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A.J. Hipkins

revised by David Charlton

(b Menstetten, nr Altona, Hamburg, Feb 25, 1809; d London, May 26, 1886). French dancing-master and composer, father of Eugen d'Albert. He was the son of a captain of cavalry in the French army, on whose death in 1816 d'Albert and his mother emigrated to England. D'Albert received piano tuition in London from Kalkbrenner and composition lessons from S.S. Wesley. After a period with the ballet in Paris (with Saint-Georges he wrote the libretto for Adam's ballet-pantomime ...

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[Gaspare, Gaspero] [Gasparini, Domenico Maria Angiolo]

(b Florence, Feb 9, 1731; d Milan, Feb 6, 1803). Italian choreographer, dancer and composer. Along with his rival Jean-Georges Noverre, Angiolini was one of the principal exponents of the new danza parlante, or ballet en action. He began his dance career in Lucca (1747) and also in Venice (1747–8, 1750–51), Turin and Spoleto (1751), Lucca again, this time also working as a choreographer, and Rome (1752–3) before moving to Vienna. There, in 1754 he married his partner, Maria Teresa Fogliazzi (1733–92), notwithstanding the rivalry of Casanova. During Carnival 1756–7 Angiolini produced ballets for the operas given at the Teatro Regio, Turin, also performing as primo ballerino, partnered by his wife. He returned to Vienna as premier danseur at the French theatre, and when the choreographer Franz Hilverding van Wewen departed for Russia in November 1758, the director Giacomo Durazzo named Angiolini as his successor. Gluck succeeded Joseph Starzer as composer of ballet music....

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( fl 1719–42). Italian choreographer and dancer . He was probably a native of Florence, since he is often cited in librettos as ‘Francesco Aquilanti, Fiorentino’ or ‘da Firenze’. His early choreographic work was concentrated in Venice, where he provided ballets for 17 operas at the Teatro S Giovanni Grisostomo (1721–34; including Leo’s Catone in Utica, Porpora’s Semiramide riconosciuta and works by Gasparini, Orlandini, Vinci and others), and for five operas during Ascension seasons at the Teatro S Samuele (1722–35; including Vivaldi’s Griselda). During this time he is also listed as a choreographer in Reggio Emilia (1725, Porpora’s Didone abbandonata) and as a dancer for opera productions in Turin (1727–8, 1729–30), along with Chiara Aquilanti who may have been his wife, sister or daughter. He spent two seasons in Naples as a choreographer, first for operas at the Teatro S Bartolomeo (1736–7...

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H. Wiley Hitchcock

revised by Tim Carter

[‘La Romanina’]

(fl 1582–1620). Italian soprano, lutenist and dancer, wife of Antonio Archilei . Probably a pupil of her husband, whom she married most likely in 1582, she was a protégée of Emilio de' Cavalieri in Rome and was with him in the service of Cardinal Ferdinando de’ Medici before he became Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1587. She participated in the festivities for the wedding of Eleonora de' Medici and Vincenzo Gonzaga in 1584. When Cavalieri was made artistic superintendent at the Medici court in 1588, she went with her husband to Florence, where she became one of the most famous singers of her time. She apparently remained in the service of the Medici until her death.

She had a major part, as soprano soloist and lutenist, in the spectacular ‘intermedii et concerti’ for the comedy La pellegrina during the festivities for the marriage of Ferdinando de' Medici and Christine of Lorraine in ...

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(b St. Louis, MO, June 3, 1906; d Paris, France, April 12, 1975). American dancer and singer, naturalized French. She started out dancing on the streets of St. Louis with the Jones Family Band, a vaudeville troupe. After touring the South with the Dixie Steppers, she gained attention in the touring company of Shuffle Along (1921), the most important African American show of the decade. A member of the female dancing chorus, Baker stood out by making faces and embellishing dance moves, mixing comedy with the erotic persona of the black chorus girl. After appearing on Broadway in The Chocolate Dandies (1924) as That Comedy Chorus Girl, Baker travelled to Paris with La revue nègre (1925), a nightclub revue that introduced the new black performance styles of Broadway to French audiences. Her pas de deux “Danse Sauvage,” which she performed with her partner Joe Alex, introduced an explicit eroticism and exuberant physicality which marked Baker’s initial renown. Famously appearing at times with little more than a string of bananas around her waist, she made an impact on French popular culture that was immediate and enduring....

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[Gyorgy Melitonovich ]

(b St. Petersburg, Russia, Jan 22, 1904; d New York, NY, April 30, 1983). Dancer, choreographer, teacher, and ballet company director of Russian birth, active in the United States. He was trained at the Imperial Ballet School in St. Petersburg, where he created his first choreography. He also studied piano and music theory at the Petrograd Conservatory of Music, gaining a firm musical foundation. After graduating in 1921, he danced in the ballet company of the State Theater of Opera and Ballet, and choreographed for his own ensemble, the Young Ballet. In 1924 he left Russia for western Europe, where he joined Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. After the company disbanded following Diaghilev’s death in 1929, he worked in Europe until 1933, when he came to the United States at the invitation of Lincoln Kirstein. The two founded the School of American Ballet in New York in 1934, and together formed four successive companies with the dancers trained there: the American Ballet (...

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Irene Alm

[Giambattista; ‘il Tasquino’]

( fl 1636–57). Italian choreographer, dancer, stage designer and impresario . He was involved with Venetian opera from its inception. Cited as ‘Veneziano Ballarino celebre’ in the libretto for Francesco Manelli’s L’Andromeda (1637), he continued to provide choreography for operas at Venice for the next seven years. Beginning in 1645, his affiliation with the travelling Febiarmonici introduced Venetian opera to other Italian cities. They produced Francesco Sacrati’s La finta pazza in Florence in 1645 and Cavalli’s La Deidamia (first performed Venice, 1644) there in 1650. In December 1652 Balbi and the Febiarmonici produced Veremonda l’Amazzone d’Aragona (?Cavalli) in Naples. Veremonda and La finta pazza, presented earlier that year, served to introduce Neapolitan audiences to the innovations of the Venetian stage machinery and dance. During Carnival 1653 Balbi created the set designs and choreography for the anonymous Le magie amorose and for Provenzale’s Il Ciro in Naples.

Balbi also played an important role in the introduction of Venetian opera to northern Europe. While in Florence in ...

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Maureen Needham

(b Paris, Oct 30, 1631; d Paris, early Feb 1705). French dancer, choreographer, composer and conductor. He has been wrongly identified with Charles-Louis Beauchamps. Called the father of all ballet-masters, he codified the five positions of feet and arms, and developed a rational system of dance notation which is now called after Raoul-Auger Feuillet, who published it (in his Chorégraphie, ou L’art de décrire la dance) in 1700.

Beauchamps was Louis XIV’s personal dancing-master and favourite partner in ballets de cour in the 1650s and 60s. Throughout his career he collaborated with Lully, whom he first met as comic dancer in, and later as composer of, ballets de cour. Beauchamps choreographed intermèdes and dances for Molière’s comédies-ballets, beginning with Les fâcheux (1661), for which he also composed the music and conducted the orchestra. He choreographed entrées for Le mariage forcé (1664), Le bourgeois gentilhomme...

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Margaret M. McGowan

(fl early 17th century). French dancer, violinist and composer. The only known fact in his personal life is that he was married on 27 May 1637 to Antoinette Guibourg, the widow of the painter and costume designer Daniel Rabel. Belleville was in charge of organizing court entertainments for Louis XIII from c1616 to c1637 and contributed to nearly all ballets performed at court during this time. As a dancer he rivalled Louis Constantin and the celebrated dancing-master Jacques Cordier. He wrote all the dance tunes and some of the airs for Etienne Durand's Ballet de la délivrance de Renaud (1617) and for the Ballet de Tancrède (1619). His virtues as a musician were extolled by Michel de Marolles (Mémoires, Amsterdam edn, 1755, iii, pp.207–8), and together with the singer Marais it was said of him by contemporaries that ‘[ils] n'ont besoing que d'estre nommez pour avoir des louanges’. An allemande and a four-part instrumental piece, ...

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Roger Fiske

(fl late 18th century). Irish ballet dancer and composer. He is probably the ‘Riccardo Bleck’ described as newly hired who danced at Florence in 1763. He composed a ballet in Parma in 1776 and several for Venice in 1777–8 when librettos refer to him as in the service of the Duke of Parma. He appeared again in Florence both as dancer and composer of ballets in 1779 and 1781–2. Michael Kelly met him in Naples in 1780 and said he ‘had gone abroad very young, and had become a very fine pantomime actor, and was considered the best grotesque dancer of his day’. In Naples he danced Artabanes in a ballet called Artaxerxes and Sancho Panza in one Kelly called The Achievements of Don Quixote. The articles on Kelly in the General Magazine for May and June 1788 mention his friendship with Blake, ‘a famous dancer now in London, and retired from the profession’. Blake published ...

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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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Gabriella Biagi Ravenni

(b Lucca, Feb 5, 1742; d after 1798). Italian librettist, dancer and choreographer. A brother of Luigi Boccherini, he made his début as a dancer in Venice in 1757, but his major successes were achieved in Vienna between 1759 and 1767 (for example, Noverre’s revived Médée et Jason) and from 1769 to 1771. He used this success to begin a career as a librettist; he was a member of the Accademia dell’Arcadia (with the name of Argindo Bolimeo) and published a collection of sonnets. His libretto Turno, re dei Rutoli, a dramma tragico (Vienna, 1767), was never set to music, but reveals a progressive approach to drama; its commendation by Calzabigi, appended to the libretto, led to contact with Salieri, who set to music most of Boccherini’s subsequent librettos. These reveal a talent for pantomime and choreography, and handle theatrical conventions with ease. From 1772 to 1775...

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(b c1690; bur. Cowley, Middx, Jan 21, 1773). English dancer and actress. She made her début in 1706 at Drury Lane, London, where she was a leading dancer until she retired in 1733. John Weaver chose her for major roles in his innovative ‘dramatick entertainments in dancing’: Venus in The Loves of Mars and Venus (1717), Eurydice in Orpheus and Eurydice (1718), Andromeda in Perseus and Andromeda (1728, by Weaver and Roger) and Helen of Troy in The Judgment of Paris (1733). John Thurmond gave her dancing roles in his pantomimes for Drury Lane: both Daphne and a Nymph in Apollo and Daphne (1725), a Harlequin Woman in The Escapes of Harlequin (1722), Diana in the Masque of the Deities in Harlequin Doctor Faustus (1723) and Pomona in Harlequin's Triumph (1727). Mr Isaac and Anthony L'Abbé, dancing-masters at court and in the theatre, choreographed dances for her, seven of which were published in Beauchamp-Feuillet notation (...

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Julia Sutton

(b probably Sermoneta, c1527–35; d after 1605). Italian dancing-master. He was the author of two large manuals of vital significance as sources of dance steps, types and music of the second half of the 16th century. Caroso's works include over 100 different dances by himself and others, as well as valuable rules for basic step vocabulary and etiquette. The ballettos, which form the major part of his repertory, clearly descend from the balli of 15th-century Italy, being similarly multi-partite and individually choreographed, with specially composed or adapted music. The fact that Nobiltà di dame (1600) was reprinted under a different title as late as 1630 supports other evidence that Caroso's style may have continued to hold good for Italian dance in the first third of the 17th century.

Caroso's volumes include a few simple group figure dances such as the contrapasso, but most are more elaborate social dances for a skilled amateur couple, for example the ...

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Claude V. Palisca

(b Rome, c1550; d Rome, March 11, 1602). Italian composer, organist, singing teacher, dancer, choreographer, administrator and diplomat. He was the composer of the first surviving play set entirely to music, the Rappresentatione di Anima, et di Corpo (Rome, 1600), the score of which is the earliest one printed with a figured bass.

Cavalieri was the son of Lavinia della Valle and Tommaso Cavalieri (1512–87), an architect and intimate friend of Michelangelo Buonarotti. His brother, Mario (d 1580), coordinated the Lenten music in the Oratorio del SS Crocifisso in S Marcello, Rome, between 1568 and 1579. He himself also participated in this Oratorio both as an organist and as a coordinator of Lenten music from 1578 until at least 1584 (the account books are missing for 1584–94); during his administration the yearly expenditure on music rose from 51 to 140 scudi....

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