Dance -- History -- Early works to 1800; Dance History and Theory; Theatrical Dance
Cahusac, Louis de, 1706-1759
Cahusac, Louis de (1706-1759) À La Haye, Chez J. Neaulme, 1754 First edition Louis de Cahusac was a librettist who worked with dramatists and musicians such as Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764). He also contributed to Diderot’s Encyclopédie. In this treatise, Cahusac stressed the importance of studying the theories of all the arts and placing dance in the aesthetic context of the performing arts. Volume one is a history of the dance of ancient and Middle Eastern civilizations. Cahusac relied on the vast literature available to him in classical studies. He contributed new information by presenting an original treatment of dance from the perspective of neo-classical aesthetic philosophy. He paid special attention to Roman pantomime, which he saw as a source of renewal for a decadent academic theater. He argued for the place of pantomime in dance as a discipline for the “imitation of nature.” Volume two describes the renaissance of the arts and the origins of ballet to 1610, in particular the story of dance in France from Catherine de’ Medici to 1643. Cahusac included a discussion of the history of festivals and public ceremonies. Volume three focuses on the establishment of French opera and dance in the court of Henry IV. Cahusac discussed the state of ballet in his own day with many references to persons and events in the thriving Parisian theater. His discussion included comments on theatrical allusion, stage machinery, and the principles of choreography. Cahusac borrowed from other writers but his work was a very early attempt at a comprehensive, complete history of dance.
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xGV1600 C2 1754
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