Karl-Johnson, Gabriella. "From the Page to the Floor: Baroque Dance Notation and Kellom Tomlinson’s The Art of Dancing Explained." Signs and Society 5, no. 2 (Fall 2017): 269-292.
The late seventeenth century gave rise to a powerful innovation in Western European social and theatrical dance, the art of dance notation. The new representational technology of dance notation provided a means to broadcast fashionable dances emerging from the French court as well as new compositions from dancing masters operating in London and elsewhere. In the first three decades of the eighteenth century, dance notation quickly reached faddish heights, with published dance manuals in high demand among upper levels of English society. One publication from the era, Kellom Tomlinson’s The Art of Dancing Explained by Reading and Figures, provides a window onto the descriptive tool of dance notation, its function in society, and its eventual decline. While providing a previously unimagined communicational technology, the completeness and specificity of the dominant form of dance notation ultimately spelled its demise.