Glon, Marie. "When dances circulated on paper: European dancing masters and the art of dancing 'by characters and demonstrative figures'." In Moving scenes: the circulation of music and theatre in Europe, 1700-1815, edited by Pierre-Yves Beaurepaire, Philippe Bourdin and Charlotta Wolff, 241-255. Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2018.
‘Chorégraphie, ou l’art de décrire la dance par caracteres, figures et signes démonstratifs’: under this title, Parisian dancing master Raoul Auger Feuillet presented, in 1700, what would nowadays be called a dance notation manual.1 Thanks to this scriptural art, hundreds of ‘dances engraven in characters and figures’ (the use of which is meant to be similar to that of musical scores), edited by dancing masters, were published during the 18th century – at least 330 dances can thus be identified, published in 157 printed books or leaflets, pertaining both to writing and to drawing. One of the aims of these objects was to introduce dances into new social and geographical areas, and the study of their circulations reveals a whole network of exchanges in Europe – exchanges of dances, but also of groundbreaking ideas and techniques. These circulations force us to reconsider widely accepted notions about writing. They also shed light on a variety of environments for the practice of dance at that time, and on the porosity between those distinct venues and environments. They lead us to review historiographical theories about French culture and its relations to other countries, under the reign of Louis XIV and afterwards. Finally, they reveal how dancing masters collectively re-invented their activities and assignments, on a European level, throughout the 18th century.