advice regarding etiquette and deportment.

“I exhort you all to learn the dances in which you may bestow prolonged kisses” he suggests, “there is no employment more delightful for you, nor for me.” He further admonishes “never doze during the ball, please, my good companion; sleeping during the dance is like denying God.”

Finally, he counsels “afterwards remember to give drinks to everyone and then the genial wine, my friend, will assume its sway, since Ovid sings that the poor wretch becomes a cuckold as soon as the wine flows at the banquets.”

Related article: Basse danse with attitude II


Filed under Curiosities, Dance, Humor, Performance practice, Renaissance

Dance journals

Although they rarely focus directly on music, articles in scholarly dance journals are often important sources for music researchers. Ethnomusicologists regularly find that their work intersects with that of ethnochoreologists, and music historians increasingly turn to publications by dance historians for information on choreographers, performers, and productions, from the court of Louis XIV to the Ballets Russes to music videos.

RILM is currently working to complete its coverage of three leading dance journals—Dance research, Dance chronicle, and Dance research journal.

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Filed under Dance, Publication types