2 3 Throwback Thursday and Raoul Feuillet | Ballet Webb

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Throwback Thursday and Raoul Feuillet

Throwback Thursday and Raoul Feuillet

Born in 1675, Raoul Feuillet was a French dancer and choreographer who developed an early notation system for recording dance. It was the first time anyone used symbols to record dance movements (that we know of).

While serving as maître de danse in the court of Louis XIV, he published his system in Chorégraphie ou L'Art de décrire la danse par caractères, figures et signes demonstratives (usually shortened to Chorégraphie), and in 1704 he was sued for plagiarism by Beauchamps who claimed he had invented the method himself twenty-two years earlier. The suit was unsuccessful and might never have happened at all if Feuillet hadn’t made the mistake of failing to acknowledge that his work was heavily influenced by Beauchamps although he expanded and improved Beauchamp’s system. 

The system is described like this: It indicates the placement of the feet and six basic leg movements: plié, releveé, sauté, cabriole, tombé, and glissé. Changes of body direction and numerous ornamentations of the legs and arms are also part of the system which is based on tract drawings that trace the pattern of the dance. Additionally, bar lines in the dance score correspond to bar lines in the music score.” https://publicdomainreview.org/collections/choregraphie-1701/

Feuillet continued to refine his method and published several later editions. The work was popular and translated into other languages. Today the system is called the Beauchamps-Feuillet notation.

Feuillet died on June 14, 1710.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Dance History Secret #238:
“Raoul Feuillet developed an early system of dance notation.”

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Quote of the Day:
“Imagination has given us the steam engine, the telephone, the talking-machine and the automobile, for these things had to be dreamed of before they became realities. So I believe that dreams - day dreams, you know, with your eyes wide open and your brain-machinery whizzing - are likely to lead to the betterment of the world. The imaginative child will become the imaginative man or woman most apt to create, to invent, and therefore to foster civilization.”
― L. Frank Baum, The Lost Princess of Oz

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