By going into print, the ballet master, dancer, and writer on dance, Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), helped to set the tone for major reforms in theatrical dance and furthered the development of a style of dramatic pantomime-ballet which would become known as ballet d’action. His dancing style and his ballets were taken up by some of his pupils, several of whom became leading choreographers in their own right, and thereby increased the impact of Noverre’s work during and after his lifetime. His major publication, Lettres sur la danse, is a key text which is the primary reason for interest in Noverre today, and its first English translation, The Works of Monsieur Noverre translated from the French, which appeared in 1782, is the focus of this volume. Lettres sur la danse was completed in the autumn of 1759, with a publication date of 1760, and appeared in numerous editions including those of Vienna (1767), Amsterdam (1787), St Petersburg (1803-4), and Paris (1807). The text, which is presented as near as is possible to its 18th-century form, is accompanied by an introduction and commentary, and by eight illustrated essays by dance historians and musicologists, which shed light on aspects of Noverre’s career, and on the development of his theories.
Fellow in Music at New College, and Reader in Opera Studies in the University. He did his undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Adelaide in South Australia, and his PhD at the University of Edinburgh. He has served on the Council of the Royal Musical Association, is a patron member of the American Society for Eighteenth-century Studies, a trustee of Répertoire International des Sources Musicales (RISM), and is currently serving as President of the British Society for 18th-century Studies.
His research interests are centered on the history of the London stage 1660 to 1860, and beyond, with an emphasis on staging techniques and processes in opera, and on the performance of dance. Much of his published research is on the music of Henry Purcell. Some of his research has resulted in stagings of newly recovered works, most recently of Francesco Cavalli’s Erismena, for which he produced a new edition of the score and directed the performances. He is a member of both the Scientific and Editorial Committees for the new complete Stradella edition, ETS Pisa, and of the Scientific Committee of the complete John Eccles edition, A-R Editions, Wisconsin. With Jennifer Thorp, he organises the annual Oxford Dance Symposium, now over a decade old.
An archivist and dance historian with a particular interest in seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century dance for court and theatre in France and England. For a number of years she performed in baroque ensembles and opera productions in the UK, USA, and Europe, and taught baroque theatre dance at Middlesex University, Bedford Campus. She has contributed numerous articles to academic journals and works of reference, and has a long-standing research interest in the careers of the dancing-masters Mr Isaac and Anthony L’Abbé, and in other French dancers who worked in London between 1660 and 1760. Her edition of F. Le Roussau’s manuscript collection of New Ball- and Stage Dances of 1720 was published in 2008, and she is currently working on a book-length study of Mr Isaac.