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M. Burden, J. Thorp
With a grace not to be captured
Representing the Georgian theatrical dancer, 1760-1830

approx. 250 p., 90 colour ill., 216 x 280 mm
ISBN: 978-2-503-58356-3
Languages: English
PaperbackPaperback
The publication is in production.The publication is in production. (05/2019)
Retail price: approx. EUR 100,00 excl. tax
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A new volume on the rise and social impact of the celebrity dancer in late-Georgian London, as viewed through portraits, caricatures and eyewitness descriptions of the time.

If dance on the London stage can be said to have a ‘golden age’, it might be thought to be the years between 1760 and 1830. The changes included the arrival on London stage of ballet d’action, and the appearance of Vestris and Noverre. Dance in the theatre and the opera house continued to be essential to the financial success of any season, and it was a ubiquitous element in the London theatrical season both in dramatic works and as entr’acte pieces. These years also saw important changes that affected theatrical dance and thus public perceptions of celebrity dancers.

Despite this, and in comparison with other performers, far fewer portraits of dancers were produced. This can be explained in part by a visual culture that privileged a particularly national view of celebrity. As one of the contributors argues in this volume, ‘The rhetoric of a ‘British school of art’ contributed to marginalizing foreign singers and dancers on the London stage, as well as other immigrant artisans who had a major role to play in the economics of eighteenth-century London leisure life.’ 

Through the examination of series of major dancers, this volume examines the way in which the images created represented a dancer’s image, which was then often exploited through the medium of print. The images discussed in the volume include formal and informal portraits, portraits in character, prints, and caricatures.

Michael Burden is Professor in Opera Studies at Oxford University. His published research is on aspects of dance and theatre in the London theatres of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. He is currently completing a volume on the staging of opera in London between 1660 and 1860; his five-volume collection of opera documents, London Opera Observed, and his study of the London years of the soprano Regina Mingotti were both published in 2013, and - edited with Jennifer Thorp - The Works of Monsieur Noverre translated from the French in 2014.

Jennifer Thorp has a particular interest in the dance of royal court and public theatre in England and France from the late-seventeenth to the late-eighteenth centuries. She has co-edited, with Michael Burden, a study of Le Ballet de la Nuit (2010), and The Works of Monsieur Noverre translated from the French, 1783 (2014), and is currently preparing for publication a biography and study of the dances of the London dancing-master Mr Isaac.

Interest Classification:
Fine Arts & Performing Arts
Musicology

This publication is also distributed by: ISD
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