Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Dance Its Place in Art and Life
Author: Kinney, Margaret West, Kinney, Troy
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Dance Its Place in Art and Life" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



                              _The Dance_

                    [Illustration: BALLET PANTOMIME

                   From pose by Mlle. Louise La Gai]



                               THE DANCE

                       ITS PLACE IN ART AND LIFE

                                  BY
                     TROY AND MARGARET WEST KINNEY
                            (“THE KINNEYS”)

  _With a frontispiece in colour and one hundred and seventy-six line
        drawings and diagrams by the authors, and three hundred
           and thirty-four illustrations in black-and-white
                           from photographs_

                            [Illustration]

                               NEW YORK
                      FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY
                                MCMXIV

                          COPYRIGHT, 1914, BY
                      FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY

                    _All rights reserved, including
                       that of translation into
                          foreign languages_

                [Illustration: colophon _April, 1914_]

                          THE·PLIMPTON·PRESS
                          NORWOOD·MASS·U·S·A

                                 _To_

                          A FELLOW-ENTHUSIAST

                               J. T. W.

                           WITH APPRECIATION



PREFACE


The pleasant responsibility of writing about one of our two overwhelming
enthusiasms was accepted by us only after consultation with friends in
the dancing profession.

“A book of technical instruction is not the idea,” we started to
explain.

“No,” they concurred, “that would not be an undertaking for painters.
Only an experienced master of dancing should write such a book, and he
would not be likely to, because he would know that execution is taught
only by personal criticism of a pupil’s work.”

We hastened to specify that the proposal involved no more--and no
less--than an effort to share our enthusiasm with others. Appreciation
of an art requires no faculties not included in the normal human
equipment; more than anything else it is a matter of knowing what to
look for. When a layman comes to a painter asking what it is that people
find so enjoyable in classic mural decoration, the answer is not
difficult. A few hours in an art museum, with some direction of his
attention to line as a vehicle of beauty, acquaint him with the idea of
beauty as a self-sufficient object; and he goes on his way rejoicing in
the possession of a lasting process of making happiness for himself.

Great dancing, to us, always had been a gratification of the same senses
that are addressed by decoration. The same suggestions, therefore, that
convey the power to enjoy classic mural painting, would enable us to
communicate our satisfaction in the dance. But the question arose, was
our point of view on dancing in accord with its real intent, and that of
its performers and composers?

Madame Cavallazi disposed of the doubt at one stroke. “The ballet,” she
said, “_is_ mural decoration.”

Sanctioned by such authority, we have followed the lines above
indicated, treating the dance from the standpoint of pure optical
beauty. Its enjoyment, experience proves, is distinctly sharpened by
acquaintance with choreographic technique. One not fairly familiar with
the resources of the art, though he be conscious that the dance before
his eyes is progressing, like music, in conformity with an artistic
argument, is confused by the speed and seeming intricacy of steps. As a
result he loses the greater part of the beauty of the succession of
pictures unfolded before him. Whereas the ability to grasp the theme of
a composition, and then to follow its elaboration through a vocabulary
of already familiar steps, is in effect to quicken the vision. Instead
of being harassed by a sensation of scrambling to keep up with the
argument, the spectator finds himself with abundant time to luxuriate in
every movement, every posture. And, like a connoisseur of any other art,
he sees a thousand beauties unnoticed by the untrained.

To the end of furnishing the needed acquaintance with the alphabet of
the art, the book includes a chapter of explanation of the salient steps
of the ballet. These steps, with superficial variations and additions,
form the basis also of all natural or “character” dances that can lay
claim to any consideration as interpretative art. It is convenient to
learn the theories of them as accepted by the great ballet academies,
since those institutions alone have defined them clearly, and brought
to perfection the ideals for their execution. Incidentally the school of
the ballet is made the subject of considerable attention. In the first
place, after getting a grasp of its ideals and intent, any one will
catch the sentiment of a folk-dance in a moment. Moreover, it is in
itself an important institution. During its long history it has
undergone several periods of retirement from public attention, the most
recent beginning about sixty years ago. From this eclipse it has already
returned to the delighted gaze of Europe; as always after its absences,
so far evolved beyond the standards within the memory of living men that
posterity seems to have been robbed of the chance of discovering
anything further. The renaissance is moving westward from St.
Petersburg; London is wholly under its influence; America has felt a
touch of it.

American love of animated beauty and delight in skill predestine us to
be a race of ardent enthusiasts over the dance. Among us, however, there
are many who have never accepted it as an art worthy of serious
attention. As a gentle answer to that point of view, a historical résumé
is included, wherein statesmen, philosophers and monarchs show the high
respect in which the art has been held, save in occasional lapses, in
all periods of civilised history.

Direct practical instruction is furnished on the subject of present-day
ballroom dancing, to the extent of clear and exact directions for the
performance of steps now fashionable in Europe and America. The chapter
was prepared under the careful supervision of Mr. John Murray Anderson.

Neither in word nor picture does the book contain any statement not
based upon the authors’ personal knowledge, or choreographic writings of
unquestioned authority, or the word of dancers or ballet-masters of the
utmost reliability. To these artists and to certain managers we are
greatly indebted. Much of the matter has never before been printed in
English; a considerable portion of it has here its first publication in
any language. The illustrations of dances of modern times are made from
artists in the very front rank of their respective lines. If the new
material so contributed to choreographic literature proves, according to
the belief of dancers who have read the manuscript, to be of value to
producers, the authors will experience the gratification that comes of
having been of service. But their efforts will be more directly repaid
if the influence of the book hastens by a day that insistence upon a
high choreographic ideal in America, and that unification of
dance-lovers which must exist in order that worthy productions may be
reasonably insured of recognition in proportion to their quality.

Finally, a word of thanks to those whose aid has made this book
possible. Though busy, as successful people always are, they have given
time and thought unsparingly to the effort, in co-operation with the
authors, to make this a substantial addition to the layman’s
understanding of the dancing art.

T. K. and M. W. K.

_New York, November, 1913._



CONTENTS


CHAPTER                                                             PAGE

I. THE DANCING OF ANCIENT EGYPT AND GREECE                             3

_The dance a primitive emotional expression. Importance in Egyptian
religious ritual. Biblical allusions. Its high place in Greek civilisation.
Origin attributed to the gods. Employed in observances religious,
civic, and private. Practice decreed by Lycurgus for military discipline
and cultivation of national stamina. A feature of Plato’s “Ideal
Republic.” Ballet in drama. Interacting influence between dance and
sculpture._

II. DANCING IN ROME                                                   22

_Simplicity of early Roman taste and manners enforced by poverty.
Vulgarity with riches. Degeneration of dancing with other arts,
under Empire. Acrobatics, obscenity. Ballet pantomime. Pylades
and Bathyllus._

III. THE MIDDLE AGES AND THE RENAISSANCE                              29

_The Christian Church lifts dance from degradation. Ballet d’action
in ritual of worship. A cause of disagreements between ecclesiastical
dignitaries. The Seises of Seville Cathedral preservers
of dance in religious service. Moralities, etc. Mechanical effects.
Ambulatory ballets._

_Rebirth of polite society; the masque. Cardinal Riario. Catherine
de Medici, direct influence toward modern ballet. Elizabeth
of England. Richelieu, composer. Louis XIV, ballet performer,
founder of national academy._

_Dawn of stars. Sallé. Prévost. Camargo. New standards.
Expression. New steps added to those derived from old dances:
Gavotte, Minuet, Pavane, Saraband, Tordion, Bourrée, Passecaille,
Passepied, Chaconne, Volte, Allemande, Gaillarde, and Courante.
Their formality; illustrations._

IV. A GLANCE AT THE BALLET’S TECHNIQUE                                59

_Visual music: dance steps are notes, an enchainement is a phrase,
a dance-composition is a song, the ballet is an orchestra. Ballet
dancing, as such, not based on imitation of nature; a convention,
analogous to ornamental decoration. Intent: perfect beauty of
line and rhythm; abstract qualities exploited. Importance of
pantomime unsettled._

_Ballet dancing can be seen intelligently only by aid of acquaintance
with elemental steps. Fundamental positions of feet and hands. Gliding
steps: chassé, échappé, coupé, etc. Battements, grand, petit.
Changement. Entrechat. Brisé. Balloné. Enchainements. Pas de Bourrée,
pas de Basque._

_Turns and pirouettes. Rond de jambe. Fouetté. Sur le cou-de-pied;
en l’air. Renversé. En arabesque, etc. Optical illusions._

_Phrasing. Theme. Motive._

_Standards of form. Exactness. Beneficial relaxation of formality;
results of unguided emancipation._

V. THE GOLDEN AGE OF DANCING                                         100

_Early eighteenth century finds ballet profiting by
    many favourable influences.
Royal patronage. Public enthusiasm and discernment.
Great-minded artists in co-operation. Fortunate accidents. The
Vestris, father and son. Noverre, “the Shakespeare of the
dance.” Boucher, designer of stage decoration. Gluck. Costuming._

_Rivalries of Camargo and Sallé; Allard and Guimard. Coterie
of great performers. French Revolution._

_Dance resumed with return of peace. An ambassador as impresario.
Public controversy and enthusiasm over Taglioni and Ellsler;
opposites; none to replace them; singing supersedes dancing in opera._

VI. SPANISH DANCING                                                  121

_Gaditanae in Roman literature. Spanish dancing resists Roman corruption,
Gothic brutality. Favouring influence of Moors. Attitude
of the Church. Public taste and discrimination._

_Two schools, Flamenco (Gipsy origin) and Classic. The Gipsy.
La Farruca, el Tango, el Garrotin; distinct character. Costume.
Classic: Seguidillas family. Las Sevillanas; general character.
The Fandango rarely seen. La Malagueña y el Torero. Las
Malagueñas. The Bolero. Castanets. Los Panaderos. The Jota
of Aragon, character, costume, etc. Other dances._

VII. ITALIAN DANCES                                                  156

_The Forlana of Venice: Harlequin, Columbine, Dr. Pantalone. Pantomime
and tableaux. The Tarantella, character, costume. The Ciociara of
Romagna. Italian fondness for pantomime. The Saltarello. La Siciliana,
la Ruggera, la Trescona, etc._

VIII. EUROPEAN FOLK-DANCING IN GENERAL                               164

_Folk-dancing an expression of social conditions. Scotch nationalism.
The Sword Dance; the Highland Fling; the Scotch Reel. Motives,
basic steps. Reel of Tulloch. The Shean Treuse. England:
Sailor’s Hornpipe. Morris Dances. Recent revival of old
dances. Ireland: Jig, Reel and Hornpipe. Intent, steps, devices
of tempo. Irish festivals; Gaelic League. Sweden: recent revival
of old dances. The Skralât; Kadriljs. The Vafva Vadna; the
Daldans. Holland: the Mâtelot. France: la Bourrée, la Farandole.
Specimen freak dances: the Perchtentanz, the Bacchu-ber.
The Schuhplatteltanz of Bavaria. Balkan region: the Kolo. Degeneration
of dancing in Greece. Russia: Cossack Dance, Court Dance. Slavonic
character and steps: the Czardás; the Mazurka; the Szoló; the Obertass.
Temperament._

IX. ORIENTAL DANCING                                                 196

_Symbolism, decoration, pantomime, story in the dance. Sensational
mismanagement in Occidental countries. Mimetic dancing a substitute
for newspapers. The Dance of Greeting; welcome, blessings,
etc. Structure of Arabic choreography. Handkerchief Dance
of Cafés; candour. Flour Dance. Popular narrative dances. Fantasia of
Bedoui; religious outbreaks. Dancing for tourists; the Almées. Dance,
Awakening of the Soul. Animate sculpture. Oriental technique. Sword
Dance of Turkey. Dervishes. Lezginkà of the Caucasus. Ruth St. Denis;
Nautch; Spirit of Incense; the Temple; the Five Senses. Antiquity;
carvings in India and Java. Hula-Hula of Hawaii. Priestesses trained for
religious dancing. Japan: dancing for all occasions. Abstractness of
symbols. Dances of war._

X. THE BALLET IN ITS DARK AGE                                        228

_Sterilisation of ballet by struggle for technical virtuosity. Ballet in
opera. Vulgarisms and counterfeits: the Can-Can; contortion;
high kicking; skirt-dancing; insipid prettiness. A revival of good
work; falsifications of it. Loie Fuller, silk scarf, electric lights.
Serpentine and Fire dances. Imitators. World’s Fair of 1893;
stigma on Oriental dancing. One class of managers. Obscure
preparation of a new force._


XI. THE ROMANTIC REVOLUTION                                          241

_Isadora Duncan, complete idealist. Her metier. Russia: dissatisfaction
with ballet. Duncan in St. Petersburg. Secession from Imperial
Academy. The romantic idea; choreography, music, painting
united in a radical new school. The Russian ballet. Paris,
United States, England. Influence and reception. Management
in America._

XII. THE RUSSIAN ACADEMY AND ITS WORKINGS                            257

_Selection of pupils. Consecration to work. Contract, obligations
after graduation. Advantages to the government. General education.
Technical training: Italian ballet technique, music, drawing,
acting, pantomime, plastic gymnastics, fencing. Care of health.
Age of Academy. Russian ballet as distinguished from French-Italian;
law-governed freedom. Addition to emotional scope. Recent ballet
pantomimes._

XIII. SOCIAL DANCING OF TO-DAY                                       269

_Revived interest in dancing. New forms of dance suited to the present
freedom of individual expression. Rapid changes. The Turkey
Trot. New names for slightly altered dances already familiar.
The Argentine Tango; significance. Detailed instruction for performance
of the One-Step, the Boston, the Hesitation Waltz, the Tango, the
Brazilian Maxixe. Tendencies toward revival of old court dances._

XIV. A LAYMAN’S ESTIMATE OF CONDITIONS                               304

_Re-establishment of great dancing in the United States; will it take
and keep a high plane? Loose standards of judgment. Dependence
upon commercial management. Managers; their varied influences.
Need of endowed ballet and academy. Difficulties of ballet organisation
in the United States. Insufficient training of American ballet dancers.
Ballet in operas; unimportance under old traditions, changing standards.
Metropolitan and Russian ballet; ground gained and partly lost. Russians
under other auspices. Ballet school; impositions upon it. Need of
academy with dancing as primary purpose. General organisation;
departures from scheme of Russian Academy._

BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                         323

INDEX                                                                327



ILLUSTRATIONS


BALLET PANTOMIME      _From Pose by Mlle. Louise La Gai_   _Frontispiece_

TANAGRA FIGURE                                                  _Page_ 3

GREEK VASE DECORATION                                                  3

TANAGRA FIGURE                                                         3

TANAGRA FIGURES                                          _Facing Page_ 4

GREEK CERAMICS                                                         5

GREEK VASE DECORATION                                           _Page_ 8

GREEK COMEDY DANCING                                                   9

STATUETTES                                                            10
    _Tanagra_ (_A_)--_Myrina_ (_B_)--_Tanagra_ (_C_).

GREEK RELIEF DECORATIONS                                _Facing Page_ 12

GREEK CERAMIC DECORATIONS                                             13

STATUETTES                                                     _Page_ 13
    _Myrina_ (_A_)--_Tanagra_ (_B_)--_Myrina_ (_C_).

DANCE OF NYMPHS                                                       17

TANAGRA FIGURES                                         _Facing Page_ 20

GREEK COMEDY DANCING                                           _Page_ 21

DANCE OF PEASANTS                                                     36

BALLET OF THE FOUR PARTS OF THE WORLD: _Entrance of
    the Grand Khan_                                                   41

A FOURTEENTH CENTURY BALL                                             46

SEVENTEENTH CENTURY COURT DANCES                        _Facing Page_ 48
    _The Tordion_ (1, 2)--_The Pavane_ (3, 4, 5).

LOUIS XIV AND A COURTIER IN THE BALLET OF NIGHT                _Page_ 50

SEVENTEENTH CENTURY COURT DANCES                        _Facing Page_ 54
    _The Saraband_ (1)--_The Allemand_ (3)--_The Minuet_ (2, 4,
    5, 6, 7).

THE GAVOTTE                                                           55

MME. ADELINE GENÉE AND M. ALEXANDER VOLININE                          64
    _Ballet Robert le Diable_ (1)--_Butterfly Dance_ (2)--_Pierrot
    and Columbine_ (3).

MME. GENÉE IN HISTORICAL RE-CREATIONS AND M. VOLININE                 65
    _Sallé_ (1)--_The Waltz_ (2)--_Camargo_ (3)--_Guimard_ (4).

FUNDAMENTAL POSITIONS OF THE FEET                              _Page_ 66

POSITIONS OF THE ARMS                                                 67

“GLISSADE”                                                            68

“ASSEMBLÉ”                                                            69

“ASSEMBLÉ” AND CHANGEMENT (_Floor Plan Diagram_)                      69

“JETÉ”                                                                70

“JETÉ” TO THE SIDE                                                    71

“BATTEMENTS”                                                          72

STEPS OF THE “BATTEMENT” TYPE                                         74

“FOUETTÉ”                                                             75

START OF A “FOUETTÉ PIROUETTE”                                        76

“FOUETTÉ PIROUETTE” (_Continued_)                                     77

OPTIONAL FINISH OF A “FOUETTÉ PIROUETTE”                              78

THE “PIROUETTE SUR LE COU-DE-PIED”                                    79

VARIOUS “PIROUETTES”                                                  80

BEGINNING OF THE “RENVERSÉ”                                           82

THE “RENVERSÉ” (_Concluded_)                                          83

TWO FORMS OF “ATTITUDE”                                               84

MECHANISM OF BROAD JUMP                                               86

CLASSIC BALLET POSITIONS                                _Facing Page_ 88
    _Typical moments in a renversé (1, 2, 3, 4, 5,)--Starting a
    developpé (6)--Progress of a rond de jambe (7, 8, 9)._

CLASSIC BALLET POSITIONS (_Continued_)                                89
    _Rond de jambe (10)--Jeté tour (11)--Pas de bourrée (12)--Preparation
    for a pirouette (13)--Position sur la pointe
    (14)--A fouetté tour, inward (14)--A cabriole à derrière
    (16)--Descent from an entrechat (17)--An arabesque (18)._

“LA MALAGUEÑA Y EL TORERO”                                           122

TYPICAL “FLAMENCO” POSES                                      _Page_ 129

“FLAMENCO” POSES                                                     133

“LAS SEVILLANAS”                                                     137

“EL BOLERO”                                            _Facing Page_ 138
    _Typical moment in first copla (1)--Finish of a phrase (2)._

“LA JOTA ARAGONESA”                                                  139
    _Type of movement (1)--Finish of a turn (2)--A pirouette
    (3)--Kneeling position (4)--Woman’s sitting position (5)._

TWO GROUPS IN “LAS SEVILLANAS”                                _Page_ 140

GROUPS IN “LA MALAGUEÑA Y EL TORERO”                                 145

MISCELLANEOUS SPANISH NOTES                                          147

TWO GROUPS IN “LOS PANADEROS”                                        149

PART OF THE “JOTA” OF ARAGON                                         152

“LA TARANTELLA”                                        _Facing Page_ 156
    _Opening of the dance (1)--A poor collection (2)--They
    gamble for it (la Morra) (3)--She wins (4)--He wins (5)._

“LA TARANTELLA”                                                      157
    _An arabesque (1)--Finish of a phrase (2)--Typical moment
    (3)--Finish of a phrase (4)._

“LA TARANTELLA”                                                      158
    _Opening of the dance (1)--A turn back-to-back (2)--A
    pause after rapid foot-work (3)--Characteristic finishes of
    phrases (4, 5)._

“LA FORLANA”                                                         159
    _Doctor Pantalone patronized (1)--Defied (2)--Pleads (3)--Accepts
    the inevitable (4)--Is ridiculed (5)._

“LA CIOCIARA”                                                        160
    _Opening promenade (1, 2)--End of promenade (3)--He
    has “made eyes” at a spectator (4)--Opening of dance
    (second movement) (5)._

“LA CIOCIARA”                                                        161
    _Rustic affection (1)--Again caught in perfidy (2)--Tries
    to make amends (3)--Without success (4)--Removed from
    temptation (5)._

THE SCOTCH SWORD DANCE                                               164
    _A step over the swords (1, 2)--A jump over the swords (3)--Steps
    between the swords (4, 5)._

THE “SCOTCH REEL”                                                    165
    _Use of the Battement (1)--A pirouette (2)--Characteristic
    style (3, 4)--A turn (5)._

THE “SHEAN TREUSE”                                                   168
    _The promenade (1, 2)--The thematic step (3)--Finish of
    a phrase (4)._

THE “SAILOR’S HORNPIPE”                                              169
    _Look-out (1)--Hoisting sail (2)--Hauling in rope (3)--Rowing
    (4)--Type of step (5)--Type of step (6)--Hoisting
    sail (7)._

IRISH DANCES                                                         174
    _The Jig (1, 3, 4)--The Hornpipe (2, 5)--The Reel (6, 7,
    8)._

A “FOUR-HAND REEL”                                                   175
    _Preparation for woman’s turn under arms (1)--Characteristic
    style (2)--A turning group figure (3)._

THE “IRISH JIG” AND PORTRAIT OF PATRICK J. LONG                      178

FROM VARIOUS FOLK-DANCES                                      _Page_ 185

THE “SCHUHPLATTELTANZ”                                 _Facing Page_ 186
    _A swing (1)--A turn (2)--A turn, man passing under
    woman’s arms (3)--A swing, back-to-back (4)--The
    Mirror (5)._

THE “SCHUHPLATTELTANZ” OF BAVARIA                                    187
    _Preparing a turn (1)--A lift (2)--Starting woman’s series
    of turns (3)--Start of woman’s turns (4)--Man fans her
    along with hands (5)--Finish of dance (6)._

THE “KOLO” OF SERVIA                                                 190
    _Start of a turn (1)--Progress of a turn (2)--A bridge of
    arms (3)--An emphasis (4)--A lift (5)._

POSES FROM SLAVONIC DANCES                                           191
    _Coquetry (1)--Petulance (2)--Indifference (3)--Emphasis
    (4)--Jocular defiance (5)._

POSES FROM SLAVONIC DANCES                                           192
    _Negation (1)--Fear (2)--Supplication (3)--An emphasis
    (4)._

POSES FROM SLAVONIC DANCES                                           193
    _Characteristic gesture (1)--Characteristic step (2)--Characteristic
    gesture (3)--Characteristic step (4)--Same, another
    view (5)--Ecstasy (6)--The claim of beauty (7)._

ARABIAN “DANCE OF GREETING”                                          196
    _Called upon to dance, she reveals herself (1)--Salutation (2)--Profile
    view of same (3)._

ARABIAN “DANCE OF GREETING” (_Continued_)                            197
    _“For you I will dance” (4)--“From here you will put away
    care” (5, 8)--“Here you may sleep” (6)--“Here am I”
    (7)._

ARABIAN “DANCE OF GREETING” (_Continued_)                            198
    _“And should you go afar” (9)--“May you enjoy Allah’s
    blessing of rain” (10)--“And the earth’s fullness” (11)._

ARABIAN “DANCE OF GREETING” (_Continued_)                            199
    _“May winds refresh you” (12)--“Wherever you go” (13)--“Here
    is your house” (14)--“Here is peace” (15)--“And
    your slave” (16)._

ARABIAN “DANCE OF MOURNING”                                          200
    _The body approaches (1)--The body passes (2)--“I hold
    my sorrow to myself” (3)._

ARABIAN “DANCE OF MOURNING” (_Continued_)                            201
    _“He has gone out of the house and up to Heaven” (4)--“Farewell”
    (5)._

ARABIAN “DANCE OF MOURNING” (_Continued_)                            202
    _“He slept in my arms” (6)--“The house is empty” (7)--“Woe
    is in my heart” (8)._

ARAB SLAVE GIRL’S DANCE                                              203

“HANDKERCHIEF DANCE” OF THE CAFÉS                                    206
    _The handkerchiefs symbolizing the lovers are animated with
    the breath of life, but kept dissociated (1)--Brought into
    semi-association (2)--Separated and dropped (3)._

“HANDKERCHIEF DANCE” (_Continued_)                                   207
    _She can dance about, between or away from them, indifferently
    (4)--Made into panniers, the panniers express her
    willingness to receive; turned inside out, her willingness to
    give (5)--One of the two handkerchiefs is thrown to the selected
    lover (6)._

“DANCE OF THE SOUL’S JOURNEY”                                        210
    _The soulless body (1)--Asks for the light of life (2)--Vision
    dawns (3)--Inexpert in life, she walks gropingly (4)._

“DANCE OF THE SOUL’S JOURNEY” (_Continued_)                          211
    _She draws aside the veil of the future (5)--Life is seen full
    and plenteous (6)._

“DANCE OF THE SOUL’S JOURNEY” (_Continued_)                          212
    _But old age will come (7)--Grief will visit (8)--She shall
    walk with her nose close to the camel’s foot (9)._

“DANCE OF THE SOUL’S JOURNEY” (_Continued_)                          213
    _Yet now, from the crown of her head (10)--To the soles of her
    feet she is perfect (11)._

MISCELLANEOUS ORIENTAL NOTES                                  _Page_ 215

“DANCE OF THE SOUL’S JOURNEY” (_Continued_)            _Facing Page_ 216
    _Rejoices in the perfect body (12)--And in all good things
    (13)--Runs from the scene (14)._

CHARACTERISTIC PANTOMIME IN DANCING OF MODERN
EGYPT                                                                217
    _Express sorrow (1, 3)--Represents a prayer directed downward
    and back: i. e., to spirits of evil (2)._

“DANCE OF THE FALCON” (EGYPTIAN)                                     218
    _Shock as the bird strikes his quarry (1)--Rejoicing as he
    overcomes it (2)._

DANCING GIRLS OF ALGIERS                                             219

RELIEFS ON TOWER OF THE TEMPLE OF MADURA (INDIA)              _Page_ 219

PERSIAN DANCE. PRINCESS CHIRINSKI-CHICHMATOFF          _Facing Page_ 220

ORIENTAL POSES                                                       221
    _Votive offering (3 poses)--Decorative motives (3 poses)--Disclosure
    of person (1 pose)._

JAVANESE DANCER, MODERN                                              222

RELIEF CARVINGS, TEMPLE OF BOROBODUL, JAVA                           223
    _Dance of Greeting (1)--Dance of Worship (2)--An Arrow
    Dance (3)._

“NAUTCH DANCE”                                                       226

JAPANESE DANCE                                                       227

ISADORA DUNCAN                                                       242

GREEK INTERPRETATIVE DANCE                                           243

IMPRESSIONS OF ISADORA DUNCAN                                 _Page_ 244

MLLE. LOPOUKOWA, MLLE. PAVLOWA, MLLE. NIJINSKA, WITH
SR. E. CECCETTI                                        _Facing Page_ 246

MLLE. LYDIA KYASHT AND M. LYTAZKIN                                   247

“ARABESQUE”                                                          248

“ARROW DANCE”                                                        249

BACCHANAL                                                            252

MLLE. LYDIA LOPOUKOWA                                                253

MLLE. PAVLOWA IN A BACCHANAL                                         257

MLLE. LOPOUKOWA, IN BOUDOIR                                          258

MLLE. LOPOUKOWA, INTERPRETATIVE DANCE                                259

MLLE. LOPOUKOWA, IN “LE LAC DES CYGNES”                              262

M. ALEXANDER VOLININE                                                263

REPRESENTATIVE RUSSIAN BALLET POSES AND GROUPS                _Page_ 265

REPRESENTATIVE RUSSIAN BALLET POSES AND GROUPS                       267

THE “WALTZ MINUET”                                     _Facing Page_ 272
    _Characteristic style (1)--Variation, position of hands (2)--Preparation
    for a turn (3)--The Mirror figure (4)._

THE “GAVOTTE” SHOWING PRESENT TENDENCIES                             273
    _Characteristic style (1)--Characteristic style (2)--A curtsy
    (3)--Arabesque to finish a phrase (4)._

SOCIAL DANCING; POSITION OF FEET (_Diagram_)                  _Page_ 276

THE ONE-STEP: THE TURN (_Diagram_)                                   277

THE ONE-STEP: GRAPE-VINE (_Diagram_)                                 278

THE ONE-STEP: EIGHT (_Diagram_)                                      279

THE ONE-STEP: SQUARE (_Diagram_)                                     279

THE ONE-STEP: A FIGURE OCCUPYING THREE MEASURES
(_Diagram_)                                                          280

THE ONE-STEP: THE MURRAY ANDERSON TURN (_Diagram_)                   281

THE ONE-STEP: A CROSS-OVER (_Diagram_)                               282

DEVELOPMENT OF AN ARCH “À LA PIROUETTE”                _Facing Page_ 282
    _Cross to right (1)--Cross to left (2)--Start of turn (3)._

THE ONE-STEP                                                         283
    _The “Kitchen Sink” (1)--Position of couple (2)._

THE “BRAZILIAN MAXIXE”                                               283
  _Characteristic position of advanced foot (3)._

THE “BOSTON,” ESSENTIAL STEP (_Diagram_)                      _Page_ 284

THE WALTZ                                              _Facing Page_ 284
    _A position of the couple in the Waltz-Minuet (1)--Correct
    position of man’s hand on woman’s back (2)--A position
    also assumed in the One-step Eight (3)--A Dip (4)._

THE WALTZ                                                            285
    _Correct position of couple (1)--Of feet, in short steps (2)--Of
    feet, in Dip (3)--Another view of the Dip (4)._

THE BOSTON, STEP BACKWARD (_Diagram_)                         _Page_ 285

THE BOSTON, THE DIP (_Diagram_)                                      286

THE BOSTON, THE DIP SIMPLIFIED (_Diagram_)                    _Page_ 287

THE BOSTON, AN EMBELLISHMENT (_Diagram_)                             288

THE BOSTON, AN EMBELLISHMENT (_Diagram_)                             288

THE BOSTON, SAME, WITH TURNS (_Diagram_)                             289

THE “HESITATION WALTZ,” THEME (_Diagram_)                            289

THE “HESITATION WALTZ” VARIATION ON THEME (_Diagram_)                290

THE “TANGO”                                            _Facing Page_ 290
    _Characteristic style (1, 2, 4)--Woman circles man (3)._

THE “TANGO”                                                          291
     _Characteristic style._

THE “HESITATION WALTZ,” THE “LYON CHASSÉ” (_Diagram_).        _Page_ 291

THE “TANGO”                                                    Page_ 294

THE “TANGO”                                                          295
    _The reverse (1)--The regular Tango walking step (2)--Style
    of movement (3)--Position of hands sometimes assumed
    to emphasize the end of a phrase (4)._

THE “TANGO,” THE “CORTE” (_Diagram_)                          _Page_ 295

THE “TANGO,” THE SCISSORS (_Diagram_)                                295

THE “TANGO,” THE SCISSORS VARIATION (_Diagram_)                      296

THE “TANGO,” THE MEDIA LUNA (_Diagram_)                              296

THE “TANGO”                                            _Facing Page_ 296
    _The corte (1)--Characteristic style (2)--A variation (3)--Start
    of a turn (4)._

A “TANGO” STEP                                                       297
    _Man’s foot displaces woman’s (1)--Woman’s foot displaces
    man’s (2)--Each displaces the other’s foot (3)._

THE “TANGO,” THE EIGHT (_Diagram_)                            _Page_ 297

THE “TANGO,” A WALTZ TURN (_Diagram_)                                297

THE “TANGO,” AN EASY STEP (_Diagram_)                                298

A NORTH AMERICAN FIGURE IN THE “TANGO”                 _Facing Page_ 298
    _Preparation (1)--After the twist (2)--Finishing with a
    Dip (3)._

THE “TANGO,” EXECUTED TO THE REAR (_Diagram_)                 _Page_ 299

THE “TANGO,” A NORTH AMERICAN FIGURE (_Diagram_)                     299

THE “BRAZILIAN MAXIXE,” FIRST FIGURE (_Diagram_)                     300

THE “BRAZILIAN MAXIXE,” THIRD FIGURE (_Diagram_)                     301

THE “BRAZILIAN MAXIXE”                                 _Facing Page_ 302
    _Characteristic style (1)--A dip (2)--Variations (3, 4)._

THE “BRAZILIAN MAXIXE”                                               303
    _Preparation for a turn (1)--Finish of a turn (2)--Characteristic
    style (3)--A dip (4)._



THE DANCE

[Illustration]



_The Dance_



CHAPTER I

THE DANCING OF ANCIENT EGYPT AND GREECE


Before logic, man knew emotion; before creed, ritual. With leap and mad
gesture the savage mimics his triumph, to the accompaniment of crude
saltation performed by a hero-worshipping tribe.

Not by argument is the coming storm propitiated, but by a unified
expression of tribal humility. To the rhythm of beaten drums, the tribe,
as one, performs the genuflexions and prostrations that denote
supplication and fear.

So on through the gamut of simple emotions--love and hate, fealty and
jealousy, desire and achievement--primitive man expresses his mood in
terms of the dance. History shows that dancing persists on a plane with
words, paint and music as a means of expression, however far a race may
advance along the road of evolution; and that the few exceptions to this
rule are to be found among peoples who have allowed a Frankenstein of
logic to suppress, for a time, their naturalness of spirit.

Egyptian carvings of six thousand years ago record the use of the dance
in religious ritual; and abundant evidence attests the importance in
which it was held at all times through the period of Egypt’s power. In
lines as stately as the columns of a temple, sculptors have traced
choreography’s majestic poses, its orchestral repetitions and
variations. As a dance may be, the religious dances of Egypt were a
translation and an equivalent of the spirit of the Pharaohs’ monumental
architecture; that they were no less imposing than those temples we
cannot avoid believing.

Plato, deeply impressed by these hierarchical ballets, finds that their
evolutions symbolised the harmonious movements of the stars. Modern
deduction carries the astronomical theme still further: the central
altar is believed to have represented the sun; the choral movements
around it, the movements of the celestial bodies. Apis, the sacred black
bull, was honoured in life by dances of adoration, in death by ballets
of mourning.

Either dancing was attributed to the divinities (according to a
Christian saint of later centuries, it is the practice of angels) or
some of the divinities were represented by dancers in the religious
ballets. A carving in the Metropolitan Museum of New York shows Anubis
and Horus kneeling, their arms completing a pose that is seen to this
day in the dances of Spain.

Important as was the dancing of Egypt as the root from which grows the
choreography of all the Occident--and of India too, for anything known
to the contrary--the carvings reveal little of its philosophy or
symbolism. But the history of other peoples at once

[Illustration: _Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York_

TANAGRA FIGURES

To face page 4]

[Illustration: _Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York_

GREEK CERAMICS]

demonstrates its force as example, at least, if not as teacher of actual
technique. The Hebrews of very early days gave dancing a high place in
the ceremony of worship. Moses, after the crossing of the Red Sea, bade
the children of Israel dance. David danced before the Ark of the
Covenant.

Numerous Biblical allusions show that dancing was held in high respect
among early leaders of thought. “Praise the Lord ... praise Him with
timbrel and the dance,” is commanded. With dancing the Maccabees
celebrated that supremely solemn event, the restoration of the Temple.
To honour the slayer of Goliath, the women came out from all the cities
of Israel, “singing and dancing ... with tabrets, with joy and with
instruments of musick.” Relative to the capture of wives the sons of
Benjamin were told: “ ... if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance
in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man
his wife ... and the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives,
according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught”
(Judges 21:21 and 23). “Thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets,
and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry” (Jeremiah
31:4). “Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance” (Jeremiah 31:13).
“And David danced before the Lord with all his might” (2 Samuel 6:14).
In the solemn chapter of Matthew narrating the beheading of John the
Baptist we read: “But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of
Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised
with an oath to give her whatever she would ask.”

Perhaps with an idea of forestalling discussion of the art’s antiquity,
one of the early writers eliminates argument by a simple stroke of the
pen. “The stars conform to laws of co-ordinated movement. ‘Co-ordinated
movement’ is the definition of dancing, which therefore is older than
humanity.” Taking this at its face value, human institutions are thrown
together into one period, in which differences of a thousand years are
as nothing.

In turning to Greece, years need lend no aid to make the subject
attractive. In that little world of thought we find choreography
luxuriant, perhaps, as it never has been since; protected by priesthood
and state, practised by rich and poor, philosopher and buffoon. Great
mimetic ballets memorialised great events; simple rustic dances
celebrated the gathering of the crops and the coming of the flowers.
Priestesses performed the sacred numbers, the origins of which tradition
attributed to Olympian gods; eccentric comedy teams enlivened the
streets of Athens; gilded youth held dancing an elegant accomplishment.
Philosophers taught it to pupils for its effect on body and mind; it was
a means of giving soldiers carriage, agility and health, and cultivating
_esprit de corps_. To the development of dancing were turned the Greek
ideals of beauty, which in their turn undoubtedly received a mighty and
constant uplift from the beauty of harmonised movements of healthy
bodies. Technique has evolved new things since the days of classic
Greece; scenery, music and costume have created effects undreamed of in
the early times. But notwithstanding the lack of incidental factors--and
one questions if any such lack were not cancelled by the gain through
simplicity--the wide-spread practice of good dancing, the greatness and
frequency of municipal ballets, the variety of emotional and æsthetic
motives that dancing was made to express, all combine to give Greece a
rank never surpassed as a dancing nation.

The man-made attributes of man’s gods are a synopsis of man’s important
thoughts. Cybele, mother of the gods and friend of mankind, taught
dancing to the corybantes as a fitting gift to be passed along to her
mortal foster-children. Apollo, speaking through the mouths of
priestesses, dictated further choreographic laws. Orpheus journeyed to
Egypt to study its dances, that he might add to the scope of the
Hellenic steps and movements. One of the nine muses was devoted to the
fostering of this particular art. All of which shows a profound belief
in the Greek mind that dancing was worthy of a great deal of divine
attention. Certainly no subsequent civilisation has been so well
qualified to judge the importance of dancing, for none has experimented
so completely in the effect of rhythmic exercise on the body and mind of
a nation.

Classic sculpture no more than suggests the importance of dancing in
Greek life. An assemblage of a few Greek thinkers’ observations on the
subject furnishes an idea of the value they gave it as a factor in
education. Plato, for instance, specifies it among the necessities for
the ideal republic, “for the acquisition of noble, harmonious, and
graceful attitudes.” Socrates urged it upon his pupils. Physicians of
the time of Aristophanes prescribed its rhythmic exercise for many
ailments. Lycurgus gave it an important place in the training of youth,
military and otherwise. Among the special dances whose teaching he
decreed, was one, the _Hormos_, that was traditionally performed without
clothing. Plutarch tells of a protest against the nudity of the women.
The Law-giver of Athens replied: “I wish them [the women] to perform the
same exercises as men, that they may equal men in strength, health,
virtue and generosity of soul, and that they may learn to despise the
opinion of the vulgar.”

[Illustration: FROM A FOURTH CENTURY VASE.

In the Louvre.]

Of great men’s dancing in public there are instances in abundance. The
very method of choosing the leaders of great civic choreographic
spectacles insured the association of people of consequence, for these
leaders were always selected from the highest rank of citizens.
Epaminondas, Antiochus, and Ptolemæus are variously mentioned for their
skill in dancing, as well as their prominence in national affairs.
Sophocles danced around the trophies of the battle of Salamis. Æschylus
and Aristophanes danced in various performances of their own plays. And
Socrates, one of the very fathers of human reasoning, danced among
friends after dinner. Aristides danced at a banquet given by Dionysius
of Syracuse. Anacreon, in his odes, declares that he is always ready to
dance.

Professional dancers enjoyed high prestige. Philip of Macedon had one as
a wife; the mother of Nicomedes, king of Bithynia, was a dancer.
Aristodemus, a famous dancer of Athens, at one time was sent to the
court of Philip of Macedon as ambassador.

[Illustration: GREEK COMEDY DANCING.]

This chapter must not be understood as trying to represent that Athenian
civil life was given over to an endless round of choreographic
celebration; nor have the later chapters concerning the courts of the
Louis any intent to picture a set of beings whose minds were devoted to
dancing to the exclusion of all else. What is intended, however, is to
call attention to an important omission in the writings of the general
historian, who never has given dancing its due proportion of
consideration as a force in those and other high civilisations.
Literature and the graphic arts followed the coming of civilisation, and
are among its results; they have been analysed with all degrees of
profundity. The dance is, undoubtedly, among the causes of Greek vigour
of mind and body; but it is of far less concern to the average
historical writer than any disputed date. The microscopist charting the
pores of the skin knows nothing of the beauty of the figure. And the
grammarian’s myopic search for eccentricities of verb-forms atrophies
his ability to perceive the qualities of literature, until finally he
will try to convince his listeners that literary quality is, after all,
a subject for the attention of smaller minds.

Greek philosophy, mathematics, political and military science are part
of the structure of Occidental society--a good and useful part. Had the
importance of the dance been appreciated--had proper authority
recognised its inherent part in the Greek social organism--who can say
how much dulness, ugliness and sickliness of body and spirit the world
might have escaped? Folk-dancing has been introduced into the public
schools of certain cities; a movement too new to be judged. Let it be
neither praised nor censured until results have had time to assert
themselves. If at the end of ten years the children who have danced
their quota of minutes per day do not excel in freedom from nervous
abnormalities, the children who have not danced; if they fail to
manifest a better co-ordination of mind and body, and a superior power
of receiving and acting upon suggestion--then let public school dancing
be abolished as of no value beyond amusement and exercise.

[Illustration: STATUETTES.

From (A) Tanagra; (B) Myrina--now in the Louvre; (C) Tanagra
(disputed).]

Of recent years a good deal of ingenuity has gone into study of the
dances of classic Greece, with view to their re-creation. From paintings
on vases, bas-reliefs and the Tanagra statuettes has been gathered a
general idea of the character of Greek movement. The results have been
pleasing, and in Miss Duncan’s case radical, as an influence on
contemporary choreographic art. But, beautiful and descriptive as they
are, the plastic representations are of scattered poses from dances not
as a rule identified. If, therefore, present-day re-creations often fail
to show the flights of cumulative interest common in modern ballet,
Spanish and Slavonic work, the shortcoming is due at least in part to
the lack of explicit records of sequences of step, movement and
pantomimic symbol. For it is impossible to believe that the dance
composers of the age of Pericles did not equal their successors, even as
their contemporaries in the fields of sculpture, architecture and poetry
left work never yet excelled.

Of the names and motives of dances the record seems to be pretty
complete. Sacred, military and profane are the general categories into
which the very numerous Greek dances divide themselves. The sacred group
falls into four classes: the _Emmeleia_, the _Hyporchema_, the
_Gymnopædia_, and the _Endymatia_. Of these the two latter seem to have
been coloured by sentiments more or less apart from the purely
religious.

Of the _Emmeleia_, Plato records that some had the character of
gentleness, gravity and nobility suitable to the sentiments by which a
mortal should be permeated when he invokes the gods. Others were of
heroic or tragic aspect, emphasising majesty and strength. A
characteristic of this group was its performance without accompaniment
of chorus or voice. The origin of the group is attributed to Orpheus, as
a fruit of his memories of Colchis and Saïs.

The _Hyporchema_, equally religious, were distinguished by their use of
choral accompaniment. In some cases it might be more accurate to say
that the dances were an accompaniment to recited poetry; for in very
early times the dances seem to have been employed to personify, or
materialise, the abstractions of poetic metaphor. Both men and women
engaged in dances of this group, and its plane was of lofty dignity. In
it were the oldest dances of Greece, besides some composed by the poet
Pindar.

The _Gymnopædia_ were more or less dedicated to the worship of Apollo,
and were especially cultivated in Arcadia. As the name implies, the
performers were nude--youths wearing chaplets of palm. A material
character seems to have marked this group: Athenæus finds in it points
of identity with the _Anapale_, which is known to have been a pantomimic
representation of combat.

The _Endymatia_ crossed the border-line between the sacred and profane.
They were brightly costumed dances, and in demand for general
entertainment. In connection with this group we find the first allusion
to the highly modern institution of dancers’ “private
engagements”--professionals aiding in the entertainment of
dinner-parties. The Greek and Roman custom of seeing dancers instead of
listening to after-dinner speeches is too well known to justify more
than a mention.

These four groups are the fundamentals from which numberless other
dances were derived, to be variously dedicated to gods, public events,
abstract qualities, crops, and fighting. If no particular occasion
offered, people would dance for the good reason that they felt like it,
as Neapolitans dance the _Tarantella_ to-day. To the

[Illustration: _Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York_

GREEK RELIEF DECORATIONS]

[Illustration: _Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York_

GREEK CERAMIC DECORATIONS]

glory of Bacchus were the _Dionysia_; the _Iambic_ was sacred to Mars,
the _Caryatis_, a dance symbolising innocence, and danced nude, to
Diana. Hercules, Theseus, the daughters of Jupiter, Castor and Pollux
were so honoured--each dance having its special identification of
movement, meaning or costume.

[Illustration: STATUETTES.

From (A) Myrina; (B) Tanagra; (C) Myrina.]

Semirelated to the religious group were the dances of mourning. Unlike
certain modern dances of the same intent, these are not recorded as
having been primarily an individual’s pantomimic dance representing
qualities of the deceased, or illustrating his relations during life
with friends and family; although there was a time in which the
_cortège_ was headed by an individual dressed in the clothes of the
deceased, imitating his virtues and sometimes also his failings.
Regularly, however, the dancing was strictly ritualistic, forming a
solemn decorative concomitant of the vocal and instrumental music. (At
what point in his evolution did the Occidental determine that his
ritualistic expressions should be directed almost exclusively to the
ear?) A corps of fifteen girls danced before the funeral car, which was
surrounded by a band of youths. Naturally the brilliancy of the
function was more or less proportionate to the station and estate of the
departed.

On dances of war the Greeks relied as an important element in the
soldier’s training. In their pantomime the veteran lived over the
moments of combat, while his children and even his wife caught anew the
spirit of Hellenic arms.

Plutarch wrote: “The military dance was an indefinable stimulus which
inflamed courage and gave strength to persevere in the paths of honour
and valour.” It is still known that a body of men moving in step feel
fatigue distinctly less than when walking out of step. One of the things
learned by the long-distance runner, the wood-cutter, or any other
performer of continued work, is the importance of establishing as
quickly as possible a regular rhythmic relation between the separate
parts of a complete movement, including the intake and expulsion of
breath among those parts. Such a rhythm once established, movement
succeeds movement with something like momentum; the several steps, or
blows of the axe, do not each require a separate effort of the will.
Something of this was Plutarch’s “indefinable stimulus.”

Apart from efficiency of the individual, experience has shown that a
command moving “in time” is unified in the fullest sense, with each
soldier more or less perfectly proof against any impulse at variance
with the _esprit de corps_. To weld a number of men ever more closely
into the condition of a military unit is one of the purposes of drill.
Drill is in great part a matter of keeping in step. The Greeks carried
to a high pitch the unification of a military body in respect to all the
movements of attack and defence. History repeatedly records the
demoralisation of the enemy, carried by the assaults of the perfectly
organised Greek fighting bodies. But undoubtedly an important value of
the study for perfection of corps unity was the disciplinary effect on
the Greek soldier himself.

As a means toward such perfection, Greek law prescribed dancing for the
soldier. An obvious benefit from his practice of the art was the
advantage due to mere muscular exercise; and that in itself is no small
thing when the dance is performed in full armour, as the Greek soldier
performed it.

Authorities classify the military dances as _Pyrrhic_ and _Memphitic_;
but the division seems hardly essential, since the meagre technical
descriptions draw no distinct line between the two groups. In both,
performers carried sword or spear and shield. The movements brought in
the manœuvres of individual combat--cutting and thrusting, parrying,
dodging and stooping. That they might be carried to a degree of realism
is indicated in a description by Xenophon. At the end of a mimic combat
between two Thracians, at the conclusion of which the victor sang a song
of victory and possessed himself of the vanquished man’s weapons, the
spectators cried out with emotion, believing that the fallen man was
killed.

Of the words “Pyrrhic” and “Memphitic,” the latter seems to connote a
performance less insistent on the element of combat. To Minerva is
credited the origin of the _Memphitic_ group, legend having it that the
goddess of wisdom composed these dances to celebrate the defeat of the
Titans. The usual accompaniment was the flute, according with the idea
of comparative tranquillity. Both styles were danced by women; special
fame for proficiency was given to the vigorous daughters of Sparta,
Argos, and Arcadia, and to the Amazons.

Pantomime was important in most Greek dances. Greek writers interested
themselves in an effort to trace pantomime to its origin; but they were
not very successful, because they went no further back than the
demigods. Whereas sign-talk, if inference may be drawn from savages,
antedates spoken language--which is beside the point of the present
sketch.

Pantomime artists of Greece were of various ranks, according to the
plane of thought represented in their work. _Ethologues_ represented
moralities, or [Greek: upotheses]; they “depicted the emotions and the
conduct of man so faithfully, that their art served as a rigorous
censorship and taught useful lessons,” writes De l’Aulnaye, in _De la
Saltation Théâtrale_. They were not only artists, but philosophers of a
moral standard of the utmost height and purity: the poems of one of
them, Sophron of Syracuse, were among the writings kept at hand by Plato
during his last hours. [Greek: Thumelikoi] were pantomimists of lesser
rank, whose work was principally comedy of a farcical nature--though the
word seems to have the primitive meaning of “chorister.”

Rich in scope was the Greek stage; and, until later days, generally high
in plane. For its effects it drew upon poetry, music, dancing, grouping
and posing. Little is known of the music; re-creations of it (how
authoritative the authors do not know) are simple and melodious, with no
attempt at grandeur. But in the other departments, what veritable gods
in collaboration! Euripides, Aristophanes, and Æschylus are of those who
supplied texts. Sculptors whose works are no less perishable gave their
knowledge to grouping and posing. Of the merit of the performers there
is no adequate record, for lack, among other things, of an explicit
choreographic terminology. (This deficiency was first made up in the
French language, after the organisation of the National Academy of Music
and Dancing, in the seventeenth century.) What is known, however, is
that dancing was considered a proper medium of expression of great
motives, and that great-minded artists chose it as a career; not in
spite of a public condescension to it, but with the support of a
profound public respect.

[Illustration: DANCE OF NYMPHS.

From an antique frieze in the Louvre.]

Accuracy of rhythm is of an importance obvious to grades of intelligence
far below that of the Greeks. They laid stress no less on what may be
called rhythmic quality than on mere emphasis of tempo. A time-marker
was provided with an assortment of sandals soled with metal or wood of
various thicknesses; by means of these he produced sounds consistent
with the changing sentiments of the action. (Compare the modes of
getting varied sounds from castanets, in chapter on Spanish dancing.)
Castanets, too, were used in Greece, essentially the same as those of
Spain to-day; also flat sticks in pairs, like clappers, but which
unlike clappers were gripped between the thumb and fingers. Little
cymbals on the dancers’ hands sometimes added their voice, and the
tambourine was popular. The variety of these time-marking instruments
indicates knowledge of the many effects attainable by tempo alone.
Indeed a reading of the poets emphasises this: their selection of words
for sound as well as meaning will force even a mediocre reader into an
observance of the author’s intention of ritard and accelerando, legato
and staccato, emphasis and climax. Associated with ballet production, as
the ablest poets were, it may be taken as assured that the devices of
tempo were made familiar to dancers--unless it was the dance that taught
the metre to the poets.

Masks were worn to identify character; but their primary function
appears to have been the concealment of a sound-magnifying device to
carry the voice through the great spaces of out-door theatres. Women’s
parts in the ballets were played by men at least frequently; whether the
reverse was a conspicuous exception is also uncertain. Both usages were
destined to survive in pantomime through centuries. Objection to the
mask always was overruled by authority; the Greek play was such an
irreproachable organism that deviation from its accepted formulas was
deemed an impious and dangerous heresy. In the eighteenth century a
premier danseur’s absence put a French ballet director temporarily at
the mercy of the second dancer, a young radical, who refused to “go on”
wearing a mask.[A] Not until then was the mask tradition disturbed.

 [A] See also page 101.

Though exact data of the steps of popular dances are lacking, literary
allusions record dance names and general character in great number. A
complete catalogue of them would offer little inspiration to the lay
student or the professional; no more than a hint of their broad scope is
necessary. Dances suggesting the life of animals were plentiful. Some
were underlaid with a symbolic significance, as that of the crane, the
bird’s confused wanderings representing the efforts of Theseus to find
his way out of the labyrinth, the legend in its turn probably having
some relation to life and the tricks it plays on its possessors. The fox
was a favourite subject, and the lion was not overlooked. Though the
author of _Chanticler_ may have been the first to avail himself of the
grotesqueries of poultry, the Greeks danced owls and vultures. Similar
to the Oriental _Danse du Ventre_ was the _Kolia_, probably brought
across from Egypt. Another suggestion of North Africa was known in Greek
language as the _Dance of Spilled Meal_--what more reasonable than to
infer that it was the same in scheme as the _Flour Dance_ of present-day
Algeria? The flour or meal that identifies this performance is spread on
the floor, and a more or less involved design traced in it. What follows
is interesting chiefly as a test of a species of virtuosity: the
dancer’s object is, in her successive turns across and about the design,
to plant her feet always within the same spaces, the loose meal exposing
any failure. Rapidity of tempo and involution of step may raise the
difficulties to a point beyond the reach of any but the most skilful.
The children’s game of Hop-scotch is a degenerated kinsman of the dance
in and over a design.

There were dances of satyrs and goats, nymphs, monkeys, gods and
goddesses, flowers, grapes and the wine-press. Combat was rendered into
poetry in the _Spear Dance_, the _Fight with the Shadow_ ([Greek:
skiamachia]), the fights with shields, with swords. There were
“rounds,” performed by an indefinite number of people joining hands in a
ring; traces of these are said to survive as peasant dances of the
Greece of to-day. There were solos, _pas de deux_ and _pas de quatre_.
Pythagoras made a period of dancing a part of the daily routine of his
pupils, _Hymeneia_ were danced to help celebrate a well-conducted
wedding. Prayers, sacrifices and funerals, as stated before, were
incomplete without their several and special dances.

Movement no less than speech is a vehicle for satire, wit, sensuality
and indecency. Theophrastus, with the intent of showing the degree of
shamelessness to which erring humanity may fall, tells of a man who
performed a dance called the _Cordax_ without the excuse of being drunk
at the time of the deed. Covering a wide range of light motives was the
_Sikinnis_, the word being applied both to a certain dance and to a form
of satirical mimo-drama. In the latter sense it burlesqued the politics,
philosophy and drama of the day. As all peoples divide themselves into
masses and classes on lines of taste as well as of money, so also
eventually the Athenians. In the hands of the Athens rabble--catered to
perhaps by ancestors of certain twentieth-century managers--the
_Sikinnis_, as a satire, fell into the slough of vulgarity.

As a dance it may be thought of as a favourite of that Alcibiades type
of youth in whom education has not depressed Arcadian frivolity. How
such a one vexed the solemnity of a court is the subject of an anecdote
compiled by Herodotus. Clisthenes, king of Sicyon, in order to marry his
daughter to the greatest advantage, decided to settle the selection of
her husband by competition. The invitation met with due interest on the

[Illustration: _Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York_

TANAGRA FIGURES

To face page 20]

part of the rich and the great. Suitors came from far and near, among
them two from Athens. An ominous circumstance, for “Attic salt” was out
of the same barrel as the “_sal de Andalucia_” of to-day; both have the
record of becoming operative immediately on exposure to any air of
oversolemnity.

After days of regal festivity, Clisthenes dedicated a hecatomb to the
gods, gave a final banquet, and announced that the suitor-selecting
competition would be along the lines of music and poetry. When it came
to the turn of Hippoclides, one of the two Athenians, he asked that a
table be brought in. On this he mounted, stood on his hands, and traced
the figures of a _Sikinnis_ in the air with his feet!

Until the king’s temper was quite gone, the performance was received in
silence. Herodotus supposed that Hippoclides interpreted the silence as
encouragement; but Herodotus very clearly did not know that kind of boy.
The polished though inverted youth on the table was estimating the
horror among his worthy spectators, and luxuriating.

Greece, with her fine simplicity of thought, furnished the pattern on
which was cut the civilisation of early Rome; Greek art, the concrete
expression of her lofty thought, furnished Rome a model. Which model
Rome followed until loot and tribute provided her with means to express
the taste that was her own.

[Illustration: GREEK COMEDY DANCING.]



CHAPTER II

DANCING IN ROME


An art that achieves beauty by means of the grace of simple lines,
elegance of proportion and other simple resources of composition, is the
art of a vigorous nation. Such an art scorns florid treatment, surface
realism, triviality; and such an art was that of early Rome. It had that
something clumsily called semiasceticism, that attaches to dignity.

A national art quality exists, as is axiomatic, upon a basis and by
virtue of a corresponding public state of mind; each influencing the
other, but the public state of mind being the force that shapes the art,
rather than the reverse. The spirit of simplicity dominated Greece
through many centuries of her grandeur. In Rome it endured until Rome
grew rich. Its coexistence in the case of the two peoples was no more
than a coincidence; they arrived at their common simplicity through
wholly different processes.

In Greece, beauty was understood. Action and adornment were restrained
because their value was found to be multiplied by sparing use; because,
too, any excess of them detracted from the great qualities of line and
proportion. In Greece, moreover, beauty dissociated from subject or
sentiment could always find an appreciative reception; the Hellenic mind
loved beauty for its own sake. And that is the cause of the reserve that
governs the best Greek art.

Early Rome, too, instilled into her children the spirit of simplicity.
Not, however, with any understanding of the relation of simplicity to
beauty and dignity. War and lust for conquest made the early Roman
stern; and simplicity, attached to a very real asceticism, was thrust
upon him by the uncompromising hand of poverty. But, after a few
centuries of fattening on loot and tribute, what of Rome? Stupidity,
degeneracy and vulgarity.

Loot and tribute! In respect to riches both material and mental, other
peoples’ contributions to Rome’s destiny were of a degree of importance
sometimes underrated. Her monumental physical structure was built from
taxes gathered by the mailed hand. In respect to her thought, expressed
in essays, poems, orations, letters, commentaries or whatsoever other
form, the extent of other nations’ contribution to Rome’s apparent
originality is, at first glance, less evident. Upon Greek foundations of
narrative structure, metre, and form in general, Roman writings are
built, Romanised though they be in subject-matter--but Rome’s sterility
of invention in that field is suited rather to the discussion of
literary men than of dance-lovers.

But sculpture is pertinent. The first so-called Roman art was
accomplished by carving Roman faces upon thickened figures in Greek
poses, executing them in Greek technique of modelling, and naming them
Roman gods and senators. Later the Greek simplicity of modelling was
discarded; to replace it there was achieved an ostentatious mediocrity.
The Pompeian frescoes? The good ones were painted by Greeks, brought
across for the purpose. And the vivacious little statues found in
Pompeii express the same artistically witty point of view.

In the field of material gain and convenience Rome’s contribution to the
world is not to be questioned. But water-supply, paving, land laws and
fortifications are not related to questions of taste. It is Roman taste
of which one tries to form a conception, in order to explain, at least
in part, the disappointing history of dancing under the Cæsars. And the
mere direction of attention to Rome’s relation to the arts anticipates
the story of her treatment of the dance, leaving only details to be
told.

First in chronology is found the dancing symbolical of war. Then comes a
simple religious choreography, under the Salic priests, supplementing
the ritual of sacrifice. As time goes on Greek dances are transplanted,
with the degree of success to be expected among a race whose minds,
though active, are pleased only by material power, gain, and
ostentation: by a process of atrophy following non-appreciation, the
symbolism disappears from symbolic dances and the ideal of beauty from
the purely beautiful dances. They became at best a display of agility to
amuse rustics. More generally they fell into the service of sex
allurement; not the suggestive merely, nor the provocative, but
unbridled depiction of what should not be revealed and of things that
should not exist. This condition of affairs is more than hinted in works
of some of the much-read Latin writers, stated by archæologists, and
confirmed by certain Pompeian statues.

Such offences, despite the resentment they arouse in the feelings of any
naturally constituted person, might be partially pardoned by the
dance-lover if they contributed anything to the dance. But absolutely
they do not. There is latent drama and good drama in sex relationships;
but not one accent of its valid expression can be traced to dances of
obscenity. The dancer who gives himself over to obscenity loses, every
time, the things that made him a dancer: form, truth and beauty of
movement and posture. Where the art of dancing is appreciated, artists
avoid obscene suggestion. Where it is not, many are forced to it in
order to make a living. However, even where the art is appreciated,
obscenity furnishes the incompetent a means of pretence of an artist’s
career; for obscenity is sure of a mixed following of rabblement, some
in rags and some in velvet.

Among the Romans themselves, actual participation in the dance was not
popular. Propriety forbade so close an association with an art
disfigured and dirtied, the Roman reviling as unclean the image soiled
by his own hand. From Spain, Greece and Syria people were brought to
dance before gourmands and wasters, degraded to the level of their
patrons’ appreciation, and discarded when they had exhausted the scope
of novelties suitable to the demand. Several centuries of Roman
employment of dancers contributed not one step, gesture or expression to
the art; the plastic and graphic records show only that which is Greek,
or, on the other hand inane, vulgar, or degenerate. To the latter levels
sank the _Ludiones_ and the _Saturnalia_; instituted as religious
celebrations, ending as orgies.

It is vaguely asserted that the Roman stage amplified the Greek scope of
pantomime. And, notwithstanding the many reasons to distrust such a
statement, there were two artists whose work may have been of a class to
justify it. They were Pylades and Bathyllus, natives respectively of
Silicia and Alexandria. Their names live in the impression they
produced. Of the character of their work it is impossible to learn
anything explicit; “softly dancing Bathyllus” is as concrete a reference
as anything to be found about them in writings of their period. So it is
impossible to know whether their great popularity was due to merit, or
to ingenious compliance with the taste of their adopted city. Their
record, therefore, must stand as the story of a furor, and not
necessarily as that of artistic achievement.

“The rivalries of Pylades and Bathyllus occupied the Romans as much as
the gravest affairs of state. Every Roman was a Bathyllian or a
Pyladian,” De l’Aulnaye writes. Vuillier presents a more graphic image
of their hold on public attention: “Their theatrical supporters, clad in
different liveries, used to fight in the streets, and bloody brawls were
frequent throughout the city.” For the endless quarrelling and
intriguing between the two, Pylades was once taken to task by the
emperor. The answer was that of a lofty artist or a publicity-seeking
gallery-player, let him decide who can: “Cæsar, it is well for you that
the people are occupied with our quarrels; their attention is in that
way diverted from your actions.”

His arrogance directed itself impartially toward ruler and subject.
Representing the madness of Hercules--he combined pantomime with
dancing--he shot arrows into the audience. Octavius being present on
such an occasion refrained from any expression of disapproval. Was he
afraid of offending his people by so much as an implied criticism of
their favourite? It is not unlikely. When, unable to control his
impatience with Pylades’ unsettling influence, the emperor banished
him, a revocation of the decree was made imperative by signs of a
popular insurrection!

Not the least of the instances of Pyladian insolence was his
interruption of the action of a play to scold his audience. During a
performance of _Hercules_ some one complained loudly that the movement
was extravagant. Pylades tore off his mask and shouted back, “I am
representing a madman, you fools!”

So much for Pylades and Bathyllus. The jealous, hypertemperamental
artist who allows nothing to interfere with the effect of the work to
which he is consecrated sometimes falls into eccentricities of conduct.
Such eccentricities are copied to admiration by impudent incompetents;
and, contrary to P. T. Barnum’s aphorism, some of them do “fool all the
people all the time”--especially if those people themselves lack the
clear vision of simplicity. Impudence to emperors and “shooting up”
audiences may mean the utmost of either sincerity or hypocrisy; choice
of opinion is free. Certainly the Roman Empire’s political intrigues
reveal a profound and practical knowledge of the science of publicity;
it is an ancient profession.

Artists, advertisers or both, it matters not at all, Pylades and
Bathyllus failed to lift dancing from the mire. The self-styled “Eternal
City,” the Rome of the Cæsars, held it down to her level till her rotted
hands could cling no longer, yet treated it from first to last with
scorn. Horace, who never allowed his wit to lead him into danger of
offending any except those without influence on his patron Mæcenas,
repeatedly uses association with dancers as a synonym of
disreputability. Cicero takes a fling at the art; Sallust attacks a lady
for dancing with a degree of skill unbecoming a virtuous woman. With
the logic of a father who locked up his children so that they should not
teach bad manners to their parents, successive emperors banished dancers
for doing their work according to the taste of their patrons.

Rome’s inability to move her imagination on a high plane had decayed
her, muscle, brain and bone; wealth slipped away, and all of her that
was respected was her remote past. In the meantime she had imposed upon
Europe her laws and prejudices. Ears trained to credulous attention were
those that heard her complaint of the depravity of dancing--a complaint
given colour by the obscenity of the only secular dancing known to
Europeans (outside of Spain) in the time of the empire’s decadence. With
such a combined force of misrepresentation against it, its restoration
to a proper position among the great arts was destined to be postponed a
thousand years. To this day there persists to its injury an echo of its
early defamation.

Yet in the hour of humiliation, the dance gained the respect of the only
earthly power that might reasonably hope, in such an extremity, to save
it from a miserable end. It was taken under the protection of the
Christian Church.



CHAPTER III

THE MIDDLE AGES AND THE RENAISSANCE


Christianity, like the religions of the Hebrews of old and the Greeks,
employed dancing as an important part of the ritual of worship. During
the greater part of a thousand years, the relation was not violently
disturbed; the _ballet d’action_ served in the mass before the altar,
and in the “moralities” that long held favour as an agency of spiritual
instruction. A clerical it was who eventually composed and staged the
great pantomime which the many authorities place as the first modern
ballet.

European society, slowly emerging from the mire of Roman manners, at
length found itself hungry for beauty, and capable of intelligent use of
pearls. The ballet masque was evolved, and long remained the supremely
brilliant feature of noble festivities. Polite society, headed by a
king, was the founder of the ballet as it is now known. But this was in
modern times. The institution that had conserved choreography through
the brutishness of the Dark Ages was the Church.

To one Father Menestrier is owed a compilation of data about dancing,
especially in relation to religion. The good father was a Jesuit living
in the seventeenth century, his book having been written about 1682.
While his own comments are not always contributory to exact knowledge of
choreographic detail, the facts he collected from a great variety of
sources are important and interesting. In the following passage he
definitely attaches dancing to the ritual:

“Divine service was composed of psalms, hymns and canticles, because men
sang and danced the praises of God, as they read His oracles in those
extracts of the Old and New Testaments which we still know under the
name of Lessons. The place in which these acts of worship were offered
to God was called the choir, just as those portions of comedies and
tragedies in which dancing and singing combined to make up the
interludes were called choruses. Prelates were called in the Latin
tongue, _Præsules a Præsiliendo_, because in the choir they took that
part in the praises of God which he who led the dances, and was called
by the Greeks _Choregus_, took in the public games.”

The word “_præsul_” was the designation of the chief priest of the
Salii, of early Rome.

Quoting from St. Basil’s Epistle to St. Gregory, Menestrier writes
further: “What could be more blessed than to imitate on earth the rhythm
of angels?” (“_Quid itaque beatius esse poterit quam in terra tripudia
Angelorum imitari?_”) To this he adds: “Philosophers have also existed
who believed that these spirits had no other means of communication
among themselves but signs and movements arranged after the manner of
dances. After this we need not be surprised that Virgil, in the sixth
book of the _Æneid_, makes the spirits dance in the Elysian fields.”

The Emperor Julian was reproved by St. Gregory of Nazianzus, not for
dancing, but for the kind of dances with which he occupied himself. “If
you are fond of dancing,” said the saint, “if your inclination leads
you to these festivals that you appear to love so passionately, dance
as much as you will; I consent. But why revive before our eyes the
dissolute dances of the barbarous Herodias and the Pagans? Rather
perform the dances of King David before the Ark; dance to the honour of
God. Such exercises of peace and piety are worthy of an emperor and a
Christian.”

No more need be quoted to explain the adoption of dancing by the Church,
and the regard in which it was held by the reverend fathers. By some of
them, that is. Others held it in different estimation. Odon, Bishop of
Paris, proscribed dancing in the twelfth century. Notwithstanding, the
fifteenth and sixteenth see in Spain the so-called _Villancicos de
Navidad_ (a choreographic celebration of the birth of Christ) and the
dances of the _Seises_, then as now performed in the Cathedral of
Seville. The latter were authorised in 1439 by a Bull of Pope Eugenius
IV. Their discontinuance was ordered by Don Jayme de Palafox, Archbishop
of Seville. To settle the matter the _Seises_ were taken to Rome and
their dances shown to the Pope, who as a consequence approved their
continuance.

France, too, declined to take the proscription seriously, as almost
numberless documents and images attest. In 1584 the Canon of Langres, by
name Jehan Tabourot, otherwise Thoinet Arbeau, wrote (in his seventieth
year) his work called _Orchesographie_. He refers cheerfully to
opposition: “We practice such merrymaking on days of wedding
celebrations, and of the solemnities of the feasts of our Church, even
though the reformers abhor such things; but in this matter they deserve
to be treated like some hind-quarter of goat put into dough without
lard.” (“_Mais ils mériteroient d’y être traictez de quelque gigot de
bouc mis en paste sans lard._”) Not an infelicitous metaphor, after
inquiry reveals that dough without lard bakes to the hardness of
concrete, so that the aid of a hammer is necessary to crack the shell.
What more satisfying disposal of dissenters from one’s own opinions?

Proofs of the dance’s tenacious inclination to embody itself in the
worship of the vital new religion are many. Records of efforts to
establish it are mingled with those of counter-efforts to expel it; on
the one side a belief that worship is an emotional expression, on the
other a leaning toward logic. Whether religious uplift is a matter of
emotion or of reason is a question perhaps not wholly settled yet.
Certainly the mediæval writers recorded little to reflect a spirit of
compromise--no concession that ritual or logic might advantageously be
chosen with some reference to the psychology of the individual. At the
suggestion of the Council of Toledo, a ritual rich in sacred
choreography was composed by Saint Isidore, archbishop of Seville in the
seventh century. Another century produced two occurrences of
choreographic importance at about the same moment: from Pope Zacharias,
a prohibition of dancing; from the Moorish invasion, preservation of the
seven churches of Toledo. Of the two influences, the latter was deemed
paramount. In the seven churches a mass known as the _Mozarabe_ was
established, continued in all of them through the generations of Moorish
occupancy of the city, and is still celebrated daily in the cathedral.
In the other six churches it was discontinued toward the middle of the
nineteenth century. With accompaniment of the tambourine, whose
resonance Saint Isidore characterised as “the half of melody,” the
service included solemn dancing of the style of the _Saraband_ and the
_Pavane_. Whether or not the choreographic features are still retained,
the authors are unable to say.

Writing in 1731 a _Discourse on Comedy_, Father Pierre le Brun
contributes the information: “ ... that while the preachers were saying
their mass, buffoons, histrions, players of instruments and different
other _farceurs_ were made to come; this disorder is severely forbidden,
as well as dances and the presentation of spectacles in the churches and
cemeteries. The same prohibition is found in the synodic statutes of the
diocese of Soissons, printed in that city in 1561. Dances were sometimes
performed before the church, and there was not less objection made
against the practice at that time.... Meanwhile it is disgracefully
tolerated in some of the country parishes.”

These “spectacles” were the vehicle that carried the mimetic ballet
through the Dark Ages from Rome’s licentious theatre and banquet hall to
the stately salon of the Medici. Under the name of “moralities” they
survive to this day in convents, though clipped as to their
choreographic wings. _Everyman_, played a few years ago by Ben Greet and
his company, was a re-creation of some of the elements of the early
morality, plus speech and minus dancing. Love, aspiration, reverence,
envy, fear, remorse and various other elemental abstractions that
inhabit the human soul were the source of most of the morality’s
characters; the dramatic action consisted--usually if not always--in a
simple treatment of the influences wrought by the varied forces on the
destiny of a man. The man, no more and no less than the abstract
qualities, was represented by an actor. Occurrences of man’s life, both
earthly and subsequent, were equally available as dramatic material.
Apostles, angels and even God were of frequent representation.

A start was made in a direction destined to lead to the development of
scenery. Whereas the Greek drama established the setting by means of
spoken words (and the Roman apparently made no exception to the same
practice), the early morality specified the setting by means of words or
crude symbols marked on objects, the back wall, and other available
surfaces: “forest,” “front of house,” “Heaven,” “street,” or whatever
was necessary. Elaboration by degrees brought these primitive
suggestions up to the point of real scenery, with practical mechanical
devices for sensational entrances.

One must infer that the semiconstant opposition of the Church to these
representations was necessitated by occasional forgetfulness of their
sacred character. The pagan gods persistently lingered among the
_dramatis personæ_, undismayed by the fact that they were dead, and
unshamed by the treatment their followers had accorded Christianity.
Performers no less than authors were sometimes guilty of ribaldry
ranging from the frivolous to the impious. “A canon playing entirely
nude the rôle of Christ, and a clerk representing Saint Francis in a
scene of seduction, undressed in the same manner, were not at all
spectacles of which the originators of the _genre_ had dreamed.”

Yet the good clearly outweighed the bad. And although repeatedly
prohibited, no mention is found of dancing being severely penalised. Now
at the altar and again at the feast it serves, in whatever capacity is
required of it, until at length it comes into prominent connection with
the strolling ballet.

For the morality play--or mystery, as it is otherwise known--becomes an
elaborate affair, with casts and mechanical and scenic effects, on such
a scale that it must collect more coppers than one town affords, in
order to recover the initial expense of the production. On a scale
sufficient to make an impression on its times was the spectacle designed
to celebrate the canonisation of Carlo Borroméo, at Lisbon in 1610. In
the words of Vuillier: “A ship, bearing a statue of St. Carlo, advanced
toward Lisbon, as though to take possession of the soil of Portugal, and
all the ships in the harbour went out to meet it. St. Anthony of Padua
and St. Vincent, patrons of the town, received the newcomer, amid
salvoes of artillery from forts and vessels. On his disembarkation, St.
Carlo Borroméo was received by the clergy and carried in a procession in
which figured four enormous chariots. The first represented Fame, the
second the city of Milan, the third Portugal, and the fourth the Church.
Each religious body and each brotherhood in the procession carried its
patron saint upon a richly decorated litter.

“The statue of St. Carlo Borroméo was enriched with jewels of enormous
value, and each saint was decorated with rich ornaments. It is estimated
that the value of the jewelry that bedecked these images was not less
than four millions of francs (£160,000).

“Between each chariot, bands of dancers enacted various scenes. In
Portugal, at that period, processions and religious ceremonies would
have been incomplete if they had not been accompanied by dancing in
token of joy.

“In order to add brilliancy to these celebrations, tall gilded masts,
decorated with crowns and many-coloured banners, were erected at the
doors of the churches and along the route of the choreographic
procession. These masts also served to show the points at which the
procession should halt, for the dancers to perform the principal scenes
of their ballet.”

[Illustration: DANCE OF PEASANTS.

After a sixteenth-century engraving.]

A century and a half before this--in 1462--King René of Provence had
organised an entertainment, at once religious and social, given on the
eve of Corpus Christi. The word “_entremet_” was applied to the
allegorical scenes, denoting “interlude,” like the Italian
“_intermezzo_.” Other components of the representation were combats and
dances. The affair as a whole was a mixture of the sacred and profane to
which any idea of unity was completely alien: Fame on a winged horse;
burlesque representations of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino, riding
donkeys (why represented, no one knows--but during three centuries the
two were travestied in Corpus Christi processions); Mars and Minerva,
Pan and Syrinx, Pluto and Proserpine, fauns, dryads and tritons dancing
to drums, fifes and castanets; Jupiter, Juno, Venus and Love following
in a chariot. The three Fates, King Herod persecuted by devils, more
devils pursuing a soul, it in turn protected by a guardian angel; Jews
dancing around a golden calf; the Queen of Sheba and suite; Magi
following a star hung at the end of a pole; the Massacre of the
Innocents; Christ and the Apostles--all were scattered through and among
the groups of legendary beings of Greece. More dancers, a detachment of
soldiers, and Death with a scythe following after all others,
approximately completed the fantastic catalogue.

The entertainment as a whole was called by the king the _Lou Gué_. A
number of the French popular dance airs that lasted for centuries are
said to date back to it. Tradition credits the king with the composition
of the work in all its branches--conception, ballets, music and all.

The childish lack of theme, or scheme, bars the _Lou Gué_ and the
entertainments that followed from any comparison with a ballet spectacle
of later times, or of antiquity. But it bridged a gap to better things,
kept the ballet in existence, and had the merit of being amusing. In
eccentricity it may well be coupled with the celebration of the wedding
of Charles the Bold and Margaret of England; “fabulous spectacles
imprinted with a savage gallantry,” as M. Brussel puts it. The
procession of the latter affair included a leopard riding a unicorn, a
dwarf on a gigantic lion, and a dromedary bearing panniers of birds,
“strangely painted as though they came from India,” that were released
among the company.

The fête organised by Bergonzio de Botta in 1489, showed a step in the
direction of the ballet’s destined progress. The occasion was the
marriage of Galeazzo, Duke of Milan, with Isabel of Aragon. This fête
employed the dance, music, poetry and pantomime in the adornment of a
banquet; and the whole entertainment was unified with ingenious
consistency. The description of it given by Castil-Blaze cannot be
improved upon:

“The Amphitryon chose for his theatre a magnificent hall surrounded by a
gallery, in which several bands of music had been stationed; an empty
table occupied the middle. At the moment when the Duke and Duchess
appeared, Jason and the Argonauts advanced proudly to the sound of
martial music. They bore the Golden Fleece; this was the tablecloth,
with which they covered the table, after having executed a stately
dance, expressive of their admiration of so beautiful a princess, and of
a sovereign so worthy to possess her. Next came Mercury, who related how
he had been clever enough to trick Apollo, shepherd of Admetus, and rob
him of a fat calf, which he ventured to present to the newly married
pair, after having had it nobly trussed and prepared by the best cook on
Olympus. While he was placing it upon the table, three quadrilles that
followed him danced round the fatted calf, as the Hebrews had formerly
capered round that of gold.

“Diana and her nymphs followed Mercury. It is unnecessary to say that a
fanfare of hunting-horns heralded the entrance of Diana, and accompanied
the dance of the nymphs.

“The music changed its character; lutes and flutes announced the
approach of Orpheus. I would recall to the memory of those who might
have forgotten it, that at that period they changed their instruments
according to the varying expression of the music played. Each singer,
each dancer, had his especial orchestra, which was arranged for him
according to the sentiments intended to be expressed by his song or his
dance. It was an excellent plan, and served to vary the symphonies; it
announced the return of a character who had already appeared, and
produced a varied succession of trumpets, of violins with their sharp
notes, of the arpeggios of lutes, and of the soft melodies of flutes and
reed pipes. The orchestrations of Monteverde prove that the composers at
that time varied their instrumentation thus, and this particular
artifice was not one of the least causes of the prodigious success of
opera in the first years of its creation.

“But to return to the singer of Thrace, whom I left standing somewhat
too long at the door. He appeared chanting the praises of the Duchess,
and accompanying himself on a lyre.

“‘I wept,’ he went on, ‘long did I weep on the Apennine mount the death
of the gentle Eurydice. I have heard of the union of two lovers worthy
to live one for the other, and for the first time since my misfortune I
have experienced a feeling of pleasure. My songs changed with the
feelings of my heart. A crowd of birds fluttered down to listen to me; I
seized these imprudent listeners, and I spitted them all to roast them
for the most beautiful princess on earth, since Eurydice is no more.’

“A sound of brass instruments interrupted the bird-snaring virtuoso;
Atalanta and Theseus, escorted by a brilliant and agile troop,
represented a boar hunt by means of lively dances. It ended in the death
of the boar of Calydon, which they offered to the young Duke, executing
a triumphal ballet. Iris, in a chariot drawn by peacocks, followed by
nymphs clad in light transparent gauze, appeared on one side, and laid
on the table dishes of her own superb and delicate birds. Hebe, bearing
nectar, appeared on the other side, accompanied by shepherds from
Arcady, and by Vertumnus and Pomona, who presented iced creams and
cheeses, peaches, apples, oranges and grapes. At the same moment the
shade of the gastronomer Apicius rose from the earth. The illustrious
professor came to inspect this splendid banquet, and to communicate his
discoveries to the guests.

“This spectacle disappeared to give place to a great ballet of Tritons
and Rivers laden with the most delicious fish. Crowned with parsley and
watercress, these aquatic deities despoiled themselves of their
headdresses to make a bed for the turbot, the trout, and the perch that
they placed upon the table.

“I know not whether the epicures invited by the host were much amused by
these ingenious ceremonies, and whether their tantalised stomachs did
not cry out against all the pleasures offered to their eyes and ears;
history does not enter into these details. Moreover, Bergonzio de Botta
understood too well how to organise a feast not to have put some ballast
into his guests in the shape of a copious luncheon, which might serve as
a preface, or argument, an introduction if you will, to the dinner
prepared by the gods, demigods, Nymphs, Tritons, Fauns and Dryads.

“This memorable repast was followed by a singular spectacle. It was
inaugurated by Orpheus, who conducted Hymen and Cupids. The Graces
presented Conjugal Fidelity, who offered herself to wait upon the
princess. Semiramus, Helen, Phædra, Medea and Cleopatra interrupted the
solo of Conjugal Fidelity by singing of their own lapses, and the
delights of infidelity. Fidelity, indignant at such audacity, ordered
these criminal queens to retire. The Cupids attacked them, pursuing them
with their torches, and setting fire to the long veils that covered
their heads. Something, clearly, was necessary to counterbalance this
scene. Lucretia, Penelope, Thomyris, Judith, Portia and Sulpicia
advanced, and laid at the feet of the duchess the palms of virtue they
had won during their lives. As the graceful and modest dance of the
matrons might have seemed a somewhat cold termination to so brilliant a
fête, the author had recourse to Bacchus, Silenus and to the Satyrs, and
their follies animated the end of the ballet.”

[Illustration: BALLET OF THE FOUR PARTS OF THE WORLD: ENTRANCE OF THE
GRAND KHAN.

After an old drawing, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.]

The entertainment made a sensation. It was at the time of the
Renaissance; the Occidental mind was awakening after a thousand years
of sleep, and craved employment. Taste was being reborn, along with
mentality. The pleasures of contact between minds was being
rediscovered; the institution of Polite Society was rapidly finding
itself.

To attempt to repeat the Bergonzio de Botta entertainment would have
been to invite comparisons; to surpass it in any point but magnitude
would have been excessively difficult. Its influence on entertainments
that followed directed itself toward the development of the masque, a
form of musical pantomime that remained, through centuries, an
indispensable adjunct of festal gatherings in the courts of the
Continent and England. The characters in the De Botta production, it
will be noted, were, with two or three exceptions, from Greek mythology.
This was the culmination of a fashion that had been growing, and is
fairly representative of the revival of learning then in progress. It
was not until a few years ago that familiarity with classic tradition
ceased to be considered a part of the education of a lady or gentleman.
There is no reason to believe that the lack of such erudition makes one
the less a lady or a gentleman; but its discontinuance is unfortunate
for the pantomime ballet. In Greek mythology, both natural
manifestations and mental attributes were personified. Not with the
completeness of a catalogue, but enough to express a great many points
by the mere presence of certain characters. Venus, Minerva, Diana;
Dionysius, Orpheus, Apollo, Mercury--all were accepted symbols of
certain human qualities. In relegating their acquaintance to the
depository of cast-off mental furniture, people have failed to create
new symbols to take the place of the old. Harlequin and Columbine we
have, and a few others. But how many are the figures whose mere
entrance, without the interruption of dramatic action, could be depended
upon to introduce definite and recognisable ideas? Pantomime has to be
explained on the programme nowadays; and as nobody gets to his seat
until after the auditorium lights are down, the programme is unread and
people complain that the characters lack meaning. Broadly, Modernism has
devised for itself an education that teaches it to earn each day the
cost of a thousand pleasures, but by which it is robbed of the power to
enjoy any one of them.

Scattered through mediæval choreographic history are allusions to an
employment of chivalry as subject-matter of pantomime. But the idea
never seems to have taken root, as is natural enough, considering the
relation between dancing and armour--and armour was worn by the
unfortunate dancers chosen to represent knights. The dance of chivalry
was not an influence, and is mentioned only as a choreographic
curiosity.

Bergonzio de Botta’s great entertainment, as has been shown, led
squarely up to the masque, one of the ballet’s immediate forerunners.
Meantime the Church’s contribution to the art was no longer a matter of
moralities for the edification of mediæval rustics; high dignitaries,
proceeding partly under ecclesiastical inspiration and partly under
tolerance, were evolving a choro-dramatic form that took no second place
to the masque in preparing the way for the art that was to come.
Sixteenth-century Rome and Florence saw “sacred representations” in
which were utilised the _Saltarello_ [see chapter on Italian dances],
the _Pavane_, the _Siciliana_, _la Gigue_, the _Gaillarde_ and _la
Moresca_. The last was accompanied by heel-tappings, like many of the
dances of Spain to-day. Its music survives in Monteverde’s opera
_Orfeo_, written at the beginning of the seventeenth century; in other
words, music was beginning to be worth while. More important than any
other single acquisition, to say the least, was the alliance of some of
the monarchs of form and colour to whom half the glory of the
Renaissance is due. Of Ariosto’s _Suppositi_, presented in the Vatican
in 1518, the decorations were by Raphael. Andrea del Sarto, Brunelleschi
and Cecca enriched with their sacred figures the mimo-dramas played in
Florence. In Milan, Leonardo da Vinci lent to the reality and beauty of
the religious ballet the palette from which was painted the “Mona Lisa.”
Furthermore, it is not to be supposed that these and other masters of
line, colour and the drama of light were not called to the aid of ballet
grouping and movement. The period leaves no record of a great ballet
composer or director. It does leave reason to believe, nevertheless,
that in grouping and evolution, as well as decoration, music and
accessories, these sacred representations lacked nothing to entitle them
to a respectable place in the annals of opera ballet. Steps were still
primitive, but sufficient unto their day.

Authorities disagree as to which one of several performances is entitled
to the recognition due the first presentation of modern ballet. As a
matter of accuracy, any decision should be made only after considering
exactly which of several species of modern ballet is meant. For the
organisation of the first ballet spectacle conforming to the multiple
standards of modern excellence, the honour seems to be deserved by
Catherine de Medici. True to her family traditions, she took it as an
expression of beauty for its own sake, and developed it in accordance
with French genius for order and form, as is described in later pages.
But the first production of opera ballet, in the sense of a
_divertissement_ or intermezzo composed to interpret sentiments of
dramatic action that it precedes or follows, the consensus of authority
attributes to a work of Cardinal Riario, a nephew of Pope Sixtus IV. He
composed and staged in Castel San Angelo a number of productions in
which the ballet was important, during the latter part of the fifteenth
century. Besides Pope Sixtus IV, Alexander VI and Leo X were strongly in
sympathy with the movement to exalt choreography to its ancient and
proper estate. The educated aristocracy of various Italian cities gave
it support and protection. Important among these champions was Lorenzo
de Medici, with his rare combination of means and scholarly
understanding of the arts. Savonarola acidly charged him with softening
the people by means of pagan spectacles, while Lorenzo went on adapting
and composing.

The Jewish element of Italian society contributed its part to the new
art’s development. At Mantua, where the Jews formed a numerous colony,
they built a theatre on the models of antiquity. Productions were
directed by Bernard Tasso, father of the author of _Jerusalem
Delivered_. Torquato himself went in 1573 to produce _La Pastorale_,
which was a feature of a celebration given on the Island of the
Belvidere, near Ferrara.

The ballet entertainment was fashionable; no great event was complete
without it as a supplement. The visit of the Duke of Anjou (the future
Henry III) to Cracow was the occasion of a fête whose historic
importance was the discovery of a genius in ballet arrangement,
Baltarazini, otherwise known as Beaujoyeulx. Catherine de Medici sent
for him to take charge of the choreographic entertainments of the French
court, the Marshal de Brissac acting as intermediary. “Baltarazini dit
Beaujoyeulx” had his first great opportunity in 1581, on the occasion of
the marriage of the Duc de Joyeuse. _Le Ballet Comique de la Reine_ was
the designation of the offering; it was an addition to the now growing
list of tremendous successes. Full details are recorded in the journal
of one L’Estoile, and in _L’Art de la Danse_ by Jean Etienne Despréaux.
To repeat them in full is neither necessary nor possible: the amiable
L’Estoile in particular experiences all the delight of a simple soul
surrounded by several days’ proceedings of which not a single detail is
anything less than amazing. The lords and ladies appeared in a fresh
costume every day, a new practice of whose extravagance L’Estoile writes
with a mixture of awe and disapproval.

[Illustration: A FOURTEENTH-CENTURY BALL.

After detail of an illuminated MS. in the Bibliothèque Nationale.]

The story of _Le Ballet Comique_ was the mixture of Old Testament story
and mythology already familiar. Fountains, artificial fire and aquatic
machines lent their several notes of richness and variety. Important
from the point of view of the _amateur_ of the ballet is a comment on
the geometrical precision that governed the ballet’s groupings and corps
movements: “_d’une rectitude qu’ Archimède n’eut pas desavoué_.” The
true and modern note of form in grouping had been struck, and the
standard of exactness set that was to become the backbone of the ballet
of later centuries. As the first artistically logical relation of
dancing to the sentiment of the whole work had been effected in the
“sacred representations” of Italy, so _Le Ballet Comique de la Reine_
seems to have been the first work of the kind to be produced under a
modern (which is to say ancient Greek) understanding of the laws of
harmony of line.

The performance lasted from ten o’clock in the evening until four in the
morning. Estimates of its cost range from six hundred thousand to a
million dollars (three to five million francs). Of tournaments, presents
and numberless other items of the several days’ celebration the cost is
reckoned apart from that of producing _Le Ballet Comique_. Apart from
lavishness, there is interest in the fact that queen and princesses
participated. They represented nereids and naiads.

England, meantime, was in nowise ignoring the example of Continental
neighbours. Pantomimes she had under the names of “mysteries,”
“dumb-shows” and “moralities”--religious, and melodramatic, and
variously proportioned mixtures of both. They figure in the history of
the English drama, as a source of plots for the early playwright. Though
the translation of gesture into word filled a want felt by a part of the
people, it subtracted nothing from the popularity of the masque. Henry
VIII was its patron, and occasionally took part in it. Elizabeth carried
it on. Francis Bacon, with whom love of stage representation was a
passion, wrote plots--and dialogue where it was needed. Charles I
brought it to a climax of taste and opulence. Inigo Jones--of whose high
merits as an artist evidences are extant--designed decorations. Ben
Jonson was accustomed to write the book for important productions. A
notable work of collaboration of the two, with the addition of Lawes,
the musical composer, was a masque presented at Whitehall by the Inns of
Court in 1633. The cost is stated as £21,000. Although a ballet was
perhaps the principal feature of the production, its composer is not
named in the records. England’s failure to credit the original genius
may or may not bear some relation to her sterility as a contributor to
the dance. With support, both sentimental and material, she has been
lavish--in the wake of other nations’ enthusiasms. Of invention she has
given nothing of consequence. We therefore turn our attention again to
France, where history was busy.

Henry IV was of a happy disposition; the dance in his reign was happy in
motive, and healthy in growth. To give time to its practice none was too
high in station or serious in mind. Sully, the philosopher, profiting by
training given him by the king’s sister, played a part in one of the
fêtes. The journal of L’Estoile mentions the production of eighty new
ballets during the twenty-one years of the reign.

The nature of Louis XIII was taciturn; an influence that caused the
ballet to oscillate between the sombre and the trivial. The monarch
himself played “The

[Illustration: SEVENTEENTH CENTURY COURT DANCES

Mr. John Murray Anderson and Miss Margaret Crawford

The _Tordion_ (1, 2)--The _Pavane_ (3, 4, 5)

To face page 48]

Demon of Fire” in _La Delivrance de Renault_, in 1617. Of _Le Ballet de
la Merlaison_ that he produced in 1635, he composed the dance music.

A whim of this reign is to the credit of the Duke of Nemours. To
contrive a choreographic composition “docile to his rheumatism,” he
composed in 1630 a Ballet of the Gouty. Meantime the dance was becoming
frivolous, if not licentious. To rectify its shortcomings Richelieu
applied himself--not to preaching damnations of dancing in general, but
to the creation of an allegorical ballet of the sort he thought
suitable. _Quatre Monarchies Chrétiennes_, played in 1635, is a result
of his efforts; “full of pageantry the most opulent and morality the
most orthodox,” in the words of Robert Brussel.

The regency of Anne of Austria developed nothing in particular; a
delicate character enveloped the dance in conformity to the regent’s
disposition and taste. But distinct progress was not destined to take
place until the reign of Louis XIV, founder of the national ballet
academy, perhaps the most helpful patron the dance ever had, and as
devoutly enthusiastic an amateur performer as ever lived. He played
prominent parts in ballet pantomimes to the number of twenty-six.

The date of the founding of the school, _L’Académie Nationale de Musique
et de la Danse_, is 1661. From that time, through several decades,
developments follow with extraordinary rapidity, and in so many
different directions that it is impossible to follow them consecutively.
Great performers begin to appear; artists whose work enraptures the
public by grace of beauty alone, signifying that _execution_ had been
awakened. Mlles. Prévost and Sallé were contemporaries and rivals, each
with a great and ardent supporting faction. Of the latter’s
personality, it is of interest that she was a friend of Locke, author of
_Human Understanding_. Her popularity is gauged by her pay for a single
performance in London, namely, something over two hundred thousand
francs. The amount probably includes the considerable quantity of gold
and jewels thrown to the stage during the performance, for enthusiasm
appears to have reached the point of mania. This admiration was won
without very rapid movement, Sallé believing only in the majestic; or
any high or very broad steps, which did not exist in the ballet in her
time. To have stirred the public as she did without these resources
argues a degree of grace and expressiveness less earthly than heavenly.

[Illustration: LOUIS XIV (AS “THE SUN”) AND A COURTIER (AS “NIGHT”) IN
THE BALLET OF NIGHT.]

Yet her reputation was to be eclipsed by a girl who was studying during
the very hours when Sallé was gathering laurels. Camargo was her name.
She was born in Brussels, daughter of a dancing master. To natural
grace and health she added an inordinate fondness for dancing, and eager
facility for learning its technicalities. Parental vacillation and
educational theories cripple many an artist’s career at its beginning.
But Camargo’s father being a dancing teacher, there was just one thing
for the child to do in the natural course of events, and that was to
learn to dance.

At the age of ten, her art attracted the attention of a patroness, and
she was sent to Paris to study under Mlle. Prévost. In the _corps de
ballet_ at the opera she bolted into public notice by joining impulse to
accident. One Dumoulin, on a certain occasion, missed his musical cue
for entrance to perform a solo. Mlle. Camargo leaped from her place and
executed the solo to the delight of the audience. Introduced at court,
her triumph so affected Prévost that she discontinued her pupil’s
instruction. It was no longer needed. Camargo’s genius had carried her
beyond the reach of jealousy, or even the active intrigue that her
ex-teacher directed against her.

Her matrimonial and other social ventures were conducted with such an
air of candour, and were of such a diversity that they are, above all,
amusing. She was a much-petted personage at court, and an esteemed
friend of the king. In general she was known “as a model of charity,
modesty and good conduct.” She was given a maiden’s funeral.

Castil-Blaze writes of her: “She added to distinction and fire of
execution a bewitching gaiety that was all her own. Her figure was very
favourable to her talent: hands, feet, limbs, stature, all were perfect.
But her face, though expressive, was not remarkably beautiful. And, as
in the case of the famous harlequin, Dominique, her gaiety was a gaiety
of the stage only. In private life she was sadness itself.”

In a technical sense she may be regarded as the first modern. Her work
comprised all that constituted the ballet up to her time; to the
resources that came to her as an artistic heritage she began a process
of addition that was to be carried on by successors. She is credited
with the invention of the _entrechat_, for instance; and here many
readers will find themselves confronted by the need of some explanation
of ballet technique as a means of intelligent discussion of the dancing
of modern times. Before that chapter, however, it is not amiss to glance
over the old dances from which the ballet, up to the foundation of the
Academy in 1661, derived most of its steps.

The _Gavotte_, the _Minuet_, the _Pavane_, the _Saraband_, the
_Tordion_, the _Bourrée_, the _Passecaille_, the _Passepied_, the
_Chaconne_, the _Volte_, the _Allemande_, the _Gaillarde_, and the
_Courante_--these were the dances whose measures were trod by courtiers
of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Among those who have been
moved to study these old dances during the past few years to the end of
reconstructing them, no one is more fortunately equipped for the task
than the only resident of America who has applied himself seriously to
the subject, Mr. John Murray Anderson. He is at once a dancer, an
educated man, and for years a devoted student of the social aspect of
western Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. A period of
months that he recently spent in the choreographic libraries of Europe,
and in joint study with others similarly engaged, has resulted in the
opportunity to see in America a fine and true representation of the old
court steps. With Miss Margaret Crawford, Mr. Anderson posed for the
accompanying photographs of the _Gavotte_, the _Minuet_, the _Bourrée_,
and the _Tordion_. The groupings were selected with view to indicating
the character of each dance. Collectively they give a good idea of the
school of formality in which the French ballet was conceived, and from
which it received its determining influences.

From the beginnings of time, people who give entertainments have
followed a practice of employing performers of dances characteristic of
various peoples. With appropriate costume, the _danses caracteristiques_
give a synopsis, or essence, of the picturesque aspect of the people the
dancer represents. Sixteenth-century nobility availed itself of the
entertainment value of these folk-dances, as Athens did in its golden
days and as London and Newport do to-day. In such manner did French
society gather its material for many of the dances that eventually
became identified with the ballroom.

The _Gavotte_ is of such origin. A few generations of languid
cultivation refined the life out of it, though it was at first a
comparatively active dance. After dropping nearly into disuse it was
revived and popularised by Marie Antoinette, for whose rendering of it
Gluck composed music. After the Revolution, with its paralysing
influence, the _Gavotte_ was once again revived--and revised--by Gardel,
_premier danseur_ of the Opera, in a composition based on music by
Grétry. But this composition was not of a kind for the execution of any
but trained dancers of the stage, Gardel having made it a _metier_ for
the exploitation of his own capabilities. Among new elaborations the
simple little jumping steps and the easy _arabesque_ that distinguished
the _Gavotte_ of earlier days were lost.

The _Tordion_ is another dance of lively origin. Sometimes it was made a
vehicle for the grotesque, such as black-face comedy--let no one be
surprised that the “coon comedian” of to-day is an ancient institution.
It was stepped briskly, even in the stately environment of court. The
position of the foot with the heel on the floor and the toe up was not
adopted by the ballet, but is found in folk or “character” dances in all
parts of Europe.

The _Allemande_ also was a dance of movement; so was the _Volte_. In the
former the man turns his partner by her raised hand; in the costume of
the time, the whirl is very effective. The _Volte_ is supposed to be the
immediate ancestor of the _Waltz_.

The _Saraband_ came into France from Spain, where it was tremendously
popular as _la Zarabanda_. It dates from the twelfth century, and was
praised by Cervantes. Its character justifies the belief that it comes
from Moorish origins. It is a solo dance making noble use of the arms,
and is executed with a plastic relaxation of the body. A distinctly
Oriental mannerism is its quick shift of the foot, just as it is placed
on the floor, from the customary position of toeing out to a position of
toeing in. The foot-work, moreover, has little more than slow glides.
Its exotic qualities, nevertheless, are subordinate to its Occidental
courtliness; like all the other dances of polite society, it conformed
to the etiquette of its time and place, notwithstanding improprieties of
which it had been guilty in earlier centuries.

Marguerite de Valois was fond of the _Bourrée_ because, according to
tradition, she had an extraordinary natural endowment in the shape of
feet and ankles. And the skipping step (related to the modern
polka-step)

[Illustration: SEVENTEENTH CENTURY COURT DANCES

The _Saraband_ (1)--The _Allemand_ (3)--The other groups are from the
_Minuet_--6 and 5 (in that order) represent the Mirror figure in the
_Minuet de la Reine_

To face page 54]

[Illustration: THE “GAVOTTE”

To face page 55]

of the _Bourrée_ necessitated the wearing of a shorter skirt than the
mode of her day permitted for ordinary use. It never was a rigorously
formulated composition, perhaps because it never became very popular at
court. It contributed to the ballet the latter’s useful _pas de
bourrée_, and continues as a diversion of the peasants of Auvergne,
where it originated.

The _Passepied_ was one of a family known as _les branles_, whose family
characteristics are ill defined, despite the frequency with which the
term is used by seventeenth-century writers. In England the word became
“brawl.” It was the _Branle du Haut Barrois_ in which gentry costumed
themselves as the shepherds and shepherdesses perpetuated by Watteau.
Another, the _Branle des Lavandières_, was based on pantomime of the
operations of the laundress. In the _Branle des Ermites_, monk’s dress
was worn. In that of the _Flambeaux_, torches were passed to newly
selected partners, as in a present-day cotillion figure; it was a
fashionable figure at wedding celebrations.

Tabourot’s amiable hints for the elegant execution of _branles_ probably
are not directed at the court. But they are illuminating. “Talk
gracefully, and be clean and well shod; be sure that the hose is
straight, and that the slipper is clean ... do not use your handkerchief
more than is necessary, but if you use it, be sure it is very clean.”
There is more; but, after all, why violate illusions?

The _Chaconne_, like the _Saraband_, came to France from across the
Pyrenees. The dance of the _Seises_ in the Seville Cathedral is said to
be a _Chacona_ unchanged from its sixteenth-century form.

The _Gaillarde_ is sometimes grouped with the _Tordion_, from which it
differs in the respect that the theme of its steps is little jumps,
while the _Tordion_ is, for the most part, glided. One form of it,
however, “_Si je t’aime ou non_,” contained some energetic kicks.
Indeed, it was of a character to exercise heart and muscle; excellence
in some of its steps “was looked upon as an accomplishment equal to
riding or fencing.” To that form of it known as “_Baisons-nous Belle_”
was attached interest of another variety, in the shape of kisses
exchanged between partners. “A pleasant variation,” comments the
venerable Thoinet-Arbeau. A variation employed to prevent monotony in
some of the other dances as well, among them the early _Gavotte_.

The _Courante_ was one of the more formal dances, never having been
popular even in its origin. It was the _Courante_ that was favoured by
Louis XIV, during his many years of study under a dancing master. He is
credited, before he was overtaken by the demon of adiposity, with having
executed the _Courante_ better than any one else of his time. In style
it has been compared to the _Seguidillas_ (q. v.) of Spain.

Of all, the dances most typical of the formality of the most formal
society western civilisation has produced are the _Minuet_ and the
_Pavane_. Both might be characterised as variations of deep bows and
curtsies. In the _Pavane_ photographs it will be noted that instead of
taking hold of her partner’s hand, the lady rests her hand on the back
of his.

Hernando Cortez is said to have composed the _Pavane_ (Spanish _Pavana_)
and introduced it in the court of his land on returning from America. If
so, he was a solemn person, as well as dignified; to the imposing grace
of majesty the dance joins the aloof grandeur of a ritual. These
qualities gave to it the office of opening great court functions.
Brocades and armour and swords promenaded very slowly around the room,
each couple making its reverence to the monarchs before proceeding to
the steps of the dance. These were few, simple, and slow; there were
many curtsies, retreats and advances, during which last the gentleman
led the lady by the upraised hand, while following her. Poses and groups
were held, statue-like, for a space of time that allowed them to impress
themselves on the vision. So fond was Elizabeth of England of the
_Pavane_ (in writings of her land and period spelled _Pavin_ and
otherwise) that it was more than whispered that excellence in its
performance was more valued than statesmanship as a basis of political
favour.

The _Minuet’s_ formality was graded. _Le Menuet du Dauphin_, _le Menuet
de la Reine_, _le Menuet d’Exaudet_ and _le Menuet de la Cour_ were its
four species, the stateliness increasing in the sequence mentioned. The
accompanying _Minuet_ photographs of Mr. Anderson and Miss Crawford are
of the form _de la Reine_. The “mirror” figure is perhaps its most
salient feature--a pretty bit of expression accompanying an
interlacement of arms whose composition comes as a climax to strikingly
ingenious and gracious arm movements.

The popularity of the _Minuet_, in its various forms, was practically
unlimited; lonely and cheerless indeed must have been the social life of
the man who did not dance. After the decline of the _Pavane_ it
continued as an inseparable adjunct of gatherings of all degrees of
conventionality within the scope of a polite mode of living. At court
balls, at the romping Christmas parties of English country places; in
the remote homes of Virginia planters, at governor-generals’
receptions, in the palaces of _intendants_ in the far North it saluted,
made coquetry with fan and eye, incarnated in gallant figures the brave
and reverent spirit of chivalry. Pictures represent its performance in
home surroundings during daylight; slight pretext seems to have served
as occasion for its performance. In connection with this popularity it
must be remembered that, even in its simpler forms, so much as a
passable execution of the _Minuet_ was far from easy to acquire.

Let it be understood that the _grand ballet_ of to-day did not spring
full-grown from the dances above enumerated. Some of their forms
continued unchanged through years of academic influence. Present-day
“elevation,” as scope of high and low level is called, the great leaps,
great turns, and, in short, most of the dazzling elements of to-day’s
ballet are the accumulated contribution of individual artists from time
to time. Taglioni, of the middle nineteenth century, is the last to add
notably to the classic ballet’s alphabet of steps. It is not unsafe to
say that the next few years will see its range increased: the Russians,
avid for new things, have ransacked Egyptian carvings and Greek vases.
Trained to perfection in the technique and philosophy of their art, they
are incorporating intelligently the newly rediscovered with the long
familiar. But a concrete idea of their relation to the art, or of the
art itself, cannot be had without some acquaintance with its actual
mechanics; it is time to consider the salient steps on which most
Occidental dancing is based, and which the ballet has reduced to perfect
definition.



CHAPTER IV

A GLANCE AT THE BALLET’S TECHNIQUE


The name of Camargo, which arose in the first half of the eighteenth
century, may be taken as the milestone that marks the progress of
dancing into its modern development. Predecessors had brought to it
pleasing execution and a good spirit; Camargo appears to have surpassed
them in both qualities, and, in addition, to have added immensely to the
art’s scope both of expression and of technique. Her relation to the
dancing of her time has been profoundly studied by Mme. Genée, whose
fascinating programme of re-creations is the result. After the work
attributed to Sallé and Prévost, that of the re-created Camargo shows a
very striking emancipation from former limitations. Sallé and Prévost,
charmingly graceful, consummately skilful, performed their Dresden-china
steps evenly, coolly, in full conformity to the fastidious etiquette of
the aristocracy of their day. Camargo, without bruising a petal of the
hot-house flower that was her artistic inheritance, first freed it from
a fungus of affectation that others had mistaken for the bloom of
daintiness. Then she arranged it to show the play of light and shade, to
make it surprising--in short, to make it a vehicle of interpretation.

The material at her disposal, as noted before, was limited. To her
advantage in “elevation,” she replaced high-heeled shoes with ballet
slippers; she was the first, since antiquity, to dance on the toes.
Nevertheless her changes of level were not exciting; of big leaps she
had none. The day of vivid _pirouettes_ was yet to dawn. Her most
extended step was a little _balloné_. Her _entrechat_ was almost the
only step that raised both her feet distinctly off the floor; it, with
_petits battements_, gave brilliancy but nothing of grandeur. Hers was a
dance of simple and little steps. But they were composed, those steps,
with appreciation of the value of contrast. By contrast, movement was
made long or short in effect. Movements soft and crisp were juxtaposed.
We may believe that Camargo’s knowledge of composition compensated for
the meagre step-vocabulary of her day; that she commanded cumulative
interest, surprise, and climax. In short, that she produced an
expression; limited to the lyrical, but none the less real.

That there may be no risk of misunderstanding the present use of the
word “expression,” let it be agreed that the word here has the same
application that it has in relation to instrumental music; also let it
be agreed emphatically that it has nothing to do with the imitation of
nature. Wagner makes a composition of tones portray the attributes of
heroes and gods. Grieg’s gnomes are of the same tissue: suggested
attributes as distinguished from specified facts of the concrete.
Broadly, such suggestion is called music. For present clearness let it
be known as _music of the ear_. Because, the very same mental sensations
produced by rhythm and sound variously juxtaposed and combined, acting
through the medium of _hearing_, are susceptible of stimulation by means
of rhythm and line, in suitable juxtapositions and combinations, acting
through the medium of _vision_. It follows that dancing, in effect, is
_music of the eye_. The familiar musical resources serve both
choreographer and composer impartially. As will be understood before the
reading of this chapter is completed, the equivalent of long and short
notes is found in steps of varying length; musical phrases are, to the
mind, the same as step-combinations, or _enchainements_; argument toward
expression of motive is as possible to the silent music as to music of
the ear. Indeed the values of the several orchestral instruments have
their parallels in steps; the light staccato of the clarinet is no more
playful than are certain delicate steps executed _sur les pointes_, nor
is the blare of brass more stirring than the noble _renversé_. The scope
of expression, in short, that is attainable by the orchestra is
identical with that within range of pure dancing--dancing without
pantomime. Add pantomime, and in effect you add to your music the
explanatory accompaniment of words. Broadly, music is sentiment, while
the words of a song are supplementary description. In the ballet, the
dance, as such, is the sentiment (or its representation), the pantomime
the accompanying description.

Added expression in this musical sense was among Camargo’s contribution
to the art, definitely restoring to it a quality it had held in a grasp
at best precarious since the passing of the glory of Athens. Belief in
pantomime rises and recedes from one decade to another. But purely
orchestral or æsthetic expression continues at all times (with
interruptions) as the fundamental intent of the classic French and
Italian ballets. To demand that the figures in a composition conceived
in this idea should act and look like the people of every-day life,
owing to the mere coincidence of their being human beings, would be like
asking the composer of _Pagliacci_ to rewrite his score to include the
sound of squeaking wheels, because of the latter’s pertinence to the
wagon of the strolling players represented in the opera. The function of
the composer of the opera is to _suggest_ by such tonal symbols as have
been found effective, the various _emotions_ undergone by his
characters. Identically, the function of the ballet-master is to suggest
by the countless combinations of line--majestic and playful, severe and
gracious--and by the infinite variety of movements and postures, the
emotions he would arouse in the spectators of his work. At his disposal
he has a number of plastic, sentient and sympathetic figures, trained to
movements of grace. They are the instruments of his orchestra, the paint
on his palette. That they also are human beings is absolutely a
coincidence and beside the point.

Pantomime, to be sure, is carried to a high development in both French
and Italian academies; they present mimo-dramas calling for practically
unlimited scope of expression. Pantomime they added to the dance without
departure from the ballet’s basic intent. Both schools well know that
the introduction of one pose or gesture _imitating_ an act of human
life, automatically throws the work into another category; that which
was purely interpretative mural decoration verges toward the
story-telling picture.

The argument is put rather insistently because of the periodical
complaint that the ballet “looks artificial.” “In real life,” people
say, “you never see hands held as they are held in the ballet.” Mother
of all the muses, why should they be? In real life hands are doctoring
fountain pens, hewing wood and drawing water, reaching out for things;
in real life hands are concerned with their practical occupation, and
quite disregardful of their grace or expression while so engaged.
Whereas the ballet uses hands as the vehicle for lines of grace,
exaltation, vivacity, or whatever emotion you will, expressed in terms
of the abstract. It is the same in regard to work on the toe: in real
life people have no occasion to walk on the tip ends of their feet,
because as a means of locomotion it is inconvenient. The ballet’s use of
it is not based on a belief in the minds of ballet-masters that it is a
fashion either in polite society or among nymphs of the primeval forest.
The position “on the point” makes possible an agreeable change in
elevation, and can instantaneously eliminate the appearance of
avoirdupois. The ballet art is a convention, strictly; the figures in it
are changing units of a moving design, and not people. A _ballerina_
does not ask, “How do I look in this pose?” She asks, “What kind of a
line does this pose make?”

Of late years the classic ballet has suffered from public indifference.
Doubtless this has been due in part to an insufficiency of competent
performers; a great work requires great execution, and the difficulties
created by the ballet’s ideals are tremendous. But failure on the part
of the public to consider the ballet’s intent has certainly contributed
to an unsatisfactory state of its affairs.

A general acquaintance with the individual steps adds in various ways to
the spectator’s enjoyment. Relieved of effort to decipher a dancer’s
means and methods, he who understands the mechanics of the steps can
surrender himself to a luxuriance in their grace of execution, and be
the more susceptible to the hypnotic charm of the rhythmic movement
playing upon his eye. To him who has taken the trouble to learn some of
the elemental theories, that which was once a bewildering maze of
movement, which he mentally scrambled to follow, becomes an ordered and
deliberate sequence, whose argument he follows with ease; instead of a
kaleidoscope, he sees phrasing, repetition, and progress of interest,
theme, enrichment and climax. With bits of special virtuosity he is
instantly gratified; shortcomings he instantly detects. To communicate
his observations he has a vocabulary of specific expression; and there
is satisfaction in that, for a ballet performance is just as fruitful a
subject of controversy among its connoisseurs as a new novel among its
readers. Furthermore, the need of a general power of expression as an
essential to the betterment of American choreographic conditions is
self-evident.

While the ensuing analysis of ballet steps is far from complete from the
point of view of the academy, it should give the reader a comprehension
of the steps that make an impression on the layman’s eye. The material
that follows is selected with that end in view. Some description of
simple fundamentals, though not in themselves “showy,” is included in
order to facilitate analysis of the great steps and turns. Moreover,
since character dancing includes nothing of technical note that is not
also used in the ballet, it is confidently hoped that the subjoined
analysis will serve as a useful lens through which to look at dancing of
all kinds.

Those whose interest in the subject leads them to seek a more complete
knowledge are referred to Zorn, _Grammar of the Art of Dancing_; by
means of his choreographic stenography he goes into sub-variations of
ballet steps with the utmost exactness. Naturally a course of
instruction under a good ballet teacher is best of all;

[Illustration: MME. ADELINE GENÉE, AND M. ALEXANDER VOLININE

Ballet, _Robert le Diable_       Butterfly Dance

Pierrot and Columbine]

[Illustration: _Photos by Mishkin, N. Y._

MME. GENÉE IN HISTORICAL RE-CREATIONS AND M. VOLININE

Sallé (1)--The Waltz (2)--Camargo (3)--Guimard (4)]

theory is best understood by its application. And execution, it should
go without saying, is acquired only by long practice under expert and
watchful eyes.

Before considering actual movements, it must be borne in mind that
separately they are incomplete. Like tones that unite to form chords of
music, each in itself may seem lacking in richness. Interdependence of
successive parts is more marked in the classic ballet than in any other
great school of choreography. The dance of the Moor is a series of
statues, each self-sufficient. Of the ballet movements, almost the
reverse is true. Their magic comes of the flow of one unit into another.

As France is the mother and nurse of the ballet, it follows that French
is its language. Few of the terms translate successfully. To rename the
movements would be superfluous--and in practical use, worse; for a big
_corps de ballet_ is often a gathering from many nations. Being explicit
and sufficient, the French terms are the accepted designation of the
steps in all lands where the ballet is danced.

To describe steps with precision, it is necessary to use a system of
choro-stenography not easily learned, or to refer to positions of the
feet. The latter is the usual method, and long usage proves its
adequacy. The following arbitrary designation of positions of the feet
has long been standard wherever Occidental dancing is taught:

Simple positions one to five, inclusive, are the fundamentals, which are
modified in a great variety of ways. Figures 6 and 7 represent instances
of such modification.

The weight may be upon both feet, or either.

In third, fourth and fifth positions: speaking of either foot (say the
right) it is said to be in anterior or posterior third, fourth or fifth
position.

[Illustration: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

FUNDAMENTAL POSITIONS OF THE FEET.

     Fig. 1, first position; 2, second position; 3, third position; 4,
     fourth position; 5, fifth position; 6, open fourth position; 7,
     crossed fourth position.]

Second and fourth positions are defined as closed or amplified,
according as the feet are separated by the length of a foot, or more.

The positions, unless otherwise specified, indicate both feet on the
floor. But the second, third and fourth positions sometimes relate to
positions in which one foot is raised; for instance, _right foot_ in
_raised second position_.

The same designations apply whether the feet be flat on the floor, on
the ball, on the point, or a composite of these: as for instance, second
position, right foot on the point, left foot flat, etc.

Heights are definitely divided; ankle, calf and knee serve as the
measures. But as the subjoined explanations are aided by diagrams, the
terms to measure heights may be disregarded for the sake of simplicity.
Likewise we need not go into the enumeration and names of crossed
positions and other complications. The five fundamental positions,
however, are important and should be memorised. Apart from their
importance in any discussion of ballet work, familiarity with them
greatly aids the acquisition of ballroom dances. (The latter place the
feet at an angle of 45° to the line in which the dancer’s body faces,
instead of 90°, the form of the French-Italian ballet.)

The school of the ballet also defines the positions of the arms, in the
same manner. They need not be memorised as a preliminary to reading this
chapter; but they are interesting as a matter of record of the
limitations of the classic school, and as a measure of the distance to
which the Russians have departed in the direction of freedom of arm
movement.

[Illustration: 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

POSITIONS OF THE ARMS.

     Figure 8, arms in repose, sustained; 9, extended; 10, rounded in
     front of the chest; 11, rounded above the head; 12, high and open;
     13, _à la lyre_; 14, on the hips; 15, 16, one arm high, one
     extended; 18, one arm rounded in front of the chest, one open
     horizontal; 17, 19, one arm high, one on the hip.]

Steps, which are now to be considered, fall naturally into the classes
of _gliding_, _beating_, _turning_ and _jumping_. Each class ranges from
simplicity to more or less complexity, and certain steps have a
composite character, partaking of the nature of more than one of the
above general classes.

Dancers distinguish between a step and a _temps_, whose relation to each
other is that between a word and a syllable. A _temps_ is a single
movement. By definition, a step must effect a transfer of weight;
subject to that definition, a single movement may be a step.

The simple gliding step is the _pas glissé_. It is executed by gliding
the foot along the floor. It may move in any direction. Used as
indicated in figures 20, 21 and 22, the step becomes a _glissade_.

[Illustration: 20 21 22

“GLISSADE.”

The essential gliding feature of the step is indicated in the movement
of the left foot along the floor, figure 21.]

A _chassé_, in effect, “chases” one foot from its place by means of a
touch from the other. For instance: the feet are in second position,
weight on the right foot; bring the left foot sharply up to this
position behind the right foot; at the instant of contact, let the right
foot glide sharply out to second position on the right side. The step
also may be executed toward the front or toward the rear. It keeps both
feet on the floor.

Executing a series of _chassés_: _simple chassés_ commence the step,
each repetition, with the same foot. _Alternating chassés_ are begun
with each foot in turn.

A _coupé_ is analogous to a _chassé_; but the foot that is displaced
leaves the floor and goes to more or less height in the air. Both
_coupé_ and _chassé_ give an impression of one foot kicking the other
out of place.

[Illustration: 23 24 25

“ASSEMBLÉ.”

See figure 26.]

An _assemblé_, starting with the feet in fifth position, effects a
reversal of their position. Example (see diagram): the left foot is
behind. A little jump upward raises both feet from the floor. Kick out
with the left foot to the left, bring it back to fifth position _in
front_ of the right foot, at the moment of alighting. The right foot,
instead of the left, will _dégage_, or “wing out,” in the next step, if
the step is repeated.

A _changement_ is similar to an _assemblé_; its difference is in the
fact that it causes both feet to “beat.”

[Illustration: 26 27

“ASSEMBLÉ.”

“CHANGEMENT.”

     Each diagram shows two performances of its step. Both steps take
     both feet off the floor. In the _assemblé_, one foot remains
     passive. In the _changement_, both are active.
]

A _relevé_ consists of a simultaneous (a) rise to the ball or point of
the supporting foot, while the active foot is raised to the height
(usually) of the knee of the supporting leg. The active foot usually is
kept close to the supporting leg.

This step furnishes an interesting example of the changes wrought by the
Russians. The classic turn-out of the foot confines the movement of the
active leg to a plane cutting the performer laterally; i. e., as the
classic performer advances _en relevant_ toward the spectator, the legs’
movements are seen to have their extension out to the sides. Whereas the
Russian “toes out” (with exceptions) at a much smaller angle. His knees
therefore may rise in front of him; in which case the step, as seen by
the spectator, is most effective while the performer crosses the stage
from side to side. It is made the thematic step of some of the new
Russian dance-poems of Greek nature. It is executed sharply, lightly.

An _échappé_ moves the feet from closed to second position by means of
moving both feet simultaneously outward.

[Illustration: 28 29 30 31 32

“JETÉ.”

Essentials: both feet off the floor simultaneously, and receipt of the
descending weight on one foot.]

The _jeté_ is a step that is simple in principle, at the same time
subject to so wide a range of use that it creates the most varied
effects. Essentially, it is the step that is used in running.

The _jeté_ also may be executed to the side--_à côté_. From its use in
that manner it is easy to understand its employment as a means of
turning in the air: i. e., with both feet off the floor. The _jeté en
tournant_ is one of the much-used means of producing an effect of big,
easy sweep; it lends itself to the embellishment of any one of several
_beating_ steps--_pas battus_; or others, yet to be described.

[Illustration: 33 34 35 36

“JETÉ” TO THE SIDE.]

Of the “beating” type of step, the fundamental is the _battement_: a
beating movement of the free leg, the supporting leg remaining
stationary. The accent is not on the up-stroke, as in a kick, but
sharply on the down-stroke. The beats may be made from side, front, or
(less usually) back. The foot may be raised to the height of the head
(though it is not often done), to horizontal, to the height of the knee,
or the distance of a foot’s length away from the supporting leg.
Executed with a straight knee, the movement is a _grand battement_. A
_petit battement_ is action of the lower leg only, working from the knee
as a stationary pivot, while the foot strikes the supporting ankle,
calf, or knee. It is a movement designed for brilliancy, and should be
executed rapidly. With practice it can be carried to such a degree of
speed that the active foot seems to shimmer. It is the basic step of
Scotch dances. Modified to allow the sole of the active foot to touch
the floor, it provides the shuffle-step of the Irish _Jigs_ and _Reels_.
_Petits battements_, it should be added, are usually employed in a
sequence of several in succession.

[Illustration: 37 38

“BATTEMENTS.”

_Petit battement_, 37. _Grand battement_, 38.]

Correctly speaking, a _battement_ does not constitute a step, but a
_temps_.

The _cabriole_ is a development of the _battement_. In the latter, only
one leg is active; it leaves the supporting leg, and rejoins it. The
_cabriole_ is executed with both feet in the air; both legs act in the
beating movement, rapidly separating and coming together, but not
crossing.

A further development of the same theme brings us to the gem which, of
the ballet’s entire collection, is the most dazzling: the _entrechat_.
Instead of merely bringing the legs together, as in the _cabriole_, it
uses a jump as the occasion for repeatedly crossing the feet. Cleanly
done, it is as the sparkle of a humming-bird.

The word is derived from the Italian _intrecciare_, to weave or braid.
The French compound it with numerals, to indicate the number of times
the feet cross: as, _entrechat-quatre_, _entrechat-six_,
_entrechat-huit_. The number includes the movements of each foot; an
_entrechat-huit_ implies four crossings. Prodigious stories are told
about the number of beats that various artists have accomplished in
their _entrechat_. It forms an attractive centre for choreographic
myths. In general, the number of beats said to have been accomplished by
a given artist is in direct ratio to the number of years that artist has
been dead. In reality there is small object in going beyond an
_entrechat-six_; the three crossings (always assuming performance by a
master of the technique) are quite sufficient to prove that the law of
gravity has ceased to exist. When their staccato twinkle is added as a
finish to the long pendulum swing of a big _glissade_, or a long _jeté
en tournant_, the effect is that of a swift _pizzicato_ following a
long-sustained note--always surprising, always merry.

[Illustration: 39 40 41 42

STEPS OF THE “BATTEMENT” TYPE.

     _Changement_, 39; _entrechat-quatre_, 40; _brisé dessus_, 41;
     _brisé dessous_, 42. In the _brisé dessus_, the active foot beats
     in front of the passive foot; in the _brisé dessous_, behind it.
]

The _brisé_ is of the category of movements executed while both feet are
off the floor. It is so closely related to the _entrechat-quatre_ that
the layman who can distinguish between the two, during the speed of
performance, may conscientiously congratulate himself on having
developed a passably quick and sure eye. The difference between the two
lies in this: that in the _brisé_ only one foot really “beats”; the
other makes only a slight complementary or counter-movement. Starting as
it does in an open position, it lends itself to the embellishment of
broad leaps.

The _balloné_ is, in a broad sense, related to the beating steps; its
accent, however, is on the up-stroke, which makes it a kick. Start in
third position; _pliez_ slightly (as preparation); jump, and
simultaneously kick forward, bending the knee in raising the leg,
straightening it when it has reached the necessary height; usually the
_balloné_ leads into another step.

(As this description is at variance with that of two eminent
choreographic writers, it should be added that it is made from the step
as demonstrated and explained by Sr. Luigi Albertieri, ballet-master of
the Century Opera Company, an unquestioned authority; his traditions are
those of La Scala, and of Sr. E. Cecchetti. Mlle. Louise La Gai, former
pupil of Leo Staats, one-time ballet-master of l’Opéra, demonstrates the
step in the same manner.)

A phrase of steps (_enchainement_) is rarely made up of big or difficult
steps exclusively; the value of the latter would soon be lost in
monotony were they not contrasted with work of a simpler nature. The
_pas de bourrée_ and the _pas de Basque_ are among the little steps
useful in furnishing such contrasts, in giving the dancer a renewed
equilibrium, and in the capacity of connecting links between other
steps. They are like prepositions in a sentence--insufficient in
themselves, but none the less indispensable.

The _pas de bourrée_ (the name is taken from an old French dance) is
essentially the familiar polka-step late of the ballroom, with varied
applications. Forward, backward or to the side, it “covers stage”--or
gives the dancer progress in a given direction. It furnishes a means of
turning, or preserving the continuity of a dance while the performer
keeps his place. Always it is useful as a filler when interest is to be
directed away from the foot-work--in such case, for instance, as when
the hands have important pantomime.

The _pas de Basque_ is of similar value, but commits the dancer to a
swinging movement from side to side. Like the _pas de bourrée_ it is an
alternating step, with one foot on the floor all the time, and executed
without much “_elevation_“--i. e., variety of level. It runs through
many of the dances of Spain, and presumably is, as its name suggests, a
native of the Basque provinces. Probably, too, it is a remote ancestor
of the _Waltz_.

[Illustration: 43 44 45 46

“FOUETTÉ.”]

In contrast to the sharp, dry quality of the beating steps is the fluid,
swinging _fouetté_. Its many variations conform to the principles
indicated in the diagram figures 43 to 46.

The word “_fouetté_” means literally, whip; the movement, a swing with a
snap at the finish, is well named. A relaxed manner of execution gives
it a feeling of pliancy, while lightness is preserved by the smart
termination.

Start with a _plié_ of both knees, for preparation; sharply lift the
active leg sidewise to horizontal (i. e., raised second position);
_snap_ the lower leg back, in a movement curving downward, to the
crossed leg position in figure 46. There it is prepared to enter into
another step, or to lead to an _arabesque_, or to continue to finish in
third or fifth position of the feet. The body has remained facing the
spectator.

[Illustration: 47 48 49 50

START OF A “FOUETTÉ PIROUETTE.”

Figures 47-50 inclusive serve also to describe a _developpé_.]

Now, let it be understood that a _pirouette_ is a turn, or spin, on one
foot only, or else in the air. One species of _pirouette_ is made in
conjunction with the _fouetté_, the body being permitted to turn with
the impulse of the leg’s backward sweep. The making of a _pirouette_,
however, requires its own preparations, as shown in the first four
figures of the diagram. In figure 47 the legs are _pliés_. Figures 48,
49 and 50 represent a _developpé_, or unfolding--a device of frequent
use in the present conditions, namely, the need of bringing the active
leg to horizontal in preparation for a step. The extension of the arms
as indicated enables them to give a vigourous start to the revolving
movement; the leg, by a sharp sweep “outward,” contributes to the same
impulse. The turn started, the _fouetté_ is executed as it proceeds. The
free foot drops to position behind the supporting leg. But note that as
the body continues turning, the foot changes from position behind to
position in front; very simple, in performance very effective--and until
understood, puzzling in its illusion of winding up and unwinding. It is
permissible, in the position of figure 52, to drop to the heel of the
supporting foot, for a momentary renewal of equilibrium; but there is
merit in going through without that aid. The position at finish leaves
the dancer prepared to repeat the _tour_, which can be done an
indefinite number of times in succession; to continue into an
_arabesque_ (figures 55, 56); or to enter a different step.

[Illustration: 51 52 53 54

“FOUETTÉ PIROUETTE,” CONTINUED.

     Right leg sweeps “out” in horizontal plane (51) continuing as in
     52, turning the body with its revolution. As the body completes the
     turn from 52 to 53, the right foot is brought to crossed position
     in front of the ankle.
]

Among the variations of the above typical _fouetté pirouette_ is its
execution “in” instead of “out”: that is, to sweep the active leg across
in front of the supporting leg, to start the turn, instead of raising
it out to the side. Again using the left foot as support, the turn of
the body is now toward the left, instead of toward the right as when the
step is executed “out.” The active foot arrives at its position of
crossing the supporting leg when it has described a half-circle.

[Illustration: 55 56

OPTIONAL FINISH OF A “FOUETTÉ PIROUETTE.”

Continues (55) into _arabesque_ (56).]

Tradition makes the _fouetté pirouette_ a step for men, although it is
not intrinsically less feminine than any other of the great steps.
Nevertheless, tradition is often a thing to respect. So, a _fouetté
pirouette_ performed by a woman is customarily called a _rond de jambe
tour_. Mlle. Zambeli, the _première_ of l’Opéra in Paris, has on
occasion performed a succession of thirty-two such turns in a steadily
accelerating tempo. The result, instead of monotony, is a cumulative
excitement little short of overpowering.

The _fouetté pirouette_ leads into the subject of _pirouettes_ in
general. By their common definition, they are turns made on one
supporting foot only, or without support (i. e., turns in the air). The
definition serves to distinguish a true _pirouette_ from a turn made by
means of alternating steps, such as a _pas bourrée_ turn.

The purest example of _pirouette_ is that performed “on the crossed
ankle”--_sur le cou-de-pied_. (Figures 57 to 61.) This turn is made
without the aid of impulse from either leg after the free foot goes into
its position, in distinction from the _fouetté pirouette_, for instance,
in which the active leg’s movement in the air furnishes the motive power
by which the body is turned.

[Illustration: 57 58 59 60 61

THE “PIROUETTE SUR LE COU-DE-PIED.”

     Figures 57, 58, 59, preparation; 60 represents the completion of
     the turn, and the position the feet have occupied during the act of
     turning; 61, finish.
]

The _pirouette sur le cou-de-pied_ here diagrammed is according to the
specifications of Herr Otto Stoige, ballet-master and dancing teacher at
the University of Königsberg, as quoted by Zorn. Raise the arms and the
active leg (figure 58). Drop the active foot to anterior fourth position
(figure 59), _plié_, and at the same time dispose the arms to give the
twisting impulse to the body. The same impulse is aided by the sharp
straightening of the left leg, coming into position as support. The arms
drop (figure 60) as the free foot is placed _sur le cou-de-pied_ of the
supporting leg. Comparing the finish (figure 61) with figure 57, it is
seen that the feet have resumed third position but exchanged places. In
making the turn, the face is turned away from the spectator as short a
time as possible.

The ability to do a double turn in this form is not rare, and a few men
make it triple. The Prussian Stullmueller brought it to seven
revolutions. An amusing conventionality of gender in _pirouettes_ makes
it man’s prerogative to do the _pirouette en l’air_--i. e., with both
feet off the floor. This too is doubled by some of the men now dancing:
Leo Staats, formerly of l’Opéra in Paris, is said to triple it!

[Illustration: 62 63 64

VARIOUS “PIROUETTES.”

_À la seconde_, 60; _en attitude_, 61; _en arabesque_, 62.]

A _pirouette_ of this sort is one of the few _pas_ that have a value
independent of what precedes and follows; it is a beautiful thing by
itself. In combination it gives a feeling of ecstasy; or, in other
conditions, of happy eccentricity. A few years ago Angelo Romeo used it
as the theme of his solo in a _Ballet of Birds_ (under Fred Thompson’s
management, the New York Hippodrome staged some real ballets). As King
of the Birds, Romeo gave his part a gallantry at once amusing and
brilliant by the reiteration of double _pirouettes_ as a refrain.

Between the two extremes of _fouetté pirouette_ and _pirouette sur le
cou-de-pied_ lie such a variety of manners of turning that experts fail
to agree on any definition of the word “_pirouette_,” more explicit than
the one already given. A half-turn _sur le cou-de-pied_, _pas de
bourrée_, and complete the turn with a _fouetté_:--there, for instance,
is a turn that is a _pirouette_ or not, according to arbitrary
definition. There are half as many subvarieties of _pirouette_ and other
turns as there are solo dancers. Turns of mixed type, partaking of the
natures of both pure _pirouette_ and the _rond de jambe_ character of
movement, are known collectively as _pirouettes composées_.

A _rond de jambe_, it should be explained parenthetically, is a circle
described by the foot. A _grand rond de jambe_ is a circle (in any
plane) described by the straight leg. A _petit rond de jambe_ is made by
the lower leg, working from a stationary knee as pivot. Cf. _grands_ and
_petits battements_.

As the _pirouette sur le cou-de-pied_ has its virtue of sparkle, its
cousin the _renversé_ is endowed with a species of bewildering,
bacchanalian ecstasy. Words and diagrams fail to convey an impression of
its qualities; but analysis of its mechanics is worth while, in order
that it may be recognised when seen, and not allowed to pass without
yielding its full and due pleasure to him who sees it.

Preceding the position indicated in figure 65, the dancer, placing his
weight on the left foot, has raised the right foot in a _developpé_
forward, and around on a horizontal plane “outward.” Figure 65 shows the
right foot at a point that may be conveniently designated as the
quarter-circle. In figure 66 the right foot continues to sweep back,
and the body begins to lean forward--or away from the active leg. This
lean of the body has become more pronounced in figure 67, in which the
active foot has reached the three-quarter circle. Note the sweep of the
left hand accelerating the movement of the turn, and its continuance
through the remaining figures.

[Illustration: 65 66 67

BEGINNING OF THE “RENVERSÉ.”

     A _developpé_ has preceded the position in figure 65, as indicated
     in vertical dotted line. The body begins to turn as the active foot
     completes a half-circle (66). In 67, note that the body leans
     forward.
]

Up to the position in figure 68 the body has leaned forward--or in other
words, has been chest down. In figure 69 it is seen chest up. Figure 68
is the intermediate position. In performance the turn-over takes place
so quickly that only a trained eye sees just when it is done.

The right foot touches the floor at the point of completing the
half-circle. The body continues leaning back, straightening up in figure
70 after describing a round body-sweep started in figure 69. Figure 70
finds the weight on the right foot; the left is raised on the first
_temps_ of a _pas de bourrée_, very quick, which brings the feet to
fifth position as in figure 71. The right-handsweep upward, meantime,
has been continuous.

[Illustration: 68 69 70 71

THE “RENVERSÉ” CONCLUDED.

     Figures 68 and 69 trace the over-turning of the body, without
     interruption to the movement of rotation. A rapid _pas de bourrée_
     intervenes between 70 and 71.
]

Another variation of the _pirouette_ is based on the _rond de jambe_
described on a previous page. The _rond de jambe pirouette_ is executed
with the aid and embellishment of a horizontal leg. It usually starts
with a _developpé_, like the _fouetté tour_. A _pirouette à la seconde_
is so called by reason of the active foot’s continuance in raised second
position. If the heel is touched at the half-circles for equilibrium,
the turns can be continued ad libitum. Still another _tour_ is the
_pirouette en arabesque_, the pose being entered into (usually) on
completion of a half-circle of a _rond de jambe tour_, the revolution
being kept continuous while the necessary changes are made in the
position of the body. A turn in the air that may be included among
_pirouettes_ is a _jeté en tournant_; and it may be adorned with an
_entrechat_, a _brisé_, or whatever “beats” may suit the artist’s taste
and abilities.

The words “_arabesque_” and “_attitude_” do not refer to steps, but to
postures. Their composition is as exactly defined as that of any step.
Figure 56 shows a typical _arabesque_.

[Illustration: 72 73

TWO FORMS OF “ATTITUDE.”

Open (_ouverte_) 72; crossed (_croisé_) 73. The position of the
supporting leg is the same in both.]

The _developpé_ above referred to is a usual means of bringing a leg to
horizontal, as a preliminary to further work. It is the opening step of
many a dance-poem, and a pretty accurate index of the class of work to
follow. If the leg rises without hurry or faltering, and unfolds with
its proper sense of proud elegance; if always the body keeps the serene
relaxation that accompanies only the perfection of equilibrium, there is
coming a feast for the gods. Far from the least of Genée’s
manifestations of virtuosity is the legato poise of her entrance
_stepping down_ from a picture frame: so deliberate and even is her
_developpé_ that the eye at first fails to discern movement, as though
it were watching the opening of a morning glory. Never the twitch of a
muscle, never an impulse of hurry, never the suspicion of
hesitation--through bar after bar of music, the ethereal one makes that
first step reverence-compelling in its incredible beauty of movement.

Analogous to the _developpé_ in execution is the _pas de cheval_, the
latter, however, serving to change the dancer’s place on the floor. It
is proud, strong, triumphant; used in an advance of a _corps de ballet_
toward the spectator, the motive of dominance is strongly felt. Though
effective, it is not one of the structural parts, like the steps
heretofore described. It is, rather, a decorative unit superadded. The
same may be said of the _pas de chat_, which is a jerky, short and very
rapid simple alternating step; bending the knees sharply, but not
bringing them high; the feet crossing at each step. It is not the
physical locomotion of a cat, but it is a good interpretation of the
spirit of an especially capricious one. It expresses well the idea of
witchcraft or mischievous spirits.

Going to the extreme contrast of this step, a fortissimo effect is
attained by the male dancer’s form of extended jump. It is necessarily
high; but it emphasises especially its effect of length horizontally.
(See figures 74 and 75.) Auguste Vestris, the eighteenth-century
virtuoso, owed a part of his reputation to his power in this step;
“suspended in the air” was the phrase attaching to his performance of
it. Its function is, in great part, to astonish. Women accomplish its
effect with the aid of a supporting man; the change of level attained by
this leap aided by a “lift” is indeed a harmonised explosion,
especially if it follows an arrangement of little steps.

Stories of the impression created by Vestris’ leap would be quite
incredible were their possibility not confirmed in our own time. In
_Scheherazade_ Volinine jumped a distance that seemed literally more
than half the width of a big stage. An illusion, of course. The world’s
record in the broad jump is less than twenty-five feet, and the broad
jumper’s covered distance does not look so impressive in actuality as it
does on paper, at that. Whereas the dancer’s leap seems to be under no
particular limit--when adequately performed, which is rare. Being
typical of the trickery by which dancing plays with the eye, it may be
worth analysing.

[Illustration: 74 75

MECHANISM OF BROAD JUMP.

As the body descends, the advanced leg and arm are raised, producing the
illusion of sustained horizontal flight.]

The magic is based on two illusions. First, horizontal lines are
insisted upon and preserved as continuous; while lines not horizontal
are “broken up” into short lengths, to the end that they make
comparatively little impression on the eye. The pose itself, then, is
horizontal, which practically coincides with the direction of the
dancer’s flight. Every one has seen the experiment of apparently
shortening one of two equal pencil lines by means of cutting short lines
across it: the converse of the same principle governs the jump. As the
pencil line was shortened by cross lines, the jump is lengthened by long
lines parallel to its direction.

As the dancer passes the top of his flight, the second illusion begins
to go into effect. Contradicting the eye’s observation of the gradual
descent of the body, the long lines of the artist’s arms and legs are
steadily raised to point more and more upward. Be the reason whatever it
may, the spectator is much less conscious of the body’s descent than of
the level--or even rising--direction of those long lines; lines which,
by the time the step is half completed, have come to appear a good deal
longer than they are. The dancer lowers his foot just in time to alight
properly. The eye meantime has been so impressed by the sweep of
horizontals that it conveys to the mind an agreeably exaggerated
statement of the length of leap they represent. Also it probably has
been so puzzled that its owner, unless he knows something of dancing,
has failed to catch the value of the step as a thing of beauty.

Reasonable familiarity with the foregoing descriptions of steps will, it
is hoped, enable the reader to look at great dancing with the added joy
that comes of intelligent sympathy with the ballet’s intent as
decoration, as well as insight into its technical means. The résumé of
steps includes the ballet’s fundamentals. Each step has its variations,
as has been suggested; some of the variations diverge far enough from
the basic step to have earned a special designation. For the sake of
simplicity, the special names of subvarieties of steps have been
eliminated from this little discussion; but not at the sacrifice of
anything that a well-informed connoisseur of the ballet need know.

It is a subject whose study is accompanied by the satisfaction that time
spent on it is not being frittered away on an affair of a day. Some of
the steps are coeval with the earliest graphic records of social life;
Emmanuel (_La Danse Grecque Antique_) has made a fascinating book
showing the use of many present-day ballet steps (including “toe-work”)
by the figures on early Greek ceramics, carvings, etc. Various ages have
added to the vocabulary of choreographic material; the national
academies of France and Italy have preserved that which is contributory
to their ideals of almost architectural style, and rejected that which
lacks form, even though expressive. The _tours_ and _pas_ of which
ballet eloquence is composed, therefore, represent a selection based on
generations of careful and accurately recorded experiment in the
interest of pure beauty. The designation “classic,” attached to French
and Italian ballets, is in all ways correct and deserved. The watchful
care of guardians keeps both schools aloof from passing caprices of the
public, and uncorrupted by vulgar fashions. There is a present and
growing movement toward naturalistic pantomime--a mode combining with
popularity enough intrinsic good to occasion anxiety lest the classic
ballet perish under its momentum. In reply to which let it be emphasised
at this point that the old schools never have failed to incorporate the
good of whatever has offered; whereas that which was not of intrinsic
value always has passed away through its own lack of æsthetic soundness.
The Russian academy bases its technique on the French-Italian, and
insists on it rigourously as a groundwork; Madame Pavlowa’s practice is
conducted

[Illustration: CLASSIC BALLET POSITIONS

Mlle. Louise La Gai

Typical moments in a _renversé_ (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)--Starting a _developpé_
(6)--Progress of a _Rond de jambe_ (7, 8, 9)--(_Continued_)]

[Illustration: CLASSIC BALLET POSITIONS (_Continued_)

_Rond de jambe_ (10)--_Jeté tour_ (11)--_Pas de bourrée_
(12)--Preparation for a _Pirouette_ (13)--Position _sur la pointe_
(14)--A _fouetté tour_, inward (15)--A _cabriole à derrière_
(16)--Descent from an _entrechat_ (17)--An _arabesque_ (18)

To face page 80
]

daily under the eye of her Italian maestro, Ceccetti. Lydia Lopoukowa,
Alexander Volinine--perfect, both, in academic form; their romantic
pantomime is an addition, _not a corruption_. These are among the great
artistic intelligences in the new Russian movement. Meantime arises a
horde of beings possessed of “soul,” “God-given individuality,” “natural
and unhampered grace,” boasting of their self-evident innocence of all
instruction. These last constitute the tidal wave that excites
alarmists, on behalf of the classic ballet!

No less subject to rule and form than steps and their elements is
choreographic composition. Steps are phrased and phrases repeated,
exactly as in music. By the same formality of construction, each
movement of the composition is dominated by a fixed theme. Suppose an
entrance is in the coquettish mood: it is not unlikely that the
ballet-master will elect to interpret that mood by whirls--in other
words, the horizontal circle. The girl may approach the man in a wide
_piqué tour_ (a stage-covering circle, the dancer _picking_ her steps
with emphasised daintiness), elude his grasp by means of a series of
rapid _pas de bourrée_ turns, and perhaps finally spin into his arms at
the finish of a _pirouette_. Everything is kept in turns, and in little
vivacious steps; no great elevation, no open or sweeping movements;
nothing of the glorious, everything to secure daintiness. Again, the
same motive might be rendered in quite another way, namely, by short
advances, retreats and steps to the side. The passage might start with a
series of _relevés_--quick, sharp rises to the toe, the free foot
crossing to pose in front of the ankle of the supporting foot, after
describing (each step) a _petit battement en avant_; short, crisp,
dainty movements, all. In this group might appropriately be included
_pas de bourrée dessus-dessous_ (i. e., in front and behind);
_glissades_; _petits battements_; and the devilish-looking little
_pas-de-chat_. In the same _enchainement_ might easily be grouped the
_entrechat_. All these steps may unite in a similarity of action: slight
elevation, and a short, saucy movement in which the horizontal direction
predominates.

If the mood to be expressed were the triumphant, its interpretation
might begin with a series of _pas de cheval_. With this the _balloné_
and a _rond de jambe_ finishing _en arabesque_ would unite coherently,
their movements all being based on the general form of an arch.

To multiply instances of arrangement by theme is needless. A
ballet-master would admit a greater variety of steps together in
sequence than the foregoing paragraphs indicate; whirling dervishes
produce an effect by turns alone. The instances are given with view only
to emphasising the principle of theme unity. What is not obvious to him
who never has seen the horrible example of lack of observance of this
principle is, that it is not an arbitrary convention, but a fundamental
necessity. It is no uncommon thing to see good execution completely
wasted in a helter-skelter throwing together of steps that lead to
nothing. Cumulative development--with adornment but not
digression--along a certain line, will coax the spectator into a mood of
full sympathy with the performance. But a series of unrelated turns,
jumps sidewise and up in the air, _entrechats_ and kicks, bears about
the same relation to choreographic argument as a cat’s antics on the
keyboard of a piano does to the work of a musician.

It will of course be understood that the ballet-master’s problem is
complicated by requirements and limitations not even touched upon in
this work. Conformity to his accompanying music, for instance, is alone
a matter of careful study. In former generations, before the present
relative importance of music, the musical composer followed the scenario
of the ballet, which was composed first and independently.
Nowadays--owing to causes as to which speculation is free--the procedure
is reversed. The ballet-master must not only follow phrasing as it is
written; he must move his people about the stage in felicitous group
evolutions, basing their steps on a fixed number of musical bars and
beats. This requirement disposed of, he should interpret the music’s
changing moods with appropriate steps. Taking as an example a bit of the
Ballet of the Hours in _Gioconda_: the music of the hours before dawn is
largo and dreamy, breaking into a sparkling allegro as the light comes,
increasing in speed and strength until a forte tells of the full-fledged
new day. There are steps and combinations to render these motives with
the utmost expressiveness. Failure to employ them does not represent
lack of competence on the part of the director, so often as it does
inadequacy of the human material at his disposal. In America, at
present, the task of producing effects with people whose incapability he
must conceal is perhaps the most serious embarrassment the ballet-master
has to face.

The dancer’s supreme virtue is style. If, beginning as a naturally
graceful youngster, he has been diligent for from four to seven years in
ballet school, he will have it; some acquire it by study alone. With
practice from two to four hours every morning, and half an hour to an
hour before each performance, he is likely to keep it. What style is, is
not for words to define. To preserve mathematical precision in a series
of definitely prescribed movements, while executing those movements with
the flowing sweep of perfect relaxation; to move through the air like a
breeze-wafted leaf, and alight with a leaf’s airiness; to ennoble the
violence of a savage with a demi-god’s dignity; to combine woman’s
seductiveness with the illusiveness of a spirit--these things are not
style, but the kind of thing that style makes possible, the magic
results from the perfect co-ordination of many forces, both æsthetic and
mechanical. Some of the latter, as to theory, are readily enough
understood.

Of the ballet dancer’s ever-surprising defiance of the law of gravity,
the more obvious means are the _plié_, to soften a descent, and a manner
of picking up the weight so quickly that the body seems buoyant. Of
perhaps no less value, though not so obvious, is the straight knee. To
the eye it gives a sensation of sure architectural support--doubtless
through the suggestion of a column. The mechanical importance of the
straight supporting knee is no less than the æsthetic, since a firm
foundation is essential to perfect control of body, arms and head. When
the knee “slumps,” the usual consequence is a softened back and a
collapsed chest. The muscles of the body “let down,” the fine,
hypersensitive control of head and arms is gone. Crisp movement being
impossible to them without a sound, springy body as a base to work on,
the work becomes monotonous and soggy.

The theory of a straight supporting axis applies also to the foot as
soon as it rises _sur la pointe_. The foot of Madame Pavlowa _en
arabesque_ (see reproduction of her photograph) illustrates the
principle. Mechanically, there is definite advantage in an absolutely
vertical support; while the spectator’s visual impression asserts
without hesitation that the figure above the foot is without weight
whatever. The superb line of the ankle, continuous in sweep over the
instep, is not the least of the wonders of what, if one were writing in
Spanish, one could without extravagance refer to as “that little foot of
gold.”

It should not in the least modify admiration of this superlative bit of
technique to dispel the not uncommon belief that rising on the toes is a
cause of physical torment, a feat requiring extraordinary strength, or
in itself an achievement to insist upon. Quite the contrary. Like every
other position in the dance, any half-trained performer or student can
get it, all except the quality. As soon as a pupil has acquired the
equilibrium that ought to precede toe-work, the necessary muscular
development has taken care of itself, as a general rule; and she takes
position on the point without special effort. Help is given the foot by
the hard-toe slipper, combining as it does the support of a well-fitted
shoe with a square, blunt toe. The latter, though of small area,
furnishes some base to stand on. Stiffening in the fore-part of the shoe
protects the toes against bruising in the descent from leaps.

Position on the point justly claims attention as an acrobatic wonder,
when it is taken barefooted. And a dancer who, barefooted, can perform
steps on the point, supporting herself easily with one foot off the
floor, is simply hyper-normal in strength of ankles, feet, and legs.
Miss Bessie Clayton is such a one, and very likely the only one. It is a
feat whose absence from formal dancing is not felt, though its use would
be effective in some of the re-creations of Greek work. There is
evidence that the early Greeks practiced it, as before noted. In our
own times, there is only one instance, among the stories ever heard by
the authors, of barefoot work on the point being done in public; and
that performance, oddly enough, took place in precedent-worshipping
Spain. The occasion was one of those competitions that Spaniards love to
arrange when two or more good dancers happen to play the same town at
the same time. Tremendous affairs; not only does rivalry approach the
line of physical hostilities among the spectators, but the competition
draws out feats of special virtuosity that the dancers have practiced
secretly, in anticipation of such contingencies. La Gitanita (the Little
Gipsy), one of the competitors in the event referred to, had, for some
years, put in a patient half-hour a day on the ends of her bare toes,
without the knowledge of any but the members of her family. When,
therefore, at the coming of her turn in the competition, she threw her
shoes to the audience, and her stockings behind a wing, and danced a
_copla_ of _las Sevillanas_ on the point, the contest was settled. Most
of the spectators never had heard even of the existence of such a thing
as toe-work, because it does not exist in Spanish dancing. The
experience to them was like witnessing a miracle; so it happens that La
Gitanita, many years dead, is still talked of when Spanish conversation
turns to incredible feats of dancing.

With such rare exceptions as the above, however, the person who is happy
in seeing difficulties overcome is best repaid by watching the manner
instead of the matter. There is hardly a step but can be floundered
through, if real execution be disregarded. The difficulties that take
years to master, that keep the front rank thin, are those of nobility,
ease and precision of action. Naturally, it is harder to preserve these
qualities through a _renversé_ than in a _pas de Basque_; but there is
no merit in exhibiting a _renversé_ badly done. The latter is a
pertinent instance of things difficult to do well. A _fouetté tour_
“inward” is not safely attempted by any but the most skilful; nor is
either a _fouetté_ or a _rond de jambe_, finishing in _arabesque_. To
keep the movement continuous, imperceptibly slowing it down as the
_arabesque_ settles into its final pose, requires ability of a rare
grade.

As the little alternating steps furnish the means of regaining
equilibrium after a big _pas_ or _tour_, it follows that their
elimination from an _enchainement_ represents a tour de force. This is
especially true if the big steps be taken at a slow tempo (as an
_adagio_, so called); and difficulties are compounded if the artist
performs the entire _adagio_ on the point. Few there are in any
generation who can attempt such a flight.

But there are many qualities justly to be demanded of any artist who
steps before an audience. Crisp, straight-line movements should be
cleanly differentiated from the soft and flowing. An _entrechat_ not as
sharp-cut as a diamond represents incompetent or slovenly workmanship.
The same applies to other steps of the staccato character--as
_battements_, _brisés_, _pirouettes sur le cou-de-pied_. Each dancer
rightly has his own individuality; and the movements of one will be
dominated by a liquid quality, while another’s will be brilliant, or
“snappy.” But a dancer who is truly an artist has, within his scope, a
good contrast between the several types of movement. Lack of such
contrast may cause a sense of monotony even in very skilful work.
Elevation also is important in preserving a sense of variety. Not only
_plié_ and rise are made to serve; raisings of the arms add immensely
to the sense of vertical uplift when height is sought.

A certain conformity to geometrical exactness is necessary to the
satisfaction of the spectator’s eye, and is observed by all but the
incompetent. Not that movement should be rigid--very much to the
contrary. “Geometry” is a sinister word; interpreted in a sense in which
it is not meant, it would be misleading. An example is sometimes clearer
than attempted definitions or descriptions.

If, having given an order for a grandfather’s clock, the recipient found
on delivery that it did not stand quite straight, he would be annoyed.
Suppose then that further observation revealed that the face of the
clock was not in the middle, that the centre of the circle described by
the hands was not the centre of the face, that the face was no more than
an indeterminate approximation of a circle, and that the numerals were
placed at random intervals; the eye of the clock’s owner would be
offended. Various æsthetic and psychological arguments might be applied
to the justification of his feeling, but they are not needed. The
futility of near-circles, approximate right angles and wobbly lines is
felt instinctively. Yet the eye rejoices in the “free-hand” sweep of
line correct in placement, though not subjected to the restrictions of
straight-edge and compass. Asking for acceptance in such sense of the
terms “geometrical” and “precision,” we may return to our discussion of
the ballet.

The decorative iniquity of the hypothetical clock attaches to all
dancing that fails to give to precision the most rigourous
consideration. The imaginary circle described in a _pirouette_ for
example, is divided into halves and quarters. Let us suppose the
_pirouette_ to end in _arabesque_, stopping on the half-circle, bringing
the dancer in profile to the audience: a very few degrees off the
half-circle are, from the ballet-master’s point of view, about of a kind
with a few centimetres separating the misplaced clock hands from their
proper situation in the centre of the dial. The _petit rond de jambe_
has its imaginary quarter of the great circle in which to play, and
which it must fill. In a _fouetté_, the sweep of the foot starts at the
quarter-circle (marked by an imaginary lateral plane through the
dancer’s body), and reaches back just to the half-circle (defined by a
similar plane, drawn longitudinally). The lateral elevations of the legs
are likewise subject to law, the imaginary vertical circle described by
the leg as radius being divided into eights, to allow the leg to use the
angle of forty-five degrees; experience shows that this diagonal, half a
right angle, is pleasing to the eye and not disturbing to the senses.

The hands and forearms are turned in such a way as to eliminate elbows,
the coincidence of a contour of the arm with an arc of a big (imaginary)
circle being always sought.

The convention of “toeing out” has as an object the showing of ankles
and legs to the best advantage. On the flat foot the advantage is not so
apparent; but experiment shows that pointing out and down greatly helps
the appearance of a foot in the air. The supporting foot and leg also
show the benefit of the device as soon as the dancer rises to the ball
of the foot or the point. Moreover, it is obvious that the pointing of a
supporting foot forward would necessitate changes from the classic form
of many steps.

Recent years have brought out a volume of protest to the effect that
the classic ballet’s restriction of movement too severely limits
expression. The protest is right or wrong according to point of view,
and point of view is a matter of historical period. The French school
comes to us from a time when men kissed hands and drew swords in exact
accordance with accepted forms, and the favoured house-decoration was a
tapestry designed on lines purely architectural. The present is a moment
of much concern about freedom of the individual, and its expression.
Curiosity is at boiling-point. Narrative is sought. We want something to
happen, all the time. And those who fail to see the actual occurrence
want the story of it to be graphic. Moving pictures are very satisfying
to the majority. Acres of popular pictures are painted in boisterous
disregard of order or harmony of line and form. It would be very
pleasant for those who enjoy optical beauty, if public taste required
beauty as a first requisite for popularity. Nevertheless, popular
pictures as they are do no particular harm, probably, either to those
who like them or to those who do not.

But, if the world’s great and beautiful mural decorations were suddenly
painted over with frenzied or sentimental illustrations, to “modernise”
them, it would be a different matter. That little public to whom beauty
is as a necessary sustenance--by coincidence the same public that
includes the leaders of thought in each generation--would have a good
deal to say in the line of objection to such desecration. Now, the
ballet is essentially a mural decoration, potentially very great in
power to exalt. If a large element should have its way, the next few
years would see that decoration painted over with a huge choreographic
story-picture, sentimental or frenzied, realistic; and beauty be hanged.

This anarchistic mania is in no wise a doctrine of the Russians. But
their undiscerning admirers, seeing in their work only the lines of
departure from old-established formulæ, shout to heaven that any
restraint of individual caprice is wrong. Innocent of suspicion that
such things as æsthetic principles exist, they force their expression of
“individuality” to the limit of their invention. And some of them
certainly are inventive.

Fortunately the great dancer is great largely because of his perception
of the value of order and form. The best of the Russians are great
dancers; great artists in the full sense of the word. They are the ones
who will profoundly influence the æsthetic thought of the present
generation, and their influence will be sound and good. Opposing it will
be many a “hit” by skilful characters, and a dangerous numerical force
among the public. It is easily possible that the latter influence may
prevail. The grand ballet is still an experiment in the America of this
generation. It was here thirty years ago, and fell into the hands of
Philistines, who shaped it into the silly thing they thought they
wanted, and then were forced to abandon it because it was silly.

Than the present, there never was a more important crisis in the cause
of choreographic good taste. The outcome depends upon the manner and
degree in which those who stand for good taste assert themselves during
the next few years.



CHAPTER V

THE GOLDEN AGE OF DANCING


Louis XIV brought public interest in the ballet to a point of eager
excitement; indeed, the influence of a monarch’s consistent patronage,
including the foundation of a national academy, added to the example of
his prominent participation in about thirty allegorical dancing
spectacles, could not fail to be powerful.

With the growth of public interest and intelligence, the ballet and the
technique of dancing developed commensurately. The two enthusiasms of
public and artists reacted on each other to the advantage of both; in
the uninterrupted enrichment of the ballet the public never failed to
find its attention repaid in ever-increasing fascination. Dancers,
composers and directors, on their side, abandoned themselves to their
work with the zeal that comes of certainty that no good thing will pass
unnoticed.

Such conditions bring good results more than can be foreseen even by
those actively engaged. As, in fiction, the miner in trying to loosen a
nugget usually uncovers a vein, so it may occur in the arts. For
instance, Camargo found that her _entrechat_ was difficult and
ineffectual under the weight and length of the fashionable skirt of the
period. She therefore had a skirt made reaching midway from knee to
foot. A simple solution? Certainly. But it was thought of only after
centuries of submission to clothes that considered fashion and
disregarded the problems and possibilities of the dancer’s art. And it
represented the species of decision that risks acting counter to an
accepted, unquestioned institution. It was not an effort to draw
attention by means of a spurious originality. Camargo’s work explained
the change. The public understood and approved. The ballet was directed
toward its costume; a long journey lay ahead of it, but it was rightly
started.

Liberty of movement so attained at once put a premium on higher and more
open steps; technical invention was set to work as never before. The
_balloné_, various _pas battus_ and _ronds-de-jambe_ that followed
immeasurably enhanced the scope of the ballet as an instrument of
ocular-orchestral expression. New _enchainements_, striking in the
contrast of little work with big, soon made the court dances--which for
a period had constituted the ballet’s working material--look
old-fashioned. The stage now required considerable elevation, decided
contrasts, increasing scope. And, whatever the cost in skill and energy,
there were dancers eager to expend the energy and to give the needed
years to acquiring the skill.

Since the days of the Roman Empire, masks had been worn to identify
characters. Not a bit of cloth to cover the face, merely; but cumbersome
things with plumes, wings, metallic spikes (i. e., the rays of the sun
worn by Louis XIV in the Ballet of Night) or what-not, so extended that
they restricted the action of the arms, so heavy as to interfere with
steps. It was a clumsy convention, but it was as integrally a part of
stage representation as scenery is to-day, and the few who wished its
abolition were outvoted by a cautious majority. At last, according to
her custom of helping an enterprise that is doing well, Fate took a
hand. Auguste Vestris failed to appear for a certain performance; as the
time for his entrance drew near, the anxious stage director asked Gardel
to “go on” in Vestris’ part. Gardel, an until-that-time ineffectual
rebel against the mask, consented; but with the condition that the mask
be omitted. In default of arrangements more to his satisfaction, the
director consented. The public at once saw the advantage of the change,
and were pleased with Gardel’s appearance. So began the end of the
dominion of the mask.

Of the notable personalities that the early rays of the eighteenth
century illuminated, the aforementioned Auguste Vestris was the
interesting son of a more interesting father. The latter was a genius of
the very first water, with a conceit so incredibly exaggerated that it
is almost lovable. “This century,” he was accustomed to observe, “has
produced but three great men--myself, Voltaire, and Frederick the
Great.” He sometimes signed himself “_le Diou de la Danse_”; himself a
Florentine, the relation of French spelling to pronunciation was
contrary to his ideas. The phrase as he put it had a special merit, and
as “_le Diou de la Danse_” he was known through his long life. A lady,
having stepped on his foot, expressed a hope that she had not hurt him.
“Le Diou” depreciated the hurt to himself, but informed the lady that
she had put Paris into a two-weeks’ mourning. Of his son’s leaps he said
that if Auguste did not remain in the air forever, it was because he did
not wish to humiliate his comrades.

The foundation of the Opera was another of the impulses to act
favourably, if indirectly, upon the interests of dancing. Its modest
beginning had been made a few years after that of the ballet academy.
The two arts at once combined to produce a new variety of musical
spectacle, namely, opera. Great music came to the fore in response to
the added encouragement--but digressions must be repressed.

Contemporary with Camargo and Sallé was a dreamer of dreams too great to
be realized in his own time, but whose ideas take place among the
lasting good influences in art. Garrick called him “the Shakespeare of
the Dance”: his name was Noverre.

To the post of ballet-master at the Opera he brought the experience of
years in similar service in Stuttgart, Vienna and St. Petersburg. His
work he regarded with the broad vision of cultivated understanding of
painting, music, story, acting and dancing, and the functions of each.
His genius was, above all else, constructive; his ideal was to bring the
arts into a harmonious union, to which each should contribute its
utmost, while all should be informed with and dominated by a single
æsthetic purpose.

The obstacle always blocking his path was not incompetence of aides and
artists, not lack of money, nor any of the _bêtes noires_ to which more
recent idealists are accustomed. His enemy was the inert, impalpable and
almost invincible force of custom, paradoxically persistent despite the
public’s demand for new things. It was custom that the composer of a
ballet should always arrange for the introduction of the specialties of
the several principals, irrespective of motives. Custom obliged him to
arrange entrances in the inverse order of the artists’ relative
ranks--he of least rank “going on” first, the star being the last to
appear. Noverre broke up this usage, and characters thereafter entered
at times consistent with plot-development. Plots had been crippled by
accepted beliefs that certain dance sequences were unalterable; a
_Gavotte_, for instance, had to be followed by a _Tambourin_ and a
_Musette_; the sequence had not been questioned. Noverre saw the
possibilities of dancing as an instrument of expression; he insisted
that steps and _enchainements_ should be composed to intensify the
motive of the passage. Scenery, he held, should contribute in the same
way to the mood of the act it decorates. Pretty it had been, and
executed by capable painters; but Noverre found its composition lacking
in consideration of proper relationship to the other elements of the
production. With himself he associated Boucher and one or two other
decorators of lesser name; under his comprehension of the scene’s
dramatic intent, settings were designed that reasserted in line, form
and colour the argument of the scene’s plot, music and dance. In this
department he was less successful than in others. Boucher made beautiful
sketches, some of which are extant. But one has only to consider opera
in his own day to realise that any influence Noverre exercised toward
the unification of scenery with music and plot, was not strong enough to
last. Stories taken from legend, set among surroundings as realistic as
skill can paint them; tragic scenes among architecture and foliage
coloured in the key of care-free frivolity--to enumerate the familiar
discrepancies is unnecessary. Tradition specifies a bright first-act
“set” for _Carmen_, and grey for the prison interior in _Faust_. But the
profound correlation of colour and line with the explicit mood of the
piece has remained for the Russian, Léon Bakst. In the recent volcanic
renaissance of dancing effected by his fellow-countrymen, M. Bakst and
his ideas have been a force second only to the marvellous work of the
dancers themselves. His scenery strikes the note of the drama, attunes
the spectator with its mood, at the rise of the curtain. His knowledge
of pictorial composition he has extended to the designing of costumes;
his broad artist’s intelligence he has applied to the composition and
direction of ballets! It is his happy rôle to realise Noverre’s dream.

In music Noverre worked with Gluck, in certain productions at least; and
happily. “Instead of writing the steps on prescribed airs,” in a free
translation of his own words, “as is done with couplets of familiar
tunes, I composed--if I may so express myself--the dialogue of my ballet
and had the music made for each phrase and each idea. It was just so
that I dictated to Gluck the characteristic air of the ballet of the
savages in _Iphigenia in Tauris_; the steps, the gestures, the
expressions of the different personages that I designed for him gave to
the celebrated composer the character of the composition of that
beautiful bit of music.”

The abolition of the mask was among Noverre’s desires; its fortuitous
accomplishment at a later time already has been described. In his ideals
for costume reform in general he was only partly successful. What he
strove for seems to have been costuming in something of the sense of its
present-day interpretation by the Russians; garments wholly in character
with the beings represented, in regard to race and period, yet conceding
enough in line and colour to enable them to be used as part of the
material of abstract interpretation. At the beginning of his
administration of the Opera he found each performer dressed, for the
most part, according to individual choice: either the drawing-room
costume of the period, or the same with shortened skirt, à la Camargo.
To this was added the mask, an enormous wig (unrelated to the character)
and some such symbol as a leopard skin, a wreath of flowers, or more
likely a property such as a bow and quiver of arrows, or a pair of
bellows. In the order mentioned, such articles represented a bacchante,
Flora, Cupid, and Zephyrus. Excepting the superadded marks of
identification, artists provided their own wardrobe. The lack of
consistent supervision and its natural consequence is exemplified in an
anecdote of a member of the _corps de ballet_ in _Le Carnaval et la
Folie_: in the performance she exhibited a series of gowns of Adrienne
Lecouvreur, which she had thriftily picked up at a sale of the recently
deceased tragedienne’s effects.

In the ballet of _The Horatii_, of Noverre’s own composition, “_Camilla_
wore a huge hooped petticoat, her hair piled up three feet high with
flowers and ribbons. Her brothers wore long-skirt coats, set out from
their hips by padding.” And so forth.

It is to be noted that Roman and Greek mythology lived and flourished,
but no longer excluded other lore from the composer’s use. A list of
Noverre’s _ballets d’action_ includes _The Death of Ajax_, _The Judgment
of Paris_, _Orpheus’ Descent into Hell_, _Rinaldo and Armida_, _The
Caprices of Galatea_, _The Toilette of Venus and the Roses of Love_,
_The Jealousies of the Seraglio_, _The Death of Agamemnon_, _The
Clemency of Titus_, _Cupid the Pirate_ and _The Embarkation for
Cythera_. His work of permanent value, still read by composers and
ballet-masters, is his book _Letters on the Imitative Arts_. For his
light composition, _Les Petits Riens_, the music was by Mozart.

Notwithstanding his failure to accomplish all he hoped in the several
departments of his organisation, and in spite of his rather pessimistic
opinions of early eighteenth-century conditions affecting the ballet,
the dance was entering its golden age. Pantomime--largely owing to the
enrichment he had given it out of the fruits of his study of Garrick’s
methods--had exponents who could touch the heart. Writings began to show
intelligent and explicit criticism, and that of a nature to prove that
choreographic execution had reached a high point. The added scope
afforded by new acquisitions of material in the steps allowed artists to
go far in development of individuality. Camargo charmed by perfection of
technique; “she danced to dance, not to stir emotion.” Her special steps
are enumerated: besides the _entrechat_, she shone in _jetés battus_ and
a frictionless _entrechat coupé_. About her work there was a healthy
public controversy, a vigourous minority protesting against idolisation
of one who they asserted had virtuosity only. And the protests show
analytical understanding of the dance.

Sallé’s more deliberate, probably more feeling work, has been noted in
an earlier chapter. Her popularity hardly could have been less, all
told, than that of her rival.

Mlles. Allard and Guimard were two stars who followed a little later in
the same period. The former combined extraordinary vigour with pathetic
pantomime. The work of Guimard was delicate, pretty, light. “She is a
shadow, flitting through Elysian groves,” one of her contemporaries
wrote of her. Certainly she had the art of pleasing, on the stage or
off. The list of eminent competitors for her affection is eloquent
not in its length, but in the number of occupants of high
station--including three princes of the Church. With a passion for
theatrical and political intrigue she combined a spirit of the utmost
generosity. To her the painter David owed his professional beginnings;
he was an art student without means to study, and engaged in
house-painting for a livelihood, when Guimard secured him a pension that
afforded him study at Rome. Some of Fragonard’s best decorations were
made for her establishments.

Her refusal to have any rival about her kept the Opera in an uproar.
Perfectly appointed little theatres in both her country and city homes
enabled her, with her taste, means, and popularity among the people of
the stage, to give performances for which invitations were most highly
prized. For these performances she made a practice of setting dates to
coincide with court receptions, knowing from experience that the best
wit and most of the elegance of Paris would make excuses to the court.
From this estate she was reduced, partly by the storm of the Revolution,
to a condition of miserable poverty lasting until her death; which was
delayed until her seventy-fourth year.

Men did not fall short of women in merit and recognition. Beside the
Vestris, father and son, fame touched Javillier, Dauberval, and the
comedy dancer Lany. Maximilian Gardel, he who substituted for Auguste
Vestris on condition of appearing without the mask (Apollo, in _Castor
and Pollux_ was the rôle), was a composer of note as well as a dancer.
His brother Pierre added to these qualities skill as a violinist.

       *       *       *       *       *

The progress of the ballet was halted by the Revolution. Gardel headed
an effort to keep it in motion with the aid of a spectacle _La
Marseillaise_ as vehicle; but the people were on the streets, dancing
_la Carmagnole_, and nobility were as far from Paris as possible. It is
probable that the ballet was set down as an aristocratic institution.
Napoleon included a _corps de ballet_ in the equipment of the campaign
in Egypt; but it signified nothing to the advantage of the art.
Immediately after the Terror, eighteen hundred dance-halls were opened
in Paris, to furnish, seven nights a week, relief for fever and frenzy.
Even England was too preoccupied to offer the ballet a dwelling; its
organisation, for the time being, was lost.

But only for the time being. History records a bit of international
negotiation indicating Europe’s readiness to return to the realities of
life and the happiness thereof. In 1821 an ambassador of a great power
acted officially as an impresario of dancers.

England, whose best public taste never has been satisfied with the work
of her own people, was, within a few years after the peace, again
seeking dancers in France. Efforts to get the best were handicapped. The
national character of the French Academy makes its pupils and graduates
wards of their government, in effect; government permission is and was
necessary as a condition to leaving the country. Negotiations therefore
were put into the hands of the British ambassador, less formal dealings
apparently having failed to produce results. The agreement was
incorporated in the form of a treaty, France agreeing to lend England
two first and two second dancers, England in return agreeing not to
attempt to engage any others without the Academy’s consent.

M. Albert and Mlle. Noblet were the first two artists to be taken to
London under the new arrangement, at salaries of £1700 and £1500
respectively. During the same period, and for years after, Her Majesty’s
Theatre had the services of Carlo Blasis, one of the most capable
ballet-masters of his time, father of several virtuosi, and the writer
of books of lasting value on the subject of his profession. Dancing
reached a popularity that would seem the utmost attainable, were it not
for disclosures to be made in the years soon to come.

Beauty and its appreciation will carry a public to a condition of
ecstasy. If to this be added the incessant discussion attendant on a
controversy, with the hot partisanship that accompanies the coexistence
of rival stars, the devotional flame is augmented by fuel of high
calorific value. Not without cause were the hostilities of Pylades and
Bathyllus, of Sallé and Camargo, associated with great public
enthusiasm. To artistic appreciation they added the element of sporting
interest.

In Marie Taglioni and Fanny Ellsler, Europe had the parties to a
years-long competition that was Olympian in quality and incredible in
its hold on the sympathies of the public. Both goddesses in art, their
personalities and the _genres_ of their work were at opposite extremes.
In _Pendennis_ Thackeray asks, “Will the young folks ever see anything
so charming, anything so classic, anything like Taglioni?” Of Ellsler,
Flitch quotes words equally enthusiastic--and less coherent--from the
pen of Theophile Gautier, who was an incurable maniac and copious writer
on the subject of dancing: “Now she darts forward; the castanets
commence their sonorous clatter; with her hands she seems to shake down
clusters of rhythm. How she twists! how she bends! what fire! what
voluptuousness of motion! what eager zest! Her arms seem to swoon, her
head droops, her body curves backward until her white shoulders almost
graze the ground. What charm of gesture! And with that hand which sweeps
over the dazzle of the footlights would not one say that she gathered
all the desires and all the enthusiasms of those that watch her?”

This referred to a _Cachucha_ that she had brought from Spain; a dance
whose steps have been recomposed under other names, its original name
forgotten except in association with the name and the art of Ellsler. It
was a perfect vehicle for the exploitation of the ardent qualities that
the little Austrian was made of, and on her rendering of it was based a
great part of her fame.

Taglioni, in contrast, was a being of spirit, innocent of mortal
experience, free from ties of the earth. Her training was strictly
within the bounds of the classic ballet; during her career she greatly
amplified its range, yet she always kept within its premise. Though born
in Stockholm, her father was an Italian ballet-master, and two of her
aunts were dancers of reputation. Her achievements represented a triumph
of choreographic inheritance and training over an ill-formed body; in
childhood she is said to have been a hunchback. With training her figure
became normal in strength, and attained a quality of form in keeping
with her selected rôles. But overstrong features deprived her of the
dancer’s adventitious aid of facial beauty. Her triumphs were achieved
by art alone.

Vienna she conquered at the age of twenty, in 1822, the year of her
début. Paris was not so readily moved; but a success in that capital was
a practical necessity to a great career, and Taglioni never rested until
she secured its approval, expressed in terms that penetrated Europe.
Business generalship was not the least of the attributes of the
Taglioni, father and daughter; they recognised the propitious hour for
an engagement in London. The contract included pensioning a number of
their family, and £100 a performance. Results more than justified the
terms; ticket sales for Taglioni’s nights usually were of the nature of
riots. It is as fair to connect with this box-office success, as with
any quality of the artist herself, the story of her “holding up” a
performance until the management of the theatre should make a
substantial payment on an account due. It is unlovable in an artist to
keep an audience waiting, and put a manager to the necessity of making
explanations. It is unlovable in a coal dealer to discontinue supplies
until a debt is settled.

Taglioni paid as heavily for the excellence she put into her work as
ever did miner or merchant for the goods he put on his scales. Her
training began in early childhood, and covered probably twelve years
before her début. Her professional career, with its inevitable
anxieties, in no wise reduced the rigour of study, discipline, and
precaution. Under her father’s eye she practiced hours daily. She went
to the length of having installed in her London lodgings a stage built
to duplicate the slope of the stage in the theatre.

Apart from the possession of ideals of sheer execution that undoubtedly
were higher than any that her predecessors had dreamed of, and whose
attainment involved almost superhuman effort and patience, Taglioni was
a productive inventor of new steps. Flying _brisés_ and other aërial
work make their first appearance in her work, according to Mme. Genée’s
historical programme of ballet evolution. We infer that her effort was
directed toward the illusion of flight; a writer of the period refers
to an _arabesque_ that conveyed that sensation with striking reality.
The great addition she made to elevation may naturally be attributed not
to any interest in that property for its own sake, but rather to an
endless search for lightness. And that, above all others, was the
quality she made her own. _La Sylphide_ (not the composition recently
popularised by the Russians) was the part with which she was most
unified in the minds of the public. Her work appears always to have had
the creation of fairy fantasy as a definite purpose. In pantomime she
was limited. She had none of the stage artist’s familiar tricks devised
to capture the audience, nor did she avail herself of any vivid
contrasts in her costume. She dressed her hair in Madonna fashion,
surrounded by a wreath of little roses; further adornment she
deliberately avoided.

Ellsler was six years the younger; and, at some sacrifice of time in the
acquisition of fame, she reserved Paris as the last of the great cities
in which to appear. Taglioni therefore was well established when her
destined rival first showed her steps to the Parisians. In fact, she
occupied a box at Ellsler’s first Paris performance, where it is said
she silently wept before the end of the other’s first number.

The Swede had succeeded almost in spite of circumstances; Ellsler’s
natural endowment contained almost everything the gods in a generous
mood can give. The perfection of proportion of hands, feet, wrists and
ankles were hers, as well as a Greek perfection of figure. Though her
legs were of steel, and her strength in general that of an athlete, not
a line suffered in sculptural grace nor a movement in freedom. Her face
had a beauty that captivated an audience at the moment of her entrance
on the stage, and a range of expression covering the moods of the human
mind. Her training, like Taglioni’s, had begun early. Mozart, for whom
Ellsler’s father worked as copyist and otherwise, had interested himself
in her to the extent at least that her early years were not misspent.
With her technical tuition--whatever it may have been--she absorbed
stage experience almost from the days of infancy. She danced in a
children’s ballet in Vienna when she was six years old. Before appearing
in Paris she had succeeded in Naples, Berlin and London. The audience of
l’Opéra therefore saw her first at the full maturity of her art and
equipped with ample knowledge of how to present it to the best
advantage.

Her success was not in doubt for a moment. The opening number was a
riotous triumph, the morning papers were undivided in praise of the
newcomer. Taglioni felt that Ellsler had been brought to Paris expressly
to undermine her, and the appearances are that Ellsler lost no time in
putting herself on a war footing.

London theatre-goers soon were in a position to question whether, after
their elaborate provisions to get good dancers, they had not made a
rather embarrassing misplay. Ellsler had danced at Her Majesty’s
Theatre; the public had enjoyed her work, but, owing either to her lack
of a great continental reputation or their own misgivings about the
soundness of her work, had refrained from very hearty demonstration. On
the first night of the engagement, the manager of l’Opéra--who was in
London to form an estimate of the Austrian’s work--signed her for the
following season.

Contrary to the _metier_ of her rival, Ellsler’s art consisted of a
romantic glorification of life’s physique. One gathers that she gave,
instead of an ordered and consecutive poem, a thrill of delighted
astonishment. She was of a newly forming romantic cult that worshipped
the torrid, the savage, the violent. Her most pronounced success was on
her rendering of the dances of Spain; she used her hips and her smile,
and men--more than women--went into rhapsodies. Gautier, who had seen
the best dancers in Spain, wrote that none of them equalled Ellsler.
Which is credible, with reservations and conditions. If the sole aim of
Spanish dancing is to express fire and temperament, to astonish and
inflame, it is more likely to be realised by a clever Northerner than by
a Spaniard. The headlong enthusiast is not bothered by delicate
considerations of shading, development, and truth of form; seizing the
salient and exotic, an exaggeration of these and the elimination of all
else is sure to produce a startling result. Execution at an abnormally
rapid tempo will conceal inaccuracies from all eyes but those trained to
the dance, and backed by a knowledge of its true forms.

All this by no means intends to assert that Ellsler was not a dancer of
a high degree of skill, and perhaps of some degree of greatness. It is
significant, however, that her encomiums concern themselves only with
that which, boiled down, amounts to praise of a beautiful woman,
performing evolutions at that time novel and surprising, and
frankly--withal in a perfectly clean manner--appealing to sex. The
quality that might be called decorative truth does not appear to have
been an impressive element of her work. Assuredly that is the foundation
of dancing entitled to any consideration in connection with the quality
of greatness. Temperament, expressing what it will, of course is as
necessary to animate the form as true form is to begin with; but
temperamental exuberance cannot take the place of a proper substructure.
Granting the inadequacy of data, and speculating on a basis of
indications only, one is justified in wondering if Ellsler coming to
life to-day could repeat her impression on Paris, with its present
knowledge not only of Spanish dancing, but also of feats of supreme
virtuosity.

Years only augmented the heat of the feud between the two goddesses.
Europe divided itself into acrimonious factions of Taglionites and
Ellslerites. The latter were shocked, however, when, to bring to a flat
comparison the question of merit, Ellsler announced her intention to
play _La Sylphide_. Taglioni had made the part her own; for another to
undertake it was at least an act of doubtful delicacy. Nor was the idea
better advised on grounds of strategy. _La Sylphide_ in its composition
was a tissue of the ethereal, even if Taglioni had not made it so by
association with herself. Ellsler was insistently concrete. Effects
followed causes. Her most ardent partisans could not say after the
performance that the attempt spelled anything but failure.

America’s first vision of a star dancer was the direct consequence of
Ellsler’s vexation over the fiasco. Our fathers and grandfathers
unharnessed the horses from her carriage, and counted it an honour to
get a hand on the rope by which the carriage was drawn; carpeted the
streets where the carriage was to pass, strewed flowers where the
divinity was to set her foot, and in all ways comported themselves as
became the circumstances, during the period of two years that she stayed
on this side of the Atlantic.

Ellsler’s professional collapse was connected not with art, but
politics. After her return from America she danced several seasons in
Milan. The ballet academy of la Scala had been founded in 1811, interest
in the art ran high, and was fed by the Austrian government as a
hoped-for means of distracting the public mind from the revolutionary
sentiment of the mid-century. In 1848, on the occasion of a performance
especially provided to smooth over a crisis, it was arranged that the
people of the ballet should wear a medal recently struck, representing
the pope blessing a united Italy. Ellsler conceived a suspicion that the
idea represented an intent to insult her as an Austrian; she refused to
go on unless the medals be taken off. Meantime the _corps de ballet_ had
made its entrance, wearing the medals. They were removed at the first
opportunity, and promptly missed at the ballet’s next entrance. The
explanation of the change travelled through the house; the _première_,
when she entered, was received with hisses. Tense with political
excitement, the audience saw in her only the representative of the power
that controlled the Italian sceptre. Her efforts received no answer but
furious insults. She fainted.

After three comparatively uneventful years she retired, rich and--in the
main--popular. Her contributions to religion and charity had been
impressive and so continued until her death in 1884. Her wealth was
estimated at one and a quarter million dollars. Taglioni’s end was in
miserable contrast; during part of her latter years she held a petty
position as teacher of deportment in a young ladies’ school in England.
She died lonely and forgotten, after a most unhappy old age.

Among the many dancers brought out by the period of enthusiasm were
three women of whose work the records have only the highest praise. To
Carlotta Grisi, Gautier gave the credit of combining the fiery abandon
and the light exquisiteness of the two great luminaries of the day.
Fanny Cerito and Lucille Grahn were ranked with her. For Queen Victoria
there was arranged a _pas de quatre_ by Taglioni, Grisi, Cerito, and
Grahn. That performance, in 1845, represents one of the climaxes of
ballet history, including as it probably did the greatest sum total of
choreographic ability that ever had been brought together.

But it was the milestone at the top of a high mountain, from which the
road turned downward. Except in England, Taglioni’s prestige was dimmed.
Queen Victoria’s reign, however uplifting in various important respects,
undeniably was depressing in its influence on all the imaginative arts;
and it was an influence that reached far. Furthermore, the elements that
constituted opera began to assume new relative proportions. The voice of
Jenny Lind called attention to the factor of singing. In the present day
of subordination of the dancer to the singer, it is almost incredible
that opera of seventy years ago assigned to the dancer the relative
importance that the singer enjoys now; especially difficult is this
conception to any one whose acquaintance with opera is confined to its
production in America. General indifference has reduced operatic ballet
in this land to a level compared to which its condition in continental
Europe is enviable. Though reduced from past importance, in countries
that support academies it has at least retained standards of execution.

But the strictly modern interpretation of opera, minimising
choreography, has been accepted. New operas are written in conformity
with the altered model. It is likely that the present renaissance of
dancing, though no less vital than any that have gone before, will
effect little change in the art’s importance in opera structure, which
has become a distinct organism to be heard rather than seen. Aroused
interest and intelligence inevitably will force improvement on old
organisations, new appreciation will justify it from the box-office
point of view. But the American dance-lover’s hope lies in the new-old
form of ballet pantomime. This is the expression that the great new
romantic movement has taken, as though in express recognition of those
of us to whom the use of ears has not atrophied eyes.

Against the suddenly discovered passion for singing, the art of Grisi,
Cerito, Grahn and their colleagues could not hold public attention.
Steadfastly the French and Italian academies held to their creeds of
choreographic purity. Upon their fidelity to ideals the latter
nineteenth-century reign of artistic terror made no impression; to their
preservation of the good is due the ability of the present romantic
renaissance to come into its complete expression without the
intervention of a century of rebuilding. Russia and Austria too had
founded national academies for instruction along the lines made classic
by Paris and Milan. Others followed. But it appears that the technical
virtuosity of Taglioni had set a pace that was both difficult and
misleading. Being a genius, perfection meant to her a means of
expression. During a period in which no great genius appeared, efforts
to win back the lost kingdom took the form of striving for technique as
an object. The public was unjustly damned for failure to respond to
marvellously executed students’ exercises. With equal lack of justice,
it became fashionable to include the whole school of the ballet’s art in
the accusation of stiffness and artificiality.

The half-century ending about 1908, during which the stage was given
over to all the flashy choreographic counterfeits that mediocrity could
invent, was saved from complete sterility by the dances that are rooted
in the soil. _Jigs_ and _Reels_, _Hornpipes_ and _Tarantellas_ held
their own like hardy wild flowers in a garden of weeds; like golden,
opulent lilies, the _Seguidillas_ of Spain held their heads above
malformation and decadence. This is a fitting point at which to consider
the nature of some of these ancient expressions of the heart of men who
dwell away from courts.



CHAPTER VI

SPANISH DANCING


Since earliest Occidental history, the dances of Spain have been famous.
To-day their richness, variety and fundamental nobility give them a
position in advance of any other group of national dances of the
Occidental type. Whether certain of the Oriental expressions are
superior to the Spanish is wholly a matter of point of view on dancing.
But dancers and dance-lovers, of all beliefs and prejudices, unite in
conceding to Spain the highest development of “characteristic” or
national dancing. More even: though the French and Italian ballets in
general hold their schools to be the very fountainhead of the
choreographic art, not a few disciples of the academies of Milan or
Paris concede to Spanish dancing superiority over all, in that aspect of
beauty that is concerned with majesty of line and posture.

It is as though Terpsichore herself had chosen the dwellers of Iberia to
guard her gifts to mankind. Gadir, the city now called Cadiz, was a
little Paris in the day of the Carthaginian, with dancing as its most
highly developed art and notable among its diversions. When the Romans
took the city they were delighted with the dancers they found there; for
centuries after, Spanish dancers remained a fashionable adjunct of great
entertainment in the capital, and Cadiz the inexhaustible source of
their supply.

When Rome, too infirm to resist, left Spain to be overrun by the
Visigoth, she left the arts of the peninsula to the mercy of a
destroying barbarian. Architecture and statuary he demolished, books he
burned. Dancing eluded his clumsy hand; in places of retirement children
were taught the steps and gestures that had crossed the sea from Egypt
in the days of the Phœnicians.

In the eighth century came the Moor: slayer, organiser, builder;
fanatic, dreamer, poet; lover and creator of beauty in all its
manifestations. His verses were epigrams of agreeable and unexpected
sounds, formed into phrases of eloquent metaphor. His architecture and
its ornament, too, were epigrams; combinations of graceful and simple
lines and forms into harmonious symbols more eloquent than description.
To him the dance was verse and decoration united, with music added;
entertainment and stimulus to contemplation. Under his guardianship and
tuition the Spanish dance strengthened its hold on the people, and
increased in scope. A certain class of it retains to-day a distinctly
Moorish flavour.

The “Century of Gold” that followed the expulsion of the Moors and the
discovery of America found the dance surrounded by conditions than which
none could have been more favourable. Gold looted from the new continent
was lavished on masques and _fiestas_ that emulated those of
neighbouring monarchies; courtiers were so preoccupied with the
diversion that a memoir of the period contains a complaint that “sleep
in any part of the palace has become impossible, since persons of all
degrees have taken to continuous strumming of the music of the
_zarabanda_.” The less exalted had in the dance

[Illustration: “LA MALAGUEÑA Y EL TORERO”

Eduardo and Elisa Cansino

To face page 122]

an expression for every emotion, an exercise whose magic ennobled, and a
magic whose exercise raised them above the reach of sordid cares. In the
Church, while bishops in other parts of Europe were questioning or
protesting the dance as an act of worship, their brothers in “_la tierra
de Maria Santisima_” were insisting upon it as a most appropriate part
of the highest ritual.

Colonies and dependencies fell away; the stream of gold flows in other
channels. Uncomplaining the Spaniard retires into the house that once
was animated with great companies of guests and hordes of servants.
Reduced? Not at all! A few intimates drop in after dinner, bringing
friendship and wit. There is always a glass of wine. His daughters will
step some of the old dances in the patio; their younger brother has
“hands of gold to touch the guitar.” An entertainment at once agreeable
and becoming--the latter, if for no other reason, because it is Spanish!

To an extent there are grounds for the anxiety, sometimes expressed,
that modernism is melting away this tradition-worship. In Madrid there
is an English queen; tennis and tea become a cult to be followed with
what semblance of gusto one can assume. San Sebastian is the summer
resort of royalty, and of pleasure-seekers from all parts of Europe; its
modernism is that of Paris or Vienna. Other cities, to the number of
perhaps half a dozen, show consciousness of twentieth-century
conditions. Among which conditions is, of course, an indiscriminating
fondness for novelties for their own sake. And there is always at hand a
numerous class of dancers to provide novelties in exchange for a
moment’s applause.

In another country the national art would deteriorate under these
hostile influences. But in Spain, not readily. Her dances are an
organism, rooted in the soil, with forms as definite as the growth of a
flower. Mention dancing to an _Aragones_, and it means to him the _jota_
of his province. Let other steps be added to it, he will resent them; in
his eyes they occupy about the same place as a third arm would on a
drawing of the human figure--a monstrosity, and uninteresting. No less
than Aragon have other regions their local dances and their
choreographic creed, with stupendous pride in both. The steps are handed
down like the tunes of old music, with the ideals for their execution.
And, high in importance as conservers of their classic national forms,
there exists a fine spirit of artistry among a number of the prominent
masters. Jose Otero of Seville and Antonio Cansino, a _Sevillano_ who
for some years has taught in Madrid, are prominent among a number to
whom the preservation of Spain’s choreographic purity is almost a holy
cause.

The dancing of Spain divides into two schools: the purely Iberian,
exempt from Gipsy influence, which is known as the Classic; and the work
of Gipsy origin and character, which is generically known as the
_Flamenco_. The two overlap to the extent of a few dances that partake
of the elements of both, and lend themselves to execution in the manner
of either. On either side of this common ground the two schools are
completely distinct in style, and almost equally so in gesture and
posture, having in common only a limited number of steps. In general
effect their individualities are absolute.

The work of the Gipsy is, above all, sinuous. His body and arms are
serpentine. His hips, shoulders and chest show a mutual independence of
action that would worry an anatomist, but which allows the dancer
limitless freedom for indulgence in the grotesque. He delights in the
most violent contrasts. A series of steps of cat-like softness will be
followed by a clatter of heels that resembles Gatling-fire, the two
extremes brought into direct juxtaposition. His biggest jump will be
preceded by movement so subtle that it is less seen than sensed.

In all circumstances the Gipsy is an irrepressible pantomimist. Of the
word and the gesture of his ordinary communication, it is highly
probable that the gesture is of the greater importance. He likes to
talk, and his words come at a speed that makes them indistinguishable to
any but a practised ear, the confusion heightened by the free
intermixture of Gipsy _argot_. But the continuous accompaniment of
facial expression, movement of body and play of hands is sufficient by
itself.

The dance gives full employment to the Gipsy’s mimetic powers, and in
fact serves primarily as an emotional expression. His dances are not
composed, or “routined.” He has his alphabet of steps and choreographic
movements, and with these he extemporises. By some telepathy most
puzzling to those who know the most about Gipsy dancing, the
accompanists are not disturbed by any of the dancer’s changes of mood,
however sudden. The instant drop from extreme speed to the opposite
never traps the guitarist into a mistake; and his air is remarkable,
too, in preserving the sentiment as well as the time of the dance.

Anything like the full scope of Gipsy dancing is rarely revealed to any
not of that race; because, done with abandon, it is an intimate
revelation of nature. _El Gitano_ is conscious of his racial and social
inferiority, despite the arrogance he likes to assume. He is a vagabond
living in waste places and by means, usually, of petty imposture,
tolerated because of his impudent but very genuine wit. For these
reasons a dance for pay becomes a scheme to extract the most money
possible for the least work. And the work itself, though skilful, is
accompanied by a self-consciousness directly opposed to the essentially
Gipsy element of his dance.

A Spaniard who has got past the Gipsy’s reserve is Eduardo Cansino, the
dancer. As such it is an object for him to see their work at its best;
from their all-night parties he has acquired steps. His diplomatic
equipment consists, first, of an acquaintance with the Gipsy language,
along with ability to make himself agreeable. Understanding of
_Flamenco_ dancing enables him to aid intelligently in the _jaleo_, that
accompaniment of finger-snapping, hand-clapping and half-chanted,
half-shouted phrases that make the Spanish dancing atmosphere what it
is. (In Gipsy dancing the _jaleo_ is “tricky,” owing not only to
suddenness of changes, but to frequent digressions into counter-time.)
When asked to dance, Eduardo’s hold on the company’s respect is brought
to a climax, as there probably is no better performer among the men of
Spain. And withal he is willing to buy manzanilla as long as expediency
suggests.

According to Eduardo, it is the exception when a dance performed at a
Gipsy party fails to tell a story. Usually the story is improvised from
a suggestion of the moment. Satire is popular; if one of the company has
undergone an unpleasant experience in love, trade, or dealings with the
_guardia civil_, it is capital for the dancer. Imitations of carriage
and mannerisms of the persons represented are carried to that degree of
realism made possible by the Gipsy’s eternally alert observation and his
expressive body; and he has no artistic creed to cause him to question
the value of literal imitation. But the quality of greatness is not what
one expects in Gipsy dancing; its contribution is the extreme of
skilful, surprising grotesquery.

Notwithstanding the limitations that accompany an insistence on physical
facts, the Gipsy’s rendering of the great emotions is said to be
impressive at the moment, even though it fails to record any lasting
impression. Love, as in the dancing of almost all peoples, is a
favourite motive, with its many attendants of allurement, reticence,
jealousy, pursuit and surrender. But the repertoire is limited only by
the Gipsy’s scope of emotion--hatred, revenge, triumph and grief--his
heart is probably about the same as any one’s else, only less repressed
by brain. So far is dancing from being merely an act of merriment that
it is used in mourning the Gipsy dead.

_Flamenco_ dances as seen in theatres and cafés are compositions made
from the elements of Gipsy work; choreographic words grammatically
related as is necessary, among other considerations, for accompaniment
by orchestras of sober and dependable beings. The task has been
admirably done; _la Farruca_, _el Tango_, and _el Garrotin_, the most
popular _Flamenco_ dances at present, preserve to admiration the Gipsy
qualities. No less credit is due the composers of their accepted musical
accompaniments; the indescribable Oriental relation of melody and
rhythm, the Gipsy passion for surprise, they have preserved and blended
in a manner charming and characteristic. It is only within the past
fifty years that the process of adaptation began. Jose Otero, in his
chatty _Tratado del Baile_, traces the movement to its beginning; which
like many another beginning, was the result less of foresight than of
desperation. The case was of a dancer whose Classic work failed to earn
him a living. He strung together some Gipsy steps as a last resort and
without hope, and was allowed to try them in a _café cantante_ in
Seville. Their success was instantaneous, and continues unabated. Even
in the absence of the Gipsy’s inimitable pantomime, there is comfort in
seeing his dances under conditions of freedom from argument about extra
charges for nothing at all, whines concerning starvation and sickness
equally imaginary, care not to lose one’s watch, and pressure to buy
useless and foolish souvenirs at shameless prices. Parties to visit the
_Triana_ of Seville or the _Albaicin_ of Granada are great fun, but a
terrible strain on the patience of the person who accepts the
responsibility for his friends’ amusement.

If the _Tango_ and its _Flamenco_ kinsmen fail to conquer a permanent
place in the Spanish repertoire, it will be through their exclusion from
the respectable Spanish family. The daughter of the house does not learn
dancing of the Gipsy type except in the unusual case that she is
preparing for a dancer’s career. The _Flamenco_ has picturesqueness and
“salt,” but of dignity less. To the Spaniard, that which lacks dignity
is vulgar, however witty or graceful. Witty or graceful things may be
enjoyed, though dignity be lacking; but the doing of such things is
another matter. The Gipsy’s untutored point of view on obscenity is a
further argument against their admission into the home. It is not a
structural part of any of the _Flamenco_ work. But association has

[Illustration: TYPICAL “FLAMENCO” POSES.

(From work of Señorita Elisa Cansino.)

The _Garrotin_.
The _Garrotin_.
The _Tango_.
The _Tango_.
The _Garrotin_.
]

created a sentiment, and against sentiment logic is helpless.

_La Farruca_ probably exploits more completely than any of its fellows
the varied resources of the _Flamenco_. After one becomes accustomed to
it sufficiently to be able to dominate one’s own delight and
astonishment, one may look at it as a study of contrasts, carried to the
nth power. Now the performers advance with undulation so slow, so
subtle, that the Saracenic coquetry of liquid arms and feline body is
less seen than felt. Mystery of movement envelops their bodies like
twilight. Of this perhaps eight measures, when--crash! Prestissimo! Like
Gatling-fire the volley of heel-tapping. The movements have become the
eye-baffling darting of swallows. No preparation for the change, no
crescendo nor accelerando; in the matter of abruptness one is reminded
of some of the effects familiar in the playing of Hungarian orchestras.

Another use of contrast produces a sensation not unlike the surprise you
get when, in the course of drinking one of those warm concoctions of
sweetened claret, you unexpectedly bite a piece of cinnamon, and during
a few seconds taste vividly the contradictory flavours of both spice and
sweetness. The music is moving in a flowing legato. In _counter-time_ to
the notes is a staccato of crisp taps--of light, “snappy” hand-claps,
and dry-sounding sole-taps on the floor, two varieties of accent
alternating one with the other. Success of the effect depends on the
very perfection of tempo, to begin with, and after that on a command of
the quality of sound in the _taps_. A good deal of attention is given to
the cleanness and brilliancy of the tone of these notes, as well as the
cultivation of a good sparkling “tak” in snapping the fingers. Many
performers carry in each hand a series of three ringing finger-snaps,
loud enough to carry sharply to the back of their smallish theatres.

It is in respect to finesse of such details that most non-Spaniards
condemn themselves to the mediocre when they attempt Spanish dancing.
The mere steps can be learned by any one with an intelligence and two
sound legs. Many students approximate the style. But the seemingly
little things often act as the big pit-falls. The castanets, for
instance, expose cruelly the lack of finish of many a pretender to
laurels in the Spanish field; in the hands of their master they can
ring, or sing, or click, or purr, as the mood of the dance suggests. To
an amateur it would be illuminating to see the care a professional
exercises in mating the little instruments in pairs. They vary in pitch,
and have almost personal whims. For instance, in cold weather they fail
to do themselves justice unless they are carried to the performance in
an inside pocket. But this is straying from the _Flamenco_; castanets
are in the main an adjunct of the Classic.

Returning to the subject of contrasts, the _Flamenco_, more than any
other style in the world, perhaps, insists on difference between the
work of man and woman. It is seen in the greater relaxation of the
woman’s body, the more complete elimination of angles from her
movements. The degree of rigidity that the man’s body should maintain is
a point of justifiable difference between artists; so with the extent to
which his movements should follow the lines of curves. But that curve
should be the theme controlling the woman’s movement and carriage, all
agree. The result is to the eye as a duet of guitar and flute is to the
ear. Following the comparison further, the dance duet does not confine
itself to unison--identical movements of the two performers--any more
than does the duet of music; and this correlation of two harmonised
parts is not the least of the causes of madness imparted to spectators
of good dancing.

In all dances evolved to the plane of art, a common device is to end a
phrase with a turn--a _pirouette_, or something simpler, according to
the character of the work. This general rule the Spanish follow. But
look how the _Farruca_ makes such a turn the opportunity for one of its
myriad contrasts!

The _renversé_ of the ballet has a kindred turn in _la vuelta quebrada_.
Both are executed with an arm always extended, so as to describe the
maximum circle; of the _vuelta quebrada_ the movement is low and
horizontal, with everything done in such a way as to give the impression
of a smooth, oily roll. The _Farruca_ leads the woman up to this turn,
or _vuelta_, through a series of short steps. Now visualise the man’s
part at the same time: as the woman enters her flowing _vuelta_, a
mighty leap lands the man in the position of stooping; instantly he
starts rising with a spiral movement that takes the form of a
_pirouette_ and so continues through the circle. The surprise the eye
receives from the harmonised contrast between the extended horizontally
moving sweep and the vertical spiral uplift, with its kaleidoscopic
change of levels, seems never to grow less. And if the man makes it a
double _pirouette_ instead of a single, why, one simply shouts aloud
with the joyous discovery that the law of gravitation and a lot of other
cumbersome things have suddenly been abolished.

The _Tango_ at the present moment familiar in North

[Illustration: “FLAMENCO” POSES.

The _Farruca_: devices to mark counter-time.

The _Farruca_: typical group.

The _Tango_: finish of a turn.
The _Farruca_: man’s preparation for a _pirouette_.
The _Tango_: start of a turn.
The _Farruca_: _pito_ or finger-snapping.

(From work of Eduardo and Elisa Cansino.)]

America found its way here from Argentina. In the form it takes here,
its relation to the _Tango_ of Spain is little more than a coincidence
of names. In none of the Spanish dances does the man’s arm ever go
around the woman’s waist--the purely Spanish, that is. Off-shoots and
corruptions to be found in the Latin Americas do not signify. The
Spanish _Tango_ is of the _Flamenco_ group. It is a solo for a woman. By
convention she performs it wearing a man’s hat, the manipulation of
which gives some grotesquely graceful occupation to her hands. Apart
from this it is distinguished from the others of the group mainly by the
sequence in which steps are combined; in spirit, elemental steps and
poses, it conforms to the type of its family.

_El Garrotin_ is distinguished by the importance it gives the hands.
They repel, warn, invite; half the time they are held behind the back.
So indirect are their hinted communications, so alien are their
movements to anything in the Occidental way of thinking, that they unite
with the girl’s over-the-shoulder smile in an allurement no less than
devilish.

Other dances of the same school are _Marianas_ and _Alegrias_, long
familiar. New ones introduce the names of _las Moritas_ and _Bulerias_.
Each has its personality, but all are composed of the Gipsy steps,
performed in the sinuous manner, and rich with contrasts of fast and
slow, soft and energetic movements. All are adorned with the stamping,
sole-tapping, clapping and finger-snapping already described; though
_Marianas_, as a quasi-Classic, may be performed with castanets. All
moreover, are costumed alike, as indicated in the sketches and
photographs, most of which in this chapter were made possible by the
courtesy of Eduardo Cansino and his sister Elisa, of the family of one
of the most capable masters in Spain. The man’s suit is the habitual
street dress of the Andalusian _torero_. It may represent a retiring
taste by being of grey or brown cloth. But if it belong to one of those
typical _Sevillanos_ who believe that a man is an important decorative
feature of the landscape, it may be of velvet--blue, wine-colour, purple
in any of its shades, or jet-black. With the little pendant coat-button
ornaments of gilt, as they may be; the silk sash, rose or scarlet, just
showing under the waistcoat; with the shirt ruffled, and the collar
fastened with link buttons, as it ought to be; and the whole animated
with the game-cock air that the _torero_ assumes as befitting a public
man, it is a costume not lacking in gallantry.

For the woman, convention has strained for a substitute for the inanely
garish, shapeless garments of the Gipsy sister--a good note of colour
they make on the hillside, but in all truth, a poor model for dressing
when placed among formalised surroundings. The conclusion is a
compromise shocking, on first impression, to the ideals of the Spanish
dance. But, as though to confirm the argument of the futurist painters,
that colour-harmony is a matter of what you are accustomed to, you grow
into an acceptance of it. Many people even like it. It has indeed this
merit, that it is a realisation of the Gipsy’s dream of elegance.
Beginning with the _manton_--the long-fringed flowered shawl--half of
these _bailarinas_ of the _Flamenco_ seem to patronise some special
frenzied loom that supplies their class alone. The richness of design
that you saw on the _manton_ of the lady in the next box at last
Sunday’s _corrida_ you find replaced here in _el teatro de variedades_
by an anarchy of colour, and poppies of the size of a man’s hat. The
skirt is stiffened in the bell-shape surviving other days, and well
adapted to composition with Spanish steps; but the colours are of the
piercing brilliancy attainable only by spangles. Orange, carmine,
emerald-green and cerulean-blue are the favourite palette from which the
scheme is selected, with the unit of design of a size that makes more
than two of them impossible on the same skirt. Nevertheless, one accepts
it with custom, aided by the seduction of the dance--which has been
known to secure for its performers pardon for transgressions graver, in
some eyes, than crimes against colour.

Artists there are, of course, who use the colour and spangles with taste
and style, just as there are those of high ability and seriousness who
select the _Flamenco_ on which to build reputation. For dignity,
however, we turn sooner or later to the Classic.

In Andalusia, the first dance you will hear named is _las
Sevillanas_--unless you happen to be in Seville, where the same dance is
known as _Seguidillas_. The latter word lacks explicit significance. It
applies to a form of verse, thence to analogous phrasing in musical
composition, then to a structure of dance. In general it denotes a
composition of three or more stanzas, or _coplas_, repeating the same
music but changing the theme of the step. Various provinces and even
vicinities have their special _Seguidillas_. The number of these and
other dance-forms indigenous to Spain is uncounted, so far as we know;
certainly any complete description of them individually would furnish
material for many hundred pages of print, especially if the list should
include the widely scattered derivatives. Mexico, Cuba, and various
countries of South America have their local compositions; but of these
many are mere degenerations of their original models, and many are
compounded with steps of the Indians. Since none has contributed
anything of consequence, this chapter’s necessary concentration on the
work of Spain itself involves little real sacrifice.

[Illustration: “LAS SEVILLANAS.”

Grouping at pause in first _copla_. School of Don Jose Otero, of
Seville.]

It is _Sevillanas_ whose easier movements are among the first undertaken
by every well-reared Andalusian child, whose adequate execution is half
the fame of most great Spanish dancers. Of all the dances, Otero calls
it “the most Spanish.” Yet it gives the spectator few detached pictures
to carry away in memory. Its merit is in its cumulative choreographic
argument.

Very broadly speaking, the prevailing foot-work of the _Seguidillas_
family is the _pas de Basque_--or, in Spanish, _paso de Vasco_. Turns,
advances and retreats are almost incessant. Variety of step is secured
by frequent _fouettés_ and _fouetté tours_ (figures 43 to 46); the leg
sweep in the latter being usually “inward,” the foot, with most
performers (at present) raised more than waist-high. _Swinging_ steps,
it will be noticed; choppy elements such as _battements_, _entrechats_
and the like are, by distinction, the elements of the sharper work of
the North. _Sevillanas_ makes the feet less important than the hands and
arms. These, however bewildering they are made to appear, follow a
simple theme of opposition, as for instance: (1) left arm horizontally
extended to the side, right arm across the chest; (2) right arm extended
upward, left forearm across the back. As the simplest movement of
club-swinging is incomprehensible to the person to whom it never has
been explained, so with the arms in _Sevillanas_, with the bewilderment
multiplied by the play of line effected by the arms of a couple.

The body is held with a combination of erectness and suppleness that is
Spain’s own; sympathetic to every move of hand or foot, yet always
controlled and always majestic. The essence of this queen of dances is
not in step or movement, but in its traditional style plus a steadily
increasing enrichment through the successive _coplas_--an enrichment
that depends principally on the perfection of team work at a rapid
tempo, and one that adds greatly to the subtle difficulties. Many
performers will inform you that a sixth _copla_ does not exist. Of those
who can execute it adequately, the majority reserve it for competitions
to present as a surprise.

The scope of moods from beginning to end of _Sevillanas_ gives play to
the lyric and the epic; allurement and threat; coquetry and triumph. It
is a blend of the wine

[Illustration: “EL BOLERO”

Typical moment in first _copla_ (1)--Finish of a phrase (2)

To face page 138]

[Illustration: “LA JOTA ARAGONESA”

Type of movement
Kneeling position
A _pirouette_
Finish of a turn
Woman’s sitting position

To face page 139
]

of Andalusia with her flowers and her latent tragedy. Not that it is
particularly a vehicle for pantomime. Rather its suggestions are
conveyed as are the motives of flowers, or architecture--by relations
and qualities of line and form that work upon the senses by alchemy no
more understood than that of music. The accumulating intricacy has been
so artfully designed that, as the dance progresses, its performers
actually seem to free themselves from the restrictions of earth. Each
new marvel tightens the knot of emotion in the throat; shouts invoking
divine blessings on the mother of the _bailarina_--“_Que Dios bendiga tu
madre!_“--unite with the tumult of the _jaleo_. For shouting may save
one from other emotional expressions less becoming.

The music contributes to this hysteria, of course. But, with no
accompaniment but their own castanets, a good team can work the magic.
That might be considered a test of the quality of composition in a
dance, as well as of execution.

So gracious, so stately, so rich in light and shade is _Sevillanas_,
that it alone gives play to all the qualities needed to make a great
artist. When, a few summers ago, Rosario Guerrero charmed New York with
her pantomime of _The Rose and the Dagger_, it was the first two
_coplas_ of this movement-poem that charmed the dagger away from the
bandit. The same steps glorified Carmencita in her day; and Otero, now
popular as a singer in the Opera in Paris. All three of these goddesses
read into their interpretation a powerful idea of majesty, which left it
none the less seductive. Taking it at a comparatively slow tempo, the
perfection of every detail had its highest value. A new generation of
performers has been rather upset by a passing mode of rapid foot-work,
and under its influence too many of them tend to rush the dance and so
detract from its majesty. True it is that a great work of art can stand
a good deal of abuse; but any menace to such a work as the one
discussed, points out the need of a national academy, where the
treasures of the dancing art could be preserved from possible whims of
even an artistically intelligent public, and the compliance of a
non-resisting majority of artists. Unlike most great European nations,
Spain has no national academy of the dance.

[Illustration: TWO GROUPS IN “LAS SEVILLANAS.”]

Fanny Ellsler electrified the America of our fathers’ boyhood days with
her interpretation of _la Cachucha_. Zorn’s _Grammar_ presents a
choro-stenographic record of it, showing few elements that do not occur
in _Sevillanas_. _La Cachucha_ itself has disappeared from the
Peninsula--practically at least, if not absolutely. Its existence is in
printed records and a few old people’s memories. The inference is that
it was at a high pitch of popularity at the time of Ellsler’s sojourn in
Spain, and that _Sevillanas_ subsequently absorbed it. Showing the
operation of an old process: “Our buildings and our weapons of war are
renewed from day to day.... Chairs, cupboards, tables, lamps,
candlesticks are also changed. It is the same with our games and dances,
our music and songs. The _Zarabanda_ has gone; _Seguidillas_ are in
fashion; which, in their turn, will disappear to make room for newer
dances.” So wrote Mateo Aleman, in the sixteenth century. He might a
little more exactly have said “reappear in” instead of “disappear to
make room for.”

_Sevillanas_, as was said before, is Seville’s special arrangement of
_Seguidillas_. _Valencianas_ and _Aragonesas_ are among the modifying
geographic words also in use; Vuillier quotes also _Gitanas_,
_Mollaras_, _Gallegas_ and _Quipuzcoanas_. These terms as localising
modifications of _Seguidillas_ may be no longer current. But their
existence is significant, as indicating a parent trunk from which many
local dance forms have branched. It seems pretty safe to infer that
acquaintance with the general characteristics of the _Seguidillas_ type
gives us an idea of the essentials of some of the dances of very early
times, by whatever names they may have been known. Like _Sevillanas_ and
_la Cachucha_, _el Fandango_ (which _as a name_ has retired into the
mountains of the North, and otherwise is preserved in the opera _La
Nozze de Figaro_) is recorded as being a species of _Seguidillas_. The
castanets are a link that binds the family, logically or otherwise, to
earliest history.

The _Fandango_, though restrained in the theatre, seems at all times to
have been danced in less formal gathering places in a manner more or
less worldly. A story pertaining to it was written in the seventeenth
century. The Pope (according to the story) heard that the _Fandango_
was scandalous, and as a means of stopping its practice, proposed
excommunication as a penalty for its performance. A consistory was
debating the issue, when a cardinal proposed that the accused was
entitled to an opportunity to defend itself. This seemed reasonable, and
the dancers were summoned.

“Their grace and vivacity,” says Davillier, “soon drove the frowns from
the brows of the Fathers, whose souls were stirred by lively emotion and
a strange pleasure. One by one their Eminences began to beat time with
hands and feet, till suddenly their hall became a ballroom; they sprang
up, dancing the steps, imitating the gestures of the dancers. After this
trial, the Fandango was fully pardoned and restored to honour.”

Whatever the lack of basis for the tale, it is a fact that the Church in
Spain has recognised the dance as an art that, like music, lends itself
to religious ritual. Seville Cathedral still has occasions for the
solemn dance of _los Seises_. In 1762, dancers were taken from Valencia
to help celebrate the laying of the foundation-stone of Lerida
Cathedral. Instances might be multiplied at length.

The costume most picturesque and romantic that woman has at her disposal
for these dances is that of the _madroñero_--the network dotted with
little black balls, draped over the hips. Imagine the bodice black
velvet, and the skirt golden-yellow satin, and you have a
spot-and-colour translation of Andalusia. But the dress of the
_madroñero_ is not often to be seen; the spangled _Flamenco_ costume is
publicly accepted as the dress of a Spanish dancing girl.

The _manton_ should be draped over the shoulders like a shawl in _la
Jota Aragonesa_ and other dances indigenous to central and northern
provinces. It is _Flamenco_ to fold it diagonally to form a triangle,
and wrap it around the body in such a way that the depth of the triangle
lies on the front of the body; the apex points downward, and is arranged
to fall to one side of the centre. The other two ends are crossed over
the back and brought forward over the shoulders; or one end may be
tucked in, and the more made of the end that remains in sight.

The dance in which we see the white mantilla to which the Spanish girl
owes a portion of her fame is _la Malagueña y el Torero_. Perhaps owing
to the weight of the man’s costume proper to the dance, it is not often
performed; for the bullion-adorned dress of the _torero_ is of a weight
suggestive of anything but airy foot-work.

The characters of the piece--it is one of the very few Spanish mimetic
dances--are represented, as might be expected, in a little flirtation.
Of the three movements, the first is an animated _paseo_, or promenade,
the _torero_ wrapped in the _capa de gala_ prescribed by ceremony as
essential for _matadores_ and _banderilleros_ during their entrance
parade into the bull-ring. The _torero_ is followed by the girl, her
face demure in the half-shade of the overhanging mantilla. A _manton_
carried folded over her arm, suggestive of a _torero’s_ cape, gives to
the pantomime the key of fantasy; and her weapon of coquetry is a fan.

An elaborate series of advances, turns, meetings and passings prepares
the _torero_ to acknowledge that he notices the girl. (Mr. Bernard Shaw
was not the original discoverer of feminine initiative in man-and-woman
relations.) He looks at her and is delighted. The music changes, and
the second movement, _la mimica_, begins. He will spread his _capa_ for
her to walk over; but first he must flourish it through a couple of the
movements familiar to patrons of the _corrida_. A _veronica_--“_Olé!_”
roars the crowd, whose memory instantly correlates with the writhing
cape the vision of a furious bull. A _farol_ throws the brilliantly
coloured cloth like a huge flower high in the air: a _suerte de capa_
always magnificent, one of the ever-recurring flashes of surprise that
make the _corrida_ irresistible despite its faults. In consecutive
movement the _capa_ opens and settles fanlike before the girl, the boy
kneeling as she passes. Rising, he tosses, his cap for her to step on. A
touch of realism, this! Andalusian usage permits this compliment, with
the spoken wish that God may bless the _señorita’s_ mother. The second
_copla_ draws to a close with the boy’s pantomime merging into dance
step as he becomes more attracted to the girl. She is now evading,
alluring, and reproving, while her movements insensibly succumb more and
more to the dance music which has replaced the promenade tempo of the
first part. The third _copla_ is the dance--_el baile_; _capa_, fan and
_manton_ are discarded for castanets. The steps are of the _Seguidillas_
type; the number ends with the incredibly sudden transformation of a
series of rapid turns into a group as motionless as statuary. This
abrupt stop is a characteristic of Spanish dancing in general that
always has been commented on, and approvingly, by its non-Spanish
observers.

_Las Malagueñas_ also employs mantilla and fan. This sprightly member of
the _Seguidillas_ family has no elements peculiar to itself, yet its
insistent use of little steps adapts it to rapid foot-work. _Manchegas_
is of the

[Illustration: GROUPS IN “LA MALAGUEÑA Y EL TORERO.”

(From work of Eduardo and Elisa Cansino.)]

same nature. The two are often performed immediately after dances of
less action, for the sake of variety.

“The Fandango inflames, the Bolero intoxicates,” wrote an enthusiast of
other days. And in respect to the latter the truth of his observation
may be proved, since the _Bolero_ is still with us, and always
intoxicates every one of its spectators that is not deaf and blind.

Its composition is attributed to Cerezo, a famous dancer of the early
part of the eighteenth century. Material for speculation is furnished by
one of its steps in particular, the _cuarta_, identical with the
ballet’s _entrechat-quatre_. The invention of the _entrechat_ is
credited to the French dancer Camargo, who was not born until after the
advent of the _Bolero_. The question is: Did the _Bolero_ take the
_cuarta_ from Camargo, or did she, a progressive in her day, merely
invent the name “_entrechat_” and apply it to a “lifted” _cuarta_?
Certain it is that it fits its requirements in the _Bolero_ like a key
in its lock. It is used in a passage dedicated to brilliancy, to which
motive this twinkling, gravity-defying step is suited above almost all
others. As rendered by the woman, it is dainty, as in the French ballet.
But the Spanish man treats it in a manner that puts it into a category
by itself, and transforms it from a little step to an evolution that
seems suddenly to occupy the entire stage.

The _cuarta_ at the height of the leap is only his beginning. As he
descends, he kicks one foot up and backward, in a manner to give him a
half-turn in the air. The leg movement opens up the lines of the
elevated figure, giving it a sudden growth comparable to one of those
plants that the Oriental magician develops from

[Illustration: MISCELLANEOUS SPANISH NOTES.

_Los Panaderos_: group turning.
The _Jota_ of Aragon: typical group.
_Las Sevillanas_: use of primitive foot position.
The _Bolero_: a turn in the air.
Castanets: Classic, tied to finger.
_Flamenco_, tied to thumb.
_Seises_ of Seville Cathedral.
]

seed to maturity while you wink. The expansion is augmented by the
extension of the arms at the opportune moment. Altogether, the spectator
is prepared to believe that all physical law has been suspended in
deference to the convenience of poetic motion. Davillier’s observation
that “the Bolero intoxicates” is wholly inadequate.

The dance is in triple time, and arranged in three parts. The second
divides the work of the two performers into solos, admitting whatever
sensational steps each chooses to present, so long as they conform to
the strong, aggressive style that tradition gives the dance. In this
part are the _cuartas_, which good Spanish performers execute as cleanly
as any French _première_. The man’s work may include a series of jumps,
straight up, opening the legs out to horizontal; not in itself an
attractive step, but an exaggeration of the idea of the _Bolero_.
Throughout, the work is vigourous and sharp, of the character created by
_battements_ great and small, _coupés_, and choppily executed _brisés_.
The management of the castanets is a difficult addition to such
vigourous foot-work, and important. To sustain, or rather constantly
augment the excitement proper to the dance, the crash of the recurrent
“tr-r-rá, tak-ta! tr-r-r-á, tak-ta!” must never be dulled for an
instant, nor fail of perfection in rhythm. The double control is seldom
acquired by any but Spaniards, if ever, and even in Spain it is none too
common.

Every lover of dancing probably thinks of his favourite compositions as
personalities. “Queenly _Sevillanas_” inevitably is the way of thinking
of that flower of Andalusia. In similar manner memory puts together
words, “the noble _Bolero_.” Brusque but fine, strong and justly proud,
it sings of iron in the blood, as _Sevillanas_ exhales the spicy
fragrance of hot night air.

[Illustration: TWO GROUPS IN “LOS PANADEROS.”

(From work of Eduardo and Elisa Cansino.)]

Of _los Panaderos_ the introductory measures are dedicated to the
elaborate salutations appropriate to the etiquette of other days. The
dance in general follows the motive of light coquetry through a
pantomimic first part, concluding with a dance of the _Seguidillas_
type, with castanets. Interest is enriched by the dance’s proper
costume. The girl’s _vestido de madroños_ has been described in
connection with another dance, and the same reserved indulgence in the
ornate is seen also in the attire of the man. The velvet jacket permits
subdued but opulent colour; instead of buttonholes it has a lively
design of cord loops. Down the sides of the breeches runs a broad band
of colour that would be too violent were it not broken up by a
superimposed band of heavy black cord lace, through the open pattern of
which the background silk twinkles like jewels. It is a costume to make
an impression at a distance or to tickle the eye on close inspection;
the tasselled leather leggings are delicately adorned with
scroll-pattern traced in stitching, and other details are elaborated
with the same minute care.

Of all the energetic dances of the land of the dance, the one farthest
from any concession to physical infirmity is _la Jota Aragonesa_. Here
is no vehicle for Andalusian languor nor yet for the ceremonies of
courts. The industrious peasant of Aragon is hard of muscle and strong
of heart, and so is his daughter, and their strength is their pride. For
indolence they have no sympathy, be it in ermine or rags; and certainly
if indolence ever forgets itself and strays into the _Jota_, it passes a
bad five minutes.

It is a good, sound fruit of the soil, full of substance, and inviting
to the eye as good sound fruit may be. No academy’s hothouse care has
been needed to develop or protect it; the hand of the peasant has
cultivated without dirtying it. And that, when you look over the history
of dancing in some more progressive nations, is a pretty significant
thing. The people of Aragon are not novelty-hunters. Perhaps that is why
they have been satisfied, while perfecting the dance of their province,
not to pervert it from its proper motive--which is to express in terms
of poetry both the vigour and the innocence of rustic, romping,
boy-and-girl courtship.

A trace of stiffness of limb and angularity of movement, proper to the
_Jota_, imbue it with a continuous hint of the rural grotesque. Yet, as
the angular spire of the Gothic cathedral need be no less graceful than
the rounded dome of the mosque, so the _Jota_ concedes nothing in
beauty to the more rolling movement of the dance of Andalusia. It is
broad and big of movement; the castanets most of the time are held
strongly out at arm’s length. One of its many surprises is in the manner
of the pauses: the movement is so fast, the pauses are so electrically
abrupt, and the group (or “picture,” as our stage-folk call it) in which
the dancers hold themselves statue-like through a couple of measures is
so suddenly formed, that a layman’s effort to understand the transition
would be like trying to analyse the movements of the particles in a
kaleidoscope. Out of a dazzle of cross-tied white legs there _snaps_ on
to your retina a vision of a couple face to face, each on one knee;
_one_, two, three, four--on each count the supporting knee comes up, its
mate rhythmically bumps the floor. One measure; again they are in
flight. Another stop, as from a collision with some invisible but
immovable body--the girl is established in a seated position on the
floor, madly playing her castanets, the boy flashing _pirouettes_ around
her. _Bien parada, palomita! pero anda!_ Another cyclone, a crescendo of
energy in the thump of sandalled feet and the pulse-lifting clatter of
castanets, and--dead stop! She is impudently perched on his knee. Raised
with the _paisanos_ around you to the plane of the happy gods, you too
are standing, shouting your rhythm-madness, tearing at scarf-pin,
bouquet or anything to throw to the performers.

Down to the tuning of the castanets is emphasised the difference between
this dance of the stalwart uplanders and the more liquid expression of
Andalusia. It can be understood how, with the instruments fastened to
the _thumb_, and hanging so as not to touch the palm, vibration is not
interrupted after a blow from the finger; consequently they will _ring_
when touched. The successive taps of four skilful fingers on a castanet
so hung will make it _sing_, as is appropriate to the flowing dance of
the South. But change the tie from the thumb to the two middle fingers
and you change the voice: the blow of a finger presses together the two
halves of the instrument, and throws both against the palm of the hand;
vibration is stopped, and the report is a dry “tak” or “tok,” which is
consistent with and contributory to the crisp staccato sentiment of the
_Jota_, with its kicking treatment of a running _pas de bourrée_, swift
_pirouettes_, and abrupt starts and stops.

[Illustration: PART OF THE “JOTA” OF ARAGON.

Showing rapid foot-work to slow music. Steps indicated by accents under
music. The melody above quoted is that of the old _Jota_.]

There is a certain paradoxical relationship between the motives of step
and music, perhaps peculiar to Spain, that asserts itself most clearly
in the _Jota_. That is, the setting of brilliant dance-movement to the
accompaniment of melodies of a sadness sometimes unearthly. The
juxtaposition does not always occur. When it does, as in the old _Jota_
of Aragon and _las Soleares_ of Andalusia, it is the very incarnation of
the mysterious magic of a magic land; it is the smile forcing back the
tear, words of wit spoken by the voice of sorrow. Or is the foreigner
mistaken? The peasant himself sees no sorrow in the tunes, any more than
in life.

Thumping the foot-beats gives an idea of the rhythm so far as related to
the sound; but this fails more than to hint at the effect of the music
in combination with the dance, because the dance so fills the conscious
attention that the music is less heard than felt. The melody itself is
unnoticed; but its underlying melancholy persistently cuts its way into
the heart during the very moments that vision is most madly happy.

True to her modest and serious character, the peasant woman of Aragon
puts on her _manton_ like a shawl, sternly concealing her figure. Her
full, rustic skirt is of dull-coloured cotton. For her no high-heeled
shoes; her foot-wear--and her grandfather’s--is the practical cord-soled
sandal (_alporgata_) tied on with black cords, which, on their
background of white stocking, have a coquettish look in spite of her.
The man’s dress is a representation of simple strength, saved from
sombreness by well-disposed contrasting accents, few but brilliant. The
lacing of the breeches slashed at the knee echoes the tie of the
sandals. The waistcoat and breeches are black; the sash--worn very
broad--may be either dull or bright; but the kerchief tied around the
head is of colour as strong as dyes will produce. Red with a design of
little black squares is characteristic ornament of the province.

Valencia, too, has its _Jota_, but of movement more fluid than that of
Aragon. _La Jota Valenciana_ is superficially distinguished by its
employment of the tambourine; the only dance in Spain--with possible
unimportant exceptions--to accompany itself with this instrument. In
structure it is of the _Seguidillas_ type, the coincidence of the term
_Jota_ being without significance.

To go into a discussion of the dances of the northern
provinces--Cataluña, the Basque provinces, Galicia, Leon and
others--would in most instances be to digress from the theme of Spanish
dancing in any but a geographical sense. The dances of the northern
region that are Spanish in type are of the _Seguidillas_ family already
described, and without special pertinence to the locality. Conversely,
the dances that are indigenous to and characteristic of the North are
not of the type generally and properly known as Spanish, but, in respect
to everything but geography, pertain to the character dances of western
Europe. True, the _Fandango_ is seen in the Basque provinces; but it is
a stray from other parts. Galicia has a pantomime of oafish courtship. A
dance characteristic of Quipuzcoa was described to us by Tencita:
glasses of wine were set on the floor, of the same number as the
dancers, all of whom were men. At a given time every one would
jump--from a considerable distance and to a good height--with the aim of
missing his glass by a minimum margin. This exercise--or dance, by
charity of definition--is performed after important matches of the
provincial game of _pelota_. Being of the general style of racquets,
control of placement of the feet follows. Many of the dances, says
Tencita, are rounds. Of these the salient feature is the man’s lift of
his partner. Some of those iron-shouldered mountaineers, grasping the
girl’s waist in two big hands, lift her straight up to arm’s-length. But
this, to repeat, is Spanish only by grace of political boundary lines.
The same feat is described in a French rustic dance of the Middle Ages.
So long as the tradition of round dancing joins the performers’ hands to
one another, choreographic art can hardly exist.

It is doubtful if the North has carried to the superlative any of the
qualities of real dancing. In pure decorative beauty; variety and force
of expression; scope of motive; happy contrasts of treatment--briefly,
in the art of the dance, Andalusia speaks the final word. Who wishes
natural pantomime need only call a Gipsy. _Mimica_ more delicate is that
of _Toreo Español_ or _el Vito_, both narrating the placing of
_banderillas_, defence with the cape, and the final despatch of a bull.
In a combination of strong movement with speed and grace, there does not
exist in this world a dance-form to excel the _Jota_ of Aragon.

The home of Spanish dancing is south of the latitude of Madrid, in the
flowery region that the caliphs ruled. The pilgrim in search of dancing,
therefore, shall not unsaddle until the nearest hilltop shows the ruins
of a Moorish castle. By that token he will know that he has come to the
land of grapes and fighting bulls, destitution and wit, black eyes,
guitar and song, enchantment. There he may sell his horse; where falls
the shadow of a castle of the Moors, on that soil blooms the dance.



CHAPTER VII

ITALIAN DANCES


Past are the splendid pageants of the Medici, nor do the floors of
Castel San Angelo remember the caress of the winged feet of choral
dancers. The classic ballet, heir of the dances and masques of courts,
preserves their stately charm; while their choreographic wit lives on in
dances that are at once their ancestors and their survivors. An
intermediate generation of dances represented the day of a society
cultivated to artificiality. The dances of the people, on the contrary,
are rooted in the soil and cared for by wholesome tradition. Including,
as they do, many of the steps from which the ballet was derived, there
is material for interesting speculation in their continued vigour.

In the _Forlana_ of Venice, with its old-fashioned steps, is found a
delicate mimetic synopsis of the world-old tale of the young wife, the
elderly husband, and the dashing interloper; the theme immortalised by
the pen of Boccaccio, in his collection of the stories that passed the
time during the ten days when the court exiled itself in the hills to
avoid a pestilence in Florence. The accompanying illustrations of the
dance have the benefit of the knowledge of two graduates of the academy
of la Scala, both children of teachers in that institution: Madame
Saracco-Brignole and Stephen Mascagni. Both are enthusiastic performers
of their country’s character dances; Mascagni, indeed, with his wife as

[Illustration: “LA TARANTELLA”

Opening of the dance
A poor collection
They gamble for it: the game _La Morra_
She wins
He wins
]

[Illustration: “LA TARANTELLA”

An _arabesque_
Finish of a phrase
A typical moment
Finish of a phrase
]

partner, makes the _Tarantella_ an important feature of his repertoire.
The trio in _la Forlana_ was completed with the assistance of Mlle.
Louise La Gai, as Columbina, Madame Saracco-Brignole and Sr. Mascagni
representing Doctor Pantalone and Harlequin, respectively, completing
the little cast.

As a stock character in other pantomimes and farces, Doctor Pantalone’s
characteristics, both mental and physical, are so clearly defined that
he has the reality of an acquaintance. In brief, he represents
self-sureness and self-importance, with a weakness of revealing complete
misinformation through indulgence in a habit of correcting the
statements of others. Light-headed Columbina and mischief-making
Harlequin are their familiar selves. The _Forlana_ is a composition
essentially of tableaux, with steps of the dance serving to lead from
one picture to another.

Harlequin’s freedom with Columbina is resented by the elderly husband,
who threatens the intruder with a cane. The frivolous young people dance
away, after a mock-heroic pretence by Harlequin of protecting his
inamorata from her husband. They begin a series of groups made to
tantalise the dotard, whose possession of the young woman has clearly
ceased to exist. Harlequin embraces her, gazes into her eyes, raises her
to his shoulder, kisses her, and is otherwise familiar, while Pantalone
storms and pleads. Perching aloft with her partner’s support in the
various ways known to dancers of an acrobatic genius, Columbina reaches
out to her spouse the tip of a finger, in smiling sarcasm. Pantalone
later is reduced to kissing the little foot that from time to time kicks
upward as the lovers play. When at length even that is the occasion of a
dignified protest from Harlequin, the defeated one withdraws from an
unequal competition and gives the couple his blessing.

Pantalone, apart from his relation to the _Forlana_, is one of a group
of characters attached to the various Italian states as allegorical
representatives. To Sardinia, for instance, pertains a soldierly looking
youth called Maschara Sarda. Bologna has its Doctor Balanzone; Florence,
Stenterello; Rome, Rugantino; Naples, Pulcinella--and this is to
enumerate only a few out of a number slightly in excess of the number of
states. These mythical beings are neither heroes nor caricatures, nor
are they supposed at all to portray the qualities typical of the
population they represent. Their associations seem to be without
underlying significance, but they are none the less indissoluble in the
mind of the Italian. Those who have most cause to love them are the
writers of popular comedies; the simple device of putting a Balanzone or
a Rugantino among the characters of the play makes possible a direct
expression of ideas purporting to be those of the state itself. Such
lines, regardless of the literary tone of the play, are customarily
delivered in the local dialect of the region represented.

It is the _Tarantella_ that the world at large accepts as Italy’s
national dance; and rightly enough, since there is none whose popularity
is more nearly general through the land. It is rather identified with
Naples. There it is said to be the amusement that the younger working
people think of first, when leisure allows the thought of any amusement
at all; but it is very popular, too, through the South.

It is a breezy, animated dance, varied with pantomime not very profound,
to be sure, but at least merry

[Illustration: “LA TARANTELLA”

Opening of the dance
A turn back-to-back
A pause after rapid foot-work
]

[Illustration: “LA FORLANA”

Mme. Elise Saracco-Brignole, Mlle. Louise La Gai, and Sr. Stephen
Mascagni

Doctor Pantalone patronized; defied; pleads; accepts the inevitable and
is ridiculed

To face page 159]

with character. The mimetic action concerns the varying luck of _la
morra_, that game that consists in guessing at the number of fingers
open on the opponent’s suddenly revealed hand; perhaps the only gambling
game for which every one is born with full equipment of implements. To a
votary, every glance at his own five fingers must seem a temptation to
seek a game. For whatever reason, it seems to be a necessary element in
the life of the Italian labourer. The moment of the _Tarantella_ given
over to _la morra_ is, as it were, an acknowledgment of its place among
the people’s recreations.

As castanets are to the dances of Spain, the tambourine is to those of
Italy. Like castanets, the tambourine produces an amazing variety of
tones when handled by an expert. The effect its jovial emphasis of tempo
has on the enthusiasm of dancer and spectator need not be dwelt upon;
again sobriety succumbs before rhythm’s twofold attack on eye and ear
together. Vivacity is insistent, too, in the colours of the Neapolitan
costume. The tambourine is dressed in ribbons, characteristically the
national red, white, and stinging green. Stripes as brilliant as caprice
may suggest adorn the girl’s head-dress, apron and skirt. Nor must her
more substantial finery be forgotten; until a responsible age is
attained by children of her own, she is guardian of an accumulating
collection of necklaces and earrings, bracelets and rings that are as a
family symbol of respectability. Just as in other nations the inherited
table silver is brought out to grace occasions of rejoicing, the
Neapolitan young woman on like occasion exhibits gold, silver and gay
red coral in adornment of her person--adding much to the sparkle of the
_Tarantella_.

The boy (in these and the pictures of _la Ciociara_ represented by Mlle.
La Gai) has a necktie as red as dyes will yield, and a long fisherman’s
cap of the same colour. It is Italian stage tradition, by the way, that
the Neapolitan fisher boy’s trouser-legs should be rolled up to slightly
different heights.

The dance itself is full of pretty groups, well spiced with moods. The
steps are happily varied and well composed. There are many turns, the
boy frequently assisting with the familiar spiral twist of the girl’s
upraised hands--a device that, with any execution back of it, always
produces a pleasant effect. The turns also are highly enhanced in value
when, as they frequently do, they terminate so as to bring the dancers
into an effective embrace. Preparation for a _pirouette_ by both dancers
is utilised, at one point, as a pretext for some delightfully grotesque
poses.

It is a dance worthy of study and performance by artists, and of the
enthusiasm of appreciators of good work. In _Corinne_ occurs a passage
reflecting its impression on Madame de Staël. The following selections
seem most suggestive of the effect produced: “ ... beating the air with
her tambourine--in all her movements showing a grace, a lissomeness, a
blending of modesty and _abandon_, which gave the spectator some idea of
the power exercised over the imagination by the Indian dancing-girls,
when they are, so to speak, poets in the dance, expressing varied
feelings by characteristic steps and picturesque attitudes. Corinne was
so well acquainted with the different attitudes which painters and
sculptors have depicted, that by a slight movement of her arms, holding
the tambourine sometimes above her head, sometimes in front of her,
while the other hand ran over the

[Illustration: “LA CIOCIARA”

Opening promenade (1, 2)--End of promenade (3)--He has “made eyes” at a
spectator (4)--Opening of dance (second movement) (5)

To face page 160]

[Illustration: “LA CIOCIARA”

Rustic affection
Again caught in perfidy
Tries to make amends
Without success
Removed from temptation

To face page 161
]

bells with incredible swiftness, she would recall the dancing girls of
Herculaneum, and present before the eye of the painter or artist one
idea after another in swift succession. It was not French dancing, so
remarkable for the elegance and difficulty of its steps; it was a talent
much more closely related to imagination and feeling. The mood was
expressed alternately by exactness or softness of movement. Corinne,
dancing, made the onlookers share her feelings, just as if she were
improvising, playing the lyre, or designing figures; every motion was to
her as expressive as spoken language.”

The similarity between the words _Tarantella_, and “tarantula,” a large
and poisonous spider, causes endless speculation to the end of
establishing a more than etymological relation between the two. One
author seriously affirms that the dance is a standard rural remedy for
the bite of the insect, the energetic movement starting a perspiration
that relieves the system of poison. Various German physicians have
written reports on the subject, generally ending with a statement that
the said antidote for poison is of doubtful efficacy! Approaching the
subject from another angle, the word _tarantismos_ is discovered: a
species of hysteria common in Calabria and Apulia, and (by etymology)
attributed to the bites of tarantulas to be found in those parts. But
along comes another learned person who finds that _tarantismos_ is not
due to tarantula bites, but to certain molluscs that Calabrians and
Apulians customarily include in their food régime! He harks back to a
certain dancing mania that was more or less epidemic in Europe during a
period of the Middle Ages, a hysterical condition found curable by
violent dancing. Whence he induces that the _Tarantella_ derives its
name from _tarantismos_, and that it originated as a cure for
neurasthenia. Still another finds that the ailment causes hysterical
movements, “similar to dancing!” and flatters the _Tarantella_ with this
spasmodic origin. Again, a grave experimenter finds that tarantulas,
placed on floats in water so that they will be disinclined to run away,
will move their feet in time to music. He does not ask us to infer from
this that the steps of the dance were so originated and composed, but in
the cause of general joyousness he might have, and that without much
damage to the accumulated erudition on the subject.

All the Latin countries, no less than Scotland and Ireland, have their
_Jig_. In Italy, as elsewhere, it is a composition of rapid clog and
shuffle steps. More than most Occidental countries Italy has a lingering
fondness for pantomime; doubtless as a heritage from the theatre of
Rome, and increased through centuries of political intrigue that
sometimes made the spoken word inadvisable. Like the _Forlana_, _la
Ciociara_ of Romagna is an example of choreographic pantomime carried to
a high pitch of narrative quality. It represents a heavy-footed shepherd
and his wife, and their unpaid efforts to collect coins for music and
dancing during their visit to the village.

After a little promenade to the music of the pipe, or _piffara_, that
has descended unchanged from the days of the shepherds on the slope of
Mount Ida, and the tambourine of equally venerable age, the tambourine
is passed before an imaginary circle of auditors. The imaginary coins
failing to come forth, the couple impulsively decide to dance anyway,
for their own amusement. The dance proper is of the flowing style of the
_Tarantella_, but includes only the simpler steps. An important
contribution to the amusing character of the performance is a bit of
by-play that begins after the work has apparently terminated: the
shepherd, oaf though he is, expresses an interest in a pretty face in
the audience, and even a belief that his interest is reciprocated. He is
roundly scolded by his wife, soothes her feelings, and at last retires
under a not misplaced surveillance.

The _Saltarello_, an old and lively step-dance identified with Rome, and
including several steps of the _Tarantella_, completes the list of
popular dances for which Italy is famous. Other names there are in
abundance, but of dances identified with their localities. _La
Siciliana_ is a delicate but insufficiently varied product of the island
from which it has its name. Messina has a pantomimic dance known as _la
Ruggera_; Florence its _Trescona_, and so on indefinitely. Of these,
such as have any choreographic interest are said to owe it to the
_Tarantella_. Of many the interest is chiefly historical, since they are
woven into one tissue with old songs and old legends. Poetic and
altogether fascinating as such compositions frequently are, however,
their prevailing lack of the essential qualities of dancing makes
discussion of them inappropriate to a book on that subject. On the other
hand, the highly characteristic flavour of the music and the words of
their accompanying songs makes them a fascinating study under the heads
of folk-lore and folk-music, in which connection they are the subject of
several writings of great interest.



CHAPTER VIII

EUROPEAN FOLK-DANCING IN GENERAL


To people who toil long hours at confining work that requires care and
skill, there comes at the end of the day a craving for exercise that
will release the mind from the constraint of attention, that will let
the muscles play with vigour and abandon. In response to this demand of
nature there exists one class of folk-dancing--the _genre_ of the
careless, energetic romp of people bedecked in bright colours, joining
hands now to form themselves in rings, or again in interweaving lines,
improvising figures, heedless of step except the simplest skipping and
balancing.

Acting contrariwise to the influence of daily labour involving skill and
attention, is the force of habitual work that does not require enough
precision to satisfy the healthy craving for fine co-ordination of
muscle, nerve and mind. The latter condition, too, moves to the dance.
But here, in the case of a people whose potency of skill is not spent in
the day’s work, the dance is likely to assume forms of such precision
and elaboration that its performance requires considerable training, and
such beauty that it attains to the plane of art.

These two divisions are far from exact; many influences modify them. But
they serve as a beginning of the process of separating the gems of
folk-dancing from the mass of that which bears a superficial sparkle but
is without intrinsic choreographic value.

[Illustration: SCOTCH “SWORD DANCE”

Miss Margaret Crawford and partner

The steps and jumps bring the feet as close to the sword as is possible
without touching it]

[Illustration: THE “SCOTCH REEL”

Use of the _battement_ (1)--A pirouette (2)--Characteristic style (3,
4)--A turn (5)

To face page 165]

The second supposition, of a people engaged at work not sufficiently
exacting in finesse to satisfy their craving for skilled co-ordination,
may be taken to indicate a merely healthy race whose daily tasks require
no finer technique than the ordinary labour of a farm; in such category
might be put the peasants of Aragon. The same relation would exist
between a people less virile and a form of daily labour still less
concerned with skill, as the Andalusians. Or again, it is valid in the
case of a community engaged in crafts requiring fine workmanship, if
that community be of people endowed with nervous energy in excess of the
requirements of the day’s work; and that is the condition in those
eternally youthful nations, Scotland and Ireland.

National sense of beauty is a factor in the determination of the dances
of a country. The Latins have it. The Italians and Spanish have the
leisure to practice its expression. The French, on the contrary, direct
their energies into work of pecuniary value, and their acceptance of the
doctrine of accumulation keeps their attention where it will be paid.
Pierre and Laurette frolic with the neighbours on the green, in the
moonlight, in what they call a dance. It gives them exercise and many a
laugh. But when they would see beauty, they patronise its specialised
exponent, the ballet.

“Folk-dancing” is practically synonymous with “character dancing,” or,
as the word is frequently formed in literal translation of its French
original, “characteristic dancing.” It means what it implies, an
exposition of the characteristics of the people to whom it pertains.
Energy or dreaminess, fire or coolness, and a multitude of other
qualities are bound to assert themselves, automatically; to any one who
can even half read their language, character dances are an open book of
intimate personal revelation. The portrayal of sports or trades, which
is the sort of thing with which many folk-dances are concerned, does not
detract from their interest as expositors of national temperament.
Though it may be noted that, in general, the more a dance occupies
itself with imitation, the less its value as a dance.

Not least of the elements of interest attaching to these dances is the
measure they apply to national vitality or the lack of it. Through the
form and execution of its dance, the nation as yet half-barbarous
reveals vital potentiality; the people that has luxuriated in centuries
of power displays its lassitude of nerve; and the young political
organism shows marks of senility at birth. The aboriginal savage,
huge-limbed, bounds through dances fitted to the limitations of muscles
that cannot be controlled by brain, and the limitations of brain that
cannot invent or sustain attention; his dance exposes him as of a race
not in its youthful vigour, but in the degeneracy wrought less by time
than by manner of living. The Indian of North America is dying of age;
the Russian is in his youth.

The list of forces that make and preserve at nation’s dances is
incomplete without the addition of the sometimes powerful element of
national pride. This undoubtedly enters into the high cultivation of the
dances of Scotland. The industry, thrift and all-round practical nature
of the Scotch need not be enlarged upon. Though they do not lack
appreciation of beauty, they consider it a luxury for only limited
indulgence, except as it is provided by nature. But the _Sword Dance_
and the _Fling_ of their warring ancestors are as though associated with
the holy cause of freedom. On many a Highland battlefield they have
been stepped; they have wet their scurrying feet in spilled blood.

To learn Scotch dancing takes time, precious time. But it is time spent
on a decent and a fitting thing; they are Scotch! Scotch as the thistle
itself! From pulpits have come, at times, objections to them; from armed
camps and lairds’ halls of other days has come the answer, far but
clear: that Scottish chiefs, godly men as well as brave, trod their
_Flings_ in celebration of victories dear to memory. It is enough. The
cult of the dance has continued, unchecked by the inability of
occasional well-meaning divines to see its significance.

Cæsar “commented” upon the fighting qualities of the _Picti_, built a
wall to keep them off from the _Anglia_ that he had conquered, and
decided not to push his conquests farther north. The fighting spirit of
those tartaned clansmen never has softened and has had much occupation
throughout the subsequent centuries; and attaching to it is an epic, a
saga, in the shape of the _Sword Dance_.

Around the _Sword Dance_ in particular the Scotch people group
associations. In earlier times its performance was customary on the eve
of battle to relieve tension, to exhibit self-control, and, perhaps most
important of all, to test fortune. To touch with the foot the crossed
sword or scabbard between and about which the dancing warrior picked his
steps was an omen of ill for the individual or his comrades. In
present-day competitions, the ill luck following this error is evident;
to touch the sword or scabbard with the foot eliminates the offender
from the contest.

The _Highland Fling_, in distinction from the above, symbolises victory
or rejoicing. With the other dances of Scotland, it has been highly
formalised. Moreover, its routine, steps, and the proper execution of
each are so clearly defined and generally understood that any change in
them is immediately resented by any Scotch audience.

Every one has seen Scotch dances; any detailed analysis of them would be
superfluous. Exhilarating as Highland whiskey, sharp as the thistle,
they are carried to a high plane of art. Through them all runs a
homogeneous angularity of movement that literally translates the
sentiment of “Caledonia, stern and wild.” To the dances of Italy and
Andalusia they are as wind-blown mountain pines in contrast to orange
trees fanned by Mediterranean zephyrs. The theme of the sharp angle is
kept absolutely intact, unmodified by any element of sweep or curve that
the eye can detect. The essential steps are two, with variations: the
kicking step of the _Schottische Militaire_, of frequent mention on
ballroom programmes of twenty-five years ago; and _battements_, great
and small. It will be seen that these are perfectly of a kind. The
surprising thing is the variety derived from combinations of these two
elements with simple turns, simple jumps, and little if anything else of
foot-work. The result serves, from a purely analytical point of view, as
an admirable demonstration of the value of a simple theme intelligently
insisted on.

Spirit, of course, is another factor of great importance in making
Scotch dances what they are. A Scotch dancer without spirit could not be
imagined. Spanish dancers sometimes work coldly, ballet dancers often;
but a Scotch dancer never. The first note of the bagpipes inflames him.

With the rigourous definition of step, technique and style that attaches
to these dances, and the thoroughness

[Illustration: THE “SHEAN TREUSE”

The promenade (1, 2)--The thematic step (3)--Finish of a phrase (4)

To face page 168]

[Illustration: THE “SAILOR’S HORNPIPE”

Look-out
Hoisting sail
Hauling in rope
Rowing
Type of step
Type of step
Hoisting sail

To face page 169
]

of popular understanding of all that pertains to them, the Scotch public
is qualified to exercise upon dancing the essential functions of a
national academy. Standards are maintained by knowledge on the part of
spectators. Indifference of performance or freedom with forms is quickly
reproved. Nor, on the other hand, need any performer remain in ignorance
as to just what details of his execution are lacking; among his friends
there are plenty of capable critics. We noted the same conditions in
Aragon, where the general love of the _Jota_ probably would have kept
its standards of execution, even without the aid of professional
teachers--and certainly do protect it against the subtracting process
effected by adding novelties. In Italy the _Tarantella_ is cultivated in
the same way, in Little Russia the _Cossack Dance_, and in Hungary the
_Czardás_. And it is the force of educated public interest behind them
that sustains them in a class approached, in requirements of skill, by
few other character dances.

The accompanying illustrations from work by Miss Margaret Crawford and
partner demonstrate the interesting fact that the Scotch, developing
their school of execution along the lines dictated by their own keen
discernment, arrive at a conclusion in important respects identical with
the creed of the classic ballet. It is possible that the dances of
mountain and heather were influenced by the _Pavane_ and the _Minuet_ in
their day--for Queen Mary had her masques and balls and pageants, like
other monarchs of her time. But even that will not account for the
clean, sharp brilliancy of a Highlander’s _battement_ or _balloné_. In
so many essentials his dances are at variance with those of the
seventeenth-century courts that their excellence must be attributed to a
national instinct for true quality of beauty. The splendidly erect
carriage of the body, the straight knee of the supporting leg during a
step, as well as the crisp, straight-knee execution of a _grand
battement_ (the Scotch and other dancers do not use the French
designation of steps, but the general observer may well do so for the
sake of clearness), might have come direct from the French Academy. This
identity is in manner, it will be understood, more than in matter. Like
all character dancing, the Scotch includes in its vocabulary positions
and steps that the ballet ignores. Placing the hands on the hips; the
heel on the ground and the toe up; and a “rocking” step, consisting of
rolling from side to side on the sides of the feet--these and other
devices are of the dances of outdoors. In the case of the Scotch they
are so admirably incorporated into the scheme of sharp line and movement
that go to make a staccato unit that--through the sheer magic worked by
cohesion of theme--they avoid the plebeian appearance into which such
movements fall when not artfully combined.

The _Scotch Reel_ has a good deal in common with the _Fling_, and is of
the same general character. It is customarily performed by two couples.
Its distinguishing feature is a figure eight, traced by a little
promenade, each of the performers winding in and out among the other
three. Even this promenade is performed in a sharp skipping step, that
the dance may lose none of its national flavour. A variation of this
dance is the _Reel of Tulloch_, popular in all parts of Scotland, and
distinguished principally by its history. Legend places its origin in a
country church, in winter; while the congregation waited for the belated
minister, they danced to keep warm, and in the course of the dancing
evolved a choreographic composition that made their village famous. The
_Strathspey_ alluded to in literature appears also to have been a
variety of the _Reel_.

The _Shean Treuse_, a rollicking dance that covers a good deal of
ground, is--according to legend--the representation of a small boy’s
delight with his first pair of trousers. Naturally, it is based on a
series of prancing steps, in each of which the leg is brought to
horizontal to keep the trousers in evidence.

This concludes the list of the well-known dances of Scotland. Of the
number the most representative, or one may say classic, are the _Sword
Dance_ and the _Fling_.

England has to her credit one dance, notwithstanding all that has been
said and written to the disparagement of her originality in the arts;
and, with execution to help it, a very respectable dance it is, as well
as a monument to a social element that has contributed powerfully to
England’s rank among the nations. The dance is the _Sailor’s Hornpipe_.

It is a dance of character in the truest sense, being based on the
movements associated with the sailor’s duties. Accompanying himself with
a tuneful patter of foot-work, the performer pantomimes hauling at
ropes, rowing, standing watch, and sundry other duties of the sea-dog
who dealt with sails and not with coal. The hands are placed on the hips
palm out, to avoid touching the clothing with the tar that--as everybody
knows--always covered the palms of the deep-sea sailor. While not in any
sense a great dance, it is uncommonly ingenious and amusing in its
combination of patter of steps and earnest pantomime. It is literally a
sailor’s chantey sung in the terms of movement instead of words of
mouth; even to its division into short stanzas (one for each of the
duties represented) the parallel is exact. Its place in the dancing art
might be defined as the same as the position of the sailor’s chantey in
music.

In England there has been a recent and earnest revival of the _Morris
Dances_, accompanied by a good deal of writing on the subject. In
England they have the importance of being English. They are “quaint,” it
is true. They reflect the romping, care-free spirit of Merry England;
they bring to the cheek of buxom lass the blush of health; they are
several centuries old; they follow the antique usage of performance to
accompaniment sung by the dancers. But their composition--and its
absence--commends them to the attention of the antiquarian and the
sociologist, rather than that of a seeker after evolved dancing.

The word “Morris,” according to the suggestion offered by certain
scholars, is a corruption of “Moorish”; which theory of its derivation
is not confirmed by step, movement or sentiment to be found in the
dance. What does seem reasonably possible is that it is of Gipsy
derivation. Gipsies are sometimes known--in Scotland at least--as
“Egyptians”; so why not, by a similar abeyance of accuracy in England,
as Moors?--a process of near-reasoning the value of whose conclusion is
nothing at all. At any rate, the _Morris_ dancers have a tradition of
hanging little bells around their arms and legs, and decorating
themselves with haphazard streamers of ribbon, which is Gipsy-esque.
Stories are recorded to the effect that there have been performers who
tuned their bells, and by the movements of the dance played tunes on
them. The stories offer no definite information as to the quality of
dance or music.

The _Morris_ seems to have been a dance for men only, in which respect
it was unique among the old English forms unearthed in the recent
revival of interest. Many of these dances certainly are interesting, if
not in actual choreographic merit, in association. Their very names are
rich in flavour, such as _All in a Garden Green_, _The Old Maid in
Tears_, _Hempstead Heath_, _Greensleeves_ (mentioned in _The Merry Wives
of Windsor_), _Wasp’s Maggott_, _Dull Sir John_, and others equally
suggestive of rustic naturalness and fun. Their revivals by Miss Coles
and Miss Chaplin include full directions for performance, which is
simple. Several of them preserve the ancient usage of saluting the
partner with a kiss--which is not mentioned as a warning, but as an
observation merely.

England has been among the nations to preserve the institution of
dancing around a pole--among the English-speaking so commonly known as
the “Maypole” that its use in the celebration of anything but the coming
of spring seems incongruous. Other peoples, nevertheless, incorporate it
into religious celebrations and what-not. The device of suspending
ribbons from the top of the pole, and weaving them around it by means of
an interlacing figure described by the dancers, seems to be universal.
The steps employed are the simplest possible--those of the _Waltz_,
_Polka_, or _Schottische_, varied perhaps with an occasional turn. It is
another instance of a semiformalised romp called by the title of dance.
In passing it may be noted that the Maypole has become a part of the
Mayday celebration of the New York public school children--and those of
other cities, for anything we know to the contrary. Some hundreds of
poles distributed over a green, each with its brightly coloured group
twinkling around it, tickles the eye with a feast of sparkle, at least.
The same outing is the occasion of an exhibition of the character
dancing that the children have learned as part of their school work
during the preceding year. The exhibited skill is higher than one would
expect, and remarkable, considering the difficulties in the way of
imparting it. In one direction the celebration probably attains to the
superlative: its participants numbering as they do well up in the
thousands, and occupying about a quarter-section of ground, there is
nothing in history to indicate that it does not constitute, in point of
sheer size and numbers, the biggest ballet the world has ever seen.

Ireland has a group of dances exclusively her own, unique in structure,
and developed to the utmost limit of their line of excellence. Their
distinguishing property is complicated rhythmic music of the feet. The
_Jig_, the _Reel_ and the _Hornpipe_ of Ireland are at once the most
difficult and the most highly elaborated dances of the clog and shuffle
type that can be found. In them are passages in which the feet tap the
floor seventy-five times in a quarter of a minute.

They have, too, the art that interprets the character of their people.
But it is not the Irishman of the comic supplement that they reveal.
Rather, by means of their own vocabulary of suggestion, the eloquence of
which begins where words fail, they present the acute Hibernian wit that
animates the brain of Irishmen like Shaw. Intricate combinations of
keen, exact steps, the Irish dances are a series of subtle epigrams
directed to the eye. And like the epigrams that proceed from true wit,
they are expressed so modestly that their significance may be quite lost
on an intelligence not in sympathy with the manner of thought that lies
back of them. To the end

[Illustration: IRISH DANCES

Mr. Thomas Hill and Mr. Patrick Walsh

The _Jig_ (1, 3, 4)--The _Hornpipe_ (2, 5)--The _Reel_ (6, 7, 8)]

[Illustration: A “FOUR-HAND REEL”

Preparation for woman’s turn under arms (1)--Characteristic style (2)--A
turning group figure (3)]

of convincing us onlookers that this everyday world is made up of
nothing but happiness, the music of tapping shoe flatters our senses
without shame, chloroforms reason and shows us the truth--that our minds
at least will float in the air like dancers’ bodies, if we but abandon
them to the rhythmic charm that coaxes them to forget their
sluggishness. Irish dancing has too often been the victim of caricature.
In all truth, its refined intricacy makes it cousin rather to the _Book
of Kells_, whose ancient decoration of rich yet simple interlacement
gives it place among the masterpieces of the book-designer’s art.

The intent of the art of Irish dancing is the sooner understood by a
word of negative description to begin with: namely, it is at the
opposite pole from dancing of posture, broad movement, or pantomime. All
its resources, on the contrary, are concentrated in making music of the
feet. Happy music it is, with lightness of execution as a part of it.
That no incident may distract attention from foot-work, the body is held
almost undeviatingly erect, and the arms passive at the sides; and this
is in accordance with unquestioned usage.

Among the dancers represented in the accompanying photographs is Mr.
Thomas Hill, four times winner of the championship of Ireland. “The
thing of greatest importance in Irish dancing,” Mr. Hill says, “is the
music of the shoes. In the eleven years that I have been dancing, the
greater part of my attention has been spent on the development and
control of the variety of tones that can be produced by taps of heels
and soles on the floor and against each other. Style is necessary, of
course, as in any other dancing, and so is exactness in ‘tricky’ time.
But control of a good variety of sounds, which is the most difficult
part of Irish dancing, is the most important because it is the most
Irish.”

Once in a great while coincidence puts one in the way of hearing the
work of a virtuoso on the snare-drum. Within a minute the effect is
found to be nothing less than hypnotic. Every one within hearing is
patting time, swaying with the time, restraining the most urgent impulse
to do something that will bring every fibre of his body into unison with
that inebriating rhythm. Now, the feet of a fine Irish dancer are
drumsticks as amenable to control as the drummer’s; notes long and
short, dull and sharp--he has all the drum’s variety. No resource of
syncopation, emphasis, or change is unknown to the Irish dances; the
rhythm gets into the blood--with double the seductiveness of sound
alone, since every tap on the tympanum is reinforced by the same metric
beating on the vision. Joined to the resulting exhilaration is the
peculiar excitement always felt in the presence of suspended
gravitation; for no less than suspended gravitation it is when the foot
of a man taps the ground like the paw of a kitten, and the body floats
in the air like a bird that has paused but will not alight. The good
Saint Basil was not only eloquent when he asked what could be more
blessed than to imitate on earth the dancing of the angels. His question
carries with it the important indication that he had seen an _Irish
Reel_ in his day. Because, among all the dances that are stepped on this
mortal earth, what other is so light that the saint could see in it the
pastime of angels?

For the sake of accuracy, let it not be thought that the steps of the
_Reel_ and the _Jig_, and the _Hornpipe_ as well, were not old while
Christianity was new. Mr. Patrick J. Long, himself at once a dancer of
pronounced ability and a well-read scholar on Irish history, writes for
this chapter: “In the days of Druidism, the Irish nation celebrated an
annual feast lasting six days; three days before the first of November,
and three days after. Coming after the season of harvest, it probably
was like a Thanksgiving. The celebration was called in Gaelic a _Feis_
(pronounced ‘fesh’). Now it was the custom, at the time of the _Feis_
for the nobles of Ireland, and their ladies, and bards and harpists from
far and near, to gather at the castle of the king; and there for six
days there were competitions in all kinds of music and dancing.

“The dance that was popular with the nobles and their ladies was called
the _Rinnce Fadha_ (pronounced ‘reenka faudha’). This we know was a
dance for several couples. It was a favourite of King Leoghaire
(pronounced ‘Leery’), who ruled Ireland when St. Patrick came to convert
the people from paganism. From it was derived in a later century the
form of the _Sir Roger de Coverley_; from the _Sir Roger_ came the
_Virginia Reel_ of America.

“The dances of Ireland are variations on the _Reel_, _Jig_ and
_Hornpipe_. The _Reel_ is probably the most classic; it is executed in a
gliding movement, and is speedy and noiseless. The _Jig_ and the
_Hornpipe_ have a good deal in common. Both use clogging and shuffling;
that is, taps of heel or sole on the floor, and light scrapes of the
sole. Of the two the _Hornpipe_ contains the more clogging. But it is
richer than the _Clog Dance_ that it resembles more or less. It is less
mechanical, more varied and has prettier foot-work.

“The _Reel_ and the _Jig_ are danced as solos by man or woman, by two
men, two women, a couple, two men and a woman, two, three, four or
eight couples. In ‘set dances,’ as they are called when performed by a
‘set’ of couples, the steps are simpler than in solo work; and the time
also is simpler in the music of set dances than in the airs used to
accompany solos and the work of teams of two. There are _Hop Jigs_,
_Slip Jigs_, _Single_ and _Triple Jigs_ in 9-8 time. Another peculiarity
of Irish dancing, due to the character of the music, is in the
irregularities of repetition of the work of one leg with the other leg.
The right leg may do the principal work through eight bars; the same
work is naturally to be repeated then with the left leg; but often the
composition of the music gives the left leg only six bars. This is good
because unexpected, but it adds a great deal to the difficulty of
learning Irish dancing.”

The above-named dances represent the utmost development of clogging,
which is tapping of heels, and shuffling, or scraping of the sole on the
floor. Foot-work, especially that of short and rapid steps, is the
element impossible to show in pictorial form. Accompanying photographs,
therefore, give little idea of the charm of the art of Mr. Hill, Mr.
Long, Mr. Walsh, Miss Murray and Miss Reardon, from whom they were
taken.

Thanks to the American branch of the Gaelic League and its activity in
the cause of Ireland’s arts, Irish dancing is in a flourishing condition
in this country. In intelligent public interest, standards of excellence
and number of capable performers, America now leads even Ireland. Mr.
Hill attributes this to a combination of well-directed enthusiasm, and
the practice of holding four important competitions each year. These are
divided among as many cities. Capable management

[Illustration: THE “IRISH JIG”

Miss Murray, Miss Reardon, Mr. Hill, Mr. Walsh--Single figure, Mr.
Patrick J. Long

To face page 178]

attracts competitors of good class and large numbers, and they are
classified in such a way that there is hope for all. Liberality in
prizes is an added stimulus. All told, Mr. Hill says that one _feis_ of
the four annually held in this country accomplishes as much in the
interest of dancing as is done in Ireland in a year.

Dublin and Cork each has its annual _feis_, with an interval of
half-a-year between the two. Each has the dancing championship
competition among its features; Mr. Hill’s title was won in 1909, ’10
and ’11 at Cork, also in 1911 at Dublin. As the Gaelic League has
prominent among its purposes the restoration to popular use of the
Gaelic language, dancing is only one of several artistic contests.
Singing, elocution, and conversation, all in the ancient Irish tongue,
have their respective laurel-seeking votaries. Superiority in the
playing of violin and flute is rewarded, as in playing the war pipes and
union pipes. (War pipes, as may not be universally known, are the Scotch
form of bagpipes, played by lung power; the wind for union pipes, in
distinction, is supplied by bellows held under the arm.) And until
within a couple of years _lilting_ has been competed in--the old singing
without words, “tra-la-la-dee” sort of thing. The irreverent called it
“pussy-singing.” Athletic games are included for the sake of variety.
Prizes in all events are usually medals.

The _feis_ in America follows the same model. Dancing enjoys a
gratifying popularity. Good work always incites the spectators to shout
their enthusiasm. With a prevailing eagerness to learn to judge it more
exactly, and a highly respectable knowledge of it at the present moment,
there exists also that most wholesome adjunct to interest, a division of
beliefs as to school. The Cork technique is comparatively short in
step, and very precise; Limerick favours a rather looser type of
movement. And there comes in the world-old argument between the Academic
and (by whatever name it matters not) the Impressionistic creeds. Each
claims to represent the true Hibernianism.

Sweden, during a period beginning a few years ago, has taken up an
enthusiastic revival of the dances of the Scandinavian world. The
movement began with the foundation by the late Dr. Hazélius of the
Museum of the North, and is carried on by his son.

The Museum was planned to bring together a representation of Scandinavia
of old, in such a complete way as to show not only products and methods
of manufacture, but modes of life and social customs. The result is
unique among undertakings of the kind. In a park called the Skansen are
preserved the Scandinavian flora and fauna, in appropriate surroundings.
Farms are cultivated in the manner of the various provinces, and on the
farms are their appropriate buildings, characteristic in every detail.
To complete the re-creation of antiquity, churches and all the other
structures pertinent to community life are included.

The numerous people required to animate such an establishment, including
as it does accommodations for visitors, are the expositors of the
national dances. Farmers, shoemakers, waiters in the cafés, are required
to learn and practise them, and present them publicly three times a
week. It goes without saying that they dress at all times in the costume
of the locality of which they are representatives.

The influences of the Skansen have been of a sort to gratify its
founder. Society now, as a custom, dresses itself for garden parties in
the picturesque gaiety and brilliant colour of old Scandinavia, and
dances the _Skralât_ and _Kadriljs_ of the peasants. A saying has sprung
up that “dancing is a form of patriotism.” The sentiment has impressed
itself no less upon the working people than upon the rich. Children
receive dancing instruction gratis in the Skansen, and knowledge has
spread into all parts of Sweden. Now, instead of the _Polka_, which
fifty years ago swept over Scandinavia and fastened itself on the land
with a hold that smothered every other dance, are to be seen the merry
steps and forms that are distinctively of the Norseland, accompanied by
the old music. A princess of the royal house sanctions the revival of
Scandinavianism (if the word be permitted) to the extent of dressing
herself and the servants at her summer-place according to the new-old
modes. She is popular and the movement is strengthened accordingly.

The dances are simple in step, though often complicated in figure;
lively and gay in manner, and rich in pantomime. Accepted standards of
execution require decided grace and a good style. Gustavus III, when he
visited France, is said to have been deeply impressed by the exquisite
dancing of Marie Antoinette and her court. The element of beauty to be
seen in Swedish dancing is supposed to be due in part, at least, to that
royal visit.

One of the most pleasing dance-arrangements is inspired by the work of
the weaver, with the happy changes of effect constantly wrought by the
action of the loom. The _Vafva Vadna_ this dance is called. It is highly
complicated, the stretched threads are simulated in the lines of
performers, through whom flashes back and forth the girl who represents
the movements of the shuttle. Rich variety is gained by involved
intercrossings of the lines of boys and girls.

The taming of womankind is the motive of the pantomimic _Daldans_. Over
the head of the meekly kneeling woman the man swings his foot, as a
symbol; in another figure the woman’s coquetry reduces the man to
helplessness. The _Vingakersdans_ pantomimes the competition of two
women for the same man. The favoured one seats herself a moment on the
man’s knee, and finishes the number by waltzing with him; while the
defeated charmer bites her nails with vexation.

These are characteristic specimens of a very numerous group. Their
revival seems to progress more rapidly in the villages than in the big
cities--interesting as a case of the country leading the cities in a
movement of modernism. Many of the pantomimes are based on work from
which the rural population is less remote than are those who dwell in
cities. The movements of making a shoe are known to every villager; he
has watched the cobbler many a time, and known him usually as the local
philosopher. Upon the village, therefore, no touch of character in the
_Cobblers’ Dance_ would be lost. The humours of harvesting might in like
manner fail to reach a city audience without the aid of spoken word;
harvest, with other elemental work, provides many of the Scandinavian
dance motives.

Holland and Belgium are alike unproductive of dancing of much
choreographic value. The strength of the people is not accompanied by
either the lightness or agility found in dancing nations. As a
coincidence, it is notable that dancing does not flourish in regions of
wooden shoes. The Dutch have a species of sailors’ dance called the
_Mâtelot_, performed by groups of men and women; but it is a romp and
little or nothing more. This is characteristic of the dances of the
Netherlands, as is confirmed by _genre_ pictures from the time of
Teniers down to the present.

The _Waltz_, it should be said at this point, is universal. If ever it
is asserted that the people of a locality do not dance, an exception may
be made to cover the _Waltz_, so long as the locality referred to is in
the Occident. The seeming caution with which peasants perform their
_Waltzes_ practically removes them from the category of dancing, though
not from that of humour.

France, the Eden of the Grand Ballet, the home of a race of lovers of
beauty, might be expected to abound in rich character dances; but the
exact reverse is true. The people of the country are, first of all,
workers; the dances that enliven their fêtes are the careless
celebration of children released from confining tasks. The principal
cities have their opera ballets; through them is supplied the national
demand for choreographic beauty.

The old name of _la Bourrée_ survives in Auvergne. In its present form
it bears no resemblance to the old _Bourrée_ of eighteenth-century
courts, but is one of those informal frolics of an indefinite number of
couples, hand-clapping, finger-snapping, and energetic bounding, mingled
with shouts of joy.

The _Farandole_ is popular in the South of France. Under its name a
chain of boys and girls, united by handkerchiefs that they hold,
“serpentines” and zigzags in directions dictated by the caprice of their
leader, perhaps traversing the length of the streets of a village. From
time to time the leading couple will halt and form their arms into an
arch for those following to pass under; or again stop the procession in
such a way as to wind up the line into a compact mass. Again the game
partakes of the nature of “follow the leader,” the whole party imitating
the leader in any antic he may perform.

The ancient _Contredanses_--which word England changed to _Country
Dances_, of frequent mention in story--were the roots of modern
_Quadrilles_. These, however, are polished out of any semblance to
character dances; they are of the ballroom and infinitely removed from
the soil.

Germany, with its fondness for legend and care in its preservation,
would be a fertile field for search on the part of a compiler of ancient
observances more or less allied to dancing. A specimen of the latter is
the _Perchtentanz_ of Salzburg. Perchta is another name for Freya,
Woden’s consort and the mother of the Northmen’s gods. She is powerful
even in these modern times, and malicious unless propitiated by proper
formulæ of actions and words. Placing a spoonful of food from each dish
of the Christmas dinner for her on the fence outside the house is one of
the tributes. She has spirit-followers: some kindly, called “_schön
Perchten_,” others wild and fierce, known as “_schiachen Perchten_.” The
latter alight on houses and scream mischievously, lure men into danger
and punish undiscovered crimes.

At irregular intervals is performed the _Perchtentanz_; not apparently
as an act of propitiation, but presumably having that motive as its
origin. Good and evil _Perchten_ both are represented. On an
accompanying page of European miscellany is a drawing of one of the
“beautiful.” The huge plaques are covered with sparkling trinkets and
adorned with braid, ribbon and embroidery. Stuffed birds are also
popular for their decorations; a dozen of them may be affixed to the
lower plaque, a

[Illustration: FROM VARIOUS FOLK-DANCES.

Scandinavian.
Hungarian.
From the _Perchtentanz_ of Salzburg.
Russian.
Scandinavian.
Bavarian.

Russian Court (Princess Chirinski-Chichmatoff.)]

smaller number to the upper; an ambitious crown to the whole is
sometimes seen in the form of a peacock with spread wings. The structure
is supported by a rod running down the bearer’s back, and fastened to
him by belts. Its weight prohibits any movement to which the word
“dancing” applies except as a convenience; but a series of slow and
necessarily careful evolutions performed by the wearers of these
displays is called a dance, nevertheless. Meantime the “fierce
Perchten,” made up with masks as demoniac as possible, run about among
the legs of the crowd and do their best to startle people. The spirit
accompanying the celebration is levity, modified only by the sincere
admiration considered due the serious decorations. They represent a
great deal of work and considerable money.

In various parts of Savoy is performed on St. Roch’s Day what is called
the _Bacchu-ber_. On a platform erected in front of a church, and
decorated with garlands and fir-trees, a group of men dance with short
swords; passing under bridges of swords, forming chains by grasping one
another’s weapons, and so on. That its origin is pre-Christian seems a
reasonable conjecture; but nothing specific is known about it.

Munich celebrates with dancing an episode connected with an epidemic of
cholera: the guild of coopers decided that the care the people were
taking against exposure was defeating its purpose, since it was keeping
them indoors to the detriment of health. They therefore went out and
enjoyed themselves as usual, for the sake of example. Others did the
same, and the plague ceased. Periodically the brave coopers are
honoured, therefore, by dances of large companies of people, who carry
garlanded arches and execute triumphal figures.

[Illustration: THE “SCHUHPLATTELTANZ”

Herr and Frau Nagel

A swing

A turn

A turn, man passing under a woman’s arms

A swing, back-to-back

The mirror

To face page 186]

[Illustration: THE “SCHUHPLATTELTANZ” OF BAVARIA

Preparing a turn (1)--A lift (2)--Starting woman’s series of turns
(3)--Start of woman’s turns (4)--Man fans her along with hands
(5)--Finish of dance (6)

To face page 187
]

The foregoing instances are no more than a specimen of the varieties of
tradition that dancing may commemorate. Europe collectively doubtless
will produce thousands of such dances, when the task of collecting them
is entered upon with the necessary combination of leisure and zeal.

Bavaria’s _Schuhplatteltanz_ is altogether delightful in itself, without
aid from history or tradition to supplement its interest. It is full of
a quaint Tyrolean grace mingled with happy and delicate grotesquery.
Women it causes to spin as though they were some quaint species of
combination doll and top; the atmosphere that surrounds a marvellous and
pretty mechanical toy is preserved in a delicate unreality in the
pantomime and in the treatment throughout.

It is accompanied by zithers, instruments which themselves sing of a
world suspended somewhere in the air. In silvery, floating tones they
play less a waltz than the dream of a waltz, in sounds as unmaterial as
the illusive voice of an Æolian harp.

A little opening promenade; a few bars of the couple’s waltzing
together--in steps infinitesimal, prim with conscious propriety. The man
raises the girl’s hand and starts her spinning. She neither retards nor
helps, being a little figure of no weight, moved solely by power from
without itself. Her skirt stands out as straight and steady as though it
were cardboard; her partner must lean far over now, not to touch it and
spoil the spin. Now she is whirling perfectly; with a parting impulse to
her arm, he releases her. On she turns, at a speed steady as clockwork,
revolving, as a top will, slowly around a large circle.

Her partner follows, beating time in a way that bewilders eye and ear
alike; for his hands pat shoes and leather breeches with a swiftness
incredible and ecstatic. Of this perhaps sixteen bars when, as though
his partner were beginning to “run down,” he starts blowing her along
with vigorous puffs. Nevertheless, she is slowing down; the skirt is
settling. He reaches over it, gets his hands on her waist. To the last
the spinning illusion is preserved by an appearance of her rotary motion
being stopped only by the pressure of the man’s hand as a brake.

The foregoing interpretation is suggested by the delicate work of Herr
and Frau Nagel, and the company with which they are associated. It is a
dance whose fancy easily could disappear under its mechanics, if
performed without imagination.

Having caught his partner after her spin, waltzed again with her for a
few bars, and lifted her up at arm’s length in sheer playfulness, the
man joins arms with her in such fashion as to form almost a duplicate of
the “mirror” figure of the _Minuet_. The courtliness of the cavalier in
the _Minuet_ is matched by adroitness on the part of the
_schuhplatteltanzer_; he contrives to draw his partner’s head nearer and
nearer to his, as they walk around in a lessening circle. Finally, when
the circle of the promenade can become no smaller, and the faces have
come close to the imaginary mirror framed by the arms, he suddenly but
daintily kisses her lips.

Germany is the home of the _Waltz_, of which it has evolved several
varieties. The _Rheinlander Waltz_ is perhaps the most popular. In one
form or another it has spread through the Balkan countries; not,
however, with any apparent detriment to the native dances, because of
these dances’ natural crudeness. Servia, Montenegro and the neighbouring
monarchies celebrate weddings and christenings and enliven picnics with
a “round” called in Servian language the _Kolo_, that employs the simple
old figures of the bridge of arms and the like, but which, as to step,
is quite formless. Colour in the costumes goes far to provide
spectacular interest to these exuberant frolics. The linen gowns of the
women are embroidered in big--and good--designs of two distinct reds,
scarlet and rose; emerald-green and a warm yellow-green; the most
brilliant of yellows; wine-colour and blue. As is frequently found in a
region that has kept a scheme of design through a sufficient number of
generations to allow the formation of traditions based on long
experiment, the seemingly impossible is accomplished by the peasant
women of the Balkans: the colours whose enumeration on the same page
would seem outrageous are, in practical application, brought into
harmony. It is a question of proportionate size of spots of colour, and
their juxtaposition. The results of using the same colours in new
designs is to be seen in the expressions of sundry new schools of
painting that refuse to acknowledge limitations.

Men’s sleeves and waistcoats are frequently embroidered in the same way
as the jacket and sleeves of the women, as exemplified in the
accompanying photographs of Madame Koritiç. Loose linen trousers, which
are sometimes worn, may be likewise decorated. In the sunlight and in
appropriate surroundings, a performance of the _Kolo_ should be a sight
to dispel trouble, whatever its deficiencies from the point of view of
dancing.

Greece, too, diverts itself with rustic rounds, as formless as in other
lands. Of the Hellas that gave the Occident its civilisation there
remain some architectural ruins, to which latter-day inhabitants of the
land may have given some care; and certain statues, preserved in the
museums of other lands. For Hellenic ideals and Attic salt, search the
hat-boy at the entrance to the restaurant. The Greek of to-day is a
composite of Turk and Slav; his dances have neither the grace of the one
nor the fire of the other. The discovery in Greece of survivors of
ancient dances--which discovery is occasionally asserted--may have a
basis in fact; but more likely its foundation is in a similarity between
an ancient and a modern word. But enough of disappointments and of great
things lost.

Hungary, Russia and Poland have a family of strictly national dances
that not only take a position among the world’s best character dances;
without departing from their true premise as expressions of racial
temperament, some of them attain to the dignity of great romantic art,
combined with optical beauty of the highest order. A _Czardás_ in one of
the Pavlowa programmes (season 1913-14) showed qualities of
choreographic composition that were equalled, in that entertainment,
only by the ballet arrangements of the most capable composers whose
works were represented. The juxtaposition of ballet and character
numbers, performed with the same skill and accompanied by the same
orchestra, furnished an uncommonly good measure of the folk-dances’
actual merit.

The _Czardás_, the _Mazurka_ and the _Cossack Dance_ of Russia and the
_Obertass_ of Poland form a group that occupy in the dance the place
that Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsody” fills in music: they are the candid

[Illustration: THE “KOLO” OF SERVIA

Madame Koritiç

Start of a turn
Progress of a turn
A bridge of arms
An emphasis
A lift
]

[Illustration: POSES FROM SLAVONIC DANCES]

Miss Lydia Lopoukowa

Coquetry

Petulance

Indifference

Emphasis

Jocular defiance]

revelation of the heart of a people simple, sympathetic, unrestrainedly
romantic, violently impulsive. Each represents an exciting diversity of
ammunition, fired in one rousing volley; an expression to which one may
become accustomed, but which always remains unfamiliar, and which always
produces an intoxicating shock. The abrupt changes of movement from slow
to fast, from furious speed to a dead standstill; the recurrent
crescendo from short, close movement to broad sweeps, open _jeté_ turns,
and the lowest of “dips”; the diverse effects gained by play of
rhythm--such effects are indescribable in word or picture. Fortunately,
however, characteristic poses are within the range of the snapshot; so
also, to an extent, is the expression of human moods--if portrayed by
rare pantomimic ability.

Possession of such ability, backed by the unfettered imagination of the
Tartar and accompanied by superlative artistry, describes Miss Lydia
Lopoukowa. To her great kindness this book is indebted for the
accompanying photographs representing characteristic poses and moods of
northern Slavonic dancing. Taken from the work of such an artist, the
pictures represent an idealisation, or perfection, of their subjects.
They show movements of the dances themselves, in their spirit, without
the usual limitations imposed by physique. The clean-cut definition of
pose; the co-ordination of pose and features in all the expressions of
allurement, appeal, petulance, esctasy--these represent a standard at
which the merely mortal dancer aims, but a conjunction of conditions
that one may hope to see accomplished few times in the course of one
life.

Yet, as noted before, the dances are so composed that, performed with a
degree of skill not uncommon in their native land, they are rich and
surprising. In steps, the Russian, Austrian and Polish group have most
of their material in common: naturally, since they are united by ties of
race. The salient point by which each dance is distinguished, in the eye
of the spectator, is one big step.

The _Czardás_ employs a long glided step that is all its own. The active
foot is started well to the rear, and glided forward; the glide is
accompanied by a very low _plié_ of the supporting knee; as the active
foot comes into advanced position, the dancer sharply straightens up,
rises to the ball of the supporting foot, and continues the advancing
foot forward and upward in a rapid kick. The masculine version drops the
body lower, and kicks higher, than the feminine; but even the latter’s
change of elevation remains fixed in the memory.

In the _Obertass_, the man goes into the low stooping position, in
connection with executing a very individual _rond de jambe_. At the
moment, he is face to face with his partner, his hands on the sides of
her waist, her hands on his shoulders; after a swift step-turn in the
usual direction, he takes a long step backward (she forward), and,
keeping his right leg extended before him, stoops until he is squatting
on his left heel; the right leg, held straight, is swept rapidly around
to the rear; meanwhile the couple continues to turn. The man’s momentum
turns him until he faces in the same direction with his partner. He
springs up on her right side, and goes with her into a short, fast
polka-step. During the turn, the woman keeps hold of the man to prevent
centrifugal force from flinging him into space.

In the _Mazurka_ (not the ballroom version) the same

[Illustration: POSES FROM SLAVONIC DANCES

Miss Lydia Lopoukowa

Negation (1)--Fear (2)--Supplication (3)--An emphasis (4)]

[Illustration: POSES FROM SLAVONIC DANCES

Miss Lydia Lopoukowa

Characteristic gesture (1)--Characteristic step (2)--Characteristic
gesture (3)--Characteristic step (4)--Same, another view (5)--Ecstasy
(6)--The claim of beauty (7)]

step, modified as to elevation, is performed by both man and woman,
alternately, during certain passages.

The _Szolo_, a Hungarian dance introduced into America by Mr. and Mrs.
Hartmann, gives the woman a unique turn in the air. The woman standing
at her partner’s right, the two join their crossed hands above her head,
she reaching up, he downward. She is turned by being swung through the
air--in a horizontal position--finishing on her partner’s left side. The
arms, of course, have “unwound” from their first position, and
re-crossed in its converse position. This movement, masterfully
executed, is one of the devices by which the dance contradicts gravity.
Ill done, of course, it would be as painful for spectator as performer.

But these dances are not often ill done--at least by the people to whom
they belong. We are credibly informed that the problems of involved
steps and tricky tempo, exacting requirements of agility and expression,
are met with a laugh; that, while great virtuosity is naturally rare,
real elegance of execution is the rule. Which leads back, of course, to
national choreographic traditions and ideals. The artistic level they
occupy in Russia (and presumably Hungary and Poland) is indicated
in a few lines of a letter to the authors from Princess
Chirinski-Chichmatoff, of Moscow. Apart from its value as quite the
finest statement of the meaning of character dancing that is to be found
in the literature of choreography, the paragraph has the interest of
showing one of the reasons why the folk-dancing of northeastern Europe
is good:

_In every dance the principal things are the harmony_ (1) _of movements
with the rhythm of the music_, (2) _of movements with the subject that
the music represents_, _and_ (3) _of the sentiments with the pantomime,
to give a certain impression; and finally this, that it should be a
dance which has exclusively the national character, with the movements
natural_ [familiers] _to a certain people and to a certain epoch. In the
dance the artist ought to show all the richness of his soul; ought to
instil into his movements all of that which the sculptor puts into his
marble; while above the idea and the mood ought to be felt the beauty
and freedom of movements and lines_.

Quite a difference between that and some other national ideas of
character dancing!

Describing her national dance (i. e., the _Cossack Dance_ and its
derivatives) she writes:

“The Russian dance is composed in two parts, Adagio and Allegro. In each
part we see the traits most natural to the people, and which were formed
in historic times, under other conditions.

“1. Adagio: length, freedom, tranquillity of movement with much dignity
and grace, and with a little softness and simplicity; all relating to
the traits that were formed during the period when all Russian women
passed the whole time in their _térémas_ (house of Russian style),
retired from the world, working and singing, thinking melancholy
thoughts about life but never seeing it in reality, never leaving the
house nor being seen except on the rare occasion of visits.

“2. Allegro: expresses, with the gay and popular songs, the vivacity,
the carelessness, the humour and the pleasantry that were born in a
people still a little barbarous and simple, whose sadness and gaiety
were somewhat naïve. All the traits natural to the Russian people are
portrayed in their national dance and in the simple music created from
the most popular and beloved songs.”

Within the form so sketched there is room for a wide variety of
interpretation. The peasant expresses the motives of happiness and
vivacity in movements that translate the joy of an almost wild man. An
advance while maintaining a low squatting position, the spring for each
step coming from a leg bent double, is a grotesquery trying to the
strength of the toughest thighs. Still more difficult and as grotesque
is a movement of squatting on one heel, and rapidly tracing circles with
the extended leg held straight, as though it were the arm of a compass.
The feminine version of the movements is less violent; but the Allegro
portion of the woman’s work is nevertheless tremendously animated in the
rustic version of this dance.

As the court of seventeenth-century France took the dances of the
peasant and modified them into adornments of ceremonious occasions, so
polite society has done in Russia. The _Court Dance_ is the result.
Refinement has not robbed it of the national qualities described by
Princess Chirinski; her own performance of it demonstrates, in almost
spiritual terms, the “dignity and grace,” the “little softness and
simplicity,” the “sadness and gaiety” that she puts into words. Through
her performance, too, runs an undercurrent of the indefinable--a hint of
latent mystery that is not European. It is a quality not infrequently
sensed in the work of artists of Tartar blood; it is a trace of the
Orient.



CHAPTER IX

ORIENTAL DANCING


From a race of artists Mohammed took away the freedom to paint or model
representations of living things. Yet the prohibition was a seed from
which sprang a garden of expression more graphic than paint, a school of
symbolism perhaps the most highly wrought the world has seen.

Artist the Arab is, whether measured by tests of his command over
abstract symbol or--in such media as his religion permits--vivid
portrayal of nature. Of concrete things and occurrences he has the alert
observation of a reporter. Upon what he sees he ponders; intensely
religious, he sees the hand of Allah in many things, draws morals, and
seeks meanings.

His nomad forefathers mastered the geography of the stars, in search of
a celestial message. Though the message be still unread, mathematical
problems that vex the learned in academies amused the Arab when the race
was young. Written numerals he invented, occult relations he sees in
their functions. And, underlying all, he has a passion for intellectual
order.

Geometry is the educated Arab’s plaything; from long practice he can
project its figures upon the wall of imagination, free of the need of
pencil. Owing to this practice, perhaps, his thoughts express themselves
in the form of images. His literature is crowded with them, vivid
sketches thrown before the mind’s eye; each a

[Illustration: ARABIAN “DANCE OF GREETING”

By Zourna

Called upon to dance, she reveals herself (1)--Salutation (2)--Profile
view of same (3)]

[Illustration: ARABIAN “DANCE OF GREETING” (_Continued_)

“For you I will dance” (4)--“From here you will put away care” (5,
8)--“Here you may sleep” (6)--“Here am I” (7)

To face page 197
]

symbol more eloquent than description, a metaphor more compelling than
logic.

As astronomy was born of the search for meanings in the stars, so the
search for mystic functions among the figures of geometry evolved a
school of decoration that drowns the eye in pleasure, baffles the mind
to explain. From square and compass spring the best of the interlaced
ornament of the palace of Alhambra--the ornament that raises material
things to a plane almost exempt from material limitations. And not the
designer alone gleaned from the geomancer’s play with line. Experiments
profitless to the magician yielded of their magic to the architect, to
the end that he was able to make of a gateway a song of thanksgiving, of
a square tower a hymn of aspiration--and these, if it suited him, by the
magic of proportion alone, without the aid of any adornment whatever.

Such a race, if it could have painted and drawn, would have produced
artists superlative in more than one direction. Clear observation and
the wit to discern significances would have made satirists and
commentators of the most subtle kind. In picture, the Arab metaphor
would have been better expressed, even, than in words, which often seem
a weak translation of a graphic symbol in the Arab story-teller’s mind.
As to decoration, it seems inevitable that with knowledge of the figure
and freedom to use it, the Moors that adorned Alhambra’s inner walls
could have painted such designs as are not even dreamed of; for their
designing--so far as its field extended--was to Occidental designing in
general as evolved musical composition is to arrangement by guess-work.

All these things the Arab must have done as a painter. Yet despite the
injunction depriving him of life as material for picture and sculpture,
and indeed because of it, he has evolved an art in which painting and
sculpture unite to express the human emotions through the medium of the
human form. That art, of course, is dancing. He has dignified it with
his accumulated knowledge of decoration, imbued it with the mystic
symbolism of his speculative mind. In light mood it narrates the passing
occurrence or the amusing anecdote. And not the least of the wonders of
the Arab dancing is the emphasis it places upon the beauty of womankind.
Instead of movement, as in most European dancing, its essential interest
is in a series of pictures, charged with significance and rich in
harmony of line. The eye has time to dwell upon a posture, to revel in
the sensuous grace into which it casts body and limb. To complete the
task of sculptural composition, the Arabic dancer studies to a rare
completeness the art of eliminating the many natural crudities of
position that prevent arms, legs and body from showing to the utmost
advantage their physical perfection. Though the material body does
not--in the work of a genuine artist--distract attention from sculptural
nobility of pose, neither is physical attractiveness lost sight of in
the beauties of the abstract.

That the treasure-house of Arabian choreography never has been really
opened to Occidental eyes is probably due, as much as to anything else,
to the Arab’s inability to contribute any explanation to a thing which,
by his way of thinking, explains itself. He has seen no dancing except
that of his own race. To him Arabian dancing is not Arabian; it is just
dancing. In his eyes the mimetic symbols are as descriptive as spoken

[Illustration: ARABIAN “DANCE OF GREETING” (_Continued_)

“And should you go afar” (9)--“May you enjoy Allah’s blessing of rain”
(10)--“And the earth’s fullness” (11)]

[Illustration: ARABIAN “DANCE OF GREETING” (_Continued_)

“May winds refresh you” (12)--
“Wherever you go” (13)--
“And your slave” (16)
“Here is your house” (14)--
“Here is peace” (15)
]

words. Except he could see them with Occidental eyes, he would see
nothing about them to explain.

Europe has seen the Arabic work, and enjoyed it for its ocular beauty.
Gérome, Constant, Bargue and others have painted its sinuous elegance
with admirable results. But no insight into its motives has become
general, nor has any key to its meaning heretofore been printed, so far
as can be ascertained, in any European language.

America still further than Europe has been excluded from satisfactory
acquaintance with the Oriental, because it has been so rarely presented
here except in a manner to defame it. At the World’s Fair in Chicago,
where we saw it first, its sinuous body-movement caused a shock. Along
that line opportunist managers saw profit. Sex--an institution whose
existence is frankly admitted by every civilisation except our own--was,
under managerial inspiration, insisted upon to the exclusion of every
other motive of the dance; and insisted upon in such a manner as to make
it repulsive. Ruth St. Denis has gone far in removing the resulting
stigma from the art of India and Egypt. That the prejudice is not going
to persist in the face of a national common-sense and love of beauty is
further indicated in the reception met by the work of Fatma a couple of
seasons ago in _The Garden of Allah_; a Moroccan woman, doing work
unreservedly typical of her country, always received with delight by the
audience, and never regarded from the wrong point of view.

The mission of calling Western attention to that which lies below the
surface of Arabic dancing, however, appears to have remained for Zourna,
the Tunisian. To her it is possible, by virtue of a point of view
resulting from a dual education, Mohammedan and European.

Zourna is the daughter of an Arab father and a French mother, who lived
in Tunis. In childhood she was taught the Arab girl’s accomplishments,
dancing included; but an occasional visit to France enabled her at all
times to see her African way of living somewhat as it would appear to
the European. In the natural course of events she married; destined,
however, to a short time of enjoyment of the dreamy dancing of the
sheltered harem. The death of her husband and loss of fortune drove her
to dance in cafés. That genus of work she had time to learn well before
Fate again intervened. A chain of circumstances brought her an
opportunity to study ballet in the French Academy. It was not her medium
of expression, but it gave her a clear measure of the difference between
the Oriental and Occidental philosophies of the dance.

Of formulated dances the Arab has few, and those no more set than are
the words of our stories: the point must not be missed, but we may
choose our own vocabulary. In terms of the dance, the Arab entertainer
tells stories; in the case of known and popular stories she follows the
accepted narrative, but improvises the movements and poses that express
it, exactly as though they were spoken words instead of pantomime.
Somewhat less freedom necessarily obtains in the narration of
dance-poems than in the recital of trifling incident; but within the
necessary limits, originality is prized. In the mimetic vocabulary are
certain phrases that are depended upon to convey their definite
meanings. New word-equivalents, however, are always in order, if they

[Illustration: ARABIAN “DANCE OF MOURNING”

By Zourna

The body approaches (1)--The body passes (2)--“I hold my sorrow to
myself” (3)

To face page 200]

[Illustration: ARABIAN “DANCE OF MOURNING” (_Continued_)

“He has gone out of the house and up to Heaven” (4)--“Farewell” (5)

To face page 201
]

can stand the searching test of eyes educated in beauty and minds
trained to exact thinking.

Nearly unlimited as it is in scope, delightful as it unfailingly is to
those who know it, Arabic dancing suits occasions of a variety of which
the dances of Europe never dreamed. In the café it diverts and sometimes
demoralises. In his house the master watches the dancing of his slaves,
dreaming under the narcotic spell of rhythm. On those rare occasions
when the demands of diplomacy or business compel him to bring a guest
into his house, the dancing of slaves is depended upon to entertain. His
wives dance before him to please his eye, and to cajole him into
conformity with their desires.

Even the news of the day is danced, since the doctrines of Mohammed
depress the printing of almost everything except the Koran. Reports of
current events reach the male population in the market and the café. At
home men talk little of outside affairs, and women do not get out except
to visit others of their kind, as isolated from the world as themselves.
But they get all the news that is likely to interest them, none the
less; at least the happenings in the world of Mohammedanism.

As venders of information of passing events, there are women that wander
in pairs from city to city, from harem to harem, like bards of the early
North. As women they are admitted to women’s apartments. There, while
one rhythmically pantomimes deeds of war to the cloistered ones that
never saw a soldier, or graphically imitates the punishment of a
malefactor in the market-place, her companion chants, with falsetto
whines, a descriptive and rhythmic accompaniment. Thus is the harem
protected against the risk of narrowness.

In the daily life of the harem, dancing is one of the favoured pastimes.
Women dance to amuse themselves and to entertain one another. In the
dance, as in music and embroidery, there is endless interest, and a
spirit of emulation usually friendly.

One of the comparatively formalised mimetic expressions is the _Dance of
Greeting_, the function of which is to honour a guest when occasion
brings him into the house. Let it be imagined that coffee and cigarettes
have been served to two grave gentlemen; that one has expressed
bewilderment at the magnificence of the establishment, and his opinion
that too great honour has been done him in permitting him to enter it;
that the host has duly made reply that his grandchildren will tell with
pride of the day when this poor house was so far honoured that such a
one set his foot within it. After which a sherbet, more coffee and
cigarettes. When the time seems propitious, the host suggests to the
guest that if in his great kindness he will look at her, he--the
host--would like permission to order a slave to try to entertain with a
dance.

The musicians, squatting against the wall, begin the wailing of the
flute, the hypnotic throb of “darabukkeh.” She who is designated to
dance the _Greeting_ enters holding before her a long scarf that half
conceals her; the expression on her face is surprise, as though honour
had fallen to her beyond her merits or expectation. Upon reaching her
place she extends her arms forward, then slowly moves them, and with
them the scarf, to one side, until she is revealed. When a nod confirms
the command to dance, she quickly drops the scarf to the

[Illustration: ARABIAN “DANCE OF MOURNING” (_Continued_)

“He slept in my arms” (6)--“The house is empty” (7)--“Woe is in my
heart” (8)

To face page 202]

[Illustration: ARAB SLAVE GIRL’S DANCE

By Zourna

A non-narrative dance, for the exhibition of personal attractions

To face page 203]

floor, advances to a place before the guest and near him, and honours
him with a slave’s salutation. Then arising she proceeds to her silent
greeting.

“You are implanted in your house,” says a movement [see photographs].
“Here is food, here may you sleep well. When you go forth, go you East,
West, North, South [indicating quarter-circles by pointing the toe], yet
you are here. May Allah’s blessings descend upon you. May the breezes
blow upon you, may the rain refresh you, may abundance be showered upon
you; yet may you remember that here you are in your house, and that here
is your slave.”

That is the lifeless skeleton of the story, without grace, or the
animation of movement, or the embellishment of expression. To try to
force words into an equivalent of the semi-ritualistic splendour of the
dance would be attempting to build a Moorish palace of dry grains of
sand.

In Occidental entertainment, when a performer has gained the sanctuary
of the platform, he is practically immune from interruption until his
“number” is finished--unless exception be made of “amateur night” in
vaudeville houses, where offenders are forcibly removed with a hook, or
suddenly enveloped in darkness. With that probably unique exception,
however, the audience confronted by an indifferent performer can only
summon patience. The Orient offers no such security, to the dancer at
least. At the first sign of failure to interest, a signal, perhaps no
more noticeable than the raise of an eyelid, commands the dancer to
cease. Not later, but instantly.

To interrupt a dance of movement without regard to its argument would be
worse than interrupting a story. It would not only undo the preceding
work; it would be very likely to arrest the artist in a transitional
position, in itself weak. At all events, such an interruption would
painfully mar an entertainment programme. But the Arabian dance is not a
dance of movement; it is a dance of pictures, to which movement is
wholly subordinate. Each bar of the music accompanies a picture complete
in itself. Within the measure of each bar the dancer has time for the
movements leading from one picture to the next, and to hold the picture
for the instant necessary to give emphasis. At whatever moment she may
be stopped, therefore, she is within less than a second of a pose so
balanced and sculptural that it appears as a natural termination of the
dance. The Oriental’s general indifference to the forces of accumulation
and climax are consistent with such a capricious ending. In his dance,
each phrase is complete in itself; it may be likened to one of those
serial stories in our magazines, in which each instalment of the story
is self-sufficient.

To the Occidental unused to Oriental art, the absence of crescendo and
climax, and the substituted iteration carried on endlessly, is
uninteresting. Nevertheless, a few days of life among Oriental
conditions suffice to throw many a scoffer into attunement with the
Oriental art idea. Which is to soothe, not to stimulate. Moorish
ornament is an indefinitely repeated series of marvellously designed
units, each complete in itself, yet inextricably interwoven with its
neighbours. In music the beats continue unchanging through bar after
bar, phrase after phrase. The rhythmic repetition of the tile-designs on
the wall, the decorative repetition of the beats of music, produce a
spell of dreamy visioning comparable only to the effect of some potent
but harmless narcotic.

To the foregoing generality exception must again be made of the dancing
in cafés. While it conforms to the structure of a picture-complete-in-each-bar,
its treatment is more or less at variance with the idea of soothing. But
the symbolism is likely to lack nothing of picturesqueness. The
_Handkerchief Dance_ is characteristic of the type.

Of the two handkerchiefs used in this dance one represents the girl
herself, the other her soon-to-be-selected lover. She first takes a
corner of each handkerchief into her teeth, warming them into life. She
lays them parallel on the floor and indifferently dances around and
between them, to state her power to cross the line and return free from
entanglements of lover’s claims. Into the waistband of her trousers she
tucks opposite corners of both handkerchiefs so that they hang as
panniers: the hands pushed through show the panniers empty; she would
receive gifts. To show, too, that she can give, a flourishing gesture
releases a corner of each, to spill the imagined contents. Interest
progresses until as a climax she kisses one of the fluttering cloths,
slowly passes it downward over heart and body, and throws it in a wad to
the elected one. The token is his passport to her; and its return at any
later time is announcement that she no longer interests him.

One dance the Arabs have that is not associated with the idea of
symbolism, but is rather a vehicle for the display of technical skill
for skill’s own sake. It is the _Flour Dance_. On the floor a design is
drawn in an even layer of flour--a favourite figure is the square
imposed on a circle, familiar in Saracenic ornament. The dancer’s first
journey over the figure establishes a series of footprints; a successful
performance consists in planting the feet in the same tracks during
subsequent rounds. Difficulties can be added by crossings of the feet,
turns and other involutions, and multiplied by increasing speed. This
dance was mentioned in connection with the ancient Greek _Dance of the
Spilled Meal_, of which it may reasonably be supposed to be either a
direct descendant or a surviving ancestor.

There are a number of little dances popular in light entertainment. In
one, a woman in the act of eavesdropping is startled by a lizard
dropping on her back. Her efforts to get rid of it attract her husband
from his [imagined] conversation on the other side of the curtain. She
must now explain why she was standing at the curtain, and above all she
must appear calm. The comedy opportunity lies in her efforts not to
squirm away from the [imagined] lizard.

Another of these one-character sketches tells of the lazy washerwoman.
She enters steadying on her head an imaginary basket of linen. Arriving
at the edge of the stream she puts down the basket, kneels, and
indolently begins mauling and scrubbing the garments over the
half-submerged rocks. (And she turns the movements into poetry!) But her
attention wanders from uncongenial work. Whose hasn’t? one
sympathetically asks oneself as one watches. She looks up the stream,
and down; her eye sees beauties, and her mind finds subjects to wonder
about. She falls a-dreaming, and then asleep--still kneeling.

When she wakens, the other women have finished their work and gone, and
it is late. Not stopping to wring out the clothes that she hurriedly
collects from the

[Illustration: “HANDKERCHIEF DANCE” OF THE CAFÉS

By Zourna

The handkerchiefs symbolizing the lovers are animated with the breath of
life, but kept dissociated (1)--Brought into semi-association
(2)--Separated and dropped (3)]

[Illustration: “HANDKERCHIEF DANCE” (_Continued_)

She can dance about, between or away from them, indifferently (4)--Made
into panniers, the panniers express her willingness to receive, turned
inside out, her willingness to give (5)--One of the two handkerchiefs is
thrown to the selected lover (6)]9 pool, she throws them into the
basket. Humour is put into the artist’s mimicry of the poor woman’s
efforts to avoid the dripping water, while carrying the weight of a
basket of wet clothes balanced on her head. Embodying as it does both
dream-sentiment and comedy, the little pantomime is a pretty vehicle for
versatility.

A serious story is that of the Mohammedan woman who, against her
father’s wishes, has married a Jew. The representation opens with the
woman’s entrance to the room where her father lies dying. Her hair falls
loose in token of mourning or penitence. She kneels beside the
death-bed, and strips off her many jewels. Her vow to re-enter the fold
of Islam she shows by drawing a strand of her hair across her mouth,
suggesting the face-covering of the women of Mohammedan faith. The
father offers his hand to be kissed. Grateful, she slowly rises, crosses
the room, closes and bolts the door, in token of shutting out all but
the paternal faith.

The dance of mourning for the dead is a fixed composition only to the
extent of including certain accepted postures; their sequence is not
prescribed. “Here he lies dead; Allah takes him. I am as a fallen tree;
I am alone. He held me in his arms; we played together; and he was my
protector.” In such manner runs the widow’s lament for her departed
husband. Pulsing through all is the solemn beat of “darabukkeh”
undertoning the wails of mourners.

The Bedoui of the desert celebrate marriage, peace-compacts,
declarations of war and other happy occasions with a gun-dance, which is
known as a _Fantasia_ or _Fantaisie_. It in no way conforms to the
fundamentals of Arabic dancing, and in fact it is a dance in name only.
But it is joyous exceedingly. Approximately rhythmic rifle-firing is
continuous from beginning to end. Performers both mounted and afoot leap
and whirl in maniac confusion, shooting up, down and all around in merry
abandon. Dust, howls and powder-smoke attack ears, eyes and throat in
unison, and the only unhappy ones in the gay assemblage are those that
Allah wills to have been shot, stepped on by horses, or both.

Tangier is the setting of an occasional savage celebration of religious
fanaticism; and these celebrations, too, fall into a category of
quasi-dancing. They are demonstrations of a sect styled the Hamadsha. To
a deafening accompaniment of fifes and drums, a few leaders start a
crude hopping dance in the market-place. The number of participants
grows rapidly; excitement increases with the number, until, at a point
of frenzy, the leaping fanatics begin hacking their heads with axes. The
example is so contagious that small boys dash into the mêlée and snatch
axes from the hands of men, to inflict the same castigation. Christian
spectators frequently faint at the spectacle, but fascination holds them
at their windows until they are overcome. During the four hours or more
that the blood-spilling continues, as well as during a period before and
after, the street is a dangerous place for the unbeliever.

Ostrander, the traveller, while in Constantinople, found himself
unaccountably in the midst of a celebration differing in character from
those of the Hamadsha of Tangier only in the respect of being held at
night. The resemblance in all essentials indicates the existence of
Mohammedan undercurrents completely unknown to the Western world.

Egypt, notwithstanding centuries of Arab domination, preserves--or
re-creates--in her dancing the style shown in the carvings of the
Pharaoh dynasties. In contrast to the softly curving Arab movements, the
Egyptian’s definitely incline to straight lines. Gestures change their
direction in angles, rather than curves. Poses of perfect symmetry are
sought. Even when symmetry is absent, the serpentine, plastic character
of Arab movement is pertinently avoided. The sentiment of architecture
is cultivated; the head is not turned on the shoulders, nor the torse on
the hips, except as such relaxation is required in the interest of
pantomime. In movement and position the Egyptian seeks verticals,
horizontals and right angles. To the beauty of the work the severely
geometrical treatment adds an architectural quality almost startling in
its surety and majesty.

Egyptian form “toes out” the artist’s feet, so that they are seen
without perspective when the performer is facing the spectator.

Whether the dances of the Valley of the Nile established the conventions
of early relief carvings, or whether, on the other hand, the carvings
determined the character of the dances, is a question neither possible
nor necessary to decide. Both arts certainly were the expression of
rigid religious ceremonialism, and likely are twins. To-day the records
in granite are the subject of conscious study on the part of dancers. In
the past, too, they undoubtedly have been chart and compass to the
sculpture of ephemeral flesh and blood, that unguided might have
perished in any one of the thousands of generations of its existence.

In type of subject and motive the dances of Egypt resemble those of the
Barbary States, as above described. Mourning, homage and incident are
narrated in about the same vocabulary, the dissimilarity of technique
being comparable to a dialectic difference of pronunciation of a
language. On their commercial side the two are identical. In
tourist-ridden cafés of Cairo and Port Said, as in those of Tangier and
Algiers, girls dance what the tourist expects and wishes. In the Coptic
town of Esneh, dwelling in the ruined temples, is a community of people
known as Almées. They are literally a tribe of dancers, removed by a
khedive in former times from Cairo on grounds of impropriety. Dancing as
they do in the temples of five thousand years ago, they form a curious
link with antiquity. Their work, however, is said to be shaped to the
tourist demand.

Such dances, however, despite the insistence with which they are pushed
upon the attention of tourists, are not of the kind with which the name
of Egypt deserves to be associated. The mystic still dwells along the
shores of the Nile; but its votaries do not commercialise it, nor is it
a commodity that lends itself to sale and purchase, even were there a
disposition so to degrade it. One of the dances illustrated by Zourna
symbolises in terms as delicate as the most ethereal imaginings, the
awakening of the soul.

The body’s initial lack of the spiritual spark is represented by the
crossed hands, as bodies are carved on sepulchres. An imperceptible
glide through a series of poses so subtly distinguished from one another
that movement, from one moment to the next, is unseen, creates an
atmosphere mysterious and almost chill in its twilight gloom. Gropingly
the arms rise to the

[Illustration: “DANCE OF THE SOUL’S JOURNEY”

By Zourna

The soulless body (1)--Asks for the light of life (2)--Vision dawns
(3)--Inexpert in life, she walks gropingly (4)]

[Illustration: “DANCE OF THE SOUL’S JOURNEY” (_Continued_)

She draws aside the veil of the future (5)--Life is seen full and
plenteous (6)

To face page 211
]

position that symbolises prayer for the divine light--the hand below the
chin emphasising the upturn of the face, the upper hand suggesting the
flame. With awe the new intelligence gazes upon the world, open-eyed;
then it must draw aside the veil of the future. Fulness of life is seen
awaiting, which the dancer expresses by a gesture representing
roundness, the accepted Oriental representation of completeness and
richness. But wait! she will grow old, and with bent back will walk
stumbling at the heels of a camel. But a defiance to age and the future!
Now she is young; her body is straight and her limbs round. A defiant
expression of the joy of life follows, yet undertoned withal with
unforgettable sadness; movements of happiness, a face of tragedy.

The sombre majesty of the pictures, especially those of the search into
the future; the reverence-compelling mystery of the somnambulistic
movements--a hundred things about this dance raise it to the very
uppermost plane of its kind of art. So far beyond mere skill are its
movements, so completely alien to anything in Occidental knowledge, that
to Occidental eyes they are as unearthly as they are imposing. Reason
fails, chloroformed by beauty; the real becomes the unreal, the unreal
the real. Imagination is released from the tentacles of fact and time.
The future? It could be seen for the trouble of turning the head to
look; but what profit foreknowledge either of cuts or caresses?
Curiosity is for the very young. Better and wiser the lot of
ignorance....

Hypnotism of a kind? Granted. Finely rendered, this dance represents the
utmost development of the co-ordination of rhythm, sentiment, and
appropriateness of movement. That combination in its turn is
undoubtedly the essence of the Oriental magic that, since the world was
young, has enabled men to dream dreams and see visions. Among the newer
civilisations the emotional power of rhythm is as unknown as it is
untried.

The Egyptian’s passion for decoration is served by the dance, no less
ably than is his love of the metaphysical. In the homes of the rich
there is said to be a form of decorative choreography, like a ballet in
structure, that duplicates and animates a painted or sculptured frieze
on the walls of the room. The dancers enter one at a time, taking their
positions in turn under the figures of the frieze, copying each in pose
as they come into place under it. The intervals between poses are of
course enriched by carefully related movements, so that the line of
dancers, advancing together from figure to figure, shall move as a
harmonised unit. The scheme creates a manifold interest: the line of
dancers represents an animated version of the frieze; though it is seen
to move, its figures remain in a sense unchanged; yet to watch any one
performer is to see her change constantly. The human line and the mural
frieze collectively form a background for the work of a leading dancer,
who flits from place and duplicates the poses of such figures as she may
choose.

In another entertainment, descriptions tell of huge vases carried in and
placed back of the dancing space, as though they were decorative
adjuncts forgotten until the last moment. They are placed, and the
servants retire, just before the first dancer opens the programme. A
spectator unfamiliar with the diversion would notice that the vases were
elaborately ornamented with carved figures. These one by one relax their
archaic severity

[Illustration: “DANCE OF THE SOUL’S JOURNEY” (_Continued_)

But old age will come (7)--Grief will visit (8)--She shall walk with her
nose close to the camel’s foot (9)

To face page 212]

[Illustration: “DANCE OF THE SOUL’S JOURNEY” (_Continued_)

Yet now, from the crown of her head (10)--To the soles of her feet she
is perfect (11)

To face page 213
]

of pose and very slowly come to life. Keeping the colour of the stone
and without wholly losing its unbending character, each dances her
allotted number and returns to her pose on the vase.

The foregoing is by no means a complete list of Egypt’s dances of
decorative interest or occult significance. Dance representations of
subjects of everyday interest are also popular; there is one that
sketches a series of incidents connected with a hunt with a falcon. But,
as stated in another place, the choreographic taste of Egypt has many
points of similarity with that of the Arabs of all the southern coast of
the Mediterranean. Egyptian technique is distinct, its interpretation of
the abstract is marvellously developed, its union of the dance with
architecture is its own. But its taste in pantomimes of light motive is
already characterised without the addition of further examples.

Following Oriental dancing eastward toward India, its probable
birthplace, it is found to preserve with approximate consistency certain
general characteristics. The combined pantomimic and decorative use of
the arms, subject to regional ideas as to what comprises decorative
quality, runs through it all. The apparent freedom of chest, abdomen and
hips from any restricting inter-relationships, is an attribute of it
emphasised in some localities more than others; it decreases toward the
north, generally speaking. The women of Turkey compare with those of the
Barbary States in phenomenal flexibility and control of the abdominal
muscle--resulting in capability for a species of contortion not at all
agreeable when exaggerated.

A principle of all Oriental dancing is its frank acknowledgment of
avoirdupois. It employs none of the devices by which lightness is
achieved, choosing as its aim, rather, the representation of a plastic
quality that exploits rather than denies the meatiness of flesh texture.
The heel is not often raised high from the ground, and indeed the foot
is often planted flat. A mannerism intensely characteristic of the
Oriental use of the foot is a trick of quickly changing its direction
after it is set on the floor but before the weight of the body is
shifted to it; the twist may leave the heel stationary as a pivot, or
the ball. The effect is as though the dancer were making a feint to
deceive the spectator as to the direction of the next turn, and
doubtless such contribution to interest is the intent. It at least adds
intricacy, and directs attention to a pretty foot. Of the latter
adornment, whether covered with little Turkish slipper with turned-up
toe, or bare, possessors are impartially proud.

Mystery of movement in certain parts is a further characteristic
distinguishing the Oriental work from anything to be found in the
Occident, with the exception of certain tricks of the Spanish
Gipsy--tricks which, after all, furnish no exception, since they are
Moorish absolutely. The Oriental covers little space in her work. A
space large enough to kneel on would admit all that her art requires.
She has no leaps to make, nor open leg-movements. Much of the time she
has both feet on the floor, is active chiefly in arms and body. Much
more of the time her feet are engaged in steps hardly noticeable.

The foregoing observations on Oriental work apply more particularly to
the low latitudes than to lands farther removed from the equator. China
and Japan have a choreography like that of the Southern regions in some
respects; but their custom of bundling the dancer

[Illustration: MISCELLANEOUS ORIENTAL NOTES.

Dancing girls of Biskra.
Turkish Sword Dance.
Egyptian bas-relief, Metropolitan Museum, N. Y.
Japanese Dance of War.
Japanese Flower Dance.
The Hula-Hula Dance, Hawaiian Islands.
]

up in clothes is the cause also of differences so pronounced that they
had best be considered as of a different category. Purely as a
convenience, therefore, let it be understood that Japanese and Chinese
dancing shall be referred to by those names; and that the word Oriental
shall be understood to signify the dances of the sinuous-body type, to
which pertain those of the Arabs of North Africa and elsewhere, the
Persians, Turks and some others.

To the dancing of men, where any is done, generalities as to the style
of Oriental dancing fail to fit in many cases. Exceptions are not
numerous, however; because, if for no other reason, far the greater part
of Oriental dancing is done by women. Of the few exceptions some are
dances of religion, others of war.

An intoxicating _Sword Dance_ is practiced in Turkey. Like almost
everything else that is danced (or sung or acted) its merit of course
depends in great degree on the quality of its interpretation. Well done,
this Turkish _Sword Dance_ shows itself a composition of rare
individuality and a fine, wild beauty; for good measure, it is a sword
combat of a reality that threatens the spectator with heart failure. The
two combatants advance and retreat, accenting the music with clashes of
sword on shield; the interest is that of a barbarously beautiful dance
as long as they continue to face each other. Notwithstanding rapidity,
the chances are against a mishap. But when of a sudden both launch
themselves on a series of lightning _rond de jambe pirouettes_, the
scimitars sweeping around fast enough to cut a man in two if he should
fail to parry, the affair becomes a sporting event, and that of a kind
to harrow the nerves.

Turkey also is the place, or one of the places, where

[Illustration: “DANCE OF THE SOUL’S JOURNEY” (_Continued_)

Rejoices in the perfect body (12)--And in all good things (13)--Runs
from the scene (14)

To face page 216]

[Illustration: CHARACTERISTIC PANTOMIME IN DANCING OF MODERN EGYPT

By Zourna

Express sorrow (1, 3)--Represents a prayer directed downward and back;
_i. e._, to spirits of evil (2)

To face page 217]

Whirling Dervishes are educated for their curious calling. Mr. H. C.
Ostrander is authority for the statement that an apprenticeship of a
thousand days is considered a necessary preparation for proper
performance of this apparently simple act of devotion. Since nothing
whatever is attempted in step beyond that which the ballet-dancers call
“Italian turns,” it must be supposed that the art of the Whirling
Dervish has qualities that do not appear on the surface. It is taught in
monasteries scattered through the mountainous regions.

The Caucasus, that land less known than fabled, has dances of a fame as
persistent as it is vague. Its map is dotted with names immortalised in
the _Arabian Nights_. It is the setting of _Scheherazade_ and _Sumurun_;
a region whose inhabitants declare their intention never to become
Occidentalised, and whom no power is likely to push in any direction.
Being under the Czar’s dominion, most of its few visitors are Russians;
they alone among Occidentals possess any definite knowledge of its
choreography. Princess Chirinski-Chichmatoff, at present making it an
object of special study, writes the following in reply to an inquiry
from the authors:

“_Lezginkà_, the Oriental Dance of the Caucasus, was born in the
mountains of a beautiful country whose nature is wild and grandiose;
among a people courageous and energetic, who have preserved much of the
savagery and temperament of the Oriental races.

“The men of these people ... have the custom of never parting from the
poniard. They pass the greater part of their time horseback, always
prepared to meet an enemy and to defend the happiness and honour of the
family. To this day they retain the custom of answering for every
spilling of blood with a revenge; each victim has his victim. There
still exists the custom of abducting the fiancée from the paternal house
and carrying her away to one’s own. The women have all the timidity of
beings who live under the strongest of despotism. They have preserved
all the softness and grace of daughters of the Orient, with body
accustomed to careful attention and not to any physical work; who seek
only to rest, to look at themselves, and to enjoy the gifts by which
they are favoured by nature and usage. Under this exterior the woman
keeps covered many passions which sleep until the first moment of
provocation, when they break forth like the eruption of a
volcano--surrounding her with fire that sweeps with it any imprudent one
that happens to be near. Passion is the principal theme in the life of
an Oriental woman, and that sentiment she can vary like a virtuoso....

“You see her quiet, beautiful, relaxed, in the calm of a great fatigue,
with softness enveloping face and movements. Suddenly one detects an
unusual sound, a look cast, a movement--she is fired, she becomes fierce
and wild like all the Nature around her. You see before you a tigress,
beautiful, live and strong, ready to spring on the prey, playing and
attracting, making mischief and exhausting herself at the same time.
After which her movements become few, slow, tired and melancholy.”

“Thus is Oriental dancing built on contrasts; sentiments and moods
change unexpectedly. Gentle, relaxed and melancholy, of a sudden it is
brusque, animated, fiery. It has much coquetry, passion, and often
tragedy.”

In India dancing is sharply divided into the classes of sacred and
profane. In the latter division are to be

[Illustration: FROM THE DANCES OF THE FALCON

By Zourna

Shock as the bird strikes his quarry (1)--Rejoicing as he overcomes it
(2)]

[Illustration: DANCING GIRLS OF ALGIERS

To face page 219
]

[Illustration: RELIEFS ON TOWER OF THE TEMPLE OF MADURA (INDIA).]

found dances of ceremony, pantomimic representations of wide variety,
and eccentricities that almost trespass on the domain of
sleight-of-hand. The best known is a _Dance of Eggs_. The performer, as
she starts whirling, takes eggs one by one from a basket that she
carries, and sets them into slip-nooses at the several ends of cords
that hang from her belt. Centrifugal motion pulls each cord taut as soon
as it receives the weight of an egg. Finally all the cords, numbering
from a dozen to twenty, are extended, each bearing its insecurely
fastened egg. The dance is completed by collecting the eggs and
returning them unbroken to the basket.

Another diversion is the _Cobra Dance_ popularised in America by Miss
Ruth St. Denis--assisted by numerous imitators. One hand is held in a
shape to suggest the form of a cobra’s head, and huge jewels add a
striking resemblance to the creature’s eyes. The performer of the cobra
representation sits cross-legged. The hand suggesting the snake’s head
glides over the body, with frequent sudden pauses to reconnoitre; the
arm following it--in the case of Miss St. Denis so amazingly supple and
so skilfully made to seem jointless that it suggests the snake’s body
almost to reality--takes the appropriate sinuous movements around
shoulders and neck. The free hand completes that which at times is
almost an illusion by stroking and semi-guiding the head. Miss St. Denis
herself watches the hand with just the alertness and caution to convey
an impression of latent danger of which she, the snake charmer, is not
afraid, but which she must anticipate with keen attention. Withal she
never for an instant slips from her high key of grace, rhythm and style.

It is to Miss St. Denis that America and western

[Illustration: PERSIAN DANCE, PRINCESS CHIRINSKI-CHICHMATOFF

To face page 220]

[Illustration: REPRESENTATIVE ORIENTAL POSES

Miss Ruth St. Denis

Votive offering (3 poses)--Decorative motives (3 poses)--Disclosure of
person (1 pose)

To face page 221
]

Europe owe the greater part of their impressions of the dancing of the
Far East. She has given the subject years of study; with the object, far
more comprehensive than an imitation or reproduction of specific dances,
of interpreting the Oriental spirit. To this end Miss St. Denis uses the
structural facts of the various dances as a basis for an embodiment of
their character in such form that it shall be comprehensible to Western
eyes and among Western surroundings. The loss inseparable from the
adaptation of such a creation to the conventions of the stage, she
compensates--perhaps more than compensates--by a concerted use of
lights, colour and music, co-operating to produce a sense of dreamy
wonder, and to unite in the expression of a certain significance.

Her _Nautch Dance_, with its whirling fountain of golden tissue, she
sets in the palace of a rajah, where it serves a social purpose similar
to that of the _Dance of Greeting_ already described. The _Spirit of
Incense_ is an interpretation of the contemplative spirit that
accompanies Buddhistic thought and worship. _The Temple_--with which
Miss St. Denis remains an inseparable part, in the mind of every one who
has seen it--throws the spectator into an attitude of something like awe
at the rise of the curtain, so perfectly considered is an indefinable
relationship of magnificence and semi-gloom in the setting. An idol
occupies a shrine in the centre of the stage. After a stately ritual
executed by priests, the idol (Radha) descends and performs a _Dance of
the Five Senses_, glorifying physical enjoyment. Interwoven with
increasing manifestations of pleasure in the senses is a
counter-expression of increasing despair. The opposed sentiments reach
their climaxes simultaneously. Radha resumes her shrine, and the
attitude of endless contemplation, in token that peace of spirit lies
only in denial of sensual claims.

The technical character with which Miss St. Denis invests the Indian
representations is, first, the elimination of any movement that might
detract from a feeling of continuity. Every action proceeds in waves; a
ripple slowly undulates down the body, and even seems to continue on its
way into the earth; like a wave running the length of a cord, a ripple
glides from body through the extended arms and fingers, to go on
indefinitely through the air. Rapid movements are employed only enough
to meet the demands of variety. Long gesture, long line, deliberate
action and even colour quality are held in an indescribable rapport with
the insistent tempo with which the whole is bound together; there is no
escape from acceptance of the resultant multiple rhythm; it is
inevitable. A simple, rapid movement, therefore, introduced with due
consideration of all the parts of the complex, magic mechanism, has the
dramatic power literally to startle.

The success of the composition as a whole, in its purpose of conveying
an impression of the very essence of an aspect of India, is asserted
most emphatically by those to whom that mysterious land is best known.
To regard the production as an exposition of Indian dancing would be
quite beside the point. The dances, though wholly consistent with their
originals in point of character, are only a part of a whole. Nor do they
pretend to exploit the complete range of Indian choreography; Miss St.
Denis herself would be the first to disclaim any such intention. As she
explains her work, she uses the dancing of a people as a basis on which
to

[Illustration: JAVANESE DANCER, MODERN

To face page 222]

[Illustration: RELIEF CARVINGS, TEMPLE OF BOROBODUL, JAVA

Dance of Greeting [?] (1)--Dance of Worship (2)--An Arrow Dance (3)

To face page 223]

compose a translation of that people’s point of view and habit of
thought.

To exactly the same process Bizet subjected the music of Spain to
produce the score of _Carmen_; Le Sage to construct _Gil Blas_. Than the
latter there is nothing in Spain that could more quickly acquaint a
foreigner with certain aspects of “Españolism.”

A link with antiquity is furnished by multitudinous carvings of dancers
on Hindu and Buddhistic temples in India and Java. The temple in Java,
some of whose sculpture is here reproduced, was recently rediscovered
after several centuries of burial in a jungle. It is known to be at
least eight hundred years old. A comparison between the style of the
dancers there represented, that of the little Javanese present-day
dancer shown in a photograph, and that which is indicated in line
drawings (from photographs of temples in India) hints at indefinite age
back of Oriental dancing as we know it, as to style, technique and
spirit. The photographs, including those from which the line drawings
were made, are from the collection of Mr. H. C. Ostrander.

With variations, the India type of movement and pantomime, with the
practice of striking a significant pose at regular intervals, continues
eastward as far as the Hawaiian Islands. The _Hula-Hula_ of the graceful
Hawaiians has been well exemplified recently in an interpolation in _The
Bird of Paradise_. Essentially, the _Hula-Hula_ is a dance of coquetry;
its thematic position, which recurs like a refrain, is that shown in one
of the accompanying drawings.

Any effort to trace the path of Oriental dancing farther east than the
Hawaiian Islands leads to the shoals of unsubstantial speculation.
Aztec ruins are said (on authority not vouched for) to bear carvings
that show the early existence of the India type of dancing in Mexico.
There are said to be traces of India influences in the dancing of
Mexican Indians of to-day. But the interest of such fact--even if it is
a fact--is more closely related to ethnology than choreography; because
it is pretty certain that any trace of India dancing that may exist will
be an almost unrecognisable corruption. The study of dances on grounds
of oddity, ethnological curiosity or legendary association leads away
from the study of dancing for its own sake, and that of its inherent
beauty. It is in the endeavour to keep within the lines of reasonably
pure choreography that this book has been restrained from digressions
into the quasi-dancing of American Indians, African negroes, various
South Sea Islanders and many other interesting folk.

Dancing has an immense importance in religious worship of most of the
many denominations of India. Priestesses are trained to it; _corps de
ballet_ into which they are organised are maintained in the temples
under a system like that of ancient Egypt. Their rites are unknown--or
practically so--to those outside of their own faith. In other cults the
rites are performed, in part, by laymen. The latter ceremonies include a
not-to-be-described orgy periodically celebrated in certain Hindu
temples, by women, with the motives of propitiating Vishnu.

China has a school of rhythmic pantomime, the movement of which hardly
justifies its consideration as a branch of real dancing--so far as known
to the authors. An annual religious spectacle is to be noted: in it are
employed animals’ heads, recalling the _Snake Dance_ of the Hopi
Indians.

Japan, by means of sundry additions to the older Chinese school of
mimetic posturing, has converted it into an organism to which the name
of dancing is quite appropriate, and which constitutes by far the
greater portion of her national choreography.

It appears that the dances of occasional merry-makers, priestesses, and
the much-misunderstood Geishas have a common characteristic of slow,
even movement, small steps, and a highly abstract pantomime. Of a style
distinct from these are certain dances of men, including a stirring
dance of warriors; in which group is seen vigourous action, a good
proportion of open movement, and genuine steps. The accepted
classification of the Japanese, as _Nô_, or sacred dancing, and profane,
doubtless has its merits; but the division previously indicated,
distinguishing between dances of posture and those of movement, which is
the one established by the eye, is at least convenient.

With choral posture and gesture the Japanese celebrate auspicious
conditions of nature or happy events in the family. The coming of
spring; the cherry blossoms; the season of fishing with cormorants;
flowers in general; rice-harvest--in honour of a thousand occurrences
may be imagined groups of gaily coloured kimonos enveloping little
figures, softly and rhythmically swaying over the green, from each
kimono protruding a fan or a bouquet held in a cloth-enshrouded hand. In
the tea-house the Geisha (who is a skilled professional entertainer, no
more and no less) pantomimes, in delicate symbol, the falling of the
petals of flowers, the hearing of distant music--any motive is suitable,
apparently, so long as it is pretty, dainty, fanciful. Movement
conforms to the same manner of thinking; much of it barely disturbs the
silken folds of the kimono. A thousand meanings are hidden in little
turns and twists of the fan; but, when explained, the connection of act
and meaning is often so tenuous that it seems less mysterious, or
suggestive, than merely vague. Nevertheless, taking it on its own
premise as a demonstration of Japanese-doll prettiness, which is not
concerned with any but the lightest emotions, this type of dancing is
pleasing. Its virtue is its gossamer frailty.

The dances of war fall into a distinct class. Some of the drawings of
Hokkai represent them: combats between swordsmen, or between a swordsman
and a spearman. The dances themselves are charged with a vigourous
spirit and executed with big, noble movement of flourished weapons. The
poses follow the indefinable angularity which, through the very
consistency of its use, is an agreeable element in the more virile
school of Japanese drawing; and the spicy effect of sharpness so
produced combines to admiration with the crab-like design of old
Japanese armour.

Other men’s dances, equally vigourous, are recorded in drawings. But any
exact study of these or any other dances of Japan is almost hopelessly
handicapped by a scarcity of individuals who possess the desirable
combination of definite knowledge and personal reliability.

The Japanese theatrical dancing, so called, leads into a labyrinth of
pantomime both subtle and involved, and movement so slight that a troop
of dancers can continue in action four consecutive hours, without
relays. That is almost too much for real dancing, under existing

[Illustration: “NAUTCH DANCE”

Miss Ruth St. Denis

To face page 226]

[Illustration: JAPANESE DANCE

Miss Ruth St. Denis

To face page 227
]

human limitations of heart and muscle. The ballet dancer is entitled to
a rest after a solo of four minutes; to the ballet, therefore, it would
be well to return, for the certainty that the discussion is safe again
on the solid ground of reality.



CHAPTER X

THE BALLET IN ITS DARK AGE


When a plant has passed a climax of luxuriant blossoming, a heedless
owner is likely to leave it to the mercies of weather and worms, while
he turns his interest to other plants whose season of bloom is just
beginning.

Taglioni and Ellsler faded about the middle of the nineteenth century.
Cerito, Grahn and Grisi were, at best, unable to surpass them. Jenny
Lind set people talking about singers, and spending their time listening
to songs. Dancers, desperately straining to recatch the lost interest,
multiplied _entrechats_ and _pirouettes_, jumped higher and more bravely
than ever. Straining for technical feats, they forgot motive; the public
called the ballet meaningless, its work a stupid form of acrobatics, its
smile a grimace. A genius could have made such words seem the words of
fools; in the default of a genius, the words were accepted as of more or
less true judgment.

The years that followed produced a certain amount of dancing that was
good, notably some of the operatic ballets of Europe, and a few ballet
spectacles of the seventies and eighties; more that could not exactly be
called bad; and, lastly and principally, a series of monstrosities that
were nearly infinite in both number and ugliness.

In trying to find something that would suit the new and unsettled state
of the public taste, managers apparently tried any concoction that could
be devised by stage, paint-bridge, property room or box-office.
Montmartre dance-halls evolved the _Can-can_; half of Paris caught its
fever; England, and thence America, were engulfed in the lingerie of
high kickers. Not dancers, just high kickers.

“One, two, three, KICK!” was their vocabulary--or is, for they are not
all dead yet.

In England several managers at various times offered good productions,
with casts of capable artists. Of such productions the most fortunate
made small profits; the majority lost whatever money was put into them.
Managers said the public did not want good work--a deduction apparently
justifiable. They devised the elaborate scenic production--Aladdin’s-cave
sort of thing, with millions of jewels the size of roc’s eggs, delirious
with yards and furlongs of red, yellow and green foil-paper, acres of
chrome-yellow, and “magic transformation scenes”; with one hundred
people on the stage, one hundred, obviously making two hundred legs,
every one of which was considered thrilling and dangerous in those days.
Of all those legs displayed in all their amplitude, usually not one pair
could dance a step; but they did not need to dance.

That was the form of art called the extravaganza. It was a naughty thing
to patronise. Its inanities, without its “stupendous” cost of
production, survive in the present-day burlesque.

In the morbid conditions of Montmartre there came into favour a species
of acrobats whose aim was to produce the illusion that their legs and
spines were out of joint, if not broken. Although of an ugliness
demoniac, their work was called dancing. “Wiry Sal” in England and
“Ruth the Twister” in America were the illuminating pseudonyms
associated with the specialty. Perhaps a specimen of the kind might
still be unearthed in a dime museum.

Enter Lottie Collins, she of “ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay.” To high kicking and
contortion, and the _Skirt Dance_ vogue of the moment, she added action
so violent that it seemed a menace to life itself. The combination of
attractions was irresistible; Europe and America made her rich. Her
master-stroke was bending back until her body was horizontal, and
violently straightening up to emphasise the “boom” of her song. For no
less than a dancer she was a singer! The two talents were employed
together. And hordes of little plagiarists of her act, as of every other
“hit,” brought delight to the many and despair to the few.

Lottie Collinsism left no territory to be explored in its direction. So
an eager world turned to the inanity of sweetness.

The dear little girl had been discovered. Evil among days! Preferably
she was dimpled. She wore a blond wig with curls falling artlessly over
her shoulders. Her eyebrows were painted in a smoothly curved arch
extending around on to the sides of her face, and her eyes were shaded
with the luxuriant lashes begot of heavy “beading”; they, too, were
carried out an indefinite distance to the sides. She dressed as a child
of twelve, with a sash that conveyed the idea of being dressed for
Sunday-school; imagination always supplied a cent gripped in her fist.
She wore “cunning” little low-heeled shoes, with straps. It was not
amiss that she have some sort of sunbonnet, of lace, slipped carelessly
off her flaxen head and hanging down her back. Rouge, with a bloom of
rice powder, gave her a perfect peaches-and-cream complexion. Grease
paint widened and shortened her lips, curved them into an infantile
cupid’s bow. And from that cupid’s bow emerged, in piercing calliope
tones, inflectionless recitals of her devotion to her dear old mother.
At the end of each stanza she had a little dance--usually a slow
polka-step, _one_, _two_, _three_ and _kick_! (An irreproachably
discreet little kick, to the side.) Repeat four times each side, and on
to the next stanza--which instead of “mother” and “other,” will avail
itself of the felicitous rhyme of “roam” and “home,” or “heart” and
“part.”

Lest the enumeration of the foregoing horrors should be criticised as
out of place in a discussion of dancing, be it recorded at this point
that the said horrors went under the name of dancing within easy
remembrance of people now living, that there are still people living who
call them dancing, and--for artistic sins of the world as yet
unexpiated--they still influence the dancing situation in these United
States.

_The Black Crook_ is a name that stands for superlatives. It was the
most lavish spectacle America ever had seen. It made such a “hit” as
rarely has been duplicated since. Its dancing features, which were of
the first order, made more of an impression than had any dancing in this
country since Ellsler’s tour, in 1840, ’41 and ’42. Its origin was in
part due to the sometimes favourable factor of accident.

“In consequence of the destruction by fire of the Academy of Music, this
city,” writes J. Allston Brown in his _History of the New York Stage_,
“Jarrett and Palmer, who were to have produced _La Biche au Bois_
there, had on their hands a number of artists brought from Europe. They
made an arrangement with William Wheatley to utilise the ballet troupe,
the chief scenic effects, of which they had models, and the
transformation scene.” From those beginnings grew _The Black Crook_.
With Marie Bonfanti, Rita Sangalli, Betty Rigl and Rose Delval as
principal dancers, it opened at Niblo’s Garden in September, 1866. The
run closed in January, 1868, after 475 performances. A return to Niblo’s
in December, 1870, yielded 122 performances. December of the following
year added 57 to the score. A revival in August, 1872, brought into the
company the Kiralfy family, dancers, among whom were the brothers
destined to fame as managers and producers. This 1872 revival ran twelve
weeks. In 1874, Kiralfy Brothers appear as lessees of the Grand Opera
House. They initiated their term with _The Black Crook_, with Bonfanti
as _première_.

Of American appreciation of good dancing pantomime, during that period,
at least, there is no question. It must be borne in mind that the New
York performances above mentioned represent only a fraction of the
production’s total business. The tours that largely occupied the
intervals met the same success. The box-office measure of public
enthusiasm is incomplete, moreover, without mention of _Humpty Dumpty_,
also a spectacular pantomime with good dancing. Of its first run (in New
York, and largely coinciding with the first run of _The Black Crook_ in
point of time) the gross receipts were $1,406,000. It was commensurately
profitable as a “road” attraction. Pertinent to the quality of its
dancing, we have a few words of its manager, Clifton W. Tayleure, as
quoted by Brown: “ ... principal dancers were not easily to be found. A
quarrel between Vestvalli and Sangalli enabled me to secure the latter.
Betty and Emily Rigl, who had previously seceded from Niblo’s, were also
secured.”

Notwithstanding desertions, _The Black Crook_ maintained its high
standards. Its ballet has never since been equalled in America,
according to Mme. Bonfanti, in the classic style of work.

For its managers, at least, dancing had earned fortunes. To the Kiralfys
it was evident, too, that the kind of dancing America wanted was good
dancing. To produce their _Excelsior_ in 1882 they brought from Paris
Sr. Ettore Coppini, now ballet-master of the Metropolitan Opera; and
George Saracco, now ballet-master of the Brussels Opera, as a leading
dancer. Nor did Jarrett and Palmer modify their faith in quality. Their
_White Fawn_, with an excellent ballet, was little less successful than
_The Black Crook_.

The fame of such works is food for parasites; creatures incapable of
discerning the quality of successful works, and upon whom the goodness
of the successful dancing had made no impression. _Black Crook_ and
_White Fawn_ companies overran the country like a flood of counterfeit
money--one part fine, ninety-nine parts base. Plausible advertising
protected the deception, but only for a time. It was not long before
lovers of good dancing began to realise that they were being defrauded.

In a similar contingency, the supporting public of a baseball club loses
no time in applying to that club’s manager whatever pressure may be
necessary as a means to correcting shortcomings, as far as within him
lies. The source of their ability to do this is twofold: they can
analyse the game, and they have a vocabulary in which to express
themselves. Baseball had not so many enthusiasts in those days as
dancing had. But the appreciators of dancing lacked analytical knowledge
of the art, and the language in which to discuss it. Promoters of
counterfeits were not taken to task, therefore, as would have been to
their own good. Instead, the names of _Black Crook_, _White Fawn_,
dancing and pantomime became synonyms for theatrical imposition, and
America laid aside interest in them and all their appurtenances.

Of all the consequences of the above incidents, perhaps the most
unfortunate was a generally accepted managerial deduction that America
does not like dancing after all. Though the Russian ballet has shaken
that belief, the belief is not dead yet.

There is a saying that no man is indispensable; that, after his removal,
there is always another to take his place. The saying is not true.

Pantomime--not dancing to be sure, but so closely related to it that the
prosperity of either usually means that of both--at one time had the
alliance of Augustin Daly. He believed in it as a great art, and
contemplated increasingly ambitious productions. To those closely
associated with him he declared himself willing to lose money on it for
three years, and more if necessary; he was confident that eventually it
would attain to great popularity in this country. But after producing
_L’Enfant Prodigue_ and _Pygmalion and Galatea_, death stepped in and
took away from the stage one of the best influences it ever had, and
from dancing a possible friendship of the kind it sorely needed.

In the eighties there was in Chicago a child who had considerable fame
as a temperance lecturer. Her name was Loie Fuller. She was moved to
take dancing lessons; but (according to biographers) gave them up after
a few lessons, on account of difficulty. After a certain amount of voice
culture, she qualified as an actress with a singing part. During an
engagement in this capacity she received, from a friend in India, a
present of a long scarf of extremely thin silk. While playing with it,
delighting in its power to float in the air almost like a vapour, Miss
Fuller received the idea that was to bring her before the world, the
_Serpentine Dance_. The dance was there in its essence, needing only
arrangement and polish, and surety of keeping a great volume of cloth
afloat without entanglement. Steps were of no consequence, nor quality
of movement in arms or body. The cloth was the thing, and Miss Fuller
lost no time on non-essentials.

The success of the _Serpentine_ was not one of those victories gained
after long experimenting for a perfect expression, patiently educating
the public, and years of disappointments. It was instantaneous and
complete; a few weeks sufficed to make Loie Fuller a national figure. A
period of tremendous popularity followed, popularity amounting to a
fashion. And still another impulse was to come, second only in
importance to the use of the gauze itself.

In Paris Miss Fuller had a sketch in which she, a solitary figure, stood
on a height at dawn, silhouetted against the sky. The rising sun was
arranged to illuminate, one after another, the prominences in the
landscape falling away into the distance. The figure, on being touched
by the rays, represented its awakening by the fluttering, raising and
full play of its hundred yards or so of drapery.

It happened that an audience mistook the intent of the effect, and
greeted it as a dance of fire. The upward rush of the cloth, obviously,
had suggested flame. “La Loïe” lost not a moment in seeing the
possibilities, nor an hour in setting to work on their development.
Stage electric lighting was new; so new that it acknowledged no
limitations. Electricians were enthusiastic over new problems, because
new problems were being solved by new and sometimes sensational
inventions. To lighting Miss Fuller turned to make the effect of the
fire dance unmistakable and startling. With the result that the colours
and movement of flame were almost counterfeited. Variously coloured
glasses lent their tints to the rays of spot lights; set into discs made
to revolve in front of the lamp, they simulated the upward rush that
helps make flame exciting. As a precaution against theft of ideas, the
essential parts of the electric arrangements are said to have been
trusted exclusively to Miss Fuller’s brothers.

_La Danse de Feu_, consistently prepared as such, created an enthusiasm
in Paris probably equal to the “hit” of the _Serpentine_ in America.
Indeed Miss Fuller was practically adopted into the French nation, where
she was affectionately and widely known as “La Loïe.” French is the
language in which she wrote her memoirs. (_Mes Mémoires_, Loie Fuller.)

Her work, always startling, never failed of being agreeable also. By a
loose application of the word it was justified in being called dancing.
Strictly speaking it was not, from the point of view of step, movement
or posture. Interest in steps the work frankly disclaimed by its own
terms; an easy movement from place to place, with reference always to
the drapery, was all that was undertaken in the department of foot-work.
The arms were equally subordinated to the drapery; their movements, as
interpretation or decoration, meant nothing. The performer held in each
hand a short pole as aid to manipulation of the cloth, in which her arms
were buried most of the time. They committed no awkwardness, nor did
they contribute to the effect except as they furnished motive power. As
to the drapery, any idea of making it a vehicle of controlled lines
would obviously have been out of the question. Colour without form was
the result; and form, when all is said and done, is the essence not only
of dancing, but of any art that would attempt to convey a message to the
senses as well as pleasure to the eye.

Imitators affected Miss Fuller very little. So closely were her means
guarded--it is said that no one of her designers and sewing-women knew
more than a part of the construction of her draperies--that attempts to
reproduce her work were generally laborious compromises with failure.
But the musical comedy stage underwent an inundation of illuminated
dry-goods. With the mechanical problem simplified by the distribution of
the hundred yards of drapery among forty people, there followed a sea of
cavorting rainbows and prisms that lacked even a semi-careful selection
of colours.

The World’s Fair in Chicago brought to America a variety of dancers,
most of them good. The novelty element was the work of the Orient. The
Oriental point of view differs from that of England and America; it
accepts as natural the existence of sex. In all its expressions,
whether literary, sculptural, pictorial, or choreographic, the subject
of sex is neither avoided nor emphasised. It takes its place among the
actuating dramatic motives exactly as it has done in the expressions of
all civilisations of all times, except those of our Anglo-Saxon
civilisation since about 1620, in which it is evaded, and of certain
decadent civilisations, where it is an obsession.

The World’s Fair crowd was so amazed by the Oriental disregard of
Puritan tradition that it could see nothing in dances of India and North
Africa except obscenity. Instead of trying to acquaint the public with
the wealth of poetic symbolism of the dances, and their unlimited scope
of meaning, every manager on the Midway at once adopted the motto of the
majority of his profession: “Give the public what it wants.” That at
least is the inference from conditions. Before the fair was a month old
there was hardly an Oriental dancing attraction on the grounds that did
not claim, in the sly-dog language of naughty suggestion, to surpass all
competitors in lewdness. And it verily seemed as though most of them
were justified in their claims.

They all made money. And they created against Oriental dancing a
prejudice just beginning to melt now at the end of twenty years; the
majority of the public is still convinced that no Oriental dancing is
anything but a pretext for offensiveness. For any physical quality truly
is offensive the moment it is unduly insisted upon. And with few
exceptions the managers of the unhappy Arabs dancing in this country
have inspired their charges to exaggerate one quality to the almost
complete exclusion of every other one.

The ghastly reaction of such a state of affairs is on dancing in
general. In this present year, 1913, one of the most prominent and
successful managers in America said: “There are two ways to succeed with
dancers. If they have a sensational acrobatic novelty that never has
been seen before, _that_ will make money. Otherwise you’ve got to take
their clothes off, if you want anybody to look at ’em. Duncan? St.
Denis? What does the American public care about art? They have succeeded
because they took their clothes off.”

It sounds unreal, it is so demonstrably silly. But it was what that
manager said. In his profession there are several who hold contrary
beliefs; but the one quoted is of the opinion common among the present
custodians of the dancing art in America. In their offices is determined
what character of dancing shall occupy the stage; to their beliefs the
lover of good dancing must give heed.

Any refutation of the above cynicism as affecting Miss Duncan and Miss
St. Denis is superfluous. Their work has at all times been charged with
a big, romantic or mystic meaning. Imitators, basing their activities on
the manager’s creed above quoted, have furnished an illuminating
experiment to determine exactly what interest the public finds in the
work of the two artists named. Invariable failure has accompanied their
approximate nudity, despite the fact that many of them are pretty in
face and figure.

Great dancers have come, been seen, but--until the coming of the
Russians--have achieved few victories of lasting value. Genée is an
exception; to delight in her work is to be added a real influence in
favour of real art. Carmencita, Otero and Rosario Guerrero, all great
artists of expression conveyed through the medium of the dances of
Spain, have had good seasons in this country. Even though their
influence on taste did not seem far-reaching, it must be believed that
they helped prepare the way for great things that were to come.

But the real force of the coming change, the change that was to take its
place among the important revolutions in the history of all art was
quietly preparing itself in an American village.



CHAPTER XI

THE ROMANTIC REVOLUTION


There are few people who are complete in any one direction. The
statesman hesitates at a measure that will wreck his political
organisation, unless he is a complete statesman. The yachtsman will lose
a race to pick up a man overboard, unless he is an unscrupulous or
complete racing fiend. A corporation manager who disregards every
consideration except his end may be a law-breaker, but before that he is
a complete business man. Cromwell and Luther were complete reformers.
Most people in the arts are incomplete artists, because they hesitate to
depart from accepted means of expression. They cripple impulse with
logic, and accommodate their course more or less to other people’s
opinions. Noverre was a complete stage director. Isadora Duncan is a
complete disciple of beauty.

Beauty in all its natural manifestations is her religion. Waves and
clouds and running water, the nude body and its natural movements are
the tokens by which it is revealed to her. Its high priests, by her
creed, were the Greeks of old. And, conversely, all other priests are
false. In the soul afire with a cause there is no room for adjustment of
points of view; such adjustments bear the form of compromise. That which
is not right is wrong--not even partly right, but hopelessly, damnably
wrong. A state of mind exactly as it should be in a person with an
idea, and exactly as it must be if he is going to carry the idea to
fruition.

Miss Duncan is not in attunement with the ballet, and never was. She is
a worshipper of nature; not as translated into abstract terms, but as
nature is, as revealed in the waves and clouds and running water. If she
were a leader in a logical controversy instead of one of taste, it would
be in order to question how she tolerates modern music, instead of
insisting on a reversion to the music of the winds in the trees; for
certainly the piano is no less a man-made convention than the dancer’s
position _sur la pointe_, and orchestration is far from the sounds of
nature. But the controversy is not an affair of logic, and it follows
that any question prompted by logical considerations becomes illogical,
automatically. The point at issue is that Miss Duncan, complete disciple
of beauty, is a complete opponent of beauty expressed otherwise than in
the way revealed to her. Again, lest this analysis bear any resemblance
to criticism, let it be affirmed that her attitude is exactly as it
should be in relation to her destiny.

At an early age she was fascinated by the representations of dancing to
be found on Greek ceramics, and in Tanagra and other figures. A work of
art means many things to many people. What Miss Duncan saw in the early
representations was a direct and perfect expression of nature. Among
other elements, she noted in them a full acknowledgment of the law of
gravity, which is an obviously natural quality. Now, Miss Duncan’s essay
_The Dance_ shows in her mind not the first stirrings of a question as
to whether gravity may not be an unfortunate mortal limitation. On the
contrary, it is natural, therefore right. Therefore the ballet, in

[Illustration: ISADORA DUNCAN

To face page 242]

[Illustration: _Photograph by Claude Harris_

GREEK INTERPRETATIVE DANCE

Mme. Pavlowa

To face page 243
]

denying gravity, is wrong. The Greeks usually danced without shoes; bare
went the feet of Miss Duncan.

Let it not be supposed that her ideal contemplated an imitation of
natural actions, or had any relation to realism. _Natural qualities, not
actions_, she proposed to _interpret, not imitate, by means of natural
movements_. That is at least the inference pointed by the essay referred
to, confirmed by her work. “Natural movements” would be defined, if the
same process of inference may be followed, as movements whose execution
are possible by a normal body without special training. From this it
does not follow that uncultivated movements would be acceptable by the
terms of the proposition. To raise an arm is a natural movement, hence
acceptable to this code. To learn to raise it gracefully, a Duncanite
would need to put in just as much time and thought as a ballet student,
standards of grace being equal. It does, however, follow that any
gravity-defying step would be unacceptable by the terms of the
proposition. Without special training it cannot be executed, badly, or
at all; which, from the Duncan point of view, would throw it into the
class of unnatural movements.

To fix the meaning of the idea of interpreting natural qualities,
nothing better can be done than to quote a paragraph of Miss Duncan’s
own words: “These flowers before me contain the dream of a dance; it
could be named: ‘The light falling on white flowers.’ A dance that would
be a subtle translation of the light and the whiteness--so pure, so
strong, that people would say, ‘It is a soul we see moving, a soul that
has reached the light and found the whiteness. We are glad it should
move so.’ Through its human medium we have a satisfying sense of the
movement of light and glad things. Through this human medium, the
movement of all nature runs also through us, is transmitted to us from
the dancer. We feel the movement of light intermingled with the thought
of whiteness. It is a prayer, this dance, each movement reaches in long
undulations to the heavens and becomes a part of the eternal rhythm of
the spheres.”

Fifteen years ago a creed of interpreting qualities in the manner above
indicated, by means of dancing, was quite as alien to the United States
as was the Greek costume that left the legs uncovered and the feet
unshod. The costume probably was as surprising on the stage then as it
would be in a ballroom now. And right there comes in the complete
artist. Miss Duncan knew she was right, and she went ahead. Perhaps she
anticipated the snickers with which a new idea is usually greeted; more
likely she was sublimely heedless of immediate effects.

[Illustration: IMPRESSIONS OF ISADORA DUNCAN.]

It was in 1899, or thereabout, that she gave a recital in the little
theatre of a dramatic school in Chicago, before an audience principally
of dramatic students, painters and sculptors. After the performance,
which took place in the morning, the painters and sculptors
unconsciously grouped themselves into informal committees to exchange
verdicts. The general conclusion--arrived at after hours of acrimonious
argument, in most cases--was that the young woman had an idea, but that
clairvoyancy was required to understand it. At that time, it should be
added, Miss Duncan was far from mature in grace, surety or any other of
the technical qualities; and her art, naïve though it be, has its
technical requirements just as surely as any other art.

It is now necessary to transfer attention to certain people whose path
and Miss Duncan’s were beginning to converge.

In Russia the ballet is as definitely a ward of the government as the
army is. No more carefully are candidates for a national military
academy selected than are applicants for admission to the Imperial
Ballet Academy.

Those admitted are cared for as though each were an heir to the throne,
given an all-round art education that could not be duplicated anywhere
else in the world, and rigourously drilled in dancing six days a week
for seven or eight years. As they qualify for it, they appear on
occasion in the _corps de ballet_ of the Imperial Opera, dear to the
hearts of nobility and a theatre-going public. By the terms of agreement
with the government, they are assured employment at specified pay for a
specified number of years in the ballet, after which they retire on a
pension. The pay is not high, but with it is an assured career and an
honourable one, and a likelihood of considerable emolument through
instruction, imperial gifts and government favours. Withal a thing not
lightly to be thrown away.

Like their contemporaries in Paris and Vienna, the people of St.
Petersburg and Moscow (homes of the two Imperial Opera Houses and of the
two arms of the Academy) were dissatisfied with their ballet. Beyond the
vague charge of lack of interest they could not analyse their complaint.
They were puzzled. Training more careful than that given in their
Academy could not be. Nor was any school of the dance superior to the
composite French-Italian on which the Russian ballet was based. Each
detailed objection was answered; yet a decided majority agreed that
something was wrong.

Miss Duncan, rightly believing that Europe was more attentive than
America to a new idea, had left her native land after a period of
neither success nor failure in any pronounced degree. She had interested
Paris, startled Berlin, and set Vienna into a turmoil of wrangling. St.
Petersburg waited, with interest aroused by echoes from Vienna.

Before the end of the St. Petersburg performance, M. Mikail Fokine, a
director in the Academy, had not only declared Miss Duncan a goddess, as
he had a perfect right to; he, with others, had invited her to give a
special performance in the Academy, and that was against the rules.

The special performance was given; the Romantic Rebellion dates from
that hour. In no time at all the secessionists were a body including
some of the ablest of both masters and pupils.

With Miss Duncan’s technical limitations or virtuosity they were not
concerned. What she brought

[Illustration:

MLLE. LOPOUKOWA
MLLE. NIJINSKA
MLLE. PAVLOWA

With the famous instructor, Sr. E. Ceccetti. From an amateur photograph
taken in their student period.

To face page 246]

[Illustration: MLLE. LYDIA KYASHT AND M. LYTAZKIN

“Harlequin and Blue-bird”

To face page 247
]

them was the vision of the ballet now known to the world as Russian. To
lost pensions and the certain displeasure of a firm-handed government
they gave no heed. They were complete idealists, bent on a big purpose.
Of the stories of that secession that we have had from various
participants, not one shows the faintest reflection that any of the band
thought of the possible sacrifice of his career. They were not
estimating material prospects. They simply saw the vision of something
that looked better to them than the art they had known; into the path
indicated by that vision they turned without vacillation, and without
emotion save enthusiasm.

With the fact that they were the advance guard of a movement that was
about to assume a significance equal to that of the Barbizon School in
painting and of Victor Hugo in literature, these Russians--boys and
girls in age, most of them--were as supremely unconcerned as were Adam
and Eve with the destiny of the race of which they were founders. To a
group of incomplete artists the epic romance of the thing would have
appealed, and there would have resulted columns and reams of print to
tell about the inspiration, and all the rest of it. In the consciousness
of these Russians--and make no mistake, most of them are alert,
intellectually vigourous people--there was no concern about their own
value as figures in a romance. They were filled with the excitement
accompanying the possibility of radically improving their work.

Spontaneously the pieces of the new structure came together. To M.
Fokine the group looked as head. In him they had a choreographer of the
highest order, with the imagination of an epic poet. Nijinski and Bolm
were prominent men of the group; heading the list of women were Miles.
Pavlowa, Lopoukowa, and Karsavina. As a matter of exact history, Mr.
Joseph Mandelkern points out to us that the enlistment of Mordkin,
Volinine and other important recruits occurred somewhat later; being in
the Moscow arm of the school, their first receipt of the romantic
impulse was connected with Miss Duncan’s appearance in Moscow, which
occurred after the St. Petersburg engagement. The secession at Moscow
was largely a repetition of the occurrences at St. Petersburg.

The new cause gained, without delay, the alliance of the musical
composers, Glazounov, Rimski-Korsakov. Tcherepnin, and others of stature
little less.

Among the forces most important in contribution to the new-born art,
moreover, was Léon Bakst, the decorator. M. Bakst, for a number of
years, had enjoyed a high and steadily improving position in his craft;
he had been variously honoured, he had executed responsible commissions
to the satisfaction of every one--with the possible exception of
himself. In a comparatively recent interview he is quoted as saying--in
effect--that he believed that the function of a painter was to express
emotion rather than to record fact. Taking as an instance an
architectural sketch before him, he said that if a change of certain
classic architectural proportions would add impressiveness, he would not
hesitate to make the necessary changes. In other words, he regarded fact
as material and not as an object to be recorded for its own sake. So it
may be inferred that his success in rather conservative decoration,
notwithstanding that it did not lack the note of individuality, was not
satisfying to him.

[Illustration: _Photograph by Schnieder, Berlin_

MLLE. PAVLOWA IN AN “ARABESQUE”

To face page 248]

[Illustration: M. MIKAIL MORDKIN IN AN “ARROW DANCE”

To face page 249
]

For material for new compositions in which the new creed could be
exploited, ballet-master, musician and painter turned unanimously to the
legendary lore of Russia and Persia, the intervening land of the
Caucasus, and the near-by realm of Egypt. Strange new plots they found;
plots of savagery, passion, and mystery. While dancers translated lofty
motives into choral and solo steps, musicians worked with mad zeal to
render them into tone and tempo. New music was composed, old was seized
with avid hand and pounded into its appointed place in the new romantic
structure. Bakst--and other painters allied with him--revelled, now in a
deep and ominous palette that should spell mystery, again in ardent and
seemingly impossible harmonies that sang wild opulence.

In short, the secessionists had attained to a point that marked nothing
less, and something more, than a re-creation of the mimetic drama of the
best days of Athens. They had achieved that at which the early patrons
of opera had consciously but unsuccessfully aimed. The Russian
achievement is not to be measured except by a glance back into history.

In the great spaces of the Greek outdoor theatres, actors found their
voices inadequate. In consequence, we must accept as essentially true
the belief that dramatic representation underwent a more or less
definite division into two forms. One body, complying with the world-old
demand for explanatory statement to accompany dramatic action, adopted a
device to magnify the voice; that device was a small megaphone,
concealed by means of a mask. To the unimaginative audience, the
resulting falsification of the voice was not objectionable. That species
of audience, to this day, is deaf and blind to the message of quality
or to delight in it. Its interest centres on narrative and it welcomes
diagrammatic aid to its understanding of that narrative. The mask,
therefore, was rather satisfying than otherwise to the patrons of the
drama that it typified. In labelling character, it was a boon to the
intellectually toothless; to whom, moreover, its immobility of
expression would not be offensive. That the spoken drama was the popular
form, the mimo-drama the aristocrat, seems an unavoidable inference.

To artists and audience versed in the language of symbol, as opposed to
imitation; of suggestion, as opposed to diagram; of abstraction, as
opposed to material fact--to such performers and connoisseurs the
vastness of stage and auditorium presented no inconvenience whatever. To
both performer and auditor, the eloquence of pose, step and gesture was
sufficient. Indeed, we may suppose that they regarded the spoken word as
limiting, rather than amplifying, the meaning of the action it
accompanied. The high-heeled _cothurnus_ the pantomimist avoided, for
the sake of perfect freedom of foot. To him was open the full resource
of facial expression, posture and dance. All of these means, in whole or
in part, were denied the wearer of mask and _cothurnus_.

Rome, consistent with its own level of artistic mentality, chose the
less imaginative of the Greek forms. It follows that Greek popular drama
is identical with the so-called classic Roman drama.

When the originators of opera set themselves, in the seventeenth
century, to the task of recreating a classic form, it is a matter of
record that they turned to Rome for their model.

Thus, in availing themselves of advances in the arts of music, scenery
and costume, both opera and ballet have strayed from pure classic
tradition. And there is no harm in that, _per se_. But a point to be
most strongly emphasised is this: that the Russian ballet has
re-created, in its essence, the best of classic drama.

Employment of the full eloquence of step, pose and facial expression,
without the restriction that the spoken word imposes upon meaning--that
is the paramount distinction of the Russian ballet’s dramatic form.
Hardly second in importance is its independence of elaborate stage
mechanism as a means to effects. The first opera busied itself with
mechanical contrivances to an extent that was commented upon--with
amusement--by writers in its time. How far its originators were
justified in believing that they had re-created a great classic form
needs no further comment. That the Russians, searching for the great
fundamentals of art, devised a form practically coincidental with that
accepted by the best intelligence of the best period of Athens, is a
chapter of dramatic history whose importance is not likely to be
exaggerated.

We left the secessionists, on an earlier page, in the position of having
defied a strong-handed government. In this crisis, M. Sergius Diagilew
enters the narrative, not as an artist, but as one of art’s
indispensable allies. He it was who, some years before, had arranged the
exhibitions that first acquainted western Europe and America with modern
Russian painting. When the rift occurred in the Ballet Academy, M.
Diagilew, by virtue of experience and sympathies, was the one man to
perform certain needed diplomatic services in the interest of the
rebels. Their situation lacked little of being politically serious. M.
Diagilew performed the felicitous miracle of turning a fault into a
virtue.

To proper government authorities he outlined a plan which in itself
deserves a place in diplomatic history. “Contract-breakers these people
are,” he admitted, “and on a par with deserters from the army. But
instead of punishing them, I have another suggestion.

“They have created a new and great art. Their combined work represents a
greater expression than any living man has seen, perhaps the finest
thing of its kind that ever has existed in the world.

“Europe respects Russia for her force, not for her thought. Its common
belief is that Russia is a nation of savages, because it has seen no
purely Russian art that it would call great.

“My proposal is that these people be reinstated in the Opera and the
Academy, that they be granted a long leave of absence, and that I be
commissioned to arrange for them a season in Paris, as an exhibition of
representative Russian art, sanctioned by the Russian government.”

The capital necessary for a full equipment of costumes and scenery was
provided by Baron Ginsberg. And there followed the first season of _le
Ballet Russe_ at the Châtelet Théâtre, in 1905. Paris, like every other
progressive city in the world, was surfeited with plays that would
better have been enclosed between the covers of books on law, sociology
or medicine. Its ballet, though fighting valiantly against the effect
that time works on old governments, old religions, old institutions, had
settled into the ways of habit, and could no longer fire the mind or the
imagination. As to all that miscellany of “musical comedies” that, with
their

[Illustration: MLLE. LYDIA LOPOUKOWA, M. MIKAIL MORDKIN, IN A BACCHANAL

To face page 252]

[Illustration: MLLE. LYDIA LOPOUKOWA

To face page 253
]

concomitant novelties, were wallowing in a gaudy slough of despond ten
years ago, Parisians had come to regard them as a highly improbable
means even of amusement, leaving edification quite out of account.

The success of the Russians was assured from the first curtain. Here was
something that conveyed a message of noble beauty, executed with the
skill of the craftsman possessed of all that education can give, fired
with enthusiastic genius. Above all, it was a thing that released
thought from earth-bound conditions and, with the persuasion of its
multiple beauty, invited it to roam the unlimited domain of poetry and
magic.

Full appreciation required time, naturally. Here was a creation new in
freedom of movement and pantomimic vocabulary: dressed in costumes never
seen before; backed by scenery in colours never dreamed of, with a
species of line-composition like an alien language; and accompanied by
music of a type unfamiliar, to many individuals unknown. Wagnerian music
to the unaccustomed ear is confusing as well as overpowering. The
Russian ballet presented its equivalent in three different forms acting
simultaneously.

The Russian ballet season is now one of the institutions of the French
capital. The Russian government annually grants several months’ leave of
absence to the necessary number of artists, and Paris for several months
crowds their performances. The annual increase in quantity and depth of
thought bestowed upon them, as measured in magazine writings, indicates
that public satisfaction with the organisation and its work has not yet
found its limits.

The seasons of 1909-10 and 1910-11 found a small but admirable Russian
ballet in the Metropolitan Opera of New York. Pavlowa, Lopoukowa,
Mordkin, Volinine and Geltzer were of the number. They presented many
_divertissements_ in opera performances as well as a number of ballet
pantomimes. As to their impression on the public, it is most briefly to
be expressed by calling attention to the fact that the dancing
enthusiasm now strongly rooted in America dates directly back to these
Russian ballet seasons in the Metropolitan Opera. Naturally, the
public’s lack of knowledge of the language of pantomime and choreography
stood in the way of such an immediate “hit” as the same company had made
in Paris. But in spite of incomplete understanding, New York was charmed
from the first, and appreciation grew rapidly through the two seasons.

The contract was not renewed, nor has the Metropolitan Opera undertaken
anything great in choreography since that time, in which it is probably
right. Notwithstanding the popularity of the Russians, they did not
increase box-office receipts commensurately with the heavy cost of
salaries, transportation and incidental expenses.

It is natural, when service is needed, to turn to those whose fitness
for such service has been proven. But the opera company, by its service
to music, has earned exemption from added responsibilities to art. Since
its organisation, the stockholders’ dividends have had the form of
deficit statements every year until two years ago. Every year the
stockholders wrote their checks to aggregate a quarter of a million
dollars or more that opera cost in excess of its receipts. The past two
years have turned the balance into the other column. If they chose to,
the same set of gentlemen could, in a few years, put the ballet-drama
on the same footing; but the sacrifice of money and effort is more than
the public has a right to ask. Against appalling odds, the Metropolitan
took up the cause of popularising opera. That the task proves other than
a labour of love is due neither to skimping nor to lowering of
standards, but to quite the contrary policy. The undertaking has
succeeded; those connected with it are entitled to a period of enjoyment
of their rewards. The American Academy of Dancing, when it is organised,
is not morally their responsibility. For its own good, moreover, it had
best be an independent organisation, with music definitely relegated to
the secondary importance. As an auxiliary to music, the dance has not
progressed as it should; only as the sole occupant of one of the
pedestals to which the great arts are entitled will it receive the
attentive care that it deserves and needs. But this is anticipation of
the matter of another chapter.

Since the Metropolitan engagement, Russian ballets have seldom been seen
in America except under misrepresentative conditions. Not through
intentions to misrepresent, but through tactical errors easily
understood in the light of subsequent knowledge, they have been too
often advertised in such terms as to prepare their audiences for
sensationalism rather than art.

A company including some of the best dancers that Russia has produced
was headed by a vaudeville performer whose prominence proceeded from
genius in imitations, and whose choreographic aspirations were based on
two years (the programme confessed the period) of ballet study. It was
believed that her name would be of service to the box-office; it was
demonstrated that, by the standards of the supporting company, she was
not a dancer. So she did not dance. Obviously, the function of
subordinates is to be subordinate; so, perforce, they did not dance,
either. People who came expecting to see great things inevitably felt
that the Russian ballet was, to say the least, an overrated institution.
A consequence even more unfortunate is that many managers draw, from
this hapless alliance and its consequences, the deduction that Americans
do not like high-class dancing.

[Illustration: MME. PAVLOWA IN A BACCHANAL

To face page 257
]



CHAPTER XII

THE RUSSIAN ACADEMY AND ITS WORKINGS


A student in the Russian Academy does not risk discovering, after some
years of study, that he cannot stand the physical training, nor does he
learn, when it is too late to turn back, that his road to high places is
blocked by defect of health, structure, or proportion. As a candidate
for admission he undergoes an examination by a board of physicians,
painters and sculptors. If he enters, it is after their approval, the
examiners measuring the candidate by the standards of their respective
arts. He knows, and his parents know, that he is starting, free from
handicap, on the road to an at least respectable position in a
respectable profession, with which he will be associated and by which he
will be supported through life. His studies will be guided by the best
instruction that can be secured; if he has genius it will receive the
most favourable of cultivation. At all times his life will be surrounded
by conditions as favourable to physical health as they can be made by
science and free expenditure.

His payment for these advantages is complete renunciation of every
interest apart from those of the Academy’s curriculum. To one not
passionately fond of his art, the enforced devotion to work would spell
loss of liberty. As a matter of fact, however, this does not often seem
to be felt as a privation. The interests of the school are so varied,
and the dance is possessed of such endless allurement, that life within
the academic walls is generally felt to be complete in itself. In other
words, the contract binding the pupil is not usually felt as a tether,
notwithstanding that its operation covers the most restless years in a
boy’s or girl’s life.

Seven or eight is the age for entrance, and the contract binds the pupil
for nine years of training--which may be reduced to eight if proficiency
warrants. At the expiration of this time the government has all rights
to the dancer’s services, at a moderate salary, varying according to the
rank for which he qualifies in the ballet organisation. From the
graduates of the Academy are recruited the ballets of the two Imperial
Opera Houses: the Marianski Theatre in St. Petersburg, and the Opera
House in Moscow. In both houses, ballet pantomimes are presented twice a
week, approximately.

Graduates with an aptitude for teaching are so employed. All of which
must cost the government a great deal less than would the alternative of
hiring _corps de ballet_, _premiers_ and _premières_, and ballet-masters
from Paris and Milan. In fact, until half a century ago, foreign talent
was depended on for the important work. From its continued use, it may
be inferred that the present system is the more satisfactory.

Naturally, a member of the Imperial ballet must have government consent
to leave his country; departing without such consent, he automatically
forfeits his pension. A few individuals have chosen the high salaries to
which their work entitles them in other parts of the world, and
deliberately stayed away at the expiration of a leave of absence. To the
great majority, however, the pension and artistic conditions attaching
to their home organisation have been the greater inducement.

[Illustration: MLLE. LYDIA LOPOUKOWA

An aid to secure footing, the toes of ballet slippers are usually darned

To face page 258]

[Illustration: MLLE. LYDIA LOPOUKOWA

To face page 259
]

Between performances and their preparation, and teaching, it will be
seen that the members of the ballet never need pass an unoccupied hour.
They are insured against such deterioration as might result from lack of
constant work. On the other hand, they are protected against the danger
of overwork. Think of the difference between such conditions and those
created by competition! Between engagements, the generality of ballet
people under the latter conditions study and train, if at all, at their
own expense; and competent coaching costs money. During engagements, the
number of supreme efforts of which they are capable each week is
considered only by those in whom are combined good fortune and
conscience; others arrange their work to economise strength, or else
break down.

Of the curriculum of the school we have been told in some detail by Miss
Lydia Lopoukowa. During the first year, which is a period of probation,
pupils are allowed to visit their parents on Sundays. After that they
remain in the direct charge of instructors, in the school, in the
opera-houses, and in carriages going and coming; visiting with parents
or others is confined to stated times, and is done in the school. If
this arrangement seems severe, the answers are to be found in results:
if any students of any art attain to full artistic development and
perfection of artistry in an equal length of time without similar
concentration, enforced either by self or by regulation, then the
detachment effected by the Russian Academy is carried to an unnecessary
degree.

The curriculum may, for convenience, be divided into two departments,
pertaining respectively to technical and general education. The latter
is the equivalent of the Continental European _gymnasium_, which
carries the student to a point somewhat more advanced than that which he
reaches in the American public high school.

On the technical side, the training begins with the breadth of a general
conservatory’s course in the arts. As the pupil’s aptitude and tastes
begin to crystallise, his instruction becomes increasingly specialised.
The first year’s work covers, besides dancing, a beginning in music,
acting, and a certain amount of drawing. The music includes theory and
piano. Acting embraces the beginnings of pantomime, along with
enunciation, expression and the rest of it.

The dancing tuition is based absolutely on the French-Italian ballet.
The undisputed success of the romantic movement, and the prevailing
sympathy with its motive, have not shaken faith in the classic as a
necessary framework for the support of expression and adornment. An
orthodox and unreconstructed Italian ballet-master remains in charge of
this department; his influence is not modified until after the pupil has
acquired the equilibrium, in short the discipline that is a tradition of
the classic school alone. Parallel with this training, however, is
instruction and drill in plastic gymnastics, which concerns itself with
training the body in grace and expression. The separation of the two
courses naturally enables the pupil to keep classic precision clear in
his mind; while, having at the same time mastered the more fluid
treatment of the plastic gymnastics, he is ready to unite the two
understandingly when the proper time arrives, and to combine with their
graces the eloquence of pantomime.

Music has sometimes been found to be the natural _métier_ of students
whose original intention was dancing. In other instances the embryonic
dancer has revealed a genius for acting. In such cases the pupil is
encouraged to follow the line of natural aptitude. The ranks of both
opera and drama in Russia include women whose ultimate vocations were
discovered after they had become proficient dancers. While such cases
are not common, neither are they rare; which is rather illuminating as
to the quality of the musical instruction.

An acquaintance with musical theory is insisted upon as a part of the
dancer’s equipment, though there be no probability of his ever applying
his knowledge in any of the usual ways. Music and dancing are so
interwoven that the latter’s full meaning can hardly be expressed, or
understood, without musical knowledge as an aid. Moreover, of every
class of youngsters a certain number are destined to be choreographic
composers; to these a knowledge of orchestral possibilities and
limitations is indispensable. Indeed it is an asset of the utmost
practical utility to any dancer; any rehearsal demonstrates its value.
In respect to this department and its lifelong value to those who have
had its training, graduates of other academies unite in approval of the
Russian.

The course in drawing and painting seems to aim at critical appreciation
of beauty, as expressed in the abstract qualities of grace in line and
harmony in colour; this in distinction to the regulation art school
discipline in proportion and anatomy of the figure. The practical value
of such training, in sharpening the power of constructive criticism of
dancing, is obvious.

To the accomplishment of all this work--and more that need not be
detailed--the pupils are not driven; they are led. Everything is fun.
Play is made contributory to the general purpose of training artists.
As an escape from realities into that world of make-believe that
children crave, pantomimes are practiced evenings after dinner;
self-expression is encouraged on these occasions, criticism no more than
hinted. As a playground for the girls, a large garden is provided. But
the boys, to relax from the restraint of a daily two-hour lesson in
French ballet, delight in class fencing lessons. The health of all is
under unobtrusive but constant supervision. In each of the girls’
dormitories a nurse is on watch every night, alert for the first
unfavourable symptom--and ready, too, we may be sure, with sympathy for
any little attack of loneliness. Miss Lopoukowa’s remembrances are not
of any rigours of work, but rather of a protecting gentleness.

Diet is studied; the children are trained into hygienic positions in
sleep! Hair, teeth, skin, heart, lungs, digestion and nerves are cared
for by the most capable of specialists. By no means last in importance
to a dancer are his feet; the Academy has its chiropodist always in
attendance not only to rectify trouble, but to prevent it.

As the academic years draw toward their close, the pupil receives
instruction in supplementary branches necessary to the finished artist.
Character dances are not only performed; they are studied in relation to
the temperaments of their respective nations. Make-up receives its due
attention; with paint and false hair young Russians practice
transforming themselves into Japanese, Egyptians, Italians. When they
leave the Academy, they know their trade.

Somehow such an institution seems too good to last; yet its excellence
is far from being the product of any momentary enthusiasm. Its beginning
was made in the first half of the eighteenth century. Ballets had been

[Illustration: MLLE. LYDIA LOPOUKOWA IN “LE LAC DES CYGNES”

To face page 262]

[Illustration: M. ALEXANDER VOLININE

To face page 263]

presented before the Imperial Court as early as 1675. Peter the Great
had insisted on Western dancing as one of the means to his end of
bringing Russia abreast of the times. Indeed he is supposed to have
learned it and taught it himself, as he did shipbuilding. In 1735 the
Empress Anne engaged a Neapolitan composer and musical director and a
French ballet-master, and bade them present a ballet every week. Cadets
from the military academy were at first impressed into service; which
may be contributory to the military exactness of the organisation of the
Ballet Academy.

As ballet material, the cadets were gradually (according to Flitch)
replaced by boys and girls of the poorer classes, whom the ballet-master
trained free of charge. The assignment of quarters to them in the
palace, the appointment of a coachman’s widow to take care of them, an
appropriation of extra pay to the ballet-master for teaching, may be
said to mark the beginnings of the Academy. Its existence has been
uninterrupted, and, under the almost idolatrous Russian love of ballet
representations, its growth has been steady. A composite French-Italian
technique was adopted, as before stated, and kept unmodified until the
recent romantic movement had proven its worth. Italian principal dancers
were employed until, a generation ago, the need of them was ended by the
Imperial Academy’s arrival at a condition of adequacy.

The difference between the romantic ballet and the classic could not be
described in an infinity of words, but it can be summarised in a few,
and its character suggested in a few sketches. Briefly, the difference
consists in liberty to depart from classic restriction of pose and
movement, wherever such emancipation will contribute to expression.
This freedom inevitably clashes with ballet tenets that have been
unquestioned for a hundred and fifty years. The classic keeps the
shoulders down; the romantic does not hesitate to raise them, one or
both, to portray fear, disdain, or what-not. In the eyes of the
classicists, straightness of body (its detractors call it rigidity) is
of absolute importance; romanticists, in their Oriental representations,
for instance, do not hesitate to exploit the body’s sinuosity to the
utmost. Yet, in their apparent disregard of choreographic law, they have
preserved rigourously the underlying truth of choreographic structure.
Than their brilliant steps those of no dancer are cleaner or more
perfect; in equilibrium, in exactness, in all that makes for style and
finish, they have no superiors. Nevertheless some of the classic ballet
people, especially the Milan element, still protest that the romantic
idea, with all its appurtenances, is a heresy. M. Legatt, of the St.
Petersburg Academy, is said to group all the new elements into one
category: Duncanism!

As the painter Bakst (and with him may be mentioned Boris Anisfeldt and
others of the same artistic creed), while preserving recognisable
national character in his scenes and costumes, does not scruple to
subordinate historical facts to his motives, so does the romantic
ballet-master disregard the natural limitations of folk-dances that he
may choose to employ in his composition. If it suited the dramatic
intention of M. Fokine to bring an Arabian dancer on to the point, or to
introduce into her work a pure _pirouette_, it is fairly safe to assume
that he would do so, despite the fact that Arabic dancing itself knows
no such devices. It is to be added that although he should make such
amendment to an

[Illustration: REPRESENTATIVE RUSSIAN BALLET POSES AND GROUPS.

     Two groups at top from _Thamar_, M. Bolm and Mme. Karsavina, Mlle.
     Nijinska; MM. Govriloff and Kotchetovski; M. Seilig and Mlle.
     Stachko, all in _Thamar_. Figure with peacock, Mme. Astafieva in
     _Le Dieu Bleu_.

(Courtesy of _Comoedia Illustré_.)]

Arabic dance as known to its own people, his product would express as
forcibly the quality of Orientalism as would any dance to be found in
Bagdad. The essential difference would be that the composition of M.
Fokine would serve the immediate intention of grief, rage, or whatever
might be the desired emotion, as well as emphasising Oriental quality.

It will be seen that the means of expression above indicated relieves
the ballet pantomime of any limits of scope. The classic, generally
speaking, is by its nature confined to fairy fantasies, the play of
elves and spirits, Pierrot and Columbine. All that is dainty it renders
to perfection. The new school, on the contrary, can treat with complete
dramatic impressiveness all the mystic, epic and sometimes terrible
imaginings of the Tartar mind. To its advantage it has among its
disciples a full supply of dancing men; lack of them has crippled the
classic expressions for many years. The woman doing a boy’s part becomes
ridiculous as soon as dramatic action departs from the lyrical mood. For
this reason, perhaps, both opera ballets and academies of Europe outside
of Russia have long lost the custom of staging pantomimes of greater
consequence than operatic _divertissement_. Whereas the Marianski
Theatre and the Moscow Opera dedicate two nights a week to ballet
pantomimes exclusively, and have done so for many years.

The mimetic dramas that have sprung into life with and as part of the
new school draw material from legends dark and savage, lyrical and
dreamlike. _Cleopâtre_ is a story of love and a cruel caprice of an idle
queen of fabled Egypt. _Prince Igor_ presents a background of the
ever-threatening Mongol, a myriad savage horde encamped outside the
eastern gate of Europe.

[Illustration: REPRESENTATIVE RUSSIAN BALLET POSES AND GROUPS.

_Prince Igor_ (M. Bolm).
_Thamar_ (Mlle. Tchernicheva).
_L’Oiseau de Feu_ (Mme. Karsavina).
_Thamar_ (Mlle. Hoklova).
_L’Oiseau de Feu_ (M. Boulgakow, M. Fokine).
_Le Dieu Bleu_ (M. Nijinski).

(Courtesy of _Comoedia Illustré_.)]

_Scheherazade_ is tropic passion marching undeviatingly into tragedy. In
contrast to these are such ethereal creations as _Le Spectre de la
Rose_, _Le Carnaval_, _Les Sylphides_, _Le Lac des Cygnes_, and _Le
Pavillon d’Armide_. _Le Spectre de la Rose_, composed to the melting
music of Weber’s _Invitation à la Valse_, is a fantasy of a girl who
falls asleep in her chair after returning from a ball. In her hand she
holds a rose which, in her dreams, turns into a spirit that dances with
her, kisses her, and departs. _Le Carnaval_ brings to life and unites in
a slight plot a group of such fabled personages as Pierrot, Harlequin,
Columbine, Pantalone and Papillon, animated by Schumann music with
Russian orchestration. _Armide_ is a figure on a tapestry, who, by magic
spell, comes forth in courtly dance with her companion figures and
enchants a traveller sleeping in the apartment. _Le Lac des Cygnes_ and
_Les Sylphides_ are practically plotless reveries in the field of pure
beauty; of tissue as unsubstantial as the rainbow.

Still a third division is exemplified in _L’Oiseau de Feu_ and _Le Dieu
Bleu_. As though to test to the utmost the romantic ballet’s range of
expression, these last deal with occult Eastern religion, calling for a
treatment purely mystic.



CHAPTER XIII

SOCIAL DANCING OF TO-DAY


The present vogue of dancing is sometimes characterised as a fad. As a
matter of fact, it is no more than the resumption of a normal exercise.
It is not extraordinary that people should wish to dance every day. It
was extraordinary that there should have been a period of sixty years in
which people did not wish to dance every day. Occidental history recalls
few periods when the dance, natural as speech and exalting as music,
underwent such neglect as it suffered during the latter half of the
nineteenth century. Self-expression was in bad taste. A phantasm of
misinterpreted respectability standardised conduct. The resulting
caution of movement sterilised the dance, and sterility all but killed
it.

As that which might conveniently be called the Renaissance of
Individuality began to be felt, within the past few years, the endless
iteration of one step in each dance became inadequate to interpret
feelings. People learned that their own ideas were worth at least a
trial; forms fell automatically. But, no one being at hand to show how
dancing might be made an expression, people turned to other recreations.

Then came the Russian ballet. It showed that dancing, more completely
perhaps than any other action within mortal scope, is a means of
expression of every emotion humanity may feel. It showed, too, how
inconceivably beautiful may be the human body when it is made to
conform to the laws of beauty--which are identical with the laws of
choreography. And so perfect was the artistry of these demigods from out
of the North that “difficulty” became a forgotten word. Every man
thought that he felt within himself at least a portion of the essence
that animated Volinine, Mordkin, Nijinski; every woman knew she had
latent some of the magic of Pavlowa, Lopoukowa, or Karsavina. And they
were right. Every normal human is in greater or less degree an artist.

Sudden reactions are usually attended by more violence than
discrimination. The appetite for sheer quantity is satisfied before the
need of restraint is felt. So with the new dancing that gratified
hundreds of thousands of feet suddenly freed from conventional weights
on their movements. The _Turkey Trot_ (name to delight posterity) raced
eastward from San Francisco in a form to which the word “dancing” could
be applied only by exercise of courtesy. Literally, caricaturists could
not caricature it; it made caricatures of its devotees. But they were
not concerned with that. They were in the exaltation of rediscovery;
they were happily, beneficially mad with varied rhythm, marked by free
movements of their own bodies. The “trot” was easily learned; the
problem became one of finding space in which to dance it, so quickly did
its performers fill every floor within hearing-distance of a piano.

The cynical inference that morals or their lack bore any relation to the
phenomenon of this dance’s rapid spread, is beside the point. Of the
original “trot” nothing remains but the basic step. The elements that
drew denunciation upon it have gone from the abiding-places of
politeness; yet its gains in popularity continue unchecked. As though to
emphasise its superiority to former mannerisms, it is just now urbanely
changing its name: it prefers to be known as the _One-Step_. And in the
desire for a new appellation it is justified, since no history ever so
vividly recalled the fable of the ugly duckling. The hypothetical turkey
whose trot it once portrayed proves, as it matures, to be a creature
closely resembling a peacock. The peacock it was whose designation
(Spanish _pavo_) furnished the name of the old _Pavane_; and the
_One-Step_, moved by some force more potent than coincidence, is now
tending strongly toward the form of that favourite of seventeenth-century
courts.

With the _Turkey Trot_ came out of the West the _Bunny Hug_, the
_Grizzly Bear_, and perchance the bearers of other names reminiscent of
the zoo. They treated Europe to a mixture of amusement and irritation,
but were not destined to long life on either side of the Atlantic.

While North America turkey-trotted, the _Argentine Tango_ was delighting
and scandalising Paris. A dance of curious history, the _Tango_. Certain
details of its execution justify the assignment of its remote origin to
the Gipsies of Spain. Argentina is an attractive market for Spanish
dancing; undoubtedly the original _Tango_, composed of Gipsy steps and
movements, was shown in Argentina soon after its first exploitation in
Spain, some forty years ago. To change it from a solo for a woman into a
dance for couples needed only rearrangement, plus modification of
movements that might not be considered respectable. The latter being a
purely relative term, disagreements followed the dance’s appearance in
Paris--Argentinian synonym for Paradise. It is to Paris that the
prosperous _Argentinos_ go for refreshment; and there they introduced
their form of the _Tango_. Robert, a popular Parisian teacher of social
dancing, arranged a version of it to conform to conservative standards,
and its spread followed.

The _Boston Waltz_ (the latter word is generally omitted), born in the
period when Sousa’s marches and two-steps were omnipresent, existed as
little more than a theory until, with the advent of the new dances, it
was found to be in tune with the times. With the _Tango_ and _One-Step_
it has come into a family relationship, now borrowing from them for its
own embellishment, again lending them a step for the good of their
variety. Add to these the _Brazilian Maxixe_ and the _Hesitation Waltz_,
and we complete the list of dances which, at the moment of writing,
animate social gatherings on both sides of the Atlantic; inspire
restaurant-keepers to provide dancing floors, hotel managers to give
_thés dansants_, with periodical competitions, and instruction if
desired; the dances that are successfully demanding for themselves a new
and unobjectionable species of dance-hall, and causing grave scientists
to debate over them as symptoms--with profound allusions to the
so-called “dancing mania” of an earlier century. The extent of the vogue
needs neither record nor comment in this place. That which has not been
duly noted in the periodical press is the fact that a fashion of
rhythmic exercise is proving to be a well-spring of good spirits and a
fountain of youth for millions of men and women. Every one benefits by
it. None discontinue it. The only people not seeking new steps for their
repertoire are those who have not yet found time to make a beginning, or
who have been dismayed by the forbidding number of

[Illustration: THE “WALTZ MINUET”

Mr. John Murray Anderson, Miss Genevieve Lyon

Characteristic style (1)--Variation, position of hands (2)--Preparation
for a turn (3)--The mirror figure

To face page 272]

[Illustration: THE “GAVOTTE,” SHOWING PRESENT TENDENCIES

Characteristic style (1, 2)--A curtsy (3)--_Arabesque_ to finish a
phrase (4)

To face page 273]

new names, both of steps and of dances. For their benefit, it is in
order to make a digression at this point.

Let it be emphatically understood that the dances above enumerated are
the only ones that have any present significance in French, English or
American ballrooms. So-called “new” dances, bearing names of summer and
winter resorts, heroines and what-not, are presented in endless
succession; but analysis always shows their almost complete lack of
individuality. Their claim to recognition regularly consists of a minor
variation of a familiar bit of one of the _Waltzes_, the _Tango_, or the
_One-Step_. Around this nucleus are gathered steps taken from the other
dances directly; and the “composition” is supposed to contribute
publicity to some progressive teacher or performer. At the present
moment a “Spanish” something-or-other is claiming attention, on grounds
which, examined closely, consist in a drawing of one foot up to the
other, with a slight accompanying body movement. Spanish dancing does
use this movement, it is true. So does the _One-Step_; the _Turkey Trot_
had it on its birthday. Examples of such efforts might be multiplied,
but one is sufficient to show the needlessness of concern over strange
and unproved titles.

The steps and figures hereinafter described are standard. The list
cannot be complete, since the _Tango_ alone has figures to a number
variously estimated at from about fifty to more than a hundred; nor is
it desirable that it should be. Many of those figures are wholly alien
to the true _Tango_ character, contribute nothing of beauty or interest,
and might well be allowed to perish. Others are of such slight variation
from basic forms that they can be learned in a moment by any one
familiar with the principles. Embellishments are easily added, once the
structure is solidly built.

The instruction that follows was prepared under the careful supervision
of a teacher whose good taste is unquestionable and whose broad
familiarity with dancing in all its aspects qualifies him to foresee and
estimate tendencies with extraordinary precision: Mr. John Murray
Anderson, previously introduced in these pages in connection with the
old court dances. The photographs illustrating the text were made from
the work of Mr. Anderson with his partner, Miss Genevieve Lyon;
collective possessors of a favourable and growing popularity as
performers. These photographs may be studied with full reliance upon
their value as guides to the style of each of the dances described.

To the beginner, the diagrams and text will serve as a grammar, by whose
guidance the steps can be put into practice. Familiarity will accustom
the limbs and body to the mechanism of the steps, and the mirror will go
far in revealing the faults inseparable from any new undertaking that
requires skill. At that point the photographs have their special value.

As soon as the student is reasonably conversant with his grammar, he
should begin to avail himself of opportunities to put his knowledge to
practical use. Also, if he wishes to dance with distinguished grace and
style, he should put himself for a term under the eye of a capable
teacher. Ambitious professional performers, possessed of the knowledge
and skill derived from years of concentrated study of their art,
periodically submit themselves to rigourous coaching. The amateur,
though measured by much less exacting standards, has commensurately
less preliminary training on which he may depend to give him the
qualities that make for graceful execution. No dancer can see his own
work truly. All need at least the occasional oversight of a skilled eye;
and a teacher’s experience in detecting the causes of imperfections
enables him to cure them in a minimum of time.

The figures (_enchainement_) composing the new dances have no set order
of performance; their sequence is at caprice, usually suggested by the
music. Nor is there yet any indication that their increasing number has
reached its limit. Every one is at liberty to test his powers of
invention and composition, to experiment with the adaptation of steps of
one dance into another, and, in general, to give play to his
individuality. But, to hasten the uniform acceptance of a certain set of
figures as a standard basis of each dance, it would be best to postpone
indulgence in fantasies until after the subjoined figures have been
learned. At present the progress of the _Tango_, in particular, is
hampered by the fact that hardly two people in the same ballroom will be
found in agreement as to what steps constitute that dance. And, as noted
before, a preliminary learning of the fundamentals will enable him who
dances to decide intelligently what new steps may be added to a dance
appropriately, and what are out of harmony with that dance’s character.
(The discussion of theme, in the chapter on ballet technique, deals with
composition of steps.)

Explicit verbal description of steps is possible only by use of the
accepted designations of positions of the feet. If they do not impress
themselves on the memory clearly, the reader should by all means copy
the diagram on a separate slip, and keep it before him as he
experiments with the translation of text and diagram into practice of
the steps.

[Illustration]

It will be seen that the designations of positions differ from those of
the ballet in the respect that the feet “toe out” at an angle of 45° to
an imaginary line of advance, instead of the 90° prescribed by the
classic ballet. Modifications of the simple positions, such, for
instance, as anterior or posterior position of either foot, open or
closed position, etc., will explain themselves readily.

The relative positions of partners are (1) closed position, (2) side
position, and (3) open position. Closed position is that of the
individuals facing each other, shoulders parallel, each looking over the
other’s left shoulder, the man’s left hand holding the woman’s right
hand, and his right hand on her back. Side position moves the figures
(holding each other practically as before), each to his left or each to
his right, far enough to take each away from in front of the other.
Coming toward the spectator, the couple in side position shows the width
of both bodies. Open position places the man and the woman side by side,
facing in the same direction, joined by his hand on her waist, or by
holding hands.

Necessary preliminaries disposed of, we are ready to proceed with the
actual mechanism of the dances, of which the first to be considered is


THE ONE-STEP

1. THE CASTLE WALK (invented and introduced by Mr. and Mrs. Vernon
Castle). This is a walking step of direct advance and retreat, not used
to move to the side. The couple are in closed position, the woman,
therefore, stepping backward as the man steps forward, and vice versa.
The advancing foot is planted in fourth position, the knee straight, the
toe down so that the ball of the foot strikes the floor first. The walk
presents an appearance of strutting, although the shoulders are held
level, and the body firm; a sharp twist that punctuates each step is
effected by means of pivoting on the supporting foot. The shoulder and
hip movements that originally characterised the “trot” are no longer
practiced.

In all the following floor-plan diagrams, the right foot is indicated by
solid black, the left foot by outline.

2. THE TURN is a walking step, pivoting on one foot to change direction.

[Illustration]

The right foot comes from the preceding step to the place of starting;
while it makes two successive long steps (1, 2) the left foot turns “on
its place.” The turn’s completion brings the right foot into anterior
fourth position. The woman’s steps are the converse of the man’s, her
left foot making the long steps, while her right foot turns on its
place. The turn gains smoothness by means of allowing the right knees to
touch each other lightly.

3. THE DIP. Starting with (say) the right foot in posterior fourth
position: during the first beat, sink (for form see photograph); on the
second beat, rise, transferring the weight to the left (advanced) foot,
gliding the right foot up to third position, on arriving at which it
instantly receives the weight again, if the dip is to be repeated. In
that case the left foot again glides to anterior fourth position, and
the step is effected as before. Frequently several dips are made in
succession. They often succeed a turn, the latter’s finish leaving the
feet in appropriate (fourth) position for the purpose.

The dip is executed in any direction, with the performers in any
position of the couple. It occurs in other dances, but its technique is
always the same.

4. THE GRAPE-VINE is an alternation of second and fourth positions of
the feet; one foot travelling sidewise on a straight line, the other
foot going from anterior to posterior fourth position, and vice versa.
The step travels to the woman’s right (the man’s left), without turning.

[Illustration]

The man’s steps are the converse of the woman’s, he starting with his
left foot. The step is executed in closed position of the couple, and is
usually performed several times in succession.

The arrival of the feet in fourth position (i. e., the steps marked “2”
in the diagram) is usually punctuated with a slight dip.

5. THE ONE-STEP EIGHT, so called from the number of beats it occupies,
is distinct from the _Tango Huit_, described later, which describes a
figure 8 on the floor. The eight of the _One-Step_ is a simple walk,
with turn.

[Illustration]

The man’s steps are the converse of the woman’s; she pivots on her right
foot, he on his left foot. Executed in closed position of the couple.

[Illustration]

6. THE SQUARE, originally a _Tango_ figure, is equally effective in the
_One-Step_. From posterior third position, the right foot steps to (1)
anterior fourth position; left foot glides to (2) second position; right
foot glides into (3) first position; left foot steps back to (4)
posterior fourth position; right foot steps to (5) anterior third
position. It is usually repeated several times. Executed in closed
position of the couple.

Execution of the figure occupies two measures of music; steps done in
half-time are indicated by the word “and,” instead of a number. The
learner will find it useful to chant the count aloud, avoiding stress on
the half-count of “and.”

Let it be understood that the word “and,” used in counting, has the
above significance in descriptions to come.

7. A figure whose execution occupies three measures. The steps of the
first bar are quick, those of the second slower; the difference of speed
should be emphasised.

[Illustration]

First bar: As the left foot crosses over to “3,” it will be noted that
the next placement of the right foot is marked “and”; this is done
because the time occupied by the little movement is only one-half beat.
In practice the steps are counted, _one_, _two_, _three_ and _four_. The
left foot’s step marked “4” is a _coupé_; as the foot is planted, it
displaces the right foot; which takes a position extended to the rear,
raised from the floor.

Second bar: The space between the last place of the right foot in the
first bar and its place in “1” in the second bar, does not represent
proportionate progress across the floor; the steps of the three bars are
diagrammed consecutively, to avoid the confusion of superimposed lines.
On count “1” of the second bar, advance the right foot from its raised
posterior position to anterior fifth position. Fill in the count of “2”
with a slow advance of the left foot to fourth position, which it
reaches on count “3”; upon which it receives the weight, the right foot
simultaneously being raised from the floor in posterior fourth position
on count “4.”

Third bar: On “1,” plant the right foot in posterior fourth position and
slowly sink the weight back on it; on “2,” glide the left foot back
slowly (3) to reach third position on count “4.”

The figure is executed in open position of the couple. Its manner is
smooth, without dips. It is usually repeated several times in
succession.

[Illustration]

8. THE MURRAY ANDERSON TURN: a turn _en arabesque_. The man crosses the
right foot in front of the left, and transfers his weight to it (i. e.,
the right foot). Simultaneously the woman, holding his hand in her hand
(open position of couple), begins a walk around a circle of which the
man’s right foot is the centre. As his legs “unwind,” he rises to the
ball of the right foot, extending the left leg easily to the rear (see
_arabesque_, chapter on ballet technique) and raising the left foot from
the floor.

The woman’s walking movement should be smooth rather than accented.
After repeating the turns _ad lib._, it is found that the _One-Step
Eight_ follows harmoniously after the turn.

9. A cross-over with a woman’s turn. This figure looks complicated in
the diagram and in performance. As a matter of fact, it is not
especially difficult.

[Illustration]

The diagram represents the cross-over, which precedes the turn. The turn
is described in words.

In preparation for the cross-over, the couple changes from closed to
side position, the man on the woman’s left. The man’s steps are the
converse of the woman’s; and his travel back and forth counters hers, so
that the two pass and repass--in the side position of the couple, he is
now on the her left side, now on her right, and so on.

Keeping track of the woman’s steps on the diagram, read the man’s steps
one by one, correlating them with the woman’s.

[Illustration: DEVELOPMENT OF AN ARCH “À LA PIROUETTE”

Cross to right (1)--
Cross to left (2)--
Start of turn (3)

To face page 282]

[Illustration: THE “ONE-STEP”

The _Kitchen Sink_; position of couple (1, 2)


THE “BRAZILIAN MAXIXE”

Characteristic position of advanced foot (3)

To face page 283
]

After taking side position on the woman’s left, the man takes two
walking steps forward, _right_, _left_; crossing the right foot in front
of the left, he changes to the woman’s right side. Still walking
forward, _right_, _left_, two steps bring him to the end of the third
measure. Finish in first position of the feet.

Note: In the work of both man and woman, the turn in the first two
measures, and the half-turn in the third, involve only simple walking
steps, plus a pivot to change direction. The interaction of arms
suggests itself in practice.

The fourth bar marks the woman’s turn--or _pirouette_, as it is often
and usually mistakenly called. The man’s left hand holding the woman’s
right hand, the woman executes a turn--a real _pirouette_ (q. v.) is
permissible--under the man’s raised left arm, finishing in closed
position of the couple. (See photographs.) The turn under the arm is
sometimes called the a_rch à la pirouette_.

10. A woman’s turn, varying the preceding, with which it is identical up
to the end of the second bar.

Having completed the turn occupying the first and second bars, the woman
lets go her partner’s hand and walks around behind him, completing the
circuit in four steps. These must be measured so that the fourth step
brings her into readiness to go into closed position of the couple; and
timed so that, after going into closed position, the couple has neither
to wait nor to hurry in order to move with the next beat.

During the walk around, the woman lightly glides her left hand around
the man’s neck. The man remains stationary, his left arm extended
horizontally before him. The woman’s right hand takes the man’s left
hand as she comes into closed position.

The foregoing movements of the _One-step_ must be executed not only with
fine regard to rhythm, but also to continuity. If they are not made to
flow one into another, the effect is jerky and uncertain-looking.


THE BOSTON

The distinguishing step-combination of this very attractive dance is
complete in one measure. Its essence is in a certain effect of
syncopation, secured by keeping the weight on the same foot through two
successive beats--contrary to the practice of transferring the weight
with each beat, as in the old _Waltz_. Another peculiarity of the
_Boston_ is the carriage of the weight counter to the line of direction
of travel, giving an effect of holding back. The dance is performed with
deliberation; its execution aims at a rather grand style.

The dip characteristic of and named for the _Boston_ is, in execution,
the same as the dip described in connection with the _One-Step_ (see
photographs). The management of a sequence of dips as they occur in the
_Boston_ is, however, a matter for special attention, which will be
given it in its place.

1. The essential step:

[Illustration]

On count “1,” the entire weight is thrown upon the right foot; and there
it continues through the remainder of the bar. On count “2,” swing the
left foot forward into anterior fourth position, straightening the left
knee, touching the floor with the point, as far forward as is possible
without taking any of the weight off the

[Illustration: THE WALTZ

A position of the couple in the _Waltz Minuet_ (1)--Correct position of
man’s hand on woman’s back (2)--A position also assumed in the _One-Step
Eight_ (3)--A Dip (4)

To face page 284]

[Illustration: THE WALTZ

Showing correct positions

Of couple (1)--Of feet, in short steps (2)--Of feet, in Dip (3)--Another
view of the Dip (4)

To face page 285
]

right foot; meanwhile the right foot rises to the ball. On count “3,”
lower the heel of the right foot to the floor.

Turn by pivoting on the supporting foot, continuing to touch the point
of the free foot to the floor.

In the bar that follows, the left foot takes the first step, as before.
To accomplish this the weight must be kept on the right foot.

2. The step backward is the converse of the foregoing. The diagram
indicates, as start, the position in which the feet were left by the
preceding step.

[Illustration]

For the sake of simplicity, the diagrams indicate a straight
advance-and-retreat movement. It will be understood that, in practice,
this is varied to effect turns, i. e., by pivoting on the supporting
foot.

The execution above indicated applies to the _Long Boston_. In the
_Short Boston_ each beat is--or was--made the equivalent of two counts
for the feet. The resulting jerkiness and lack of sweep excluded the
_Short Boston_ from any lasting popularity.

3. The BOSTON DIP is, in practice, a series of three successive dips,
executed in reverse turning movement. Each of the three occupies a whole
measure, and a fourth measure is used in returning to the regular
_Boston_ walking step.

In putting the step into practice from the diagram, the student will
greatly simplify the process by chanting the count: _right’_, left,
right; _left’_, right, left; _right’_, left, right, etc., accented as
indicated, on the first beat of each measure. Because the foot
designated by the accented count receives the weight; and the more
nearly the disposal of the weight can be made to take care of itself,
the more attention the student has for other details.

[Illustration]

The dip begins on the first beat, completing the recovery on the third.
It always is made with the right foot in posterior position. In fact,
the right foot does not get out of posterior position. Now, on measures
where the left foot takes the first count, as in the first measure
(above diagram) this is easy. But in alternate measures the right foot
takes the first beat, and just here begins confusion from which few find
any escape except by means of practice. Perhaps owing to a rhythm that
the dip has in common with the old _Waltz_, the right foot has a
tendency to go, in its turn, into the anterior position. But it must be
kept back. It must be kept, broadly speaking, on the outer of two
curving paths, of which the left travels the inner. Note the appearance
of this on the diagram showing turns.

If the learner succeeds, at this point, in performing the dip to the
satisfaction of a candid and intelligent critic, let him by all means
proceed to the next section, praising Allah for the gift of facility. If
not, let him be cheered by the fact that it is as difficult for any one
else as for himself. A semblance of it is easily acquired. To insure
reality, return to the figure on page 286.

Observe that in bars where the right foot takes the first count (the
even-numbered measures, beginning with the second) the right foot does
not step out in advance of the left foot. Instead, it sweeps out to the
_side_; the movement is accompanied by pivoting on the left foot. A
short step of the left foot to place “2” marks the cadence and preserves
its anterior fourth position. On the other hand, in measures where the
left foot takes the first count, it keeps its anterior position almost
automatically.

[Illustration]

As an added expression of the difference of treatment between the
alternate measures, it is here reduced to the form of a straight
advance.

The _Boston Dip_ carries with it the possibility of beauty commensurate
with its difficulty. On the other hand, its good execution is none too
common. The exhilaration that attends its performance appears,
sometimes, to flatter the performer into a belief that his style is as
agreeable as his sensation. It is, therefore, more than others, a step
in which every one should submit his execution to rigourous and
intelligent criticism.

4. An embellishing _enchainement_, complete in six measures, of which
each is filled by one step.

Until the “6” count, the figure represents a straight advance and
retreat. The diagram departs slightly from that form in order to avoid
the confusion of superimposed lines.

[Illustration]

As an aid, count as follows: Step,’ Dip,’ Point’-dip, Step,’ Dip,’
Turn.’ Turn in the regular direction, not in reverse; and accompany the
turn also with a dip.

In the third measure, the left foot recedes quickly from its anterior
position (where it points) to its posterior position. In the third,
fourth and fifth measures, note that the left foot makes three
successive movements.

5. Another embellishment. Without turns, its theory is as follows:

[Illustration]

Each count represents one measure.

With turns included, the figure works out as follows (for instance):

[Illustration]

The couple is in closed position. The above diagrams represent the man’s
steps; the woman’s are the converse.

Repeat at will.


THE HESITATION WALTZ

This new evolution preserves all the charm of the old-fashioned _Waltz_,
and by means of certain embellishments has given it new life and
interest.

1. Its THEME is readily understood by means of a diagram:

[Illustration]

This key step is complete in two measures. It will be noted that the
first measure is devoted to a walking step.

Elevation: the “1” beat in the second bar is accompanied by a slight
dip. Toward the last of the second bar the dancers slowly draw
themselves up until, on “3,” they are raised to the ball of the
supporting foot. The man’s right leg, as it draws the right foot up to
place “3,” is distinctly relaxed.

Note, in the second bar, that the right foot continues to move during
the second beat.

The step is performed in either open or closed position of the couple.
If the former, the woman’s steps are identical with the man’s; if the
latter, the converse. If in open position, the travel is forward.

To turn in the regular direction, the step indicated in the second
measure is in use.

2. THE REVERSE is effected by an alternation of _Boston Dips_ with an
equal number of measures of old-fashioned _Waltz_ (see _Boston Dip_).
Dip in measures where the right foot is in posterior position without
aid of a shortened step or of a left-foot pivot; in other words,
measures in which the right foot is forced into posterior position.

3. A variation of the theme:

[Illustration]

For convenience, count the time: _one_, two, three, _pause_. On the word
“pause,” throw the weight strongly on to the left foot, the right
remaining easily in second position with the edge of the sole resting on
the floor.

In repeating, move at right angles to the direction followed in the
preceding measure. The man’s direction turns toward his left, the
woman’s toward her right.

4. The LYON CHASSE: an effective figure in open position of the couple.
Complete in one measure; advantageously repeated several times.

[Illustration: THE “TANGO”

Mr. Anderson and Miss Lyon

Characteristic style (1, 2, 4)--Woman circles man (3)]

[Illustration: THE “TANGO”

Characteristic style

To face page 291
]

[Illustration]

Count _one_, _two_ and _three_.

Description of the man’s steps: Advance right foot to fourth position,
where it receives the weight (1); cross left foot over in front of right
foot, pivoting on the latter with the swing of the left foot, so that
the left foot when planted is in anterior fourth position (2); cross
right foot behind left (and) step out with left foot in the direction of
starting. The travel effected is a straight advance.

The woman’s steps are the converse of the man’s, bringing the couple
face to face on “2.”


THE ARGENTINE TANGO

To some people the _Tango_ seems to be an object of suspicion. In a
previous incarnation, three or four years ago, it did, in all
likelihood, fall short of the requirements for acceptance in Anglo-Saxon
ballrooms. Yet, notwithstanding the correction of its shortcomings, or
the transformation of them into virtues, there lingers a semifashion of
nagging at it. Of those volunteers for its reformation who make specific
complaints, no two factions have a point of belief in common; the
factions are numerous, and their observations not very logical. Indeed,
it would be illuminating as well as entertaining if dictagraphic reports
could be collected, of all the discussions the _Tango_ has inspired
since its introduction in Paris. Such reports should be given to one of
the serious-minded critics of the dance for compilation, with his own
comments. “The movements employed in the _Tango_, soberly viewed as a
measure of respectability”--some such title as that the treatise should
have, to be representative of a species of misgiving of which expression
has not wholly subsided.

It is time that the ghost should be laid, since the _Tango_ is now, and
has been for a year or more, a beautiful and irreproachable
dance--assuming, of course, its performance in the clean spirit usually
found in good society. Any dance can be made suggestive or offensive. So
can walking. But that is no reflection on the intrinsic quality of
either dance or walk. The measure of the beauty or character of a dance
is to be found in the movements which, by common acceptance, that dance
prescribes; a rendering that departs from those movements fails to
measure those attributes, in so far as it violates the accepted form.
Now, a couple of specimens of the movements that bring criticism upon
the _Tango_.

Of its characteristics, one is a manner of touching the point to the
floor, the foot pointing straight forward; followed by a quick raise of
the foot, the raise accompanied by a turn outward of the heel. The
effect is, undoubtedly, exotic; that is part of its charm. It is
criticised, however, on grounds of respectability!

One more movement carries this offending step to the attention of a
wholly different set of censors. These latter have found no fault with
the touch of the foot to the floor in (say) second position, and its
raise in the indicated manner. But now, the same foot moves back to
fourth position. Just that. The same old fourth position, without
innovation or adornment. And thereupon, with all seeming earnestness,
the second informal committee of censors protests on grounds of
respectability! Why? Is it because, in coming to that fourth position,
two steps were taken in succession by the same foot? No, that is not it;
it seems that fourth position is at fault, per se.

The character of the objections suggests the existence of an
apprehension that an unqualified acceptance of the _Tango_ would be
risqué. There is no other explanation for the hostility, under present
conditions of the dance. Yet, idle as are the objections, they cannot be
quite overlooked. A certain number of vacillators are listening now to
one voice, to another to-morrow: however great or small their influence,
in ratio to its strength it will tend to denature a product that now has
a flavour to interest discerning taste, yet hardly to imperil the
weak-headed.

Dropping the above issue, the _Tango’s_ trick of the foot continues to
be interesting; this time in relation to the interest of character. The
sharp in-twist of the foot is one of the points of individuality both of
the _Tango_ and the dance of the Arab. Now, probable family relationship
puts the _Tango_ under no obligation to family traits, for the sake of
family dignity; that is beside the point. But, in its own interest, the
_Tango_ would do well to take a careful look at the work of the Arab, to
see that it is deriving equal profit from the same resources. Which it
is not. By current usage (in the United States at least) the _Tango_
makes a practice of toeing forward, or even in, to an extent that is not
only monotonous, but which robs the quick in-turn device of the value of
surprise. The Arab woman, on the other hand, places her feet at a
natural angle; moreover, she precedes the sharp turn-in with an outward
turn sufficiently marked to give the former a telling contrast. The same
is true of the _Flamenco_ dances in Spain. Their superior use of the
trick justifies attention on the part of those under whose influence the
new dance is determining its final form.

In point of merit, the _Tango_ measures up to a standard which, though
by no means a true measure of quality, has a certain practical value: it
is sufficiently picturesque to cover the faults of a half-good dancer.
Conversely, as a vehicle for the equilibrium and style that unite in a
very good dancer, it is not excelled by any social dance of modern
times.

It should be noted that the most suitable music is among the
compositions of the Argentinos themselves.

1. THE TANGO WALK (Spanish, _el Paseo_; French, _la Promenade_) is used
as a variety to figures. The man moves forward, starting with the left
foot, the woman backward. The step brings the advancing foot to position
squarely in front of the supporting foot, both (by the present mode)
pointed straight forward. The full weight is transferred to the advanced
foot as soon as possible, the knee of the leg in posterior position
promptly relaxed, the posterior foot resting, for a moment, lightly on
the point. The step in advance is made with a light gliding movement.

In turning, follow the reverse direction invariably.

Technique of the step backward: Start the foot with a glide, letting it
rise from the floor toward the end of the step, meanwhile toeing inward;
plant the foot squarely to the rear of the supporting foot. At the
moment of placing the retreating foot, the knee of the advanced leg is
relaxed, and the advanced foot is turned

[Illustration: THE “TANGO”

The two upper pictures represent phases of the “Scissors” figure. The
two lower show characteristic style of the “Tango”.

To face page 294]

[Illustration: THE “TANGO”

The Reverse (semi-open position) (1)--The regular Tango walking step
(2)--[1 and 2 apply also to the _One-step Eight_]--Style of movement
(3)--Position of hands sometimes assumed to emphasize the end of a
phrase (4)

To face page 295
]

inward, the heel remaining placed as a pivot. The same directions apply
to man and woman.

2. THE CORTE.

[Illustration]

Starting in first position: Put the weight on the right foot (1); step
forward with the left foot, quickly bringing the right up to third
position, both steps accomplished on (2); bring the left foot back to
fifth position, rise on balls of feet (3), drop heels to floor with
_plié_ of knees (4).

The second measure finds the right foot in anterior fifth position. The
first beat brings it back to posterior fifth position and throws the
weight upon it. Continue same as first measure.

3. THE SCISSORS. (Spanish, _las Tijeras_; French, _les Ciseaux_.)

[Illustration]

The “1” count is marked by a touch-and-turn of the foot; touch the point
to the floor, and instantly raise it, sharply, throwing the heel out;
set foot on place “2.”

With the turn of the foot, allow the hips (but not the shoulders) to
turn also in such manner as to bring the right foot, for the moment,
into posterior fourth position. This applies to beat “I.” “Ia”
represents the pointing of right and left foot respectively.

A variation of the same is effected as follows:

[Illustration]

Turning may be accomplished by (a) the man crossing the right foot over
the left, and (b) the woman “unwinding” him by moving around him
executing scissors steps, turning to her right. Done in closed position
of the couple.

4. THE MEDIA LUNA (French, _la Demi-lune_).

[Illustration]

Start in first position. Right foot to anterior fourth position (1);
left foot to second position (and) right foot glided to first position
(2). Left foot to posterior fourth position (3); right foot to second
position (and) left foot to first position (4).

The place and position of start and finish are identical.

5. THE EIGHT (Spanish, _el Ocho_; French, _le Huit_).

Start in first position. Cross right foot in front of left (1); bring
left foot to first position (and) right

[Illustration: THE “TANGO”

The Corte (1)--Characteristic style (2)--A variation (3)--Start of a
turn (4)

To face page 296]

[Illustration: A “TANGO” STEP

Man’s foot displaces woman’s (1)--Woman’s foot displaces man’s (2)--Each
displaces the other’s foot (3)

To face page 297
]

foot to posterior fourth position (2); cross left foot over in front of
right (3), right foot to first position (and) left foot forward to
fourth position.

[Illustration]

Executed either in open or closed position of the couple. In the latter,
the woman’s steps are the converse of the above. In open position the
same steps are used by both partners; their travel describing a zigzag
figure.

6. A WALTZ TURN. To change from one figure to another, the couple may
make several turns in reverse direction, by means of _Waltz_ step.

[Illustration]

First measure: With the rise on the left foot, the right foot would best
be considered, for simplicity’s sake, as leaving the floor, and
remaining in the air until “1” of the second measure.

Second measure: On “1,” the weight goes back upon the right foot;
consider the left foot in the air, until “1” of the third measure.

Third measure: Same as first measure.

Fourth measure: Cross right foot over left foot and simultaneously rise
(1); hold the position until “2.” Sink with sufficient _plié_ to give
softness of movement. Pick up the right foot smartly at the end of the
last measure in which this step is used.

In character with the _Waltz_, the above movements are made to flow
together in execution. But a thorough grasp of their sequence must be
acquired primarily.

The turn is used to separate _enchainements_, in the manner of the
reverse of the _Hesitation Waltz_, to which it is analogous in
structure.

7. An easy step.

[Illustration]

On “3,” bend the right knee, at the same time slightly raising the left
foot from the floor (posterior fourth position). On “4,” pick up left
foot sharply.

In execution, pivot on supporting foot, to turn in regular direction.

[Illustration: A NORTH AMERICAN FIGURE IN THE “TANGO”

Preparation (1)--After the twist (2)--Finishing with a Dip (3)

To face page 298]

As the right foot does its touch-and-turn, incline the body away from
it; and vice versa. Note same as a _Tango_ principle.

8. The same, to the rear.

[Illustration]

In this and the preceding figure, “2” indicates the _Tango’s_ manner of
touching the point to the floor and quickly raising the foot, at the
same time turning the heel out sharply. This (a) bends the knee and (b)
throws the hip slightly forward. Give reasonable play to both
tendencies.

9. A North American figure, used principally by exhibition dancers.

[Illustration]

Start in first position. Advance left foot to fourth position, _stamp_
(1); advance right foot to fourth position, keeping it in the air (2);
a _rond de jambe_ half-turn, very fast, pivoting on left foot, to bring
right foot to anterior fourth position (3); very low dip or kneel (4).

Exhibition dancers frequently adorn the _rond de jambe_ with a little
circle (from the knee as pivot) described by the foot, executed during
and without interrupting the big sweep. The little movement adds dazzle
to the rapidly executed big movement.

Performed in open position of the couple. The half-turn brings them
about-face, facing each other in the course of turning. (See
photographs.)

10. EL VOLTEO (the Whirl) is the name of a figure of which descriptions
come from Paris. The mechanism of the step is identical with that of the
grapevine of the _One-Step_.


THE BRAZILIAN MAXIXE

This is, virtually, a revival of the _Two-Step_, plus certain _Tango_
steps and _enchainements_. Instead of the _Tango’s_ touch-and-turn-in of
the foot, it employs a device of resting the heel on the floor, the foot
pointed upward, while the body assumes a bent-over posture not
particularly attractive.

[Illustration: THE FIRST STEP.]

As in other present-day dances, usage requires no set sequence of
figures.

1. Execute the first measure with the body somewhat supple, and a good
deal of rise and sink in the steps. The effect may be varied by
inclining the body rather sinuously from side to side.

2. A FLYING TWO-STEP: a two-step in which the advanced foot points
upward, touching the heel to the floor--except on turns. Continue as
many measures without turning as is found interesting; eight are not too
many.

[Illustration: ANOTHER STEP.]

3. Man’s steps: Starting in first position, advance right foot to fourth
position (1); glide left foot to second position (2); glide right foot
to posterior third position (3); carry left foot to posterior fourth
position, pause _en attitude_, _and_, plant it, transferring weight to
it and raising right (advanced) foot, point down (4).

Woman’s steps: Advance left foot to posterior fourth position (1); glide
right foot to second position (2); glide left foot to posterior third
position (3); plant right foot in anterior fourth position _and_ raise
the left foot from the floor (4). During the pause on “4,” the woman
leans slightly forward.

Until the third beat, her steps are the converse of the man’s. Then, it
will be noted, her position becomes the same as the man’s: each, through
a half-beat, is supported on the right foot, the left extended back _en
attitude_. The count of “4” again finds the couple in converse
positions, the man’s right foot being pointed forward while the woman’s
is extended back.

4. AN ARCH A LA PIROUETTE. Holding his partner’s right hand in his left
hand, the man executes four polka-steps forward; while the woman, by
means of four polka-steps, makes a complete turn toward her left. The
engaged hands are raised to allow her to pass under the arms.

5. Miscellaneous. The foregoing may be varied with slow walking steps,
one to each measure; running steps, two to each measure; and
polka-steps, with a dip on the first beat.

Owing partly to its facility, the _Maxixe_ is likely to be remembered as
of the group whose spread over the Occident has represented a striking
social phenomenon. Of the _Maxixe_, the _One-Step_, the two _Waltzes_
and the _Tango_, the leap into popularity has been so incredibly sudden,
and the popularity so far-reaching, that it suggests a great, curious
story; a story with dances and nations as characters; a story whose
capacity for surprises is so well proven that all the world keeps asking
itself, “What next?”

That the tendency is not in the direction of the grotesque is evidenced
in the history of the _Turkey Trot_.

So far the layman may read for himself. For more definite opinion, we
turn to those who, by intimate association with the art in the capacity
of teachers and performers, are situated to observe the attitude of the
public toward the art; and who also, by virtue of a broad

[Illustration: THE “BRAZILIAN MAXIXE”

Characteristic style (1)--A Dip (2)--Variations (3, 4)

To face page 302]

[Illustration: THE “BRAZILIAN MAXIXE”

Preparation for a turn (1)--Finish of a turn (2)--Characteristic style
(3)--A Dip (4)

To face page 303
]

knowledge of dancing, are capable of relating their observations to
choreographic geography and history. Madame Pavlowa, of the world; Mr.
Anderson, now of America; and Miss Nellie Chaplin of London, have
committed themselves definitely as to future probabilities; and with
their opinion authorities generally are in full agreement. To the effect
that:

The dances of the seventeenth-century courts are the objective toward
which present-day steps are moving directly. They are a part of the
curriculum of Miss Chaplin’s famous London school. A _Gavotte
Directoire_ presented by Madame Pavlowa, one of her most popular
numbers, seems the very spirit of modernism. She expresses the belief
that the _Russian Gavotte_, in which is preserved the courtly spirit, is
destined to wide acceptance. Mr. Anderson demonstrates points of step
and style that link together most convincingly the old and the new.
Familiarity with the court dances is the dominant influence in his
treatment of the dances of to-day; and the significant part of it is
that the essential modernism of his manner, in steps rapid or slow, lies
in a poise which, until yesterday, was supposed to be old-fashioned.



CHAPTER XIV

A LAYMAN’S ESTIMATE OF CONDITIONS


That great dancing is a useful and desirable addition to human happiness
needs no argument. Its power to delight the vision and expand the
imagination; its value as an example and incentive to an exercise
unsurpassed as an ally of health--these and other virtues are obvious.
More completely, perhaps, than any of its tributary arts, dancing has
the power to impart that indefinable mental well-being that great art
aims to give its auditor or spectator. As music is refreshment for one,
pictures for another, so the contemplation of dancing is the means of
ordering and energising the mind of a third. We of the United States are
a beauty-loving people in the main, and almost unanimously attuned to
the message of action--so long as we understand its meaning. Once really
established among such a people, dancing would take a position of
importance second to no other source of national inspiration. In the
meantime, there are unorganised cohorts of us to whom good dancing, like
good reading, is something of a necessity; and we should like to know
what we have a right to expect from the near future.

“The public gets what it wants,” is the sophisticated comment almost
invariably drawn forth by any discussion along these lines. Which
comment exposes its own superficiality; the suggestion of the existence
of any one public, in relation to the arts, is absurd. Patronising
dancing there appear, at the very first glance, two publics as widely
separated as inhabitants of different planets; each public possessed of
appreciations inconceivable to the other, and even contemptible. These
are the public that applauds the buxom laziness which substitutes for
dancing in the so-called “amusement” known as burlesque, as
distinguished from the public that responds to the pure beauty of opera
ballet or well-performed ballet pantomime.

Between these two extremes is an intermediate public that is the more or
less innocent cause of endless confusion, and whose good nature is an
obstacle to the betterment of standards. In the theatre, even when the
chaff outweighs the wheat, it applauds everything. The next day Mr. and
Mrs. Intermediate Public advise their friends that the production is
stupid. Decreasing attendance may warn the manager that something is
lacking: but what? As a criticism, absence is not very illuminating.
Acts are changed, cablegrams written and lines rewritten, this man
discharged, a woman rushed over from Paris. And when all is said and
done, the performance perhaps continues to emphasise features that were
the cause of bad impressions. For this confusion, the audiences are at
least equally to blame with the manager. They owe it to themselves as
well as to others to express themselves frankly.

Exactly what grade of dancing this intermediate public really wants is
an unsettled question--and one of paramount importance, since it
involves a good part of the potential support of good things. Managers
infer, each according to his own disposition; and there is rarely
material for the formation of inferences in any way exact. For one
reason or another, no undertaking serves the purpose of exact
experiment; experience does not lead to any unavoidable conclusion. A
few wholly good ballet productions have been given in the Untied States
during the past few years; they have not been tremendously successful,
up to the present, from the point of view of profits. The optimist,
however, counts even small profits a success, in the circumstances. Here
is an art that employs a language practically unknown to this country;
yet it has not failed to impress. But the men who risked the money take
another view of it. They consider that they have had a narrow escape
from disaster, that the profits are not commensurate with the risks, and
that they are well out of a bad affair. Augustin Daly, at the time of
his death, was engaged in a course of instructing the public in the
appreciation of pantomime, expecting to lose money on it for two or
three consecutive years. But the present moment reveals no Augustin Daly
among the potential managers of dancing in America. Few are willing to
plant seed for a harvest long deferred. And in justice be it added that
the equipment and maintenance of _Pygmalion and Galatea_ or _L’Enfant
Prodigue_, the vehicles of Mr. Daly’s missionary efforts in the
interests of pantomime, would be a small fraction of the expenses
attaching to a first-class production of any of the great mimetic
ballets.

The situation is, in all essentials, the same as that through which
operatic and orchestral music passed a few years ago. Music lovers put
their favoured art on a substantial basis by means of endowments. Any
other course in relation to the ballet results in a matter of
probabilities and possibilities, but not of certainties. The present
interest in dancing, left to itself, may lead to great things. Or it
may lead to nothing at all. The renaissance of interest that followed
the Kiralfy successes in the sixties and seventies was killed by
counterfeits. The same hostile possibilities exist at present.

The above-indicated dependence of the dance on its ability to show
immediate profits is only the first of its handicaps. That difficulty
would not be light, even though every manager viewed conditions clearly
and fairly, as some of them do. Unfortunately, however, there is in the
profession a class that has succeeded because of, or in spite of, a
belief that good taste does not exist in America. To prove this, they
shape every occurrence into an argument. In gathering “names” for the
interest of their advertising, they engage a certain number of capable
artists. If the productions employing these artists succeed, the cynical
manager will construe such success as proof of American worship of
reputation, and its power to blind him to a mess of accompanying
mediocrity. If, on the contrary, failure attend the enterprise, it
proves American inability to appreciate good work. For the success of a
really good work of art, these pessimists will find any explanation
except that of good work duly appreciated. Skilful publicity, novelty, a
public affectation of good taste, the employment of Oriental motifs, any
theory, so long as it acknowledges no taste superior to their own. These
are the people who, if Madame Pavlowa’s present tour, for instance,
makes a striking financial success, will inundate the country with
pseudo-Russian ballets, perverting everything, unable to see the need of
beauty and artistry, bringing all dancing into disrepute.

Let it be clearly understood: these people by no means represent the
manager’s profession. But they are to an extent in control of the
situation, and the person who wants to see dancing is more or less
dependent on them as the source of supply. In the absence of any endowed
institution, no ballet can be seen except under commercial
management--and, as noted, commercial management that cannot or will not
knowingly invest in an enterprise that is going to require time to be
understood.

The manager desirous of staging a work of genuine choreographic quality
finds himself confronted by a discouraging scarcity of even
semicompetent material for his ballet--that is, here in America. To
bring a _corps de ballet_ from Europe, with guarantees covering a
minimum number of weeks of work, transportation both ways, and other
proper and just requirements, is commercially dangerous. No reasonable
blame can be attached to the usual course of engaging such girls as are
easily available, fitting steps to their limitations, insisting on the
girls and evading the dance, and making much of draperies and coloured
lights.

As a direct result of the scarcity of capable ballet people,
dance-lovers not infrequently lose the services of a rare artist. No one
artist can give a satisfying two-hour public performance of dancing.
Saying nothing of variety as a _desideratum_ in a programme, the
question of physical endurance enters. To rest the _première_ between
her flights, a _corps de ballet_ is indispensable. Without the latter,
the former is to be compared to a commander without an army. But the
particular case illustrates, where general statement only explains.

On the face of things, Miss Lydia Lopoukowa’s determination to take up
residence in the United States would seem to mean that American
dance-lovers might count on her art as a definite acquisition. After
her season with Mordkin, the young woman accepted a position as
_première_ of a ballet, as good as can be made from native material. A
_divertissement_ is composed that pleases public and management, and all
concerned except the _première_ herself. She finds her work
circumscribed by the necessity of keeping down to a pitch beyond which
the support cannot rise. That the public is pleased is not sufficient;
with unrestricted self-expression, and freedom of flight, she could
bring that public to a point of enthusiasm. Her art is belittled, and
she finds herself in a false position. As soon as contracts permit, she
withdraws her energies from the effort to accomplish good in that
direction. So, for the lack of a competent ballet, the dance-loving
portion of the population is robbed. As to Miss Lopoukowa, she has a
taste for and demonstrated ability in the drama. Dancing will give her
extraordinary distinction in plays that admit its union with the
dramatic action. But under better conditions, her dancing need not have
been subordinated to another art.

At this point a question might justly be raised as to whether the
interests of the ballet are not being adequately cared for by some of
the great opera companies. To such possible question the only answer is
negative. Nor are the companies chargeable with any neglect or
shortcoming in not giving their ballet departments the relative
importance of ballet in European opera organisations. The task of
popularising great music alone has been somewhat more than a labour of
Hercules. Opera as music now has a supporting patronage; to change the
ballet’s relative importance would be disturbing, in all probability.
Moreover, the Metropolitan (if not the others) has done all that is
humanly possible under present conditions, with the principal result of
demonstrating that those conditions are to be met by a ballet
institution, and nothing less.

At the time of the Metropolitan’s organisation, it will be remembered,
the world’s interest in ballet dancing was at a lower pitch than it ever
had been since the dissolution of the Roman Empire; that is, about the
middle of the Victorian period. Had the undertaking been no more than
that of producing opera in a land already friendly to it, it would have
been no more than natural if the Metropolitan directors had accepted the
ballet’s status as they found it in England. Their task being, however,
the production of opera in a country almost hostile to it, a failure to
simplify the problem in every possible way would have been bad
generalship.

Not finding itself expected to take rank with the ballets of other great
opera organisations, the Metropolitan’s department of dancing has gone
its comfortable gait. It has been under the direction of excellent
ballet-masters; but they become easy-going, especially after proving to
themselves that girls cannot successfully be asked to perform steps for
which they lack the foundation of training. To other mollifying
influences is added that of a slippery floor in the room dedicated to
ballet rehearsal; a room so beautiful and a floor so perfect that to
resin it would be a desecration. The dancers, in fear for the intactness
of their bones, walk through their numbers as best they can, and
ultimately perform them in a manner consistent with rehearsals.

As a step toward relieving the scarcity of ballet people, the
Metropolitan founded, about five years ago, a ballet school--an
enterprise from which, up to the present, the pupils have rather
monopolised the material profits. The arrangement between management and
pupil is, in brief, that the pupil shall remain under the school’s
(free) tuition four years, at the end of which period the Opera has an
option on her services for three years, at a salary of twenty dollars a
week, a little more or less. If she appears in the _corps de ballet_
during her period of study, she is paid proportionately. The school work
occupies two hours per day, about nine months of the year. The
atmosphere of both school and Opera is wholesome and good; no fault can
be found with the arrangement on a basis of fairness; but the number of
individuals the school has added to the Opera’s ballet is shockingly
small. Every _revue_, musical comedy, and other light musical production
includes a collection of young women called a ballet; and each year of
increased general intelligence in dancing matters adds to the
desirability that these ballets should justify the name. The pretty
girl, plus coloured lights, drapery, and lively cavorting, no longer
constitutes a perfectly secure grip on public approval (except always in
burlesque, with which we are not concerned). The result is an insatiable
demand for girls who can even half dance. And that demand, in its turn,
is a steady drain on the Opera’s school. Before she has studied two
years, a girl can qualify for a position in an outside concern--a
condition of which she never remains in ignorance very long. She thinks
it over. Two years more work in the school would insure her a position
in the Opera, at weekly pay no greater than the present offer, for a
comparatively short season each year. Now, if the Metropolitan ballet
had great prestige as a choreographic organisation--a prestige like that
of the Russian ballet, for instance--its more capable members would be
sought after as teachers. A connection with it would confer artistic
honour and material profit. Unfortunately, such prestige is one of the
elements that are lacking. In résumé: continuance with the school
insures employment for about half of every year, beginning at a later
time, with the chances of advancement almost zero. Whereas, musical
comedy and the like offer the probability of employment the year round,
minus the time of rehearsing new productions. Present profits are more
attractive than the deferred kind; and, a consideration by no means
unimportant, a pretty face and a pleasing manner are reasonable grounds
on which to hope for a “part.” Her contract? The young girl of the
present generation has had her own way about everything since the hour
of her birth. Experience teaches her that the worst penalty reasonably
to be expected is a harmless reproof, soon ended. And her experience is
a true guide in this case. As a matter of sentiment, no one likes to
oppose the wishes of a girl. As a matter of business, it would be of
doubtful advantage for the opera company to take legal steps to enjoin
its contract-breaking pupils from appearing in other concerns.
Happenings connected with opera and the theatres have a high value in
the newspapers; no motive is more popular than that of the persecution
of the poor but beautiful girl; the publicity force of the musical
comedy employing said girl would busy itself creating for her the rôle
of victim. The opera management would find difficulty in securing a true
and therefore comparatively uninteresting public statement of its case;
indeed, it would be likely to be made to appear, in the eyes of the
multitude, as a sort of ogre.

The Metropolitan school furnishes a complete and conclusive test of the
possibilities of an opera organisation, as such, in the province of
dancing. But even if the Metropolitan ballet were right now at the
highest conceivable pitch of perfection, a radical change of policy
would be necessary as a preliminary to giving the school its proper
power to hold its pupils’ allegiance. That is to say, the opportunity to
appear in an occasional _divertissement_ is not sufficient to hold an
ambitious and capable young man or woman through long years of study. In
St. Petersburg, the Imperial Opera House dedicates two nights a week to
mimetic ballet. The dancers’ art on those occasions is subordinate to
none. The dance is the thing; and the dancers, according to ability, are
given the opportunity to interpret character and motive. In short, they
are given the opportunity to express their art as individuals.

Now, one or another of the American opera companies might be willing and
able to duplicate the above conditions--conditions without whose aid no
ballet reaches a high plane of development. The undertaking, however,
would have at least twice the weight of the administration of either
ballet or opera alone; it would be accompanied, too, by a risk that the
twofold interest would result in confusing or displeasing a portion of
the music-lovers who constitute opera’s support. The creation,
development and maintenance of standards of a great ballet is a combined
task and opportunity for dance-lovers themselves, and an end to be
reached through the medium of a ballet institution. It may be added that
the Russian régime puts music and ballet under the charge of two
distinct and separate institutions.

Opera companies whose traditions have been formed during recent years
have naturally felt the force of the renaissance of dancing; they have
invested their ballets with an importance that would have been
considered disproportionate if their formative period had coincided with
the mid-Victorian period. The Philadelphia-Chicago company has had a
better _corps de ballet_ than could logically be expected in view of the
limitations of American material; credit is due Sr. Luigi Albertieri,
the ballet-master. As _première danseuse_ the same company for some
years has had Signorina Rosina Galli, a delightful little product of la
Scala. In 1913 Sr. Albertieri took the post of ballet-master of the new
Century Opera Company, with Miss Albertina Rasch, formerly of the Vienna
opera, as _première_. The public’s readiness to recognise good work was
demonstrated during the Century’s first presentation of _The Jewels of
the Madonna_. After the act in which the _Tarantella_ is danced, the
audience demanded that Miss Rasch respond, with the two principal
singers, to the curtain-calls.

In Canada, the influence of the times may be noted in the Canadian Royal
Opera Company’s engagement of Madame Pavlowa and her company to provide
the ballet portion of eight performances. Of present interest in the
dance throughout North America, there is no manner of doubt. It is
perfectly clear that appreciation of choreographic beauty and
discernment of skill are rapidly advancing. London has shown its
capacity to support four great ballet attractions through the same
season, and that a long one; the United States is influenced by
England’s taste in entertainment. Dancing exhibitions and pageants are
now a part of the entertainments of smart society. A masque produced by
Mrs. Hawkesworth, in one of the private gardens of Newport, was of a
nature to recall the historic festivals of Catherine de Medici. And the
nation’s taste in entertainment is influenced by smart society. All
signs point to a continued and even growing interest in dancing. And it
is possible, without other aid or guidance than that interest in dancing
in general, that dancing as a great art, an art of deep emotional
interpretation, will take its proper place in this land. But, with the
multitude of forces of vulgarity, get-rich-quick commercialism, and
heedlessness opposed to it, it is doubtful. At the present moment, the
high art of dancing is pleasing, and its emotional message partly
comprehended. If it were fully comprehended, that art would be an
indispensable source of refreshment to the American mind. Consistently
repeated for a few years, its idiom would be familiar to a large part of
the population. The conditions which this chapter has analysed show,
however, that the sufficient and adequate repetition of ballet drama is
by no means certain. And this chapter’s motive is to emphasise two
things: first, if American lovers of dancing wish to insure for
themselves the continuous opportunity to see fine representations of
that art, they must found a ballet, and an academy upon which it may
depend for its artists; second, for such a step no time can be more
propitious than the present.

If the vision of an endowed ballet institution in the United States
seems lacking on the practical side, it is not amiss to recall a few
facts of American history in its relation to music--than whose ambitions
of yesterday nothing was thought to be less practical. Thirty years ago
the attitude of the United States (particularly the West) toward
classical music was less indifferent than scornful. To confess a liking
for orchestral or operatic compositions was to brand oneself as queer.
Anything connected with music or musicians was deemed a fair mark for
newspaper jokers; and they knew their readers. Inevitably, organisations
that ventured a tour did so at their financial peril.

Individual singers and performers were protected somewhat by their
lesser expenses and their preparedness to render popular ballads; but
they too knew well the look of empty benches.

Theodore Thomas pointed out to a group of Chicago people that never,
under such conditions, would the adequate performance of great works be
other than at rare and uncertain times; that, without fairly frequent
hearing of those great works, public taste never would improve.
Obviously, the programmes that Mr. Thomas proposed to give, and the
manner and frequency with which he proposed to give them, brought up the
prophetic vision of considerable money loss; but the funds were
subscribed. The result is the Chicago Orchestra: a source of unending
happiness to lovers of good music, just pride to the city, and material
benefit in no slight degree. Chicago finds itself the place of residence
of several thousand music students, and a centre of attraction for many
more thousands of occasional pilgrims to the Orchestra’s concerts.
Lastly, as though to show that idealism is not the idle dissipation that
it seems, the Orchestra was reported several years ago to have reached a
basis of self-support.

The same history has been virtually duplicated in perhaps a score of
cities, needless to enumerate. Even “practical” people admit that most
of the orchestras so endowed, though they may have passed through a
period of begging people to accept passes to concerts, are now paying
their own expenses. The general history of the Metropolitan Opera has
already been outlined. Opera in other cities has gone through much the
same train of events, slowly changing indifference to interest, and
having now arrived at the stage of independence made possible by a
demand that grows steadily in volume and intelligence. The number of
performances in each city shows a consistent annual growth.

Certainly the taste for dancing of a high class is no less worthy of
indulgence and cultivation than the taste for the sister art of music.
If music’s dependence upon endowment was once more evident than is that
of dancing now, then so much less is the difficulty of financing a
ballet institution; proportionately less, too, are the hazards and
delays to be undergone before the institution arrives at a paying basis.

For the organisation and conduct of such an institution, the Russian
ballet and Academy supplies a model that could be followed in most
details. American sentiment probably would rebel at so complete a
separation of children from parents as the Imperial Academy requires;
but a less complete separation would not necessarily be detrimental to
results. For actual technical work in dancing, plastic gymnastics,
pantomime, music and other courses more than a few hours a day would be
beyond the strength of very young pupils, leaving half of each day to
attend common school. As the pupil advances, his hours per day in the
academy could increase; he could acquire general education after his
technical education is accomplished with just as good results as
accompany the present reversal of that sequence.

The weak spot that appears in the plan is the possible interference of
parents with the school’s discipline. The training of a dancer involves
hard work and a great deal of it. Although the work be demonstrably
beneficial in all ways, the American parents’ attitude toward that work
and the accompanying discipline would be the question to be settled.
Boys, to be sure, are sent sometimes at an early age to military
schools, and there brought up under a more or less exact régime. But
public sentiment favours the indulgence of the girl in all her wishes.
It would be a matter requiring adjustment, and probably susceptible of
adjustment. Far greater difficulties have been overcome.

Against the prevailing tendency to abandon the training in order to
accept outside engagements, by which the Metropolitan Opera School of
Ballet has been too often victimised, the academy could protect itself
by requiring each pupil to file a bond as a condition of entrance, the
amount to be forfeited if the pupil violates his agreement. Questions of
payment, ranking of performers, amount of pensions and the like are
details needless to consider in the general plan.

Proper equipment would represent a considerable expenditure: a modern
theatre, or the liberal use of one; drill halls, music rooms, gymnasium,
baths, etc. As to instructors, the right kind are available. At the
outset, ballet-master and most of the dancers would have to be engaged
from outside, their number decreasing as the school’s products reached
the proficiency to take their places. The employment, at the beginning,
of finished dancers, would be of advantage in establishing standards
for students. Scenery, costumes and orchestra are to be had at the cost
of thought and money. Medical and other expenses, taxes, etc., are minor
considerations. Now to returns. In considering which, it is understood
that such an undertaking may not make expenses at first. But it is not
impossible that good management should reduce the losing years to a very
small number.

Assuming (say) thirty performances in the home city during the first
year: the prestige of that number of performances, kept up to a
consistent pitch of excellence, would be nation-wide. As a result of
that prestige, a long tour and several short ones would undoubtedly
return an excess over salaries and costs. Bear in mind that a commercial
undertaking of the sort must figure on recouping a heavy initial
expense, and transportation of a company from Europe and return.

Special engagements of artists, in groups or individually, would net the
institution a greater or less part of the receipts, according to the
terms of individual contracts.

Considering conditions as they are, and looking at the history of music
as a fair analogy, it would be safe to assume that local interest in
dancing and the mimetic ballet would increase steadily after the
institution’s first year, increasing income proportionately. On the
other side of the account, expenses should begin to decrease after the
third year. A wardrobe and a stock of scenery would have been
accumulated, their cost reduced to upkeep and occasional additions. More
important, pupils by that time would begin to qualify for the ballet,
decreasing the pay-roll of European dancers. In eight years, if the
institution has been reasonably fortunate, it should have a ballet
recruited principally from its own school. These alumni, of whatever
grade, it would have at low salaries; salaries at the same time
satisfactory to the recipients, whose popularity as private teachers
would be about in ratio to the quality of work with which they
identified themselves in performances. Stated hours of exemption from
duties connected with the ballet and the school would open the way to
such extra revenue. The pay of the _première danseuse_ of l’Opéra of
Paris is small, in relation to the requirements of her position; but
teaching and outside performances are said to yield her a comfortable
income.

Pension payments would represent a loss more apparent than real, since
many pensioners could, with adjustments, serve as teachers and aides in
various capacities.

So far as can be learned, the foregoing covers the principal elements of
expense and possibilities of revenue. The difficulties would be heavy,
but less so than those that have been met and overcome. The ballet
institution, achieved, would be a contribution to the fine arts no less
glorious than any this country has yet received, an organism whose
service to broad æsthetic cultivation has been equalled by few.

On the score of both public education and its correlative, the steady
increase of the ballet’s earnings, too much emphasis cannot be laid on
the advantage the institution would have in its facilities for repeating
great works at frequent intervals. We have seen how ground gained by the
first Russian season in America was partly lost, through conditions that
made it impossible to follow up victories. The choreographic idiom once
understood in its fulness, and its public having found itself, the
changes of fashion in popular taste would be powerless to affect the
dignified status of the art. Under commercial conditions, let the
general level of taste sag, or appear to sag, and fine expression is no
more. The thousands who have half learned to love the good give it up,
and revert to the mediocre; while those who are wholly in sympathy with
the good say nothing, stay away from the theatre, and are supposed, by
managers, not to exist. Good taste never dies out; it only appears to.
The amalgamation of the aristocracy of taste that would be effected by
the proposed institution would, in itself, have a tremendous importance.
Any basis for computing the potential support for good and honest
attractions would be of the utmost advantage to their proprietors.
Disclosures of a substantial demand would encourage tours of the best in
Europe, while a reliable measure of the limitations of such demand would
be no less valuable as a warning against reckless expense. Certainly it
is to the interest of the art that good attractions shall be materially
profitable.

As to the thought of any tendency of such an institution to take the
practice of dancing away from the laity, and confine it to paid
exhibitions, the effect would be to the contrary. It would, however,
make for a rise of standards. Dancing clubs and pantomime clubs that a
little fertilisation would bring to light would find in a quasi-public
ballet an inspiration and a guide; and the good to public health and
spirits, in the way of such clubs alone, would be pronounced. Also,
prevalent impressions concerning the relationship between cleverness,
“individuality” and genuine workmanship would be modified, to the
betterment of what is known as the American spirit.

Greek poets found metre for their verses in the tapping of feet on the
floor. Since the days of Gluck and Gretry, the ballet has been among the
foremost stimuli and guides in musical composition. Of late years, the
Russian ballet’s lift to romantic music is a matter of almost common
knowledge. Is it a ballet that is awaited as the inspiration of an
American school of music? It is not impossible. But that, and a thousand
other questions, are not for present consideration. The present issue is
the institution itself.



BIBLIOGRAPHY


     LA DANSE GRECQUE ANTIQUE: _Maurice Emmanuel_.--Traces the origin of
     a number of steps to ancient Greece, by analysis of poses of
     dancing, figures on ceramics, etc. Good explanation of ballet
     steps. (French.)

     A GRAMMAR OF THE ART OF DANCING: _Friedrich Albert Zorn_.--Explains
     a system of choreographic writing by means of symbols to indicate
     positions and movements. By means (partly) of symbols explains
     ballet steps, also several ballroom dances. Exact and complete.
     (Written in German; translated into English and other languages.)

     L’ACADEMIE IMPERIALE DE MUSIQUE: _Castil-Blaze_.--“Histoire
     litteraire, musicale, choréographique, pittoresque, morale,
     critique, facétieuse, politique et galante de ce théâtre.” (From
     1645 to 1855.) Contains much history and anecdote of Roman Empire
     and Middle Ages, with descriptions of mediæval ambulatory ballets,
     etc. (French.)

     LES PENSÉES: _J.-J. Rousseau_.--Defends the dance against attacks
     of English. Rare; frequently missing from (supposedly) complete
     editions of the author. (French.)

     MEMOIRS ET JOURNAUX: _Pierre de l’Estoile_.--A collection of
     anecdotes of the court of Henry III. A mine of information and
     gossip in relation to masques, etc., in the period described.
     (French.)

     DES BALLETS ANCIENS ET MODERNES, SELON LES RÉGLES DU THÉÂTRE:
     _Claude François Ménestrier_. 1682.--Author was a Jesuit priest.
     Book includes extensive list of ballets produced in France up to
     year of its publication.

     ORCHESOGRAPHIE: _Thoinet-Arbeau_ (anagram of _Jean Tabourot_).
     1589.--Author was Canon of Langres and Maître de Chapelle of Henry
     III. The first book devoted to the dance. Comments on all aspects
     of dancing in France of his time. (French)

     THE CODE OF TERPSICHORE.--LE CODE COMPLET DE LA DANSE.--TRAITÉ
     HISTORIQUE THÉORIQUE ET PRATIQUE DE L’ART DE LA DANSE, DE LA
     PANTOMIME, DES BALLETS: _Carlo Blasis_.--Of the three books named,
     the first is in English; its material is more or less repeated in
     the other two, which are in French. A standard for the use of
     ballet-masters especially. Authoritative on matters pertaining to
     ballet technique, questionable on character dances, wholly
     untrustworthy on Spanish.

     LETTRES SUR LA DANSE ET LES BALLETS: _M. Noverre_, ballet-master of
     the Duke of Würtemburg, l’Opéra of Paris, and other operas.
     1760.--Classic. Author was the prophet of and leader to the modern
     ballet. A broad and comprehensive work on art, as well as
     authoritative on stage direction, ballet technique, and history.
     (French.)

     DE LA SALTATION THÉÂTRALE: _M. de l’Aulnaye_. 1790.--Dancing and
     pantomime in antiquity. Contains a catalogue (thought by some
     authorities to be complete) of dances of ancient Greece. (French.)

     DANCING AND DANCERS OF TODAY: _Caroline and Charles Caffin_.
     1912.--Special attention to biographies of contemporary dancers.
     (English.)

     LETTRES À SOPHIE SUR LA DANSE: _A. Baron_. 1825.--History,
     folk-dances and balls of Middle Ages. A chapter is devoted to
     dancing of Hebrews. (French.)

     LA DICTIONNAIRE DE LA DANSE: _G. Desrat_.--Recent. Extremely
     useful. In dictionary form presents wide range of information.

     A HISTORY OF DANCING: _G. Vuillier_. 1898.--Translated from
     original French into English and Italian. Readable history of the
     art from antiquity to latter 19th century; many descriptions of
     early ballets and masques are quoted from Ménestrier, De l’Estoile
     and others.

     MODERN DANCING AND DANCERS: _J. E. Crawford Flitch_. 1912.--History
     of ballet in England, biographical-analytical sketches of
     individuals of latter 19th century, details of Russian ballet in
     London. Delightfully written. (English.)

     TRATADO DE BAILES: _Jose Otero_, famous master in Seville.
     1912.--Expression of the spirit of Spanish dancing. Much amusing
     reminiscence. (Spanish.)

     DICTIONNAIRE DE DANSE: _Charles Compan_. 1802.--Detailed
     instructions in social dances of the period. (French.)

     NOTE.--The above-named works are not arranged in order either of
     chronology or importance.



INDEX


ADAGIO, 95.

Albert, dancer, 109.

Albertieri, Luigi, ballet-master;
  definition _balloné_, 74;
  Century Opera Company, 314.

_Alegrias_, Spanish dance, 134.

Alexander VI, see Pope.

Allard, Mlle., dancer, 107.

_Allemande_, the, court dance, 52.

_Almées_, the, tribe of dancers, 210.

Anacreon, 8.

Anderson, John Murray, dancer;
  old court dances, 52;
  modern ball-room dances, 272-303.

Animals, danced representations of, 19.

Anisfeldt, Boris, designer stage decorations, 264.

Anne of Austria, 49.

Antoinette, Marie, 53.

Arabesque (posture), 78.

Arabs, dancing of, 196 _et seq._

Arbeau, Thoinet (anagram of Jehan Tabourot), Canon of
    Langres, choreographic historian. Ridicules opposition to dancing, 31.
  Hints on deportment, 55.
  See also Church.

Ariosto, _Suppositi_, performance in Vatican, 44.

Aristides, 8.

Aristodemus, dancer as ambassador, 8.

Ark of Covenant; see David.

Arms, positions of, ballet, 67.
  See also _Flamenco_, Arabs.

Artificiality, charge of against ballet, 62, 63.

_Assemblé_ (step), 69.

_Attitude_, 84.

_Awakening of the Soul_, dance, Egyptian, 210, 211.


BACCHU-BER, Savoyard observance, 186.

Bacon, Francis, composer of masques, 48.

Bakst, Léon; designer stage decorations, costumes,
    choreographer. Compared to Noverre, 105.
  Part in Romantic movement, 248.

Ballet Academy, French National. Founded, 49;
  Influence, 100.

Ballet Academy, Metropolitan Opera, see Metropolitan Opera.

Ballet Academy, Russian Imperial, see Russian.

Ballet, Classic, its artistic function, 60, 61; 89-91, 96.
  See also Expression.

Ballet dancers, effects of scarcity in America, 308-312.

Ballet Theater, American, outline for conduct of, 317-322.

_Ballet (le) Comique de la Reine_, 46.

Ballet technique, ballet steps, 65-97.

Ballet, Russian, see Russian Ballet.

Bolm, dancer, 247.

_Balloné_, 60, 73.

Baltarazini. See Beaujoyeulx.

Bathyllus, 25 et seq.

_Battement_, 71, 72.

Beaujoyeulx, ballet-master, (ex. see Blasis below) 45.

Belgium, dances of, 182 et seq.

Bible, The; references to dancing, 5.

_Black Crook, The_, 231 _et seq._

Blasis, Carlo, ballet-master, writer on dancing, 110.

_Bolero_, the, Spanish dance, 146, 148.

Bolm, Adolf, dancer, 248.

Bonfanti, Marie, dancer, teacher, 232.

_Boston, The_, social dance; relation to other social dances, 272.
  Execution, 284-288 incl.

Boston Dip, see _Dip_.

_Boston Waltz._ See _Boston_.

Boucher, designed stage decorations, 104.

_Bourrée, la_, French dance, 52, 54, 183.

_Branle_, family of dances; _B. du Haut Barrois_,
    _B. des Lavandières_, _B. des Ermites_, _B._ des Flambeaux, 55.

_Brisé_ (step), 73.

Brunelleschi, stage decorations, 44.

_Bulerias_, Spanish dance, 134.

Burlesque, 229.


CABRIOLE, 72.

_Cachucha_, the, Spanish dance, 111, 140.

Canadian Royal Opera Company, ballet, 314.

Camargo, dancer, 50 _et seq._
  Place in art, 59 _et seq._
  Influence on costume, 100.
  Quality of work, 107.

_Can-Can, The_, dance of Montmartre, 229.

Cansino, Antonio, teacher, 124.

Cansino, Elisa, dancer, 135.

Cansino, Eduardo, dancer, observer of work of Gipsies, 126, 134.

Carmencita, dancer, 139.
  Influence in America, 239.

_Carnaval, le_, ballet drama, 268.

_Caryatis, dance._ Sacred to Diana, 13.

Castanets, Spanish use of, 131, 147, 148, 151, 152.

Castle, Mr. and Mrs. Vernon, dancers, 277.

Castle Walk, see Castle.

Caucasus, The, dancing in, 217.

Cavallazi, Malvina, preface.

Cecca, stage decorations, 44.

Ceccetti, E., ballet-master, teacher, 74, 89.

Cerezo, teacher, 146.

Cerito, Fanny, dancer, 118.

_Chaconne_, the, court dance, 52, 55.

_Changement_ (step), 69.

Chaplin, Nellie, reviver of old English dances, teacher, 173.
  Opinion concerning ball-room dancing of to-day, 303.

Characteristic dancing, contribution to ballet, 53.

Charles I, King of England, 48.

_Chassé_, 68.

China, dancing in, 224.

Chirinski-Chichmatoff, Princess, dancer; defines characteristic dancing, 193.
  Russian Court Dance, 195.
  Dancing in the Caucasus, 217.

Church, the Christian, St. Basil attributes dancing
    to angels, Emperor Julian reproved by St. Gregory, 30.
  Canon of Langres ridicules opposition to dancing, 31.
  Mozarabic mass, St. Isidore, 32.
  Abuses complained of, 33.
  Anecdote of the _Fandango_, 141.
  Lerida Cathedral, Seville Cathedral, 142.
  Scotland, 167.

Church, the Christian, relation to dancing, see also _Pope_.

Cicero, 27.

_Ciociara_, the, Italian dance, 162.

Clayton, Bessie, dancer, 93.

_Cleopatre_, ballet drama, 266.

_Cobblers’ Dance_, the, Swedish, 182.

_Cobra Dance_ (India), 220.

Coles, Miss Cowper, reviver of old English dances, teacher, 173.

Collins, Lottie, dancer, 230.

Columbina, 157.

Composition (choreographic, general principles), 89, 90, 91.
  Noverre’s influences, 105.
  Arabic, 196 _et seq._, 204.
  Fokine (hypothetical example), 264.
  See also Expression.

_Contredanse_, type of dance, 184.

Coopers, Munich’s dance of, 186.

_Cordax_, Ancient Greek dance, 20.

Corybantes, taught mankind, to dance, 7.

Coppini, Ettore, dancer, ballet-master, 233.

_Corte_, the, figure of _Argentine Tango_, 295.

_Cossack Dance_, the, Russian, 190.

_Cou-de-pied, sur le_, see _Pirouette_.

Counter-time, Spanish use of, 126, 130.

_Country dance_, see Contredanse.

_Coupé_, 68.

_Courante_, the, court dance, 52, 56.

Court Dances, seventeenth century, 52 _et seq._
  Influence on modern ball-room dances, 303.

Crawford, Margaret, 53, 169.

Cybele. See Corybantes.

_Czardas_, the, Hungarian dance, 190, 192.


DALDANS, the, Swedish dance, 182.

_Danse caracteristique, la._ See characteristic dancing.

Dauberval, dancer, 108.

da Vinci, Leonardo, stage decorations, 44.

David, danced before Ark of Covenant, 5.

de Botta, Bergonzio, ballet masque, 37 _et seq._

de Medici, Catherine. Place in history
of ballet, 44;
  organizer of, performer in, grand ballet, 46.

de Medici, Lorenzo, 45.

Decoration, analogy to dance, p. 2 of preface, 96, 97, 98.
  Arabic, 196 _et seq._
  Egyptian, 209, 212.
  See also Composition; Bakst.

de Staël, Madame, appreciation of _Tarantella_, 160.

de Valois, Marguerite, 54.

del Sarto, Andrea, stage decorations, 44.

Dervishes (Whirling), 90, 216.
  See also _Religions_, non-Christian.

_Developpé_, 84.

Diagilew, Sergius, manager, 251, 252.

_Dieu (le) Bleu_, ballet drama, 268.

_Dionysia_, dances, sacred to Bacchus, 13.

Dip: the; of _One-Step_, 278;
  of Boston, 285, 286, 287.

Duncan, Isadora, dancer. Source of inspiration, 11.
  Her artistic beliefs, 241 _et seq._;
    early career, 243 _et seq._;
    influence on ballet, 246.
  See also _Russian Ballet_; _Expression_.


ÉCHAPPÉ, 70.

Egypt, Ancient, dancing in, 4.

Egypt, latter-day, dancing in, 209 _et seq._

_Eggs, Dance of_ (India), 220.

Eight, the, figure of _One-Step_, 279.

Elevation, defined, 75.

Elizabeth, Queen of England, 48.

Ellsler, Fanny, dancer, 110 _et seq._
  In America, 116.
  Episode leading to retirement, 117.
  Influence, 228.
  See also Taglioni.

_Emmeleia_, group of ancient Greek dances, 11.

_Enchainement_, defined, its function in composition, 61.

_Endymatia_, group of ancient Greek dances, 11, 12.

_Entrechat_, step, used by Camargo, 60.
  Execution, 72, 73.
  Relation to ballet costume, 100.
  Question of origin, 146.

Ethologues, school of pantomimists, 16.

Expression, abstract, 60, 61.
  In ballet composition, 89, 90, 91.
  Noverre’s ideals, 105.
  Spanish Gipsy, 124 _et seq._
  Sevillanas, 138, 139.
  See also _Decoration_, _Composition_.
  St. Denis, 221.
  Duncan, 243-246.
  Bakst, 248, 249.
  Russian re-creation of best Greek dramatic form, 251.

Extravaganza, 229.


FANDANGO, the, Spanish dance, 141, 142, 154.

_Fantaisie_, _Fantasia_ (Arab), 207.

_Farandole_, the, French dance, 183.

_Farruca_, the, Spanish dance, 127 _et seq._

Fatma, dancer, 199.

Feet, positions of. Ballet, 66.
  Social dancing, 276.

_Feis_, Irish festival, 177-179.

_Feu, la Danse de_, see Fuller.

_Fight with Shadow._ Ancient Greek dance, 19.

_Flamenco_, type of Spanish dance, 124 _et seq._

_Fling_, see _Highland Fling_.

_Flour Dance, The_ (Arab), 205.

Fokine, Mikail, choreographer, teacher, dancer, ballet-master, 246.
  Heads Romantic movement, 247.
  Hypothetical instance of composition, 264.

Folk-dancing, influences upon it.
  Place in dancing, etc., 164 _et seq._
  See also Characteristic Dancing.

_Forlana_, the, Italian dance, 156 _et seq._

_Fouetté_, 75, 76.

France, folk-dances of, 183 _et seq._

Fuller, Loïe, dancer, 235 _et seq._


GADITANAE: see Spanish dancing.

Gaelic League, the, attitude toward dancing, 178.

_Gaillarde_, the, court dance, 43, 52, 55.

Galeazzo, Duke of Milan. See de Botta.

Galli, Rosina, dancer, 314.

Gardel, Maximilian, dancer.
  Rebelled against mask, 102.
  Example of effect of French Revolution, 108.

_Garrotin_, the, Spanish dance, 127, 134.

Gautier, Theophile, appreciation of Ellsler, 110.

_Gavotte_, the, court dance, 52, 53.

Geltzer, Katarina, dancer, 254.

Genée, Adeline, instance of virtuosity, 84.
  Influence, 239.

Genée, Adeline, re-creations of art of historic dancers, 59.

Germany, dancing in, 184.

Geisha, 225.

_Gigue_, the, Italian dance, 43, 162.
  See also Jig.

Ginsberg, Baron, 252.

Gipsy, Spanish, type of dancing, 124.
  Pantomime, 125, 126.
  Relation to Spanish dancing, 128 _et seq._

_Gitanita, La_, dancer, 94 _et seq._

Glazounow, musical composer, 248.

_Glissade_, _Glissé_, 68.

Gluck, musical composer, 105.

Grahn, Lucille, dancer, 118.

Grape-Vine, the, figure of _One-Step_, 278.

Greece, ancient, dancing in, 6 _et seq._
  Present day, 189, 190.

Grisi, Carlotta, dancer, 118.

Guimard, Madeleine, Dancer, 107.

Guerrero, Rosario, dancer, influence, 239.

Guerrero, Rosario, dancer, 139.

Gustavus III, King of Sweden, influence on dancing, 181.

_Greeting_, Dance of (Arab), 202.

_Gymnopædia_, group of ancient Greek dances, 11, 12.


HAMADSHA, Mohammedan observance, 208 _et seq._
  See also Religions.

_Handkerchief Dance, The_ (Arab), 205.

Harlequin, 157.

Hazélius, Dr., 180.

Hebrews, dancing of, 5, 45.

Henry IV, King of France, 48.

Henry VIII, King of England, 48.

Herodias, daughter of, 5.

_Hesitation Waltz, The_, social dance: place in modern ballroom, 272;
  execution, 289, 290, 291.

_Highland Fling_, the, Scotch dance, 167 _et seq._

Hill, Thomas, dancer, 175 _et seq._

Hippoclides, 20.

Historians, their neglect of dancing, 9 _et seq._

Holland, dances of, 182 _et seq._

Horace, 27.

_Hormos_, dance of ancient Greece, 7.

_Hornpipe_, the _Sailor’s_, characteristic dance, 171.

_Hornpipe_, the, Irish dance, 174 _et seq._

_Hula-Hula, The_, Hawaiian dance, 223.

Hungary, see Slavonic dances.

_Hyporchema_, group of ancient Greek dances, 11.


IAMBIC, dance, sacred to Mars, 13.

India, dancing in, 218 _et seq._
  See also St. Denis.

Inns of Court, produced masque, 48.

Ireland, dances of, 174 _et seq._

Italian characteristic dances, details of costume, 159.

Israel, children of. See Moses.


JALEO, informal accompaniment. Spanish dancing, 126.

Jarrett and Palmer, producers, 231.

Japan, dancing in, 225 _et seq._

Javillier, dancer, 108.

_Jeté_, 70, 71.
  _Jeté tour_, _j. en tournant_, 71.

Jeremiah, Book of, 5.

_Jig_, the Irish dance, 174 _et seq._

John the Baptist. See Herodias, daughter of.

Jones, Inigo, stage decoration, 48.

Jonson, Ben, composer of masques, 48.

_Jota aragonesa, la_, Spanish dance, 124, 150-152.

_Jota valenciana, la_, Spanish dance, 153.

Judges, Book of, 5.

Julian, Emperor, see Church.

Jump, effect of length analysed, 86, 87.


KADRILJS, the, Swedish dance, 181.

Karsavina, Tamar, dancer, 248.

Kiralfy brothers, dancers, producers, 232 _et seq._

_Kolia_, ancient Greek dance, 19.

_Kolo_, the, Servian dance, 189.

Kyasht, Lydia, dancer, facing p. 247.


LA GAI, Louise, dancer, definition _balloné_, 74;
  in Italian dances, 157 _et seq._

_Lac (le) des Cygnes_, ballet, 268.

Lany, dancer, 108.

Le Brun, Father Pierre, see Church.

Leo X, see Pope.

_Lezginkà_, dance of the Caucasus, 217.

_Lou Gué_, 37.

Louis XIII, performer in ballets, 48.

Louis XIV, see Ballet Academy, French National.

Lind, Jenny, singer, 118.

Long, Patrick J., dancer, 176.

Lopoukowa, Lydia, dancer. Basis of academic training, 89.
  Slavonic dances, 191.
  Part in Romantic movement, 248.
  Metropolitan Opera, 254.
  Describes curriculum Imperial Academy, 261 _et seq._;
  affected by American conditions, 308, 309.

_Ludiones_, 25.

Lycurgus, regulations and recommendations concerning dancing, 7, 8.

Lyon, Genevieve, dancer, 274.

Lyon Chassé, the, figure of _Hesitation Waltz_, 290.


MACCABEES, 5.

_Malagueña (la) y el Torero_, Spanish dance, 143, 144.

Castanets in _la Jota_.

_Malagueñas las_, Spanish dance, 144.

Managers, influence on dancing: Chicago World’s Fair, 237;
  Jarrett and Palmer, _The Black Crook_, etc., 232 _et seq._;
  imitators, 233.
  Sergius Diagilew, 251, 252.
  Public’s share in blame for American conditions, 305.
  Exceptional undesirables, 307.
  Commercial exigencies, 308.

_Manchegas_, Spanish dance, 144.

Mandelkern, Joseph, manager, 248.

Mary, Queen of Scotland, 169.

Mascagni, Theodore, dancer, 156.

_Marianas_, Spanish dance, 134.

Mask, Origin, 18 (inference of Mme. L. Nelidow), 249.
  Persistence, 101, 102.

_Masque_, early steps and elaboration, 36 _et seq._

_Mâtelot_, the, Dutch dance, 182.

_Mazurka_, the, Russian dance, 190, 192.

_Maxixe, the_, Brazilian, social dance: place in modern ball-room, 272;
  execution, 300, 301.

_Media Luna_, the, (_la Demi-lune_), figure of _Argentine Tango_, 296.

_Memphitic_, group of ancient Greek dances, 15.

Ménestrier, Father, choreographic historian, 29.

Metropolitan Opera Company. Russian ballet, 254.
  Relation to music and dancing, 255, 309-314.

Military training, dance in, 14, 15.

_Minuet_, the, 52.
  _M. du Dauphin_, _M. de la Reine_, _M. d’Exaudet_, _M. de la Cour_, 57.

Mirror, figure of Minuet, 57.
  See also Bavarian.

Mohammed, see Religions, non-Christian.

Monteverde, musical composer, 39.

Moor: see Spanish dancing, also Oriental dancing.

Morality of dancing, see Church;
  Religions, non-Christian;
  Sex;
  Tango.

Mordkin, Mikail, dancer. Part in Romantic movement, 248.
  Metropolitan Opera, 254.

_Moresca_, the, 43.

_Moritas, las_, Spanish dance, 134.

_Morra, la_, see _Tarantella_.

_Morris Dances_, 172.

Moses; bids children of Israel dance, 5.

Mourning, choreographic expression of, Greeks (ancient), 13.
  Spanish Gipsies, 126.
  Arabs, 207.

Mozarabe, see Church.

Mozart, musical composer, collaborated with Noverre, 106.

Municipal ballets, 6, 8.

Murray Anderson Turn, the, figure of One-Step, 281.

Music, analogy to, see Expression.


NAGEL, Fred, dancer, 188.

Nagel, Mrs. Fred, dancer, 188.

Napoleon (Emperor), ballet in Egypt, 109.

Naturalism, consideration of. See Ballet, Classic.

_Nautch Dance_ (India), 221.

Nemours, Duke of, _Ballet of Gouty_, 49.

Nicomedes, mother a dancer, 8.

Nijinski, Waslaw, dancer, 247, 248.

Noblet, dancer, 109.

Noverre, M., ballet-master. Reforms in French ballet, 103.
  Collaboration with Gluck, 105.
  Ballet compositions, 106.


OBERTASS, the, Polish dance, 192.

_Oiseau (le) de Feu_, ballet drama, 268.

_One-step_, the, social dance. Directions for execution, 277-283 incl.

Opera, ballet’s place in, 118, 119.
  See also Metropolitan Opera.

Otero, dancer, 139, 239.

Otero, Jose, teacher, writer on Spanish dancing, 124.

Oriental dancing: distinguished from Occidental, 213-215.
  See also _St. Denis_, _Composition_.

Ostrander, H. C., traveller, 208, 217.


PAS _de Cheval_, 85.

_Pas de Chat_, 85.

_Pas de Basque_ (step), 74, 75.

_Pas de Bourrée_ (step), 74.

_Passecaille_, the, court dance, 52.

_Passepied_, the, court dance, 52.

Pantomime, distinguished from abstract expression, 62 _et seq._
  Noverre, 107.
  Spanish Gipsy, 125.
  Arabic, 200 _et seq._
  Greek, 249, 250.
  Rome, 250.
  Augustin Daly’s interest in, 306.
  See also Expression.

Pantalone, Doctor, 157.

_Panaderos, los_, Spanish dance, 149.

_Pavane_, the, court dance, 43, 56;
  influence on social dancing of to-day, 271.

_Pavillon (le) d’Armide_, 268.

Pavlowa, Anna, dancer; academic discipline, 89.
  Instance of virtuosity, 92.
  Part in Romantic movement, 248.
  Metropolitan Opera, 254.
  Expression as to tendency of ball-room dancing, 303.
  Canadian Royal Opera Company, 314.

_Perchtentanz_ of Salzburg, 184, 185, 186.

Philip of Macedon, wife a dancer, 8.

_Pirouette_, defined, 76, 79.
  _Fouetté p._, 76, 77;
    variations, 78.
  _P. sur le Cou-de-pied_, 79, 80;
  _P. composées_, 81.

_Pito_, finger-snapping, accompaniment Spanish dancing, 131.

Plato, his valuation of dancing, 4, 7.

_Plié_, 75, 76.

_Piqué tour_, 89.

_Pointe, sur la_: in ancient Greece, 88;
  erroneous ideas concerning, 93;
  instances of, barefoot, 93, 94.

Poland, see Slavonic dances.

_Polka_, the, 181.

_Pirouette_, 76-81, 83.

Pope Alexander VI.

Pope Eugenius IV, 31.

Pope Leo X, 45.

Pope Sixtus IV, 45.

Pope Zacharias, 32.

Prince Igor, ballet drama, 266.

Prevost, Françoise, dancer, 49.

Public (American) in relation to dancing, 229, 232, 233, 269, 304 _et seq._

Pylades, 25 _et seq._

_Pyrrhic_, group of ancient Greek dances, 15.


QUADRILLE, see _Contredanse_.


RAPHAEL, stage decorations, 44.

Rasch, Albertina, dancer, 314.

_Reel_, the, Irish dance, 174 _et seq._

_Reel_, the, Scotch dance, 170.

_Reel of Tulloch_, the, Scotch dance, 170.

_Relevé_, 69, 70.

Religions, non-Christian, Greek, 6 _et seq._

Religions, non-Christian, relation to dancing. Egyptian, 4.
  Greek, 4, 11 _et seq._
  Roman, 24, 25.
  Mohammedan, 196 _et seq._
  Dervishes, 216.
  _Hamadsha_, 208 _et seq._
  India, 224.

René, King of Provence, 36.

Renversé, its æsthetic significance, 61.

Revolution, French, effect on dancing, 108.

Riario, Cardinal, composed ballet, 45.

Richelieu, Cardinal, composer ballet, 49.

Rimski-Korsakov, musical composer, 248.

_Rinnce Fadha_, the, early Irish dance, 177.

_Roger (Sir) de Coverley_, the, English dance, 177.

Rome, dance in, 22 _et seq._

Romantic Revolution, the Russian. See Russian Ballet.

Romeo, Angelo, dancer, 80.

_Rond de Jambe_, 81.

_Rose and the Dagger, The_, pantomime, 139.

Russian Ballet, for comparison, see also Ballet, Classic.

Russia, characteristic dances, see Slavonic dances.

Russia, Court Dance of, 195.

Russian Ballet. One field of its new material, 58.
  Artistic sanity, 99.
  Isadora Duncan, influence, 241-247.
  Re-creates best of Greek drama, 251.
  Plays in Paris, 252.
  Metropolitan Opera, 254.
  Misrepresentative appearances, 255.
  Relation to Imperial Academy, 257 _et seq._
  Compared with Classic, 263.
  Scope, 266-268.
  Influence on social dancing, 269, 270.
  See also Ballet, Classic.

Russian (Imperial) Ballet Academy: favored ward of government, 245;
  conditions of entrance, 257, 258;
  disposal of pupils, 258, 259;
  curriculum, 259-261;
  care of pupils, 262;
  synopsis of history, 262, 263.
  Influence of Romanticism, 263-266.


SAILOR’S _Hornpipe_, see _Hornpipe_.

St. Basil, dance in his _Epistle to St. Gregory_, 30.
  See also Church.

St. Carlo Borroméo, canonisation of, 35 _et seq._

St. Denis, Ruth, dancer. Influence, 199.
  _Cobra dance_, 220.
  Her contribution to art, 221, 222, 223.

St. Isidore, choreographic composer, see Church.

Salic priests, 24.

Sallé, de, Marie, dancer, 49.

Sallust, observations, 27.

_Saltarello_, the, Italian dance, 43, 163.

Samuel, Book of, 5.

_Saraband_, the, court dance, 52, 54.

Saracco-Brignole, Elise, dancer, teacher, 156.

Saracco, George, dancer, ballet-master, 233.

_Serpentine_, see Fuller.

_Saturnalia_, dances of ancient Rome, 25.

Scandinavian, dances of, 180 _et seq._

Scissors, the (_las Tijeras_, les Ciseaux), figure
    of _Argentine Tango_, 295, 296.

_Scheherazade_, ballet drama: Volinine in, 86;
  in character, 268.

_Scotch Reel_, the, see _Reel_.

_Seguidillas_, type of Spanish dance, 136, 141, 144.

_Seises_ of Seville, see Church.

Seville Cathedral, see Church.

_Sevillanas, las_, Spanish dance, 136-140 incl.
  Instance of a competition, 94.

Sex, dance in relation to, 8, 24.
  Ellsler and Camargo contrasted, 110, 111, 115.
  Spanish Classic and Flamenco contrasted, 128.
  Chicago World’s Fair, 199, 238.
  Arabian _Handkerchief Dance_, 205.
  One manager’s belief, 239.

_Siciliana_, the, Italian dance, 43, 163.

_Sikinnis._ Ancient Greek dance, 20.

Simplicity, Greek and Roman compared, 22 _et seq._

Sixtus IV, see Pope.

_Schuhplatteltanz_ of Bavaria, 187 _et seq._

_Shean Treuse_, the, Scotch dance, 171.

Shiloh, daughters of. See Judges.

Skansen, the, 180.

_Skralât_, the, Swedish dance, 181.

Slavonic dances, 190 _et seq._

Socrates, 8.

_Soleares, las_, Spanish dance, 152.

Sophocles, 8.

Spanish dancing costume, details of, 135, 142, 143, 149, 153.

Spanish dancing, its place in history: Carthaginian
    province, Roman entertainment, 121;
  Moorish influence, 122;
  Century of Gold, 122.

Spanish--put in Rome.

_Spear_, ancient Greek dance of, 19.

_Spectre (le) de la Rose_, ballet drama, 268.

Square, the, figure of One-Step, 279.

_Spilled Meal_, dance of, 19.

Staats, Léo, dancer, ballet-master, 80.

Steps, classes of, definition of, 67, 68.

Stoige, Otto, see _Pirouette_.

_Strathspey_, the Scotch dance, 171.

Style, ballet, some elements of, 91, 92, 93, 96, 97.
  Russian and Classic compared, 263-266.

_Sur la pointe_, _les pointes_, position, æsthetic significance, 61.
  In ancient Greece, 88.

Sweden, dances of, 180 _et seq._

_Sword Dance_ (Scotch), the, 167.

_Sword Dance_ (Turkish), 216.

_Sylphide, la_, ballet, 116.

_Sylphides, les_, ballet, 268.

_Szolo_, the, Hungarian dance, 193.


TABOUROT, Jehan. See Arbeau.

Taglioni, Marie, dancer, contributor to ballet steps, 58, 112.
  Reference by Thackeray, 110.
  Individuality, 111.
  Rivalry with Ellsler, 114 _et seq._
  Performance for Queen Victoria, 118.
  Influence, 228.

_Tango_, the, Spanish dance, 127 _et seq._

_Tango, The Argentine_, social dance: history, 271;
  progress hampered by its varied execution, 275;
  moral aspect, 291, 292, 293;
  execution, 294-300.

_Tarantella_, the, Italian dance, 158.

Tcherepnin, musical composer, 248.

_Temps_, definition, 67.

Tencita, dancer, 154.

Time markers, 17.
  See also Castanets.

Toe-dancing. See _pointe, sur_.

_Tordion_, the, court dance, 52, 54.

_Toreo Español_, Spanish dance, 155.

_Tour_, see _Pirouette_.

Tourists, dancing for. Tangier, etc., 205.
  Egypt, 210.

Treaty, Anglo-French concerning dancers’ contracts, 109.

_Tulloch_, see _Reel_.

Turkey, dancing in, 216.

_Turkey Trot, The_, see _One-Step_.

Turn, the, of One-Step, 277.


VAFVA _Vadna_, the, Swedish dance, 181.

Vestris, Auguste, dancer, 102.

Vestris, Gaëtan, dancer, teacher, 102.

Victoria (Queen) influence on dancing, 118.

_Vingakersdans_, the, Swedish dance, 182.

_Virginia Reel_, the, American dance, 177.

_Vito, el_, Spanish dance, 155.

Volinine, Alexander; instance of virtuosity, 86;
  academic basis, 89;
  part in Romantic movement, 248.
  Metropolitan Opera, 254.

_Volte_, the, court dance, 52.

_Volteo, el_, figure of _Argentine Tango_, 300.


WALK, the (_el paseo_, _le promenade_), figure of _Argentine Tango_, 294.

_Waltz_, the. Probable origin, 75.
  Universality, 183.
  The Rheinlander Waltz, 188.
  See also _Boston_; Hesitation Waltz.

_White Fawn, The_, ballet spectacle, 233.

World’s Fair, Chicago, 238.


ZAMBELLI, Carlotta, dancer, 78.

Zarabanda, the, old Spanish dance, 122.
  See also _Saraband_.

Zourna, dancer, 199 _et seq._

       *       *       *       *       *

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

Jete tour (11)=> Jeté tour (11) {pg xvi}

action of the the arms=> action of the arms {pg 101}

In his dance=> In this dance {pg 204}

Brought into semi-associaton=> Brought into semi-association {image p
206}

Mes Memoires=> Mes Mémoires {pg 236}

le Promenade=> la Promenade {pg 294}

Rimski-Korsakow, musical composer, 248.=> Rimski-Korsakov, musical
composer, 248. {pg 332}

_Gymnopaedia_, group of ancient Greek dances, 11, 12.=> _Gymnopædia_,
group of ancient Greek dances, 11, 12. {pg 330}

_Rincce Fadha_, the, early Irish dance, 177.=> _Rinnce Fadha_, the,
early Irish dance, 177. {pg 332}





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Dance Its Place in Art and Life" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home