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date: 22 October 2019

Camargo, Marie-Anne de Cupis de [‘La Camargo’]locked

  • Maureen Needham Costonis

Extract

[‘La Camargo’]

(b Brussels, bap. April 15, 1710; d Paris, April 28, 1770). Franco-Flemish dancer. She was engaged as first dancer at the Brussels opera house, after studying in Paris with François Prévost in about 1720. Her Paris Opéra début in Rebel’s ballet Les caractères de la danse (1726) was so sensational that Prévost jealously refused to teach her any longer, and Camargo subsequently studied with Dumoulin and Blondy; it is said that she shortened her skirts to demonstrate her mastery of rapid beating steps and jumps, modelled on those of the male dancers with whom she studied. A fierce rivalry broke out between her and Marie Sallé, which Voltaire characterized as a competition between opposing qualities of lively brilliance and expressive gracefulness. Camargo danced in 79 operas and ballets at the Paris Opéra from 1726 to 1751 (she was absent from the company, 1734–41). Known for her exquisite performance in Rameau’s ...

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