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(b ?Paris, ?1676; d Paris, Aug 6, 1739). French dancer, choreographer, and academician. His dancing-master father, Antoine (d 20 July 1740), married Catherine Beauchamps, the sister of dancing-master Pierre Beauchamps, with whom Michel reputedly studied. Michel was also connected to [J.-B. Poquelin] Molière’s family through his wife, Marie-Nicole-Thérèse Dugast (married 7 May 1701). Michel danced at the Paris Opéra from 1690; from 1728 until his death he was a ‘compositeur des ballets’. On occasion, he choreographed or performed in ballets for the French court. Among other works, he choreographed a Ballet de la Paix (1713) for the Jesuit Collège Louis le Grand. His famous pupils included Marie-Anne Cupis de Camargo, Marie Sallé, and, allegedly, Franz Hilverding van Wewen. Noverre claims that Blondi did not teach his students to read dance notation, but as a member of the Académie Royale de Danse, Blondi signed a resolution condemning Pierre Rameau’s ...

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Ingrid Brainard

[Giovanni Ambrosio]

(b Pesaro, c1420; d ? after 1484). Italian dancing-master, theorist and choreographer. He was the son of Moses of Sicily, Jewish dancing-master at the Pesaro court. Two autobiographical chapters in his own treatises provide information about his career; he listed a number of major festivities (weddings, entries, visits of state, carnival celebrations etc.) for which he created the dances. The most brilliant courts of the period sought his services; some of the engagements, such as those at Camerino, Ravenna, Urbino, Milan and Florence, extended over several years. Perhaps for convenience or personal safety, or to enhance his standing in his profession, he converted to Christianity and assumed the name Giovanni Ambrosio; the treatise under this name, F-Pn it.476, is nearly identical with F-Pn it.973, the only securely dated examplar (1463) of Guglielmo's manual. Guglielmo was at the Naples court from 1465 to 1467, and soon thereafter (...

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Claude Conyers

(b Kansas City, MO, Dec 21, 1950). American modern dancer, choreographer, and company director. She was trained in various styles of show dancing by Joseph Stevenson, who had been a student of the famed dance anthropologist Katherine Dunham. Zollar followed in Dunham’s scholarly footsteps, eventually earning a master’s degree in fine arts at Florida State University, where she also studied ballet and modern dance. In 1980 she relocated to New York and continued her studies with Dianne McIntyre. Following her childhood bent for making up dances, she founded her own company, Urban Bush Women, in 1984, and began choreographic explorations of the history and culture of African American women in an urban, multi-ethnic environment. Blending modern and jazz dance, her works range in subject matter from Shelter (1988), a piercing study of homelessness, to Batty Moves (1995), a saucy celebration of the buttocks of black women. Some of Zollar’s dances are evening-length works performed to percussive sounds, a capella vocalizations, music by contemporary composers, and the spoken word, arising from librettos written by poets and novelists. Notable among these is ...