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Title: The Dance
Author: Mason, Daniel Gregory
Language: English
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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.

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  The Art of Music

  A Comprehensive Library of Information
  for Music Lovers and Musicians

  Columbia University

  Associate Editors

  Harvard University      Past Professor, Univ. of Wisconsin

  Managing Editor
  Modern Music Society of New York

  In Fourteen Volumes

  Profusely Illustrated



[Illustration: Odalisque in ‘Scheherazade’ (Russian Ballet)

_Design by Léon Bakst_]


  The Dance

  Department Editor:

  Introduction by
  Ballerina, Imperial Russian Ballet



  Copyright, 1916, by
  [All Rights Reserved]



‘The gods themselves danced, as the stars dance in the sky,’ is a
saying of the ancient Mexicans. ‘To dance is to take part in the cosmic
control of the world,’ said the ancient Greek philosophers. ‘What do
you dance?’ asks the African Bantu of a member of another tribe after
his greeting. Livingston said that when an African wild man danced,
that was his religion. It is said that the savages do not preach their
religion but dance it. According to the Bible, the ancient Hebrews
danced before their Ark of the Covenant. St. Basil describes the angels
dancing in Heaven. According to Dante, dancing is the real occupation
of the inmates of Heaven, Christ acting as the leader of a celestial
ballet. ‘Dancing,’ said Lucian, ‘is as old as love.’ Dance had a sacred
and mystic meaning to the early Christians upon whom the Bible had made
a deep impression: ‘We have piped unto you and ye have not danced.’

The service of the Greek Church--even to-day--is for the most part
only a kind of sacred dance, accompanied by chants and singing. The
priest, walking and gesturing with an incense-pan up and down before
the numerous ikons, kneeling, bowing to the saints, performing queer
cabalistic figures with his hands in the air, and following always
a certain rhythm, is essentially a dancer. It is said that dancing
of a similar kind was performed in the English cathedrals until the
fourteenth century. In France the priests danced in the choir at the
Easter Mass up to the seventh century. In Spain similar religious
dancing took deepest root and flourished longest. In the Cathedrals of
Seville, Toledo, Valencia and Xeres the dancing survives and is the
feature at a few special festivals.

‘The American Indian tribes seem to have had their own religious
dances, varied and elaborate, often with a richness of meaning which
the patient study of the modern investigators has but slowly revealed,’
writes Havelock Ellis. It is a well-known fact that dancing in ancient
Egypt and Greece was an art that was practiced in their temples. ‘A
good education,’ wrote Plato, ‘consists in knowing how to sing well
and how to dance well.’ According to Plutarch, Helen of Sparta was
practicing the Dance of Innocence in the Temple of Artemis when she was
surprised and carried away by Theseus. We are told by Greek classics
that young maidens performed dances before the altars of various
goddesses, consisting of ‘grave steps and graceful, modest attitudes
belonging to that order of choric movement called _emmeleia_.’ The
ancient Egyptian Astronomic Dance can be considered the sublimest of
all dances; here, by regulated figures, steps, and movements, the order
and harmonious motion of the celestial bodies was represented to the
music of the flute, lyre and syrinx. Plato alludes to this dance as ‘a
divine institution.’

In spite of the high status of dancing in the ancient civilizations,
it has not progressed steadily, as have the other arts. It has
remained the least systematized and least respected of arts, generally
considered as lacking in seriousness of intention, fitness to express
grave emotions, and power to touch the heights and depths of the
intellect. Being an art that expresses itself first in the human body,
the dance has aroused reprobation in certain pious, puritanical minds
of mediæval type, who have considered it a collection of ‘immodest and
dissolute movements by which the cupidity of the flesh is aroused.’
It is this particular view that has damned dance with bell, book and
candle. The main reason for this has been the hostile attitude of the
church to all folk-arts which manifested a more or less conspicuous
ethnographic individuality--that is, were stamped as of Pagan and not
Christian origin. All folk-dancing, broadly speaking, is a natural
form of æsthetic courtship. The male intends to win the female by his
beauty, grace and vigor, or vice versa. From the point of view of
sexual selection we can understand, on the one hand, the immense ardor
with which every sensuous part of the human body has been brought
into the play of the dance, and, on the other, the arguments of the
pseudo-moralists to classify it with the frivolous and least tolerated

The stamp of frivolity, put upon the dance by the Christian clergy,
has retarded its natural development for several centuries. Italy and
Germany, having been the cradles of all modern music and stage arts,
have given little inspiration to a systematic development of the art
of dancing. The seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, that
have meant so much to the perfection of the opera, vocal and orchestra
technique, gave nothing of any significance to choreography. The church
that tolerated Bach, Paësiello, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, put an
open ban upon everything that had any relation to the dance. The
great musical classics of the past centuries have treated dance as an
insignificant side issue, thereby putting a label of inferiority upon
this loftiest of arts. All the dance music of the great classics sounds
naïve and lacking in choreographic images. Yet dance and music are like
light and shadow, each depending upon the other. As canvas is to a
painter, so is music to a dancer the essential element upon which he
can draw his picture. The fact that the art of dancing has not evolved
into its normal state of equality with the other arts, is wholly due
to the lack of musical leadership. Neither the reforms of Noverre
nor those of Fokine nor Marius Petipa can be of fundamental value if
they lack the phonetic designs which alone a choreographic artist can
transform into plastic events. Essentially, and æsthetically speaking,
dancing should be the elemental expression alike of symbolic religion
and love, as it used to be from the earliest human times.

Dancing and architecture are the two primary and plastic arts: the
one in Time, the other in Space; the one expressing the soul directly
through the medium of the human body, the other giving only an outline
of the soul through the medium of fossilized forms. The origin of these
two arts is earlier than man himself. Both require mathematics, the one
rhythmically, the other symmetrically. For dancing the mathematical
forms are to be found in music, for architecture, in geometry. ‘The
significance of dancing, in the wide sense, thus lies in the fact that
it is simply an intimate concrete appeal of that general rhythm which
marks all the physical and spiritual manifestations of life,’ writes
Havelock Ellis. ‘The art of dancing moreover is intimately entwined
with all human traditions of war, of labor, of pleasure, of education,
while some of the wisest philosophers and ancient civilizations have
regarded the dance as the pattern in accordance with which the moral
life of man must be woven. To realize therefore what dance means for
mankind--the poignancy and the many-sidedness of its appeal--we must
survey the whole sweep of human life, both at its highest and at its
deepest moments.’

                        ANNA PAVLOWA.


  INTRODUCTION BY ANNA PAVLOWA                                       vii

  I. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF DANCING                                         1

  Æsthetic basis of the dance; national character expressed
  in dances; ‘survival value’ of dancing; primitive
  dance and sexual selection; professionalism in dancing--Music
  and the dance; religion and the dance; historic analysis
  of folk-dancing and ballet.

  II. DANCING IN ANCIENT EGYPT                                        12

  Earliest Egyptian records of dancing; hieroglyphic evidence;
  the Astral dance; Egyptian court and temple rituals;
  festival of the Sacred Bull--Music of the Egyptian dances;
  Egyptian dance technique; points of similarity between
  Egyptian and modern dancing; Hawasis and Almeiis; the
  Graveyard Dance; modern imitations.

  III. DANCING IN INDIA                                               24

  Lack of art sense among the Hindoos; dancing and the
  Brahmin religion; the Apsarazases, Bayaderes and Devadazis;
  Hindoo music and the dance; dancing in modern
  India; Fakir dances; philosophic symbolism of the Indian


  Influence of the Chinese moral teachings; general characteristics
  of Chinese dancing; court and social dances of
  ancient China; Yu-Vang’s ‘historical ballet’; modern Chinese
  dancing; dancing Mandarins; modern imitations; the
  Lantern Festival--Japan: the legend of Amaterasu; emotional
  variety of the Japanese dance; pantomime and mimicry;
  general characteristics and classification of Japanese
  dances--The American Indians: The Dream dance; the
  Ghost dance; the Snake dance.

  V. DANCES OF THE HEBREWS AND ARABS                                  43

  Biblical allusions; sacred dances; the Salome episode
  and its modern influence--The Arabs; Moorish florescence
  in the Middle Ages; characteristics of the Moorish dances;
  the dance in daily life; the harem, the Dance of Greeting;
  pictorial quality of the Arab dances.

  VI. DANCING IN ANCIENT GREECE                                       52

  Homeric testimony; importance of the dance in Greek
  life; Xenophon’s description; Greek religion and the dance;
  Terpsichore--Dancing of youths, educational value; Greek
  dance music; Hyporchema and Saltation; Gymnopœdia; the
  Pyrrhic dance; the Dipoda and the Babasis; the Emmeleia;
  The Cordax; the Hormos--Greek theatres; comparison of
  periods; the Eleusinian mysteries; the Dionysian mysteries;
  the Heteræ; technique.

  VII. DANCING IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE                                    72

  Æsthetic subservience to Greece; Pylades and Bathyllus;
  the _Bellicrepa saltatio_; the Ludiones; the Roman pantomime;
  the Lupercalia and Floralia; Bacchantic orgies; the
  Augustinian age; importations from Cadiz; famous dancers.

  VIII. DANCING IN THE MIDDLE AGES                                    78

  The mediæval eclipse; ecclesiastical dancing in Spain;
  the strolling ballets of Spain and Italy; suppression of
  dancing by the church; dances of the mediæval nobility;
  Renaissance court ballets; the English masques; famous
  masques of the seventeenth century.

  IX. THE GRAND BALLET OF FRANCE                                      86

  Louis XIV and the ballet; the Pavane and the Courante;
  reforms under Louis XV; Noverre and the _ballet d’action_;
  Auguste Vestris and others; famous ballets of the period--the
  Revolution and the Consulate; the French technique,
  the foundation of ‘choreographic grammar’; the ‘five positions’;
  the ballet steps--Famous _danseuses_; Sallé, Camargo;
  Madeleine Guimard; Allard.

  X. THE FOLK-DANCES OF EUROPE                                       104

  The rise of nationalism--The Spanish folk-dances: the
  Fandango; the Jota; the Bolero; the Seguidilla; other Spanish
  folk-dances; general characteristics; costumes--England:
  the Morris dance; the Country dance; the Sword dance; the
  Horn dance--Scotland: Scotch Reel, Hornpipe, etc.--Ireland:
  the Jig; British social dances--France: Rondo, Bourrée and
  Farandole--Italy: the Tarantella, etc.--Hungary: the Czardas,
  Szolo and related dances; the Esthonians--Germany:
  the _Fackeltanz_, etc.--Finland; Scandinavia and Holland--The
  Lithuanians, Poles and Southern Slavs; the Roumanians
  and Armenians--The Russians: ballad dances; the Kasatchy
  and Kamarienskaya; conclusion.

  XI. THE CELEBRATED SOCIAL DANCES OF THE PAST                       144

  The _Pavane_ and the _Courante_; the _Allemande_ and the
  _Sarabande_; the _Minuet_ and the _Gavotte_; the _Rigaudon_ and
  other dances--The Waltz.


  Aims and tendencies of the nineteenth century--Maria
  Taglioni--Fanny Elssler--Carlotta Grisi and Fanny Cerito;
  decadence of the classic ballet.

  XIII. THE BALLET IN SCANDINAVIA                                    161

  The Danish ballet and Boumoville’s reform; Lucile
  Grahn, Augusta Nielsen, etc.--Mrs. Elna Jörgen-Jensen; Adeline
  Genée; the mission of the Danish ballet.

  XIV. THE RUSSIAN BALLET                                            170

  Nationalism of the Russian ballet; pedagogic principles
  of the Russian school; French and Russian schools compared--
  Begutcheff and Ostrowsky; history of the Russian
  ballet--Didelot and the Imperial ballet school; Petipa and
  his reforms--Tschaikowsky’s ‘Snow-Maiden’ and other ballets;
  Pavlowa and other famous _ballerinas_; Mordkin;
  Volinin, Kyasht, Lopokova.

  XV. THE ERA OF DEGENERATION                                        189

  Nineteenth-century decadence; sensationalism--Loie
  Fuller and the Serpentine Dance--Louise Weber, Lottie Collins
  and others.

  XVI. THE NATURALISTIC SCHOOL OF DANCING                            195

  The ‘return to nature’; Isadora Duncan--Duncan’s influence:
  Maud Allan; Duncan’s German followers--Modern music
  and the dance; the Russian naturalists; Glière’s ‘Chrisis’--
  Pictorial nationalism: Ruth St. Denis--Modern Spanish
  dancers; ramifications of the naturalistic idea.

  XVII. THE NEW RUSSIAN BALLET                                       214

  The old ballet arguments _pro_ and _con_--The new movement:
  Diaghileff and Fokine; the advent of Diaghileff’s
  company; the ballets of Diaghileff’s company; ‘Spectre of
  the Rose,’ ‘Cleopatra,’ _Le Pavilion d’Armide_, ‘Scheherezade’--
  Nijinsky and Karsavina--Stravinsky’s ballets: ‘Petrouchka,’
  ‘The Fire-Bird,’ etc.; other ballets and arrangements.

  XVIII. THE EURHYTHMICS OF JACQUES-DALCROZE                         234

  Jacques-Dalcroze and his creed; essentials of the
  ‘Eurhythmic’ system--Body-rhythm; the plastic expression
  of musical ideas; merits and shortcomings of the Dalcroze
  system--Speculation on the value of Eurhythmics to the

  XIX. PLASTOMIMIC CHOREOGRAPHY                                      247

  The defects of the new Russian and other modern
  schools; the new ideals; Prince Volkhonsky’s theories--Lada
  and choreographic symbolism--The question of appropriate

  EPILOGUE: FUTURE ASPECTS OF THE DANCE                              261


  Odalisque in ‘Scheherazade’ (Russian Ballet)              Frontispiece

  Egyptian women dancing with cymbals                                 21

  Greek and Roman Dances as Depicted on Ancient Vases                 68

  Danseuses en Scène (The Ballet)                                    102

  The Ball                                                           150

  Sylphides; a Typical Classic Ballet                                156

  Pavlowa                                                            174

  Duncan                                                             200

  Maud Allan                                                         211

  A Plastic Pantomime (Dalcroze Eurhythmics)                         245




  Æsthetic basis of the dance; national character expressed in
  dances; ‘survival value’ of dancing; primitive dance and sexual
  selection; professionalism in dancing--Music and the dance;
  religion and the dance; historic analysis of folk-dancing and


Every true art is a direct and immediate act of life. As in music and
dancing, so in life, rhythm is the skeleton of tone and movement and
also the basis of existence. We breathe rhythmically and our heart
beats rhythmically. We walk, laugh and weep rhythmically. Rhythm is the
only frame to the moving material of the visuo-audible art. What except
rhythm can unite living men in order to convert them from a chaotically
moving crowd into a work of art? It was undoubtedly the innate feeling
for rhythm that actuated the primitive man to dance. All existing races
show a strong tendency to dance, as well in their primitive as in the
more or less civilized state. The plastic forms of the human body lend
themselves more to an æsthetic expression that contains architecture,
sculpture, painting, poetry, drama and music, than anything else in
creation. The mimic expressions of the face, the agility of the steps,
the grace of gestures and poses are all natural means which a man can
employ in his dance. The symmetric lines of the body that are produced
after the melodic patterns of the music form the æsthetic basis of the
art of dancing. The ability to give a living meaning to these lines is
what makes a dance beautiful and divine. Although frequently the beauty
of a line and movement can be observed in animals and birds, yet there
it is an unconscious act, lacking in that individual and subjective
feeling that we call inspiration.

The foremost element in every dance is--the step. Step is also,
practically speaking, the first movement of life. In consequence of
pure physical laws each step requires a new impulse and thus divides
it into two periods: motion and repose. The continuance of these two
rhythmic periods produces the feeling of symmetry and joy, which in
its turn creates the various combined movements that again are divided
into various sub-motions and partial measures. The development of
steps in a dance is based on two principles: the movement of the feet,
and the combined movement of the body and hands for grace or mimicry.
Consequently dance is nothing but a chain of bodily movements that
are subjected to a certain musical rhythm and follow the emotional
expressions of the dancer. According to an innate principle dance,
like speech, was practiced by the primitive races as a medium of
the most vital expressions. By means of a dance the savages express
their joy, sorrow, anger, tenderness and love. Dance has its peculiar
psychology, which varies according to racial temperament, climate
and other conditions. This is best illustrated in the various styles
of the folk-dance. To the vigorous races of Northern Europe in their
cold and damp climate dancing became naturally a function of the
legs. The Scandinavian and Finnish folk-dances betray more heavy and
massive motion, while those of Spain, Hungary and Italy or France give
an impression of romantic grace, coquettish agility and fire. The
folk-dances of the Cossacks are usually violent and acrobatic, as is
their life. Energy or dreaminess, fire or coolness, and a multitude
of other racial qualities assert themselves automatically in a
folk-dance. The list of forces that make and preserve a nation’s dances
is incomplete without the addition of the powerful element of national
pride, weakness or other peculiarities. On the contrary, in the Far
East, in Japan, Java, China, etc., dancing is exclusively a motion of
the hands and fingers alone. In ancient Rome dancing was predominantly
the rhythmic motion of the body, with vibratory or rotatory movements
of breast or flanks. The Stomach Dance of the Arabians betrays the wild
passion of a nomadic desert race.

According to Louis Robinson, dancing is an innate instinct that has an
indirect bearing upon the existence of the human race. Robinson argues
that throughout Nature instincts, like the organs of our bodies, are
the product of the strict laws of evolution, and have been built up to
meet some need. At some critical time in the past they had a certain
survival value--i. e., they were capable of determining in the struggle
for existence which individuals or tribes should go under and which
should survive. This principle can be taken as one of the axioms which
must be our pilots in every attempt to account for the faculties which
each of us brings into the world, as distinct from those acquired in
the life of the individual.

Practically every savage people has elaborate dances and spends a good
deal of time in such exercises. Among adults dancing takes the place
of the play of children. When we come to analyze the play of all young
creatures from the historical standpoint we find it forms part of an
elaborate natural system of physical training. The perpetual motion
of the kitten while it is awake is obviously a training for those
accomplishments which in later life mean a livelihood. Such astonishing
skill and agility as are shown by the cats in securing prey cannot be
attained by any ready-made machinery like that of the dragon-fly or the
mantis: they must be built up and manufactured. Herein the nervous
mechanism of the mammalia has prevailed over the limited mechanical
perfection of lower things such as reptiles, fish, and insects. Most of
them can do some one thing or other supremely well, but the mammalia,
with their better nervous system and receptive brains, can excel in
many things. We, with our greater gifts of the same sort, are the
most versatile and teachable of all; hence we prevail over the rest
of creation. The kitten, the puppy, and the young savage, by their
continual restless and organized activity, gain great advantage in
certain movements necessary in after life, and foster the growth of
the particular muscles which later on will be absolutely requisite in
the serious business of holding their place in the world. Obviously
such instincts would become out of date and inappropriate should the
general manner of living undergo a complete change. Hence we find that
much of the play of young children in civilized lands has little or no
reference to the serious life which comes afterwards. Such instincts,
however, were developed during or before the long stretch of time
of the Stone Age, when all men played hide and seek, and chased one
another, and threw things, and ran, and jumped, and wrestled for
exactly the same reason that makes us scan commercial articles, attend
markets, and work in our studies or offices. What is observable in any
nursery or playground affords a good illustration of the persistence
of instincts long after the need which created them has passed away.
For some reason the play instinct in most creatures tends to lapse
at the time of full bodily maturity. It does not cease entirely, but
apparently it no longer suffices as an incentive for the battle of life.

Man in the savage state is naturally lazy and does not like to exert
himself when food comes easily. When no urgent need or human authority
is pushing him, he prefers to eat to repletion and then to lie in
the sun or loaf. We even find this primitive habit cropping up in
strenuous lands where the stimulus of moral education and competition
has been at work for generations.

We are all aware that, when we are lazy for any length of time, we
get slack and soft. The primitive savage who lives by hunting and is
in continual danger of raids from his neighbors, cannot afford to get
slack. He must keep himself fit every day of life. How was this to be
managed by our prehistoric forefathers when there was no fighting,
with the weather soft, and a delicious fish easily to be caught quite
near the dwelling? It is pretty safe to say that, owing to the want
of condition--if they were not dancing tribes--they did not leave
descendants which are among us in the twentieth century.

It seems strange how readily a group of negroes who are apparently
exhausted after a long day’s work will join in dance with their
fellows, and how, when not very tired, they will in their laziest
moments spring up and take vigorous exercise of this kind. Every doctor
will tell you that there are plenty of women to-day who have not the
strength nor the energy to do any work or to walk a couple of miles,
but who will dance from evening till morning without showing any
great fatigue. Among such Pagans as the Zulus and Masai, who organize
themselves for war almost as well as has ever been done by the most
civilized Christians, there is practically no distinction between
military exercises and dancing. This is proof enough to show that
dancing had a survival value throughout the long stretch of the Stone
Age. Dancing taught primitive men to move in compact bodies without
confusion, and especially without getting so bunched together that they
could not use their weapons.

To-day the true war-dance only persists among us in the form of
military marchings, but the other primitive dances have left numerous
descendants of all kinds and degrees, down to the modern tango. Among
these non-military dances the survival value, apart from the healthy
exercise which they provided and their general disciplinary effects,
worked through the agency of sexual selection.

In the case of the primitive dances the working of sexual selection was
beneficial as conducive to racial fitness. The dances in which women
took part gave opportunity for appraisement of exactly the kind needed
for a sound choice of mates under savage conditions. It afforded the
chance, so lacking in our present civilization, of advertising any
admirable qualities which might be possessed. It was a test not only of
physical grace and perfection, but of activity, taste and temper. It
contributed to honest matrimonial dealing--especially when danced in
the approved ballroom costumes of savage times.

There have been many discussions as to why clothes were first
worn--whether for ornament, warmth, or decency--but one may fairly
say without any doubt whatever that, from the first ages until now,
dance clothing has been mainly decorative. Here we find an ethical
justification of matters connected with dancing dress, which has often
provoked severe criticism among puritans. Without a doubt from the
earliest times until now the dance has been a chief purifying agent
in the marriage market--has played the part, in fact, of those market
inspectors appointed to guard against adulteration.

It is a most extraordinary thing, when we come to consider man’s place
in Nature, that he ever began to dance. Not that dancing is uncommon
in Nature; many birds, especially those of the crane tribe, execute
elaborate dances during their season of courtship, and as a mere
pastime when they have nothing else to do. Few, if any, of the mammalia
appear to indulge in organized dances, unless we give such a name to
the frisking of young lambs and the prancing evolutions of horses and
antelopes. Assuredly, in our direct line of descent nothing of the kind
could have existed as far back as our knowledge and imagination will
carry us. You cannot very well dance in the trees, which, according to
Darwin, were the real nurseries of our species; and when you come down
to solid earth your weak prehensile lower members would only make you
ridiculous and contemptible if they attempted any performance of the

Mother Nature, however, is a dame of infinite varieties, and seems
continually to be trying the most bizarre experiments apparently
without the least prompting or justification. The products of these
experiments are called ‘sports,’ and there seems no limit to their
possibilities. Chimpanzees delight in thumping hollow trees and
knocking pieces of wood together, while it is said that the gorilla
waddles to war to the sound of the drum, improvising a substitute by
beating his hands against his brawny chest.

In the Western world professionalism in dancing has happily not had the
blighting effect on the pursuit that it seems to have had on some other
forms of pastime. But if we go to the East we find that practically all
other forms of dancing have ceased to exist. We see the effect of this
tendency most fully developed in China, where the recreative dancing
of European society seems to be quite beyond the comprehension of a
well-bred Chinese, who naïvely asks the question: ‘Why do you not pay
people to dance for you?’

Stage dancing seems to be an interesting instance of the degeneration
into pure luxury or something which was at one time a helpful influence
to the race. This is a tendency observable in many phases of life
when the pressure of evolutionary forces is somewhat relaxed. Most
of the luxuries pertain to matters which at one time had a survival
value, and it cannot be said that they have retired from among the
evolutionary forces even to-day; but their effect, if still beneficial
to the race, lies in aiding Nature to eliminate the unfit.


From the earliest times on dancing has been dependent upon music of
some kind. The question whether music is older than dancing has not
been answered satisfactorily by academic anthropologists yet. However,
all scholars agree that the appearance of these two arts must have
been more or less simultaneous, the one influencing the other. But
undoubtedly the first dance music was not instrumental but vocal. The
savages to-day dance most of their sexual dances to rhythmic recitation
of certain words. Music is in every phase of evolution the only true
essence of that which forms the subject of the dance.

To the transformation of more or less primitive folk-dances into those
of strictly religious character is due the principal idea of the
modern ballet. In the Oriental temples dancing underwent a strange
transformation. While dancing was made the basis of dramatic and
symbolic ideas, yet this very fact became detrimental to the musical
influence upon the choreography. The Egyptians, whom we consider the
pioneers in religious dances, originated elaborate temple ballets,
which were based more upon a dramatic than a musical theme. Though the
tradition speaks of rounds, of symbolic and sidereal motions, and the
instruments chiefly employed, as the Egyptian guitar, used both by men
and women, the single and double pipe, the harp, lyre, and flute, yet
essentially this all resembled a pantomime rather than actual dance.

It is very likely that all the ancient sacred dances originated with
the subconscious idea of counteracting the sensuous or strictly
playful influence of the social dances. The whole pedigree of our
Western religions seems to show a remarkable absence of this method of
encouraging religious feeling. The reasons why such manifestations were
discouraged by Jewish and Christian moralists pertains to physiology
rather than theology. As already said, man’s nature is compounded of
many diverse elements, and the machinery of emotion at present at work
within us dates back to our animal past. Our most refined and exalted
feelings spring from the same nervous reservoirs and pass through
the very channels which were at one time solely occupied by grosser
passions. The Egyptian church that grew directly of the folk-art of
the country was a stranger to Greece and Rome, and still more so to
our Christian religion. The ethical ideals that actuated the Egyptian
priests in introducing dancing at the altar, sprang directly from the
soil and meant, in bringing the better part of human nature to the top,
to act as a kind of separator. The priests discovered that the higher
emotions, with the help of sacred dancing, can be put to excellent
service as impulses to improved conduct. The Christian missionaries,
coming from the East, found nothing elevating and ennobling in our
Western dancing, which did not appeal to them on account of the very
differences of the style and racial character. It is due to their
opposition that the religious dances have faded out under the Western
civilization. The warfare against dancing generally, on the part of the
Apostles of Christianity, dates back to the fanatic era of theological
and nationalistic differences. In all countries where the religion
descends directly from a racial folk-lore, dancing has remained in high
esteem at home and in the temples. This we find true in Egypt, Greece,
India and China. In the Jewish form of worship there seems to have been
no formally recognized dancing, although we have records of several
displays of this kind, as in the case of King David, when, ‘clothed in
a linen ephod, he danced before the Ark of the Lord with all his might.’

In Greece, cradle of the arts, the Muses manifested themselves to man
as a dancing choir, led by Terpsichore. The Romans imitated the Greeks
in all their arts and imported with the Greek slaves Greek dances. But
Rome was too barbaric to appreciate the full value of Greece’s poetic
arts. The solemn religious dance instituted by Numa and practiced by
the Salian priests soon degenerated into ceremonial march that was
abolished when Rome became Christian, through a papal decree in 744.
Darkness of night fell on the development of secular and religious
dancing, a darkness that endured for centuries. The influence of the
Nile in Egypt and Cadiz in Spain, which for centuries had been the two
great centres of the ancient dancing and supplied their dancers to the
Roman potentates, faded out slowly in the history of European nations.
The folk-dances were labelled as low and undignified amusements of
Pagan peasants. Dance in every form remained an outcast, despised and
condemned until the court circles of Italy and France distorted it
to an amusement at domestic gatherings and masquerades. It is said
that the modern ballet had its origin in the spectacular masquerades
arranged for the marriage of Galeazzo, Visconti, Duke of Milan, in
1489. The impression of this performance spread to the Court of
Florence. Catherine de Medici, the Queen of France, brought the Italian
court pantomime to Paris, where the French kings and queens grew to
admire dancing and took actual part in it. The attempts of Noverre to
elevate the art of dancing to what it had been in ancient Egypt and
Greece, were successful only externally. Music, the soul of dancing in
the modern sense, was lacking, and without this soul the art of plastic
form is incomplete. Though the Russian reformers elevated dancing from
a domestic amusement to a serious and lofty stage art, they did not
succeed wholly in giving to it the foundation that it deserves among
the other arts. All the past and living goddesses of choreography have
not had the freedom, the phonetic means and dramatic threads to thrill
their audiences as they would, if man had not distorted and hidden the
natural meaning of the dance that inspired his barbaric ancestors.

The philosophical conclusion of our historic analysis of dance leads
back to the same axioms that actuated the savage in his practice of
agility: the sexual selection and primitive sport, both necessary for
evolution and the existence of the race. However, there is neither
sexual motive nor instinct for ‘physical culture’ in the ‘Heavenly
Alchemy’ of evolution that has created the poetic movements of Taglioni
and her successors. The ancient racial propensities have developed into
more spiritual ideas. Like the tendency of evolution generally, to
universalize an individual and individualize the universe, so in dance
the racial characteristics are transformed into cosmic motives. In this
stage beauty becomes symbolic and concrete emotions take on a more and
more abstract form. The survival value of the greatest art of the dance
lies in ennobling the intellect and soul, which has necessarily an
indirect bearing upon the physical. Ultimately this means perfection of
the whole human organism. It inspires the mind and influences the body.

Civilization has brought humanity to a state where the physical needs
depend upon the psychical. We have devised a more complicated form
of sexual selection and more complicated means of existence than the
primitive dances employed in our animal past. Beauty in the long course
of evolution has grown more spiritual, accordingly dancing as an art
has become an evolutionary medium of the intellect.



  Earliest Egyptian records of dancing; hieroglyphic evidence;
  the Astral dance; Egyptian court and temple rituals; festival
  of the Sacred Bull--Music of the Egyptian dances; Egyptian
  dance technique; points of similarity between Egyptian and
  modern dancing; Hawasis and Almeiis; the Graveyard dance; modern


Long before the rest of the world had emerged from barbarism Egypt
had reached a high state of civilization. But the history of Egyptian
civilization was hidden behind a curtain of mysteries, until the
key to the hieroglyphs was discovered. Then, the imposing pyramids
opened suddenly their sealed lips and the world stood aghast at
their revelations. The ruins of Memphis and Thebes became books of
interesting reading. The discovered inscriptions and papyri revealed
the high state of development that the dance had reached in the ancient
Egyptian temples. The first dancing in Egyptian history is recorded
by Manetho, the priest of Heliopolis who lived in 5004 B. C.,--which
is approximately one thousand years before the creation of the world,
according to Biblical chronology. Plato alludes to Egyptian art and
dancing performed ten thousand years before his time. Schliemann, the
great archeologist, maintained that the history of Egypt was written
in various dance-phases, as can be seen from the inscriptions of their
ancient sarcophagi and pyramids.

Scarce as are the hieroglyphic materials, nevertheless they reveal to
us that the Egyptians, during the reign of the Pharaohs, highly admired
the art of dancing. Most of the Egyptian documents or inscriptions
begin with dancing figures. These figures are to be found in the most
ancient records, which proves that dancing must have been known as
an art to the Egyptians not for hundreds but for thousands of years.
Herodotus, ‘the father of history,’ tells us that the dances performed
to Osiris were as elaborate as the music of a hundred instruments and
a chorus of three hundred singers. According to Diodorus, Hermes gave
to mankind the first laws of eurhythmics. ‘Hermes taught the Egyptians
the art of graceful body movements.’ A fragmentary inscription of a
sarcophagus in the Museum of Petrograd describes that Maneros, ‘who
conquered so many nations, did this not by means of torch and sword
but by teaching the divine art of music and dancing.’ The ancient
Egyptian legend surrounds Maneros with nine dancing Muses, which
the Greeks probably copied from Egypt later. Music and dancing were
employed by the Egyptians at home, in social festivals, on the occasion
of marriage, birth and death, and in the temples. Their folk-dances
were as gay and fiery as the temperament of the race. This is best
illustrated in the recently discovered frescoes of peasants dancing,
evidently after their daily work in the fields.

Being worshippers of all the celestial bodies, the Egyptians practiced
in their temples certain astronomical ballets. It is said that Hermes,
the inventor of the lyre, produced from his instrument as many tones
as there were stars in the sky. The three strings of his lyre meant
Winter, Summer and Spring. This gives an idea to what an extent
astronomy and nature figured in all their dancing and music. The Astral
Dance was an imitation of the movement of the various constellations.
In this their imagination knew no limit. The altar, around which most
of the astral dances were performed, represented the sun. According to
the descriptions of Plutarch, the dancers made with their hands the
signs of the zodiac in the air, while dancing rhythmically from the
east to the west, in imitation of the movement of various planets.
After every circle the dancers stopped for a few moments as if
petrified, which was meant to represent the immovability of the earth.
By means of combined gestures and mimic expressions, the priests gave
intelligible pantomimic stories of the astral system and the harmony of
eternal motion. Lucian called this one of the most divine inventions.

It is a pity that all the hieroglyphic records known to us do not
give any adequate explanation of the ancient Egyptian Astral Dance.
The descriptions left by Greek writers are too general and are
frequently incorrect. Various scholars have made efforts to discover
the mystic meaning of the dance of the ‘Seven Moving Planets,’ but in
vain. How much the idea of an astral dance has impressed the European
ballet-masters is proved in that Dauberval and Gardel produced in the
eighteenth century ballets of this character. However, in this case the
performers were not priests but fantastically dressed ballet dancers
who, representing various stars and planets, jumped and turned around
the _prima ballerina_, who represented the sun.

To what an extent the love of pantomime and dancing prevailed in Egypt
can be judged from the recently made decipherings by Setche of the
inscriptions of the sarcophagus of a prime minister which describes
the code of an elaborate court ritual. The inscription tells how a
newly-appointed minister should meet his ruler. He should enter the
imperial hall, dancing so that from his gestures, poses and miming
could be read devotion, loyalty, chivalry, grace, tenderness, vigor
and energy. Pharaoh, in his turn, would meet the minister with a
different sort of dance. The reception would end with the joining
of all the court functionaries, musicians and priests in a great

The Egyptian clergy exercised a great influence upon the people.
Imitating the court of the Pharaohs, they surrounded the religious
rituals with unnecessary secrets. The more mysterious they made
the ceremonies the more they impressed the people. In consequence
of such an attitude on the part of the clergy, a large majority of
religious dances grew so complicated in their symbolic details that
they degenerated into nonsense. A large number of the Egyptian sacred
dances were based on the cult of Isis and Osiris, the one a feminine,
the other a masculine divinity. This gave the fundamental idea of
maintaining a large number of the so-called ‘sacred’ courtesans, who
took an active part in most of the temple dances. Herodotus tells us
that the presence of these ‘sacred’ courtesans in the Egyptian temple
ceremonies during the last Dynasties is responsible for the downfall of
this ancient civilization.

Most of the Egyptian temple dances were performed by men and women
alike. On the other hand, there existed special feminine and strictly
masculine ballets. Of the feminine dances, the most known is the dance
which was performed during the celebrated sacrificial festival of the
sacred bull Apis. After the black bull on whose back grew naturally
the figure of a white eagle was found, forty temple maidens were
selected to feed it forty days on the shores of the Nile. All this
time the maidens had to practice the great ballet that they were to
perform thereafter. The Festival of the Sacred Bull was opened with a
solemn dance of the priests in the temple of Osiris at Memphis. Then
the bull was carried through the city by the maidens in a spectacular
procession, accompanied by singing and dancing. When the bull was
brought before the huge statue of Osiris the real ballet was performed
by priests and maidens together. The ballet, which lasted for half a
day, was opened with a slow introduction in march form. In this the
dancers personified the birth process of divinities, particularly of
Osiris. In the second movement, which probably resembled a modern
_allegro energico_, were depicted the youth and romantic adventures of
Osiris with the goddess Isis. Priests in fantastic costumes represented
Osiris and his warriors, while the maidens played the rôle of Isis and
her companions. The last movement of the ballet closed with a festival
_finale_, which meant the victory of Osiris in conquering India. When
the sacred bull was drowned in the Nile a violent funeral ballet was
performed by the priests. As the recently discovered bas-reliefs
illustrate, the dancing priests wore costumes consisting of a yellow
tunic and round caps.

While some of the Egyptologues maintain that dancing was performed only
on special occasions such as the above, others are of the opinion that
every Egyptian temple service contained some kind of dance. However,
the hieroglyphic inscriptions of various periods prove that there were
hundreds of different temple dances. Of particular interest is the
recently discovered ‘Dance of Four Dimensions,’ which was performed in
the temple of Isis. In this both priests and priestesses participated.
It differed from the other dances in that the dancers carried along
their musical instruments.


Since the art of dancing had reached such a high degree of culture
in Egypt it is evident that the people must have possessed a highly
developed form of music. Though musical history denies the fact
that harmony was known to the ancient civilization, yet the recent
archeologic discoveries and hieroglyphic decipherings speak eloquently
of the use of various instruments in a kind of orchestra, and there are
frequent allusions to temple choirs of a hundred and more singers. Dr.
Schliemann even believes that the Egyptians had their specific musical
notation which was still in use by the Arabs when they came to Spain.
It is only natural to believe that an art of such a high standard
was taught in a school, as the technique that they evidence is the
result of long and systematic studies. ‘It is very likely,’ a Russian
archeologist writes, ‘that the Egyptian academy of music and dancing
was connected with the temple of Ammon.’

It is evident that the Egyptians knew practically every choreographic
rule and possessed a technique which our most celebrated dancers have
not yet reached. Their mimic expressions are superb, as are their
eurhythmic gestures and poses. Since the temple in Egypt united under
its supreme patronage all the arts, it is only natural that dancing
and music knew no other forms of expression, except the home. However,
the court of Pharaohs played a big rôle in stimulating a secular style
of dance, which the Greeks later performed in a modified form on their
stage. Various inscriptions and sarcophagus bas-reliefs depict a corps
of several hundred dancers that was maintained by the ruler. The Queen
Cleopatra was so fond of dancing that she herself gave performances
in a specially constructed hall, dimly lighted and richly decorated.
Here she danced nude to her guests behind numerous gauze curtains,
using constantly the effects of fused light produced by different
colored lanterns. She had a well trained and beautiful voice and played
masterfully on various instruments. Also, in connection with her
dances, Cleopatra used heavy redolescent perfumes by means of which
she put her audience into a ‘passionate trance.’

That the Egyptian dancers knew _pirouettes_, _fouetté pirouettes_,
_arabesques_, _pas de cheval_, and other modern ballet tricks 5,000
years ago is proven by the dancing figures that can be seen at the
sarcophagi at Beni Hassan. These figures illustrating ballet corps are
usual. A common style of Egyptian dancing was the peculiar reverse
movement of the two dancers which reached a rhythmic perfection,
particularly in dances where many participated, that is absolutely
unknown to our choreographic artists. Some dances show great
architectural beauty in their pyramidic combinations. The use of the
hands at the same time with the use of the legs is evidently more in
keeping with a certain style and harmony of line, than that employed by
our ballet or classic dancers.

There is in the Egyptian gallery of the British Museum a wall painting
taken from a tomb at Thebes. The painting is supposed to have been
executed during the eighteenth or nineteenth dynasty, and in it are
depicted two dancing girls facing in opposite directions. There is
plenty of action and agility depicted in these figures. In one the
hands are raised high above the head; in the other they are lowered.
One female not dancing is represented playing a double pipe, and others
are clapping their hands. The accompanists are dressed, but the dancers
wear only a gauze tunic.

All Egyptian professional dancers are represented either nude or
very slightly dressed and the performances were given by the people
of highest respectability. All Egyptologues are of the opinion that
the outline of the transparent robe worn by these dancing girls may,
in certain instances, have become effaced; but others say that it is
certain they danced naked, as their successors, the Almeiis, do. The
view of Sir Gardner Wilkinson that the Egyptians forbade the higher
classes to learn dancing as an amusement or profession, because they
dreaded the excitement resulting from such an occupation, the excess
of which ruffled and discomposed the mind, contradicts the opinions of
other scholars on the same subject. We read in the Bible that after
the Israelites had safely accomplished the passage across the Red Sea,
Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, herself a prophetess, took a
tambourine in her hand, and danced with other women to celebrate the
overthrow of their late task-masters. There are other instances in
the Bible which tend to show that among the Jews, who were reared on
Egyptian civilization, it was customary for people of the most exalted
rank to dance. There is a reproduction of Amenophis II. from one of
the oldest tombs of Thebes that goes to show that Egyptians of all
classes were highly proficient in the art of dancing. Four upper class
women are represented as playing and dancing at the same time, but
their instruments are for the most part obliterated. A fifth figure
is resting on one knee, with her hands crossed before her breast. The
posing of the heads in these figures is masterful. In another painting
from Beni Hassan, executed about three thousand five hundred years
ago, a dancer is represented in the act of performing a _pirouette_
in the extended fourth position. The arms are fully outstretched,
and the general attitude of the figure is precisely what it might
be in executing a similar movement at the present day. It is also
noticeable that the angle formed by the upper part of the foot and fore
part of the leg is obtuse, which is quite in accordance with modern
choreographic rules, while the natural inclination of an inexperienced
and untrained dancer when holding the limb in such a position would be
to bend the foot towards the shin, or at least to keep it in its normal
position at right angles.

From many paintings and sculptures that have been discovered, we may
gather that the primary rules by which the movements of the dancers
are governed have not altered since the time of the Pharaohs. The
first thing the Egyptian dancers were taught was evidently to turn
their toes outward and downward, and special attention was paid to the
positions of their arms, which were gracefully extended and raised
high, with the hands almost joining above the head. In the small tablet
of Baken Amen representing the adoration of Osiris, now in the British
Museum, all arm positions of the dancing figures are excellent. In
one of the sculptures from Thebes a figure is unmistakably performing
an _entrechât_. Other figures go to show that the Egyptians employed
frequently _jetés_, _coupés_, _cabrioles_, toe and finger tricks.
There are reproductions representing dance figures for two performers,
executing apparently a kind of minuet. Between the dancers in each
figure are inscriptions which refer to the name of the dance. Thus, for
instance, one was called mek na snut, or making a _pirouette_. This
appears to have been a movement in which the dancers turned each other
under the arms, as in the _pas d’Allemande_.

Besides the temple dances, Egypt had travelling ballet companies,
giving their performances in the open air gardens of towns and
villages. The nomadic Hawasis whose profession to-day is chiefly
dancing, are undoubtedly barbarized descendants of the Hawasis that
entertained the Pharaohs with their passionate and fiery social
dances. Most of the Hawasi dances were of a sensuous nature, performed
exclusively by girls, either naked or in light gauze dresses. The
themes of all these dances were often so distinctly feminine, depicting
the romantic nature of a woman so graphically, that they were performed
only as a part of wedding ceremonies. In regard to this style of dance
Sir Gardner Wilkinson expresses the conviction ‘that there is reason to
believe that dances representing a continuous action or argument
of a story were in use privately and were executed by ladies attached
to the harem or household.’

[Illustration: Egyptian women dancing with cymbals

_From an ancient fresco (in the original colors)_]

Another secular class of Egyptian dances was that performed by Almeiis.
While the style and subject of the Hawasi dances tended to express the
sexual passions, the Almeiis had learned to be ‘classic’ and scholarly.
The Almeiis of to-day maintain that they descend directly from the
dancing Pharaohs. The romantic element in the Almeii dances remains
within the limits of a strict code of propriety. For that reason the
dancing Almeiis, like the clergy, enjoyed an immunity from the common
law. The Almeiis of to-day enjoy the same ancient reputation throughout
the East and are invited by the Mohammedan chiefs to teach dancing
to their harems. They can be seen dancing in the Arabian desert and
in Tunis, Algiers, Tripoli and Morocco. But their present-day dances
lack the subtleties and technique that their ancestors possessed five
thousand years ago. Their celebrated Sword and Stomach Dances have
degenerated into deplorable vaudeville shows. Petipa, the celebrated
Russian ballet master, has succeeded in composing a brilliant ballet
on the theme of Almeii dances, called ‘The Daughter of the Pharaoh.’
However, excellent as the Russian ballet dancers are, they have never
performed it to the satisfaction of its author.

One of the weird ancient Egyptian dances that has survived and is
practiced by several Oriental races, particularly in Arabia, Persia
and Sahara, is the Graveyard Dance. It is known that the Almeiis used
to perform this dance at midnight on the graveyards of rich Egyptians,
frequently around the pyramids. Though semi-religious, it did not
belong to the classified sacred dances performed under the supervision
of the clergy. Prof. Elisseieff thinks that this dance probably
originated in lower Egypt and belonged there to a recognized temple
ceremony, but the priests in upper Egypt failed to recognize it, so the
Almeiis monopolized it with great advantage.

The Graveyard Dance performed in the East to-day is wild, weird and
ghastly. It is performed by women, dressed in long robes, which cover
even their heads. It is danced on moonlight nights by professional
Almeiis. These are hired by the relatives or descendants of the rich
dead to accompany the wandering soul until it reaches that sphere which
belongs to it. There is much strange symbolism and morbid beauty in
the Graveyard Dance. Just as weird as the dance is the music, produced
from pipes and drums, often accompanied by hooting or sobbing voices.
It begins in a slow measure, the dancers marching like spectral shadows
in a circle around the musicians. Gradually the music grows quicker,
as does the dance. It ends in a wild fury after which the dancers drop
unconscious to the ground.

The dances of the living Almeiis and Hawasis and their imitators give
little idea of the high art of dancing that was practiced thousands of
years ago in ancient Egypt. The modern axis and stomach dances that
are practiced by the daughters of the various tribes of the desert
are crude acrobatic feats and vulgar degenerations of the graceful
and highly developed art that has vanished with the whole ancient
civilization of Egypt. In 1900 there appeared in Paris a supposed-to-be
descendant of the celebrated ancient Almeiis, _La belle, unique et
incomparable Fatma_, giving performances of ‘Egyptian Wedding Scenes’
and a ‘Dance of Glasses,’ which created a sensation among the decadent
artists and writers. However, her success was more due to her beautiful
body and its vivid gestures in suggesting certain erotic emotions, than
to any real art. On the other hand, Isadora Duncan, Mme. Villiani and
Desmond have attempted to arouse interest in the Egyptian dances by
giving performances that they have claimed to be the genuine classic
art of the Nile. According to them, all that a modern dancer needs in
becoming Egyptian is to dress as the Egyptians did and produce poses,
if possible, with the fewest possible garments, that are to be seen in
the ancient fresco paintings, sculptures and hieroglyphs. Then again,
the Russian ballet, touring in Europe, announced in its repertoire an
Egyptian ballet _Cleopatra_, which was to be a revelation of unseen
beauties of the lost ancient civilization. However, all efforts of the
modern imagination are unable to lift the veil of the ages.

Though posterity can catch more accurate fragments in the degenerated
dances of Almeiis, Hawasis and the few folk-dances of Young Egypt than
in the artificial imitations of various choreographic modernists, as
a whole we know but a microscopic part of the vanished age of the
Pharaohs. The few scarce records that we possess of the Egyptian
dancing speak eloquently of an art far superior to anything which our
boasted civilization has yet reached.



  Lack of art sense among the Hindoos; dancing and the Brahmin
  religion; the Apsarazases, Bayaderes and Devadazis; Hindoo music
  and the dance; dancing in modern Indian; Fakir dances; philosophic
  symbolism of the Indian dance.

The civilization of ancient India was, with the exception of China,
the only rival to that of Egypt. But it is remarkable that the Indian
mind took a totally different direction from the Egyptian. The tendency
towards spiritual expansion that manifested itself in Egypt and
Greece became in India a tendency towards concentration. The Indian
mind lacked the gift of observation and mathematical proportions, so
essential in art, that was possessed by the subjects of the Pharaohs.
For this reason we find a magnificent Indian philosophy and mystic
science, but an undeveloped feeling for æsthetic values. With the
exception of weird and bizarre architecture, that manifested itself
most powerfully in the pagodas and temples, the Indian sculpture,
painting, music and dancing are too primitive for our taste, as they
probably were for that of the ancient Egyptians and Greeks.

In all the Indian constructive arts, in their temple decorations and
frescoes, we find very few dancing figures, still fewer graceful
reproductions of the human body. Their gods and goddesses look to
us like monsters. The Indian Venera, to be seen in the Pagoda of
Bangilore, looks like a caricature, as compared with the Greek
Aphrodite. The Indian goddess of dancing, Ramble, who, according to
the legend, was a courtesan of Indra, and gave birth to two daughters,
Nandra (Luxury) and Bringa (Pleasure), lacks all the loftiness and
charm which surrounded the dancing goddesses of Egypt and Greece.
There is neither life nor grace in any of the Indian temple art. Even
the smile of Indian gods is stupid and inexpressive. The lack of
humor and joy mirrors itself best in the art of the Bayaderes, the
celebrated dancers of India. Their gestures and movements are void of
that exultant gaiety and optimism that predominates in dances of other
nations. An air of gloom and pessimism emanates from all the Indian art.

There is no doubt that the peculiarities of Indian music have been
obstacles to the development of the national dance. Although it is full
of color and feeling, yet the division of their scale into so many more
tone units than ours makes it extremely difficult for a dancer to catch
the delicate nuances and lines and reproduce them in movement. A few
dancing designs here and there give the impression that this art has
not changed during the four thousand years of the nation’s existence.
Since the whole Indian civilization is the same to-day that it was
thousands of years ago, we are pretty safe in our assumption that the
dances of the Bayaderes exhibited at Calcutta or Benares now were
pretty nearly the same during the life of Buddha. The modern dances,
like the old ones, show similarity in the fact that the Indian dancers
stand nearly at one spot and hardly move their feet, while mimicking,
and moving their body, arms, hands and fingers. The individual
peculiarity of all Indian dances lies in the impressionistic poses of
their hands and the body.

India deserves to be called the Land of a Thousand Religions. Religion
to an Indian represents everything. Like wisdom and life, dance is of
divine origin. From time immemorial dancing has been a part of Indian
temple ceremonies. The Brahmin religion is interwoven with beautiful
legends and myths, according to which dancing was the first blessing
that Brahma gave to mankind. One of the legends tells us that the
divine Tshamuda danced to music while standing on an egg and holding
a huge turtle on her back. In such a position she is to-day giving
performances to Brahma in the Nirvana. Such a magic Paradise, with
plenty of dancing and music, lasting from early morning till late in
evening, is promised after death to all faithful souls.

A widespread Indian legend is that which describes the magic dancing of
the Apsarazases, or divine nymphs, with which the Indian imagination
has populated every hill and brook. The only occupation of the
Apsarazases is singing and aerial dancing. For this purpose these
sacred nymphs are supplied with feathery wings which enable them to
fly freely in the air. Dancers who reach the very climax of their art
get magic wings like every Apsarazas and vanish alive from the earth.
This legend laid the foundation of the Indian sacred dances, which
were taught by the priests to young maidens kept specially for that
purpose near the temples. While the European tourist calls all Indian
dancers Bayaderes, regardless whether they give their performances
on the streets or in the temples, an Indian calls the temple dancers
Devadazis, or the ‘slaves of God.’ The common street or social dancer
is called Nautch Girl. The Indian Devadazis are raised and educated
much as are the Christian nuns. After being graduated from a dancing
school, the girls are taken by the priests to the temples in which they
give daily performances to the pilgrims and live as sacred courtesans
with the clergy.

The main function of the Devadazis consists in giving performances,
either singly or in groups, to the priests and the pilgrims. Some of
their dances take place in front of the pagodas, others inside. The
dancers always wear a long garment, covering their body and legs,
leaving only the hands and arms bare. Rich people can hire these
temple dancers to give performances in their homes, otherwise they
never appear outside the temple atmosphere. To an Indian dancer the
most important parts of her body are her breasts and fingers. Though
she appears in dance barefoot, frequently with rings in her toes, she
pays comparatively little attention to her feet. Many of the modern
Bayaderes wear an elaborate costume of yellow with wide pantalettes and
richly embroidered wraps around the shoulders, leaving arms and breasts

The music accompanying the dances of the Indian Bayaderes is produced
by an orchestra consisting of wood wind instruments similar to our
flute and oboe, a few string instruments, two different drums and a
few tambourines. The leader of the orchestra gives a sign by striking
certain brass plates and the Bayaderes, lifting their veils, advance
in front of the musicians and begin the dance. The dance, consisting
usually only of mimic expressions of two dancers, has a strange melody
and a stranger rhythm. Neither the music nor the dance can be compared
with anything known in our Western art. Now and then the feet beat
measure, otherwise there is little display of leg agility. The face,
particularly the eyes, of the Indian dancers are very expressive.
But the alphabet of the dance mimicry is so large that it requires a
special study in order to understand and appreciate the fine movements
of an artist.

All the Indian social ceremonies, such as marriage, birth and burial,
are celebrated with dancing and music. This is particularly true of
the social ceremonies of the rich. The standing of the dancers is high
in India, so that even in the palace of the Rajah dancers are treated
like the guests. In certain parts of India the Bayaderes have the
right to live as guests at any house without paying. Prince Uchtomsky,
who made a special study of Indian life and art, writes that in cities
visited by the European tourists one rarely gets a glimpse of the real
Bayaderes. According to him there are many Indian Bayadere dancers that
surpass in their suggestive power our most passionate ballets. Every
line of their miniature impressionism in dance has an exotic beauty
which implies more than it expresses.

The Indian dancers are usually women, though Pierre Loti writes that he
witnessed several dances performed by men. These dances, as described
by him, tally closely with those which the writer saw frequently
performed by various Mongolian tribes in South-Eastern Russia. But we
are inclined to think that these, being wild in their character, could
not be classified as dances of Indian origin.

To a certain class of Indian dancing belong the well-known fakir
dances, performed by begging pilgrims at public gatherings. These
represent the surviving fanaticism of an ancient sect. Their strange
performances are to be seen everywhere in Northern India. Absolutely
naked and with dishevelled hair, they moan, shriek and groan, jumping
wildly up and down and shaking their hands convulsively. When the
fanatical execution has reached its climax the fakirs stab themselves
with knives or hot irons until they fall into a trance. It is a kind
of Oriental ‘Death Dance.’ To an outsider it is unexplainable how they
can endure such self-torture for any length of time. In most cases the
knives that the fakirs use are so constructed that they do not go deep
into the body but scratch only the skin and produce slight wounds.
Though their bloody performances make a deep and shocking impression
upon the onlookers, yet dances of this kind cannot be classified as an

The best dancers that India has ever produced are those who resembled
brooding philosophers and prophetic priestesses rather than pleasing
artists. The Indian conception of beauty lies in the spiritual and
intellectual and but little in the physical and æsthetic forms. The
main purpose of the great Indian _ballerinas_ is to inspire their
audiences to thought and meditation upon the great powers of nature
and the mystic purposes of human life. Their art is exotic and
introspective and lacks absolutely the element of purely beautiful
inspiration, produced by the great Western dancers. Those of our
Western students of art who make us believe that they can perform
genuine Indian dances are grossly mistaken, simply because the real
Indian dance is not an art and amusement, but the preaching of a
certain philosophy. Our materialistic logic is unable to catch the
subtle philosophic symbolism that appeals to an Indian mind. We are
brought up to enjoy the positive and not the negative plane of life.
For us beauty is joy, for the Hindus it is sorrow. An Indian dancer who
can move her audience to tears with her dancing will fail to make the
least impression upon our audiences.



  Influence of the Chinese moral teachings; general characteristics
  of Chinese dancing; court and social dances of ancient China;
  Yu-Vang’s ‘historical ballet’; modern Chinese dancing; dancing
  Mandarins; modern imitations; the Lantern Festival--Japan: the
  legend of Amaterasu; emotional variety of the Japanese dance;
  pantomime and mimicry; general characteristics and classification
  of Japanese dances--The American Indians: The Dream dance; the
  Ghost dance; the Snake dance.


In China the art of dancing was in full bloom for centuries before
the Christian era. The great Chinese historians tell us that music
and dancing were developed and stood in high esteem in China from the
dynasty of Huang-Ta till the rule of They, which is a period of not
less than 2450 years. Europe with its civilization did not yet exist
when choreography was publicly taught in China. Like every other form
of Chinese evolution, dancing thus fell into a state of spiritual
torpidity. Forbearance, the foremost virtue of the Chinese race, that
was preached by their ancient moralists, like Kon-Fu-Tse and others,
stifled in the long run all the passionate emotions of the people
and exerted a most detrimental influence upon the arts. Under such
conditions the Chinese view of life grew materialistic and dry, the
very opposite of the Indian. This peculiarity did not fail to make
itself felt in Chinese dancing. The gradual killing of passionate
emotions killed also the tendency to imagination in the race. The
fantasy that populated the air and water, the mountains and forests of
other nations with myths, legends, gods and goddesses, was transformed
in China into the most realistic reasonings and mechanical dexterity.
The industrial spirit of the great nation killed all romantic and
poetic aspirations in art, religion and literature. The music of China
is as syncopated and monotonous as her views of life. The only poetry
that the Chinese possess is that which was written 4000 years ago.

_You_, which means in Chinese language ‘dance,’ lacks the principal
forms of agility of our choreography. _Pirouettes_, _jetés_,
_cabrioles_ and _pas’s_ are unknown terms to a Chinese _ballerina_.
Their dancing, consisting of slow gestures of the arms, the shaking of
head, bowing to the ceiling, and other similar manipulations, makes
at the first glance an impression that suggests to our imagination
the officiating of Greek priests. The power of a dancer lies in the
atmosphere that she creates and the peculiar imitating poses of the
body. Chinese dance music is correspondingly slow of rhythm and reminds
us in many ways of our ultra-modern orchestral music. However, we read
in the works of the Chinese classics that their art of dancing was much
higher about two and three thousand years ago.

The ancient Chinese philosophers recommended dancing to strengthen the
human body and mind. They emphasized the mimic expressions which all
races of the world should learn as an unspoken and universal language.
It is written that the great ruler Li-Kaong-Ti took dancing and music
lessons from the great teacher of music, Teu-Kung, so that he was able
to give entertainments in these arts to his family and guests. He
founded a dancing academy at the court and invited learned Mandarins to
take charge of the institution. Gradually dancing was introduced in all
the colleges and public schools. All Chinese educated classes had to
be good dancers at that time. The rulers used to dance to the public at
great annual festivals to express their gratitude or dissatisfaction.
The receptions of various Viceroys at the national capital were opened
with dancing performed by the great functionaries and statesmen of the
empire. People judged the characteristics of their newly appointed
officials and judges from the individual peculiarities of their dance.
The Chinese court kept regularly 64 sworn dancers, who were obliged
to give historic ‘ballets’ to the rulers. The orchestra was composed
of flutes, a drum, one or several tambourines with bells, and a queer
instrument in the shape of the figure ‘2.’ About a thousand years
before Christ an imperial decree was issued for the purpose of limiting
the number of dancers that one or another of the statesmen could employ.

Eight different dances were performed at the Chinese court and
eight dancers participated in each dance. The first dance was
_Ivi-Men_--Moving Clouds; this was given in honor of the celestial
spirits. The second dance was the _Ta-knen_--Great Circle; this was
performed when the Emperor brought sacrifice at a round votive altar.
The third dance was _Ta-gien_--General Motion; this was performed
during the sacrificial festival at the square altar. The fourth
dance was _Ta-mao_--Dance of Harmony; this was the most graceful
dance and was dedicated to the Four Elements. The fifth dance was
_Gia_--Beneficial Dance; this dance was dedicated to the spirits of
the mountains and rivers, and was slow and majestic. The sixth dance
was _Ta-gu_--Dance of Gratitude; this was dedicated to women. The
seventh dance was _Ta-u_--Great War Dance; this was dedicated to the
spirit of Man. The eighth dance was _U-gientze_--Dance of Waves; this
was dedicated to the ancestors and was of elaborate form, containing
nine different movements and nine different rhythms. These were all
long ‘ballets’ and lasted for several hours each. But besides these
there were six smaller dances. One of these was called the Dance of
the Mystic Bird; another the Dance of Oxtail; another the Dance of the
Flag; another the Dance of Feathers; another the Sword Dance; and the
last the Dance of Humanity. This was performed only by the Mandarins.

The Chinese historians write that Confucius did not like the Sword
Dance, but highly praised the others. Confucius describes the Emperor
Yu-Vang, who lived 1100 years before Christ, as the author of many
new dances and composer of music to accompany them. One of his dances
was a great historical ballet, which must have resembled the Roman
pantomimes. This ballet has been performed in a distorted form in the
nineteenth century and is mentioned by several Russian writers who
lived or travelled in China. Judging from the Chinese writers, the
historical ballet must have been a spectacular performance in the style
of the Oberammergau Passion Play. It opened with the creation of the
world and sea and ended with the latest phase of national history. Some
of the dancers represented fish, animals and birds; others, monsters,
spirits, rulers and social classes. The music of this ballet was of
peculiar symphonic form, very melodious and dramatic. Only fragmentary
records of the ancient notation had been preserved in the imperial
palace at Pekin, but during recent political disturbances even these
vanished and the world has thus been deprived of one of the most
valuable of musical documents.

In China the social and religious dancers were one and the same. The
touring dancing companies to be seen to-day in China give a faint
idea of the ancient choreography. Japanese dancing has made a deep
impression upon the Chinese dancers, so that there is a marked element
of mixture in the performances that one sees in the present Chinese
towns. The Chinese dancers from olden times on have been men and
women. It seems as if men predominated before, while now the feminine
element is in majority. The Chinese dancing costumes are bizarre and
picturesque. There are no barefoot dancers among them and their bodies
are heavily covered with garments. Nude dancers are unknown in China.

An odd class of Chinese dancers are the dancing Mandarins. In Su-Chu-Fu
there exists still an old school that was founded 2500 years ago for
the purpose of teaching dancing to the Mandarins. They presumably
learned with the idea of using the art in religious rituals. The style
of their dancing differs slightly from that of the professional class.
Dancing Mandarins can be seen now in China, but their cabalistic
gestures and queer mimic expressions are unintelligible to the Western
mind. There are no folk or national dances in China and the people do
not dance in the same sense as we in our social dances. The idea of
a social dance is a torture to an average Chinaman. He enjoys seeing
dancing, but never takes part in it. The rich Chinese frequently hire
professional dancers and let them give performances at their houses.
The Chinese wedding dances are never performed by the bride, groom, or
their guests, but by hired professional dancers or dancing Mandarins.
The historians tell us that this was not so in remote antiquity.
There was a time when the Chinese people danced, though their dances
were mostly slow and pantomimic. The Russian ballet dancers, who have
toured in China, have told that their performances filled the Chinese
audiences with horror and disgust, as our Western acrobatic technique
makes them afraid of possible neck-breaking accidents.

The attempts of Europeans to create Chinese ballets for our Western
stage have been in so far miserable failures. ‘Kia-King’ by Titus,
‘Chinese Wedding’ by Calzevaro, and ‘Lily’ by San-Leon give no true
impression of Chinese choreography of any age. Nor are their music
or their scenarios similar to any genuine Chinese ballets of the
above-named titles.

In our story of Chinese dancing it is worth while to mention the
celebrated ‘Lantern Festival’ that is performed every New Year night.
It is very likely that the Chinese had once long ago a lantern dance,
which has degenerated now into a simple marching procession, in which
the people participate in the same sense as the Italians do in their
carnival. Confucius writes of it as of a festival in honor of the sun,
the source of the light and life. This festival is celebrated three
nights continually. Everything considered, we come to the conclusion
that the art of dancing of the land of Mandarins has been of little
influence and significance to our choreography. The reason for this
lies partly in the racial morale, partly in a national psychology that
breathes peace and externalism.


Of a quite different character are the dances of Japan, of which
Marcella A. Hincks gives to us a comprehensive picture. According to
her, dancing in Japan is an essential part of religion and national
tradition. In one of the oldest Japanese legends we are told that the
Sun Goddess Amaterasu, being angry, hid herself in a cave, so that the
world was plunged in darkness and life on earth became intolerable. The
eight million deities of the Japanese heaven, seeing the sorrow and
destruction wrought by Amaterasu’s absence from the world, sought by
every means possible to coax her from her retreat. But nothing could
prevail on her to leave it, until one god, wiser than the others,
devised a plan whereby the angered goddess might be lured from her
hiding place. Among the immortals was the beautiful Ame-No-Azume, whom
they sent to dance and sing at the mouth of the cave, and the goddess,
attracted by the unusual sound of music and dancing, and unable to
withstand her curiosity, emerged from the concealment, to gaze upon the
dancer. So once more she gave the light of her smile to the world. The
people never forgot that dancing had been the means of bringing back
Amaterasu to Japan, therefore from time immemorial the dance has been
honored as a religious ceremony and practiced as a fine art throughout
the Land of the Rising Sun.

Dancing in Japan is not associated with pleasure and joyful feeling
alone; every emotion, grave or gay, may become the subject of a dance.
Some time ago funeral dances were performed around the corpse, which
was placed in a building specially constructed for that purpose, and
though it is said that originally the dancers hoped to recall the dead
to life by the power and charm of their dance, later the measures were
performed merely as a farewell ceremony.

The Japanese dance is of the greatest importance and interest
historically. Like her civilization, and the greater number of her
arts, Japan borrowed many of her dance ideas from China, though the
genius of the people very soon developed many new forms of dance, quite
distinct from the Chinese importation. From the earliest times dancing
has been closely associated with religion: in both the Shinto and the
Buddhist faiths we find it occupying foremost place in worship. The
Buddhist priests of the thirteenth century made use of dancing as a
refining influence, which helped to refine the uncultured military
class by which Japan was more or less ruled during the early Middle

The Japanese dance, like that of the ancient Greeks, is predominantly
of a pantomimic nature, and strives to represent in gesture a historic
incident, some mythical legend, or a scene from folk-lore; its chief
characteristic is always expressiveness, and it invariably possesses
a strong emotional tendency. The Japanese have an extraordinary mimic
gift which they have cultivated to such an extent that it is doubtful
whether any other people has ever developed such a wide and expressive
art of gesture. Dancing in the European sense the Japanese would call
_dengaku_ or acrobatic.

Like the tea ceremony, the Japanese dance is esoteric as well as
exoteric, and to apprehend the meaning of every gesture is no easy task
to the uninitiated. Thus to arch the hand over the eyes conveys that
the dancer is weeping; to extend the arms while looking eagerly in the
direction indicated by the hand suggests that the dancer is thinking
of some one in a far-away country. The arms crossed at the chest mean
meditation, etc. There is, for instance, a set of special gestures
for the _No_ dances, divided first of all into a certain number of
fundamental gestures and poses, and then into numerous variations of
these, and figures devised from them, much as the technique of the
European ballet dancing consists of ‘fundamental positions’ and endless
less important ‘positions.’

The conventional gestures, sleeve-waving and fan-waving movements,
constitute the greatest difficulty in the way of an intelligent
interpretation of the Japanese dance. The technique is also elaborate
and the vocabulary of the dancing terms large, but the positions and
the attitudes of the limbs are radically different from those of the
European dance, the feet being little seen, and their action considered
subordinate, though the stamping of the feet is important in some
cases. The ease of movement, the smoothness and the legato effect of
a Japanese dance can only be obtained by the most rigorous physical
training. The Japanese strive to master the technique so thoroughly
that every movement of the body is produced with perfect ease and
spontaneity; their ideal is art hidden by its own perfection.

The dances of Japan may be grouped under three broad divisions of equal
importance: Religious, classical, and popular. The last vestiges of a
religious dance of great antiquity may still be seen at the half-yearly
ceremonials of Confucius, when eight pairs of dancers in gorgeous
robes, each holding a triple pheasant’s feather in one hand and a
six-holed flute in the other, posture and dance as an accompaniment to
the Confucian hymn. It is said that the _Bugaku_ dance was introduced
2000 years ago.

The Japanese history of dancing begins from the eighth to twelfth
centuries. The _Bugaku_ and the _Kagura_, another ancient Japanese
sacred dance, are considered the bases of all the other dances. The
movements in both dances strive to express reverence, adoration and
humility. The music of the old Japanese dances is solemn, weird and
always in a minor key, and the instruments used are flutes and a drum.
Stages were erected at all the principal Shinto temples and each temple
had its staff of dancers. The _Kagura_ dance can still be seen at the
temple of Kasuga at Nara. Like the Chinese, the Japanese lack dances
known to us as folk-dancing. In the art of dancing Japan far surpasses
China, this being due to the more emotional and poetic character of
the race. The dancing of Japan, like its other arts, is outspokenly
impressionistic and symbolic. It is graceful and dainty and gives
evidence of thorough refinement.

Dances of pungent racial tinge are those of the American Indians. The
best known of the Indian pantomimes are the Ghost, Snake, and Dream
Dances. Very little observed and recorded are their various war dances;
still less their social dances. Stolid, impassive and stoic as is
the man himself, so are his dances and other æsthetic expressions.
Void of frivolous gaiety and passionate joy as an Indian remains in
his life, so is his dance. His dance turns more about some mystic or
religious idea than about a sexual one. There is that peculiar heavy
and secretive trait in an Indian folk-dance that manifests itself so
conspicuously in the dances of the Siberian Mongolians, as the Buriats,
Kalmuks, and particularly the Finns. Though our space is limited, we
shall here attempt to give an outline of the better known peculiarities
of Indian folk-dances, particularly of the Dream Dance of the Chippewa

The Chippewas or Ojibways were, at the arrival of the whites, one of
the largest of the tribes of North America. They originally occupied
the region embracing both shores of Lake Superior and Lake Huron. We
owe the description of the Dream Dance to S. A. Barrett, according to
whose view it is based on the story of an Indian girl who escaped into
the lake upon the arrival of the white men and hid herself among the
lilies, thinking they would soon leave. She remained in the lake for
ten days without food or sleep, until the Great Spirit from the clouds
rescued her miraculously and carried her back to her people. In memory
of this event the ceremony of the Dream Dance was instituted and is
performed annually in the open air, about the first of July. A special
dance ground, from fifty to eighty feet in diameter, was prepared and
marked off by a circle of logs or by a low fence. This circle was
provided with an opening toward the west and one toward the east.

The objects about which this whole ceremony centres are a large drum
and a special calumet, the former elaborately decorated with strips of
fur, beadwork, cloth, coins, etc. It is hung by means of loops upon
four elaborately decorated stakes. Often they are provided with bells.
To this the greatest reverence is paid throughout the dance, a special
guard being kept for it. The calumet serves as a sacrificial altar,
the function of which is the burning of sacred tobacco, in order that
its incense may be carried to the particular deity in whose honor the
offering is made. The drum is beaten by ten to fifteen drummers, each
beating it with a stick two feet long, as an accompaniment to the
song which serves as the dance tune. Each song lasts from five to ten
minutes, and is repeated for several hours continually.

The drum-strokes are beaten in pairs, which gives the impression of
difference in the interval of time between the two strokes of one pair
and the initial stroke of the next. In this dance, which is always
performed by a man of highest standing in the community, a dancer may
go through the necessary motions with the feet without moving from the
position in which he is standing, or he may dance one or more times
around the circle. Frequently the dancers take at first a complete
turn around the circle and come back to the vicinity of the original
seats and dance here until the tune is finished. The movement is of
a skipping step, from the east to the west. Perfect time is kept in
the music no matter what movement may be employed by the dancer. Two
motions up and down are first made with one heel and then two motions
with the other, these being in perfect unison with the double strokes
of the drum sticks. The position assumed in the dancing is perfectly
erect, the weight of the body being rapidly shifted from one foot to
the other, as the dancing proceeds. The foot is kept in a position
which is nearly horizontal, the toe just touching the ground at each
stroke of the drum. The dance begins at eleven o’clock in the morning
and lasts until four in the afternoon. A special festival meal is
served during the dance in the circle.

Of somewhat different nature is the Ghost Dance, which is performed
in the unclosed area, the ground being consecrated by the priests
before the beginning of the ceremony. The features of this are the
sacred crow, certain feathers, arrows, and game sticks, and a large
pole which is placed in the centre of the dancing area. About this the
dancers circle in a more lively motion and with lighter steps than the
dancers in the Dream Dance. In this there are no musical instruments
used. The men, women and children take part in the Ghost Dance, their
faces painted with symbolic designs. The participants form a circle,
each person grasping the hand of his adjacent neighbor, and all moving
sidewise with a dragging, shuffling step, in time to the songs which
provide the music. The purpose of the Dream Dance is to communicate
with the Great Spirit of Life. The Ghost Dance has for its object the
communication of the participants with the spirits of the departed
relatives and friends, this being accomplished by hypnotic trances
induced through the agency of the medicine man.

The Snake Dance is a ceremony performed by the Indians of the
southern states. This is of a ghastly nature, as the dancer holds two
rattlesnakes in his mouth while executing his evolutions. Not only must
the dancer be an artist who can manage the movement of his face so that
the heads of the deadly snakes cannot touch his face or bare upper
body, but he has to know the secret words that neutralize the poison
of the snake, in case he should be bitten. This dance, like the two
above named, is executed in a circle to the chant of special singers.
Though the Indian uses musical instruments for his social ceremonies,
such as the turtle-shell harp, wooden flute and whistles, he never
applies their tunes to the dances that have a more serious or religious
meaning. The Snake Dance, like the Dream Dance, is based on a legend,
but the story of it is more involved, tragic and mystic, therefore
its ghastly nature and weird symbolic gestures appear more vivid and
direct than the themes of any other of the Indian folk-dances. But
the steps and poses of every Indian dance are similar to each other,
slow, compact, impassive and dignified. A strong mystic and symbolic
feeling pervades the limited gestures and mimic expressions. Æsthetic
ideas with the Indian are closely interwoven with those of ethics and
religion. There is nothing graceful, amusing, delicate or charming in
an Indian dance, therefore our dance authorities have ignored them.



  Biblical allusions; sacred dances; the Salome episode and its
  modern influence--The Arabs; Moorish florescence in the Middle
  Ages; characteristics of the Moorish dances; the dance in daily
  life; the harem, the Dance of Greeting; pictorial quality of the
  Arab dances.


That dancing was practiced in temples and homes of the ancient Hebrews
is evident from numerous Biblical allusions, and is only natural when
we consider that they were educated in Egypt, the cradle of dancing.
Some scholars maintain that dancing was a part of Hebrew worship,
pointing as a proof of their theory to David’s dancing before the Ark
of the Covenant and the fact that Moses, after the crossing of the
Red Sea, bade the children of Israel to dance. Others, basing their
arguments on the Talmud, deny this. It is very likely that the dancing
which the Hebrews had learned in Egypt soon degenerated into crude
shows, due to their long nomadic desert life, far from civilization.
Only now and then did some of their kings indulge in dancing and try
to revive the vanishing art. David and Solomon introduced dancing at
their courts and in the temple, as we can see in the Bible: ‘Praise
the Lord--praise him with timbrel and dance.’ ‘Then shall the virgin
rejoice in the dance.’ ‘Thou shalt be again adorned with thy tabrets,
and shalt go forth in the dances,’ etc. On another occasion we read
how the sons of Benjamin were taught to capture their wives. ‘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.’

The Dance of the Golden Calf, which was plausibly an imitation of
the Egyptian Apis Dance, was most severely forbidden by Moses. Since
this dance was one of the principal ceremonial dances of Egypt, it is
evident that it had rooted deep into the soul of the people and Moses
had to resort to violent methods in order to abolish it entirely.
We read in the Bible that to honor the slayer of Goliath, the women
came out from all the cities of Israel and received him with singing
and dancing. Other historic sources tell us that the ancient Hebrews
frequently hired dancers and musicians for their social ceremonies.
There are various Byzantine designs and inscriptions of the fifth and
sixth centuries, in which King David is depicted as a ballet master,
with a lyre in his hand, surrounded by dancing men and women. We read
that when Solomon finished the New Temple in Jerusalem it was dedicated
with singing and dancing. It is evident that the ancient Hebrew sacred
dances were performed by men, while women figured exclusively in the
social dancing. The Jews in Morocco employ professional dancers for the
celebration of the marriage ceremony to-day.

The best known of the ancient Hebrew dances is that of the celebrated
Salome. Thus we read in a chapter of St. Matthew of the beheading of
John the Baptist: ‘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.’ These short remarks
of the New Testament describe a gruesome tragedy that has inspired
hundreds of artists to amplify with their imagination what has been
left unsaid in the Gospel. Moreau, Botticelli, Dolci, Reno and Stuck
have produced immortal paintings of Salome. Some of them have depicted
her as a stately society lady of her times, the others show her either
frivolous, abnormal or under the spell of narcotics and wine. Many
gruesome legends have risen about the death of Salome, according to
which she committed suicide by drowning. But an accurate historic
investigation has revealed that she was married to the Tetrarch Philip,
after whose death she became the wife of Aristobul, the son of Herod,
and died at the age of 54.

Be that as it may, the Salome episode is an eloquent proof that dancing
was cultivated by the Hebrews and that their daughters were educated in
this art either by Egyptian or Greek masters. Several other historic
allusions show that Greek dancers went often to Jerusalem to give there
performances during the national festivals. Plutarch writes that rich
Hebrews came to the Olympic and Dionysian Festivals and were eager to
learn Greek music and dancing. But evidently the Greek arts had the
least influence upon the Hebrews, whose minds had been trained in the
strict Mosaic code of morals to follow only the autocratic commandments
of the Lord, and to leave all the arts of other races alone. Like the
Confucian philosophy in China, the Mosaic ethics in Palestine put a
stamp of æsthetic stagnation on Hebrew national life. For this very
reason the Hebrews never developed a national art, particularly a
national music or national dance.

The _Salome_ of Richard Strauss has inspired many of our Western
dancers to personify the ancient heroine. With the exception of Ida
Rubinstein and Natasha Trouhanova, the Salome dances of all the
European or American aspirants have been of no importance. There are
characteristics to be seen in a few old inscriptions of dancing Hebrew
priests which express most forcibly their peculiar nervous poses and
quick gestures. European choreography has for the most part failed to
grasp the principal features of the vanished Hebrew dances.


Of all living Oriental races the Arabs show the most innate instinct
for dancing. Judging from the ruins of the architecture that the
Moors have left in Spain we can see that they knew more than the mere
elementary rules of æsthetic line and form, which is the very essential
of a dance. The ruins of the majestic Alhambra speak a language that
fills us with an awe. No architects of other races, either dead or
living, have reached that harmony of line which is plainly visible in
this structural masterpiece of humanity. Since, according to the views
of all æsthetic psychologists, dancing and architecture develop as
allied arts, the Moors must have developed a high degree of dancing in
the Middle Ages, when the rest of the world was shaken by barbaric wars
and ruled by ecclesiastic fanaticism. However, the Mohammedan religion
prohibits painting and sculpture, therefore we find no frescoes or
decorations in the walls of the Moorish castles or Mosques that could
give an idea of the style and perfection of the dancing that was taught
in Cadiz.

The Greek and Roman writers allude frequently to the fiery and
passionate dances that were exhibited by the graduates of Cadiz, ‘which
surpassed anything the people had seen before.’ We know that the Moors
taught dancing to their boys and girls alike. Furthermore, we know
that their dances differed distinctly from those of the Greeks and
Egyptians. The dancing teachers at Cadiz emphasized agility of legs,
softness and grace of the body and a vivid technique of imitation.
Passion was the principal theme of their feminine dances, and was
expressed with the technique of virtuosity. It is said that the Califs
of Seville kept a staff of fifty trained dancers at their court.

The essential feature of Arabian dancing was the graphic production
of pictorial episodes, in rich harmonious lines of the body, sensuous
grace of the poses and sinuous elegance of movement. A special emphasis
was placed upon the exhibition of the most perfect womanly beauty. To
complete the task of architectural perfection an Arabic dancer was
taught to study carefully the geometric laws of nature and eliminate
the crudities acquired in everyday life. The principal musical
instrument of the Moorish dancers was the African guitar, which was
their national invention. Most of the great Arab dancers were women,
who preferred to dance without a masculine partner. Ordinarily they
danced to the music of two or three differently tuned guitars, and only
on festival occasions or in appearances at court was the music supplied
by an orchestra of ten or more. Already the Arabs had their musical
notation, set in three colors: red, green, and blue. Fragments of their
mediæval music notation were recently discovered by a French scholar
and were successfully deciphered. It appears that many of the dance
melodies still in use in Spain are of Moorish descent. The Kinneys,[A]
who seemingly have made a study of Spanish and modern Arab dancing,
write of it graphically, as follows:

    [A] Troy and Margaret West Kinney: The Dance (New York, 1914).

‘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 incidents; 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
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 demoralizes. 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 deprecate 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 vendors 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 favored
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 formalized mimetic expressions is the
“Dance of Greeting,” the function of which is to honor 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 honor 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 the poor house was so honored 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

‘The musicians squatting against the wall begin the wailing of the
flute, the hypnotic throb of “darabukkeh.” She who is designed to dance
the Greeting enters holding before her a long scarf that half conceals
her; the expression on her face is surprise, as though honor 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 floor, advances to
a place before the guest and near him, and honors him with a slave’s
salutation. Then arising she proceeds to her silent Greeting. * * *

‘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 moment’s pose so perfectly balanced 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 installment 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
neighbors. 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.’

From all modern observations and ancient records it is evident that
the Arabs’ dances differed essentially from their Eastern neighbors.
Spain undoubtedly is the only Occidental country that has preserved
in its vivid national dances, _Jotas_, _Boleros_, _Seguidillas_ and
_Fandangos_, the mutilated and deformed elements of the vanished
choreography of Cadiz. Though the Moor has left so few records of
his highly cultivated art of dancing, yet his spectral shadow hangs
over the race beyond the Pyrenees. Of all the living civilized nations
the Spaniards, more than any others, are justly the very incarnation
of the vanished magic Arabs in dance. A studious observer finds in
Spanish dances all the hysteria, magic, seductiveness and softness that
was practiced by mediæval Arab dancers. And then the costumes--most
picturesque and romantic--that the Spanish women use in their dances
are similar in their lines and colors to those that were worn by the
Moorish girls who entertained with their magic dances a Cleopatra and a



  Homeric testimony; importance of the dance in Greek life;
  Xenophon’s description; Greek religion and the dance;
  Terpsichore--Dancing of youths, educational value; Greek dance
  music; Hyporchema and Saltation; Gymnopœdia; the Pyrrhic dance; the
  Dipoda and the Babasis; the Emmeleia; the Cordax; the Hormos--Greek
  theatres; comparison of periods; the Eleusinian mysteries; the
  Dionysian mysteries; the Heteræ; technique.


Best known to us of all the ancient and exotic dances are those of the
Greeks. In Greece dancing was an actual language, interpreting all
sentiments and passions. Aristotle speaks of Saltators whose dances
mirrored the manners, the passions and the actions of men. About three
hundred years before the Augustan era dancing in Greece had reached
an apotheosis that it has never reached in any other country in the
history of ancient civilization. Accurate information about the ancient
Greek dances is given not only in numerous fresco paintings, reliefs
and sculptures, but in the works of Homer, Aristotle, Plato, Lucian,
Aristophanes, Hesiod and many others.

That dancing was highly esteemed as an accomplishment for young
ladies in the Heroic Age we may gather from the sixth book of the
Odyssey, when gentle white-armed Nausicaa, the daughter of a king, is
represented as leading her companions in the choral lay after they had
washed their linen in the stream, and amused themselves awhile with
a game of ball. Ulysses compliments her especially upon her choric
skill, saying that if she should chance to be one of those mortals
who dwell on earth her brother and venerable mother must be ever
delighted when they behold her entering the dance. We read how Ulysses
was entertained at the court of Alcinous, the father of the young lady
who had befriended him, and whose dancing he had so greatly admired.
The admiration of the wanderer was excited by the rapid and skillful
movements of the dancers, who were not maidens only, but youths in the
prime of life. Presently two of the most accomplished youths, Halius
and Laodamus, were selected by Alcinous to exhibit their skill in a
dance, during which one performer threw a ball high in the air while
the other caught it between his feet before it reached the ground. From
the further description it appears that this was a true dance and not
a mere acrobatic performance, and that the purple ball was used by the
participants simply as an accessory.

The twenty-third book of the same poem tells us that dancing among the
guests at wedding festivals formed in these early times an essential
part of the ceremonies. The wanderer, having been recognized by the
faithful Penelope, tells his son, Telemachus, to let the divine bard
who has the tuneful harp lead the sportive dance, so that anyone
hearing it from without may say it is a marriage. Homer thought so
highly of dancing that in the ‘Iliad’ he calls it ‘irreproachable.’
In describing various scenes which Vulcan wrought on the shield of
Achilles, he associates dancing with hymeneal festivities. No Athenian
festivals were ever celebrated without dancing. The design with which
the gods used to adorn the shields of heroes represented the dance
contrived by Dædalus for fair-haired Ariadne. In this dance youths
with tunics and golden swords suspended from silver belts, and virgins
clothed in fine linen robes and wearing beautiful garlands, danced
together, holding each other by the wrists. They danced in a circle,
bounding nimbly with skilled feet, as when a potter, sitting, shall
make trial of a wheel fitted to his hands, whether it will run; and at
other times they ran back to their places between one another.

Galen complained that ‘so much do they give themselves up to this
pleasure, with such activity do they pursue it, that the necessary arts
are neglected.’ The Greek festivals in which dancing was a feature
were innumerable. The Pythian, Marathon, Olympic and all other great
national games opened with and ended with dancing. The funeral feats
of Androgeonia and Pollux, the festivals of Bacchus, Jupiter, Minerva,
Diana, Apollo, and the Feasts of the Muses and of Naxos were celebrated
predominantly with dancing ceremonies. According to Scaliger dancing
played an important part in the Pythian games, representations which
may be looked upon as the first utterances of the dramatic Muse, as
they were divided into five acts, and were composed of poetic narrative
with imitative music performed by choruses and dances. Lucian assures
us that if dancing formed no part of the program in the Olympian games,
it was because the Greeks thought no prizes could adequately reward it.
Socrates danced with Aspasia and Aristides danced at a banquet given by
Dionysius of Syracuse.

The Greeks danced always and everywhere. They danced in the temples,
in the woods and in the fields. Every social or family event, birth,
marriage and death, gave occasion for a dance. Cybele, the mother of
the Immortals, taught dancing to the Corybantes upon Mount Ida and
to the Curetes in the island of Crete. Apollo dictated choreographic
laws through the mouths of his priestesses. Priapus, one of the
Titans, taught the god of war how to dance before instructing him
in strategics. The heroes followed the example of the gods. Theseus
celebrated his victory over the Minotaur with dances. Castor and Pollux
created the Caryatis, a nude dance performed by Spartan maids on the
banks of the Eurotas.

It is written that Æschylus and Aristophanes danced in public in their
own plays. Philip of Macedonia married a dancer by whom he had a son
who succeeded Alexander. Nicomedes, King of Pithynia, was the son of a
dancing girl. This art was so esteemed that great dancers and ballet
masters were chosen to act as public men. The best Greek dancers came
from the Arcadians. The main aim of the Greek dancers was to contrive
the most perfect plastic lines in the various poses of the human body,
and in this sculpture was their ideal. It is said that the divine
sculpture of Greece was inspired by the high standard of national

Though we know little of the Greek dance music, yet occasional
allusions inform us that it was instrumental and vocal. Thus Athenæus
says: ‘The Hyporchematic Dance is that in which the chorus dances while
singing.’ Xenophon writes in his sixth book of ‘Anabasis’ as follows:
‘After libations were made, and the guests had sung a pæan, there rose
up first the Thracians, and danced in arms to the music of a flute,
and jumped up very high with light jumps, and used their swords. And
at last one of them strikes another, so that it seemed to everyone
that the man was wounded; and he fell down in a very clever manner,
and all the bystanders raised an outcry. And he who struck him, having
stripped him of his arms, went out singing _sitacles_; and others of
the Thracians carried out his antagonist as if he were dead, but in
reality he was not hurt. After this some Ænianians and Magnesians rose
up, who danced the dance called Carpæa, they, too, being in armor. And
the fashion of the dance was like this: One man, having laid aside his
arms, is sowing and driving a yoke of oxen, constantly looking around,
as if he were afraid. Then comes up a robber; but the sower, as soon
as he sees him, snatches up his arms, and fights in defence of his
team in regular time to the music of the flute, and at last the robber,
having bound the man, carries off the team; but sometimes the sower
conquers the robber, and then, binding him alongside his oxen, he ties
his hands behind him and drives him forward.’

Another ancient Greek dance is graphically described by Xenophon as it
was given by Callias to entertain his guests, among whom was Socrates.
The dance represented the marriage of Dionysos and Ariadne. ‘Ariadne,
dressed like a bride, comes in and takes her place. Dionysos enters,
dancing to the music. The spectators did all admire the young man’s
carriage, and Ariadne herself is so affected with the sight that
she may hardly sit. After a while Dionysos, beholding Ariadne, and,
incensed with love, bowing to her knees, embraces and kisses her first,
and kisses her with grace. She embraces him again, and kisses him with
the like affection.’

The nature of the Greek religion was such that many of their sacred
dances would, according to our conventions, be far more shocking than
those which they performed socially. In the Homeric hymn to Apollo we
read how the Ionians with their wives and children were accustomed to
assemble in honor of the god, and delight him with their singing and
dancing. The poet describes that dancing was at that time an art in
which everybody could join, and that it was by no means cultivated only
by professional artists. Though the Ionians contributed much to the
development of the art of dancing, yet in later years these degenerated
into voluptuous gesticulations and sensuous poses known by the Romans
as ‘Ionic Movements.’ In another part of the same poem Homer depicts
‘the fair-haired Graces, the wise Hours and Harmony, and Hebe and
Venus, the daughter of Jove, dance, holding each other by the wrists.
Apollo strikes the harp, taking grand and lofty steps, and a shining
haze surrounds him, and the light glitters on his feet and on his
well-fitted tunic.’ Pan, who was considered by the Greeks as well as by
the Egyptians one of the greater gods, is represented by Homer as going
hither and thither in the midst of the dancers moving rapidly with his
feet. However, his dancing must have been singularly devoid of grace,
as most of the designs known to us depict him as a patron of shepherds
in Arcadia, gay and old-fashioned. All other gods and goddesses of the
first order were supposed to be accomplished artists in dancing. The
recently found bronze vase in a Phœnician sarcophagus, on the island of
Crete, contains designs of unusually soft forms of naked dancing girls
following Apollo. This best illustration of the Apollo ceremony goes
to show that the Phœnicians had learned dancing from the Greeks and
imitated them successfully.

As thorough as were all the Greek gods and goddesses in their knowledge
and talent of dancing, yet they were far surpassed by Terpsichore, the
real goddess of dancing and one of the nine Muses who always surrounded
Apollo. Most of the recovered Greek drawings and sculptures represent
Terpsichore either sitting or standing, but always with a lyre in her
hand. The invention of the lyre was attributed to her. A painting,
discovered in the excavated city, Herculaneum, represents her standing
with the lyre in her uplifted hand. Another smaller drawing describes
her with a wreath on her head while executing a graceful dance with
other Muses. Various mediæval artists represented in their works
Terpsichore dancing with a flower in her hand and an ethereal veil
floating around her head. One of the Greek legends tells us that she
was the mother of the singing Sirens.


All records indicate that dances in Greece were performed by men and
women alike. In some of these dances they wore a loose garment, keeping
their arms and legs bare; in others they danced perfectly naked. Some
dances were performed by girls alone and others by boys, but often
they mingled freely. The Greek customs generally permitted the freest
intercourse between young people of both sexes, who were specially
brought into contact at the great religious festivals and choruses. It
seems that the youths who had distinguished themselves at the public
dances expected no other reward than smiles of appreciation from the
girls present, and dreaded nothing so much as their indifference.
The constant practice of dancing by youths of both sexes from their
earliest years was meant to impart to them precision of movement,
suppleness of body, pliant and firm action of limbs, celerity of
motion and all those physical qualities that would be advantageous in
warfare and elevating or ennobling in everyday life. Plato praises
the quickness of the body as the most reliable medium of warfare. The
Greeks developed such beautiful bodies that they disliked to hide their
plastic lines with any garments, therefore they preferred to appear
naked, and more so in the temples and theaters than in their homes
or in society. The fact that all the Greek sculpture is nude can be
attributed, not to any abstract art ideals, but to the actual custom of
the time.

The first form of the Greek dance music was vocal, sung by a chorus;
in later times they began to use as accompaniment to singing certain
_chrotals_, or castañets. During the Homeric era, the lyre was used
predominately. In later centuries the flute (_aulos_) was introduced.
The vocal music was produced by soloists and by male or mixed
choruses. Frequently the dancers themselves sang or played the music
and danced at the same time. However, the dancers of the fourth century
never furnished their own music. According to the three principal
divisions of the Greek mythology (the cult of Earth and Heaven, the
cult of Chronos, Titans and Cyclops, and the cult of Zeus and the 12
Olympic divinities) the sacred dances of Greece can be divided into
similar groups. All the Greek deities, even Zeus, were considered
accomplished dancers. Since they enjoyed dancing themselves it was only
natural that they should like to see dancing included as part of their
worship. Cupid, the naughty little god of love, is depicted in most
cases dancing. The fourth century figurine of a Bacchante in thin and
supple draperies, whirling around on one foot, looks very much like a
ballet dancer of to-day.

The oldest of the Greek dances was probably the _Hyporchema_, which
was accompanied by the chorus. Though developed in different styles,
it always kept a religious character and was looked upon as the first
Greek attempts at saltation, in which, as the name betrays, song and
dance were intermingled. The earliest use made of saltation was in
connection with poetry. Athenæus says, however, that the early poets
had resource to the figures of saltation only as symbols of images and
ideas depicted in their verse. All dances of the _Hyporchema_ class
were dignified and elevated, men and women alike taking part in them.
Some attribute their origin to the Delians, who sang them around the
altars of Apollo. Others ascribe their invention to the Cretans, taught
by Thales.

Of later descent, but more practiced than the _Hyporchema_, were
the _Gymnopædia_, favored especially by the Lacedæmonians in their
festivals of Apollo. This was considered one of the most noble and
praiseworthy of the ancient dances. At the festivals the Gymnopædias
were at first performed by large choruses of men and boys, but later
the maidens were permitted to join them also. Then the men and women
danced in separate choirs. The _choragus_, or leader, was crowned with
palm leaves, and it was his privilege to defray the expenses of the
chorus. All who took part in this had to be well-trained dancers, as it
was the custom in Sparta that all children should commence to receive
choreographic instruction from the age of five. Max Müller says, though
this dance was performed perfectly nude, it enjoyed a high reputation.
Müller is of opinion that music was generally cultivated by the Dorians
and Arcadians owing to the circumstance that ‘women took part in it,
and sang and danced in public, both with men and by themselves.’ Music
and dancing were taught to the females at the Laconian capital, while
housekeeping was regarded as a degrading occupation.

One of the public dances most favored by the Lacedæmonians was the
Pyrrhic Dance. Lucian attributes its invention to Neoptolemus, the son
of Achilles, who so much excelled in this that he enriched it with a
fine new species, which from his surname Pyrrhicus received its title.
The influence of this dance must have extended to the remotest and most
barbarous nations, for not only the Romans but the Mongolians practiced
it. That it underwent considerable modification in later times is
evident from what Athenæus says: ‘The Pyrrhic Dance as it exists in
our own time appears to be a sort of Bacchic dance, and a little
more pacific than the old one; for the dancers carry thyrsi instead
of spears, and they point and dart canes at one another, and carry
torches. And they dance figures having reference to Bacchus and the
Indians, and to the story of Pentheus; and they require for the Pyrrhic
Dance the most beautiful airs.’

The Pyrrhic Dance in its early stage was a kind of war dance, as
the performers employed every type of arms. The figures of the dance
represented a kind of mimic battle, and the movements of the dancers
were generally light, rapid, and eminently characteristic. There were
figures representing the pursuit or retreat of an enemy; then again
there were movements and positions of the body by which spear thrusts,
darts, and wounds generally could be avoided. Other kind of movements
suggested aggressive actions, striking with the sword or using the
arrow. All these movements were performed in the most accurate rhythm
to the music of flutes.

The number of the ancient Greek dances is so large that we can count on
this occasion only those which are already known more or less through
classic literature. Wide popularity was enjoyed by the _Lysistrata_,
_Dipoda_, _Bibasis_, _Hymnea_, and the stage dances, _Cordax_,
_Emmeleia_, _Hormos_, _Endymatia_ and the celebrated religious
Mysteries of Aphrodite, Apollo, Demetrius, Dionysius, etc.

Most of those elegant female dancers whom we find represented on
ancient bas-reliefs, with their heads crowned, reeds in their hands
raised above them, are executing the _Dipoda_, which Aristophanes has
used as the climax in his celebrated comedy _Lysistrata_. This is what
the author himself writes of the dance: ‘Come here to celebrate Sparta,
where there are choruses in honor of the gods and the noise of dancing,
where, like young horses, the maidens on the banks of the Eurotas
rapidly move their feet, and their dresses are agitated like those
of bacchanals, brandishing the thyrsus and sporting, and the chaste
daughter of Leda, the lovely leader of the chorus, directs them. Now
come, bind up your hair, and leap like fawns; now strike the measured
tune which cheers the chorus.’ It is said that the simple, flowing
chitons which they wore as garments flowed freely with the movements of
their limbs, or fell in naturally graceful lines appropriate to the
poses they assumed.

A dance of wonderful agility was that of the _Bibasis_. According to
Max Müller, a Laconian maiden danced the _Bibasis_ a thousand times
more than any other girl had done. The peculiarity of this dance was
to spring upward from the ground and perform a _cabriole en arrière_,
striking the feet together behind before alighting. The _cabriole_ is
executed by the modern dancers with both feet in the air; and both legs
act in the beating movement, rapidly separating and closing. To this a
leap, called _jetté_, in the modern terminology, was probably added.
The upward spring was made first from one foot and then from the other
and striking the heels behind. The number of the successful strokes was
counted, and the most skillful performer received the prize. It is said
that Æschylus and Sophocles improved considerably the _Bibasis Dance_,
musically and choreographically, for both authors were accomplished
musicians and dance authorities.

The _Emmeleia_ was one of the most respected and popular dramatic
dances of the Greek stage. Plato speaks of it as a dance of
extraordinary gentleness, gravity and nobility, appropriate to the
highest sentiments. It possessed extraordinary mobility and dramatic
vigor, and yet was graceful, majestic and impressive. This dance, as it
was produced on the Athenian stage, is said to have been so terribly
realistic that many of the spectators rushed shocked from the theatre,
imagining that they really beheld the incarnated sisters of sorrow
whose very names they did not dare to mention. These awful ministers
of divine vengeance, who were supposed to punish the guilty both on
earth and in the infernal regions, appeared in black and blood-stained
garments. Their aspect was frightful and their poses emanated an air of
death. On their heads they carried wreathed serpents, while in their
hands were wriggling scorpions and a burning torch.

The music used for the _Emmeleia_ was supplied by an ‘orchestra’[B]
and chorus. Both the musicians and the singers were divided into
two groups, one of which was to the right, the other to the left
of the dancers. This gives an idea of the so-called ‘strophic’
principle. There are allusions to the fact that the Egyptians used
music to the Astral Dances in this form. Though we do not know the
character of the Greek dance music, particularly of the _Emmeleia_,
yet fragmentary allusions here and there give an idea that they were
mostly in a minor key and of very changeable measure. Kirchoff, who
made a special study of this dance, came to the theoretic conclusion
that this was predominantly recitative and resembled partly the later
operas of Wagner--of course, only melodically--and partly the Finnish
_Rune_ tunes. As there was much action that could not be danced, the
_Emmeleia_ required a perfect mimic technique and thorough knowledge of
‘eurhythmic’ rules. A few of the old Greek writers speak of dance music
as dignified and stately, which attributed seriousness or sorrow to the
grave steps, gracefulness and modesty to the gay and joyful poses.

    [B] As to the significance of this word, see Vol. I, pp. 120ff.

Of a very opposite character was the _Cordax_ Dance. According to most
accounts it lacked in respectability and some writers speak of it as an
‘indecorous dance.’ Lucian says it was considered a shame to dance it
when sober. In some parts of Greece it took a comic character and was
often marred by buffoonery. According to Burette, people had recourse
to this dance when excited by wine. _Cordax_ was a Satyr who gave his
name to it. Since it was frivolous and comic, it was performed only
by less reputable female dancers. It is said that in its first phase
the _Cordax_ was an extremely comic dance and the people enjoyed its
refreshing humor and burlesque style. Like the Spanish _Zarzuelas_,
the _Cordax_ dances were small local comic pantomimes. In it the
dancers ridiculed public men whom no one dared to criticize otherwise.
Like every other stage art of this kind the _Cordax_ dances grew
indecent and were later abolished.

A dance of distinctly sexual nature was the _Hormos_, which was
dedicated to Artemis. Lucian tells us that the _Hormos_ was commenced
by a youth, absolutely unclad, and started with steps in military
nature, such as he was afterwards to practice in the field. Then
followed a maiden, who, leading up her companions, danced in a gentle
and graceful manner. Finally, ‘the whole formed a chain of masculine
vigor and feminine modesty entwined together.’ Sometimes the dance went
in a circle, sometimes in pairs of a maiden and a youth. Sometimes
passionate and sensuous gestures were made by both sexes, though only
for a moment, and the dance ended with a floating, graceful adagio.
It was an allegorical playlet in dance of human passions and their
control. The music for the youths was twice as rapid as that for the

Lucian writes that at some of the festivals three great choruses
were formed for the dancers: of boys, of young men, and of old men.
The old men danced, singing of their life of valor and wisdom. The
chorus of the young men took up the theme and answered that they could
accomplish deeds greater than any that had been achieved. The boys
finished the song boasting that they would surpass both in deeds of
glory. The _choragos_, who acted at the same time as a conductor and
ballet-master, was regarded a man of the highest standing.


The Greek theatres, in which the dances and dramas were performed
regularly, were of vast dimensions. The Theatre of Dionysius at
Athens, being built in the shape of a horseshoe, could accommodate an
audience of 30,000 spectators. A deep and wide stage was constructed
for the dramatic performances. The theatre was not merely, as with
us, a place of entertainment, but also a temple of the god whose
altar was the central part of the semicircle of seats, where the
worshippers sat, during the festival days, from sunrise to sunset. The
stage decorations were of three sorts: for tragedies, the front of a
palace, with five doors; for comedy, a street with houses; for satire,
rocks and trees. There were no accessories of any kind on the stage.
Instead of a roof there was the blue sky. The front part of the stage
was used for the chorus, instruments and dancing. Lucian mentions how
even the Bacchanalian dance was treated so seriously on the stage that
the people would sit whole days in the theatre to view the Titans and
Corybantes, Satyrs and shepherds. ‘The most curious part of it is,’ he
writes, ‘that the noblest and greatest personages in every city are
the dancers, and so little are they ashamed of it that they applaud
themselves more upon their dexterity in that species of talent than
on their nobility, their posts of honor, or the dignities of their

How learned the public dancers were in Greece is best illustrated by
a dialogue that occurred between Lucian and Croton. In this one of
the speakers maintains that any person desiring to become a public
dancer should know by heart Homer and Hesiod, should know the national
mythology and legends, should be acquainted with the history of Egypt,
should have a good voice and know how to sing well, and should be a man
of high personal character. A dancer should be neither too tall or too
short, too thin or too fat. If a dancer ever failed in his efforts to
please the audience he ran the risk of being pelted with stones. The
Greek audiences were accustomed to express their disapprobation in a
very decided manner.

It is interesting to compare the Greek dancing figures of various
periods, which actually give an idea of the development of their
choreography, and also of the change which took place in their costumes
and styles. In the first half of the sixth century the Ionic style
prevailed in garments. The feminine body was heavily draped. Later,
until the Persian War, a costume of a chiton, with wide sleeves and
sharply cut was in fashion. This century is rich in reproductions of
dancing figures, which have a tendency to keep one another’s hands and
strive to be decorative. The fifth century figures give an impression
of poised grace and plastic perfection of the body. The fourth century
figures show dancers with great individuality and perfection in the use
of the arms. Numerous bas-reliefs of this era represent women dancing
with veils which give to them a peculiar magic of motion. Like all the
Orientals, the Greek women used to wear veils while outside of their
homes. The veil was a natural medium of decoration and a symbol for the
pantomime of the dance. Frequently the dancing garments of this era
are so slight that they add only a mystifying charm to the apparently
nude dancers. The poses of their limbs and arms give evidence of rhythm
and technique. The mimic expressions play seemingly a foremost rôle,
as their smiling faces and bashful looks betray the power of their
fascination. They show expert skill in the use of the veils, with which
they now seemingly cover their bodies, opening them again to give a
glimpse of their great beauty. The exquisitely artistic statuettes
found at Tanagra give some idea of the beauty of motion as practised
by young women dancers, when, in the marvellous setting of the antique
theatres, under the blue skies of Greece, they gave performances to
audiences with whom the love of beauty was a passion.

At some of the religious ceremonial dances only boys and girls
appeared, at others young men or girls, or both together, danced. Of
a rather voluptuous nature were the dances performed in the temples of
Aphrodite and Dionysos. Of special importance were the dances connected
with the Eleusinian Mysteries, always celebrated in Athens. Their
performance and the form of their construction were surrounded with
greatest secrecy. Plato, who was initiated into them, spoke very highly
of their meaning. It is evident that their real influence upon the
people began in the sixth century. In the beginning the Mysteries were
performed once every five years. Later they became annual performances.
According to Desrat, they had much in common with the _Rondes_ of the
Middle Ages. The procession of the Mysteries proceeded from the temple
of Demetrius, in Attica, and passed along a wooded road to Athens.
A special resting place was the Fountain of Magic Dances, where the
girls performed dances of unusual poetic grace. Late in the evening the
procession entered the temple with a dance of torches. Here, on a stage
specially erected for this purpose, were performed the dances of the
Mysteries. Very little is known of the character of these dances. It is
likely that they were dramatized legends of Demetrius, who was depicted
as a pilgrim, wandering from place to place, in search of his lost
daughter. Another phase of the Mysteries was to produce in symbolic
gestures and poses and by proper staging, episodes of the life beyond.
The performance began in twilight, the first scene being the pantomime
in Hell, whither the soul of Demetrius was carried by infernal powers.
It represented the utmost horror. During all the performance no word
was spoken. After the scene in Hell came another in Heaven. The most
impressive of all the dances was the ‘Leap with Torches,’ in which only
the women appeared. It was said to be the most fantastic and acrobatic
of all the Greek religious dances. Plutarch says that the impression
was that of spectral ghosts playing perpetually with flames. It was
meant to act as a purgatory fire that cleansed all the souls from their
wickedness. The Mysteries ended in the night of the fourth day with a
Dance of Baskets, in which the women appeared with covered baskets on
their heads in a solemn march rhythm and vanished into the darkening
temple. The Eleusinian Mysteries were abolished by an imperial decree
in 381 A. D.

Not less popular than the Eleusinian were the Dionysian Mysteries.
It is said that these developed as the festival of the first-fruits,
but were later dedicated to the god Dionysos, the patron of wine and
pleasure. To him is ascribed the invention of enthusiasm and ecstasy,
the essential element of all beauty. The symbol of all the Dionysian
dances was the goat, which also figured in the Mysteries. It was one
of the most sensuous performances that imagination could invent. In
it men and women took part, but men wore usually women’s dresses and
the women men’s. In the centre of the dancers, before the statue of
Dionysos, stood a huge cup filled with wine. The ceremony lasted
three days and was performed in every town and hamlet of the country.
According to the Greek mythology, Dionysos is represented in a group of
dancing women and men. As Satyrs were supposed to be daily companions
of Dionysos, the Satyr Dance was a feature of the Mysteries. Of one of
the Dionysian dances we read in ‘Daphnis and Chloë’: ‘Meanwhile Dryas
danced a vintage dance, making believe to gather grapes, to carry them
in baskets, to tread them down in the vat, to pour the juice into tubs,
and then to drink the new wine: all of which he did so naturally and so
featly that they deemed they saw before their eyes the vines, the vats,
the tubs, and Dryas drinking in good health.’

[Illustration: Greek and Roman Dances as Depicted on Ancient Vases]

Other features of the Dionysian Mysteries were the Dances of Nymphs,
the Dances of the Knees, and the _Skoliasmos_, in the nature of
gymnastics, in which the performers hopped on inflated wine-skins,
rubbed over with oil to make them slippery. The ancient writers
describe these dances as lascivious and comic. In the Satyr Dance
the dancers wore goat-skins and appeared as Satyrs. Several of these
dances consisted of graceful and more modest movements, measured to the
sound of flutes. Some of them were accompanied by light songs, daring
sarcasm, and licentiously suggestive poems. Dances in which animals
were imitated were numerous. There was a Crane Dance, supposed to be
invented by Theseus, and Owl, Vulture, and Fox Dances.

The Mysteries of Demetrius took a more centralized form than the
Mysteries of Dionysos. Each town had its individual secrets of romantic
mysteries. In Athens the cult of love turned very much around the
legend of Mænads, which, like little devils, shadowed the people day
and night. In the Museum of Naples can be seen a vase with dancing
Mænads, which represents best the ancient spirits of love. Plato
says that the Mænad Dance consisted principally of the embracing and
caressing of men and women.

Reinach believes that all Greek mythology, art and science grew out
of the Greek folk-songs and folk-dances. According to him, the rhythm
and melody of dance music changed in strict correspondence with the
theme. All the sacred dances dedicated to Demetrius and Apollo, or
to Aphrodite, were in legato form, graceful, melodious and full of
color; on the other hand, those dedicated to Bacchus and Dionysos
were of quicker tempo, syncopated style and less melodious. Reinach
succeeded in deciphering the words and music of an ancient Greek dance
song that was discovered in the ruins of the temple of Delphi. This
was presumably danced at the Delphic festivals and is dedicated to
Apollo. Since the cult of Apollo was widespread in Greece there were
not a few dances dedicated and performed to this god. We are told that
palm-leaves were given as prizes for the best of the Apollo dancers.

Besides the artists who appeared either in sacred or classic dances,
there existed in Greece a class of professional dancers called Heteræ.
These were women of flirting and coquettish type. In our sense, they
must have been a kind of _Varieté_ or professional social dancers.
During the time of Pericles there were 500 Heteræ in Athens. Thus
Sappho, Aspasia and Cleonica were trained to be Heteræ dancers. At
one time in Greek history the Heteræ became a danger to the family.
Aspasia was the mistress of Pericles until she became his wife. Being
well educated, the Heteræ were women of attractive type and most of
the great Greek thinkers, artists or statesmen felt the spell of their
charm. Sappho called her house the ‘home of the Muses,’ where plastic
beauty rivalled with poetry and music. The tragedy of Sappho has
inspired many writers, ancient and modern, to immortalize her in their
works, particularly the story according to which she sang and flung
herself down into the sea. Performed by great celebrities the dances
of the Heteræ were by no means vulgar, but lyric and suggestively
sensuous. They were performed with garments or without, with floating
veils and to the music of a flute. The dancers of this class used to
give performances at their homes or in specially established gardens.
All the Hetera dances were dedicated to Aphrodite and the ambition
of the performers was to imitate the lovely poses of the celebrated
goddess. According to most descriptions they resembled our past
century’s _minuets_, _gavottes_ and _pavanes_.

Emmanuel, who has written an interesting work on the Greek
choreography, maintains that the accuracy of rhythm was of foremost
importance. A choreographic time-marker was attached to sandals that
produced sounds modified to the changing sentiments of the action.
A little tambourine or cymbals were occasionally employed. A special
branch of dance instruction was the _Chironomia_, or the art of using
the hands. Greek dancing was by no means predominantly gesturing with
hands, as some people think, but it was the harmonious use of every
limb of the human body, in connection with the corresponding art of
pantomime. There were numerous dancing schools in Greece, and each of
them had its particular method of instruction. The first exercise in a
school was the learning of flexibility of the body, which lasted a few
years. A special school dance was the _Esclatism_, which was chiefly
a rhythmic gymnastic, on the order of Jaques-Dalcroze’s method at
Hellerau. We know comparatively little of the details of the ancient
technical mechanism of choreography. Unfortunately all the ancient
dancing figures represent merely one moment of a dance, therefore it is
extremely difficult to grasp the principal points of the vanished art.



  Æsthetic subservience to Greece; Pylades and Bathyllus; the
  _Bellicrepa saltatio_; the Ludiones; the Roman pantomime; the
  Lupercalia and Floralia; Bacchantic orgies; the Augustinian age;
  importations from Cadiz; famous dancers.

As with all their arts, the ancient Romans borrowed their dancing from
the Greeks. A nation raised in adoration of military and aristocratic
ideals, conceited, and with a strong tendency to materialism and
formalities, the Romans contributed little to choreography. Their
civilization was imitative rather than creative. Their art is void
of ethnographic characteristics and a kind of artificial stiffness
breathes from their best achievements. The only conspicuous
contribution of the Roman dancers to the evolution of dance lies in
their unique dramatic and ecclesiastic pantomimes and their celebrated
masque dances. But it seems surprising that dancing was far more highly
developed and esteemed in the earlier period of Roman history than
in those days of luxury and vice which preceded the downfall of the
empire. Under the republic, dancing was considered one of the foremost
factors in education, and the children of patricians and statesmen were
obliged to take lessons in Greek dancing. But of the social views of
later centuries we read from Quintilian that ‘it disgraced the dignity
of a man,’ or as Cicero said, ‘No sober man dances, unless he is mad.’
Horace rebukes the Romans for dancing as for an infamy. Various other
Roman writers tell us how much the women of standing were criticized
for their lack of virtue if they entertained a dancer at their house or
shook hands with him.

On the other hand, we have an eloquent proof of the Roman frenzy for
the stage dance in the exciting intrigues of Pylades and Bathyllus,
which set the whole Republic in a ferment. De Jaulnaye, the great
historian, writes that the rivalries of Pylades and Bathyllus occupied
the Romans as much as the gravest affairs of state. Every citizen
was a Bathyllian or a Pyladian. Glancing over the history of the
disturbances created by these two mummers, we seem to be reading that
of the volatile nation whose quarrels about music were so prolonged, so
obstinate, and, above all, so senseless that no one knew what were the
real points of dispute, when the philosopher of Geneva wrote the famous
letter to which no serious reply was ever made. Augustus (the Emperor)
reproved Pylades on one occasion for his perpetual quarrels with
Bathyllus. ‘Cæsar,’ replied the dancer, ‘it is well for you that the
people are engrossed by our disputes; their attention is thus diverted
from your actions!’ While Pylades is described as a great tragic actor
and dancer, Bathyllus is represented as having been endowed not only
with extraordinary talent, but also with great personal beauty, and
is said as having been the idol of the Roman ladies. It is said that
the banishment of Pylades from Rome almost brought about a serious
revolution, that was prevented by the recall of the imperial decree.

One of the most interesting ancient dances practised by the Romans
was _Bellicrepa saltatio_, a military dance, instituted by Romulus
after the seizure of the Sabine women, in order that a similar
misfortune might never befall his own country. To Numa Pompilius, the
gentle Sabine, who became king after the mysterious disappearance of
Romulus, is ascribed the origin of Roman religious dances. Especially
celebrated were the dancing priests of Mars, and the order of Salien
priests, numbering twelve, who were selected from citizens of first
rank. Their mission was to worship the gods by dances. As a sign of
special distinction they wore in their ceremonials richly embroidered
purple tunics, brazen breastplates and their heads covered with gilded
helmets. In one hand they held a javelin, while the other carried the
celestial shield called the _ancilia_. They beat the time with their
swords upon this _ancilia_, and marched through the city singing hymns
to the time of their solemn dancing.

According to Livy, pantomimes were invented to please the gods and to
distract the people, horrified by the plague that created havoc in the
sacred city of Rome. The _Ludiones_, the celebrated Roman bards, are
said to have performed their dances first before the houses of the
rich to the music of the flute, but later appeared in the circuses and
in special show tents. Their example found followers among the Roman
youth. All the Roman dancers gave performances masqued, and it was the
custom that in the sacred, as well as in the great dramatic pantomimes
women were excluded, though during the later period of the Empire,
particularly during the reign of Nero, women dancers appeared.

The best known of the ancient Roman pantomimes were those performed
at the festival of Pallas, of Pan and of Dionysus or Bacchus. Juvenal
writes that Bathyllus, having composed a pantomime on the subject of
Jupiter, performed it with such realism that the Roman women were
profoundly moved. The same is said of the dances invented and performed
by Pylades, some of which were later given by the priests of Apollo.
The art of Roman pantomime developed gradually to classic standards and
ranged over the whole domain of mythology, poetry and drama. Dancers,
called _Mimii_, like Bathyllus and Pylades, translated the most subtle
emotions by gestures and poses of extreme graphic power so that their
audiences understood every meaning of their mute language. This plastic
form of mute drama made the dancing of the Romans a great art. The
Emperor Augustus is said to have been a great admirer of Bathyllus, and
so also was Nero. It is said that an African ruler, while the guest
of Nero, was so impressed by the dancer that he said to Nero that he
would like to have such an artist for his court. ‘And what would you
do with him?’ asked the Emperor. ‘I have around me,’ said the other,
‘several neighboring tribes who speak different languages, and as they
are unable to understand mine, I thought, if I had this man with me, it
would be quite possible for him to explain by gesture all that I wished
to express.’

Very unusual was the Roman festival of Pan, or the _Lupercalia_, at
which half-naked youths danced about the streets with whips in their
hands, lashing freely everyone whom they chanced to meet. The Roman
women liked to be lashed on this occasion, as they believed it would
keep them young. Another kind of Pan festival was celebrated by the
peasants in the spring at which the young men and maidens joined in
the dances, which took place in the woods or on the fields. They wore
garlands of flowers and wreaths of oak on their heads. Similar dances,
only more solemn and magnificent, were performed at the festival of
Pallas by shepherds. Dancing and singing around blazing bonfires in
a circle they worshipped the goddess of fruitfulness. Frequently the
officiators were disreputable women who appeared dressed in long white
robes, symbolic of chastity. Then there were the great _Floralia_
or May Day festivals which in the beginning were of sufficiently
decent manner but eventually degenerated into scenes of unbounded
licentiousness. Still wilder than these were the orgies of Bacchus,
which contributed greatly to the demoralization of the people until
the consuls Albinus and Philippus banished them from Rome by a decree
of the Senate.

On account of their sensuous character the Romans were unable to keep
their art of dancing in such poetic and yet simple æsthetic frames
as did the Greeks, for which reason all the Roman women characters
in a pantomime were disguised young men. They lacked the ability of
self-control in the stage art which in Greece had reached a standard of
classic perfection. It is sufficient to say that they must have been
wicked enough when a ruler like Tiberius commanded the dancers to be
expelled from Rome. But Tacitus relates that, while publicly Tiberius
reprimanded Sestius Gallus for the elaborate balls given at his house,
privately he made arrangements to be his guest on the condition that he
should himself be entertained in the usual manner. Of his successor,
Caligula, Suetonius writes: ‘So fond was the emperor of singing and
dancing that he could not refrain from singing with the tragedians and
imitating the gestures of the dancers either by way of applause or

During the reign of Augustus the art of pantomime reached its zenith.
The dances of this time were more spectacular and impressive on
account of their carefully executed stage effects. As far as music
was concerned, this was produced by flutes and harps, sometimes by
singing voices. The Romans never cared for dancing itself, but they
were fond of it as a spectacle. A great rôle in Roman life at this
juncture was played by the female dancers from Cadiz, which were said
to be so brilliant and passionate that poets declared it impossible to
withstand the great charm these women exercised over the spectators.
Some one says ‘they were all poetry and voluptuous charm.’ An English
writer maintains that the famous Venus of Cailipyge was modelled from a
Caditian dancer in high favor at Rome. Another noted writer calls the
_delicias caditanas_ the most fascinating performances that ever could
be seen, and calls all other dances of the Romans and even the Greeks
amateurish puerilities.

Of great Roman female dancers we know by name Lucceia, who was said to
give performances when she was one hundred years old; Stephania, ‘the
first to dance on the stage in comedy descriptive of Roman manners’;
Galeria Copiola, who danced before Emperor Augustus ninety-one years
after her first appearance; and Alliamatula, who danced before Nero
at the age of one hundred and twenty. The most known of all the great
women dancers in ancient Rome was Telethusa, a fascinating girl from
Cadiz, to whose extraordinary beauty and art the poet Martial dedicated
many of his songs.



  The mediæval eclipse; ecclesiastical dancing in Spain; the
  strolling ballets of Spain and Italy; suppression of dancing by the
  church; dances of the mediæval nobility; Renaissance court ballets;
  the English masques; famous masques of the seventeenth century.

There is a lapse of time, nearly a thousand years, from the fall of the
ancient civilization of Greece and Rome to the Grand Ballet of France,
when the art of dancing was almost stifled by the Mediæval ecclesiastic
scholasticism. Since we have practically no records of the dancing that
was fostered in Cadiz, which was probably the most conspicuous at that
time, we must confess that the greatly esteemed art of the ancients
nearly came to a ruin. If it had not been for Spain, where dancing
was introduced even into the churches, it might have taken centuries
longer to revive the vanishing ideas of the ancient choreography and
keep alive the plastic religion. We are told that a bishop of Valencia
adopted certain sacred dances in the churches of Seville, Toledo and
Valencia, which were performed before the altar. In Galicia a slow
hymn-dance was performed by a tall priest, while carrying a gorgeously
dressed boy on his shoulders, at the festival of Corpus Christi.

Much as the church fathers fought dancing in other countries, they
had to admit it in Spain. It is said that the choir-boys of Seville
Cathedral executed _danzas_ during a part of the religious processions
in mediæval Spain, and that this practice was authorized in 1439 by a
Bull of Pope Eugenius IV. Of these choir-boy dancers Baron Davillier
writes: ‘They are easily to be recognized in the streets of Seville by
their red caps, their red cloaks adorned with red neckties, their black
stockings, and shoes with rosettes and metal buttons. The hat (worn
during the dance), slightly conical in shape, is turned up on one side,
and fastened with a bow of white velvet, from which rises a tuft of
blue and white feathers. The most characteristic feature of the costume
is the _golilla_, a sort of lace ruff, starched and pleated, which
encircles the neck. Lace cuffs, slashed trunk-hose or _galzoncillo_
blue silk stockings and white shoes with rosettes, complete the costume
of which Doré made a sketch when he saw it in Seville Cathedral, on
the _octave_ of the Conception. The dance of the boys attracts as many
spectators to Seville as the ceremonies of Holy Week, and the immense
cathedral is full to overflowing on the days when they are to figure in
a function.’

Vuillier writes of another occasion of the Spanish temple dances: ‘One
of these festivals is celebrated on the 15th of August, the day of the
Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the other on the following day, the
feast of the patron of the village of Alaro. On these occasions a body
of dancers called _Els Cosiers_ play the principal part. It consists
of six boys dressed in white, with ribbons of many colors, wearing
on their heads caps trimmed with flowers. One of them, _La Dama_,
disguised as a woman, carries a fan in one hand and a handkerchief in
the other. Two others are dressed as demons with horns and cloven feet.
The party is followed by some musicians playing on the _cheremias_, the
_tamborino_, and the _fabiol_. After vespers the _Cosiers_ join the
procession as it leaves the church. Three of them take up positions on
either side of the Virgin, who is preceded by a demon; every few yards
they perform steps. Each demon is armed with a flexible rod with which
he keeps off the crowd. The procession stops in all the squares and
principal places, and there the _Cosiers_ perform one of their dances
to the sound of the _tamborino_ and the _fabiol_. When the procession
returns to the church they dance together round the statue of the

Of a very primitive but unique nature were the mediæval strolling
ballets of Spain and Italy. Some old writers assert that they
originated in Italy and passed later into Spain, but others tell
the contrary. Later the Portuguese organized a strolling ballet in
adoration of St. Carlos. Castil-Blaze writes of a strolling ballet that
was instituted by the King René of Provence, in 1462, called the _Lou
Gue_. This consisted of allegorical scenes of the Bible and was danced
in the style of Roman mythological pantomimes. Most of the conspicuous
characters of the Bible and history were enacted in this ballet.
The procession of the ballet went through a city to the square of a
garden before some cathedral or castle. Fame headed the march, blowing
a trumpet and carrying a gorgeous shield on a winged horse. He was
followed by the rest of the company in various comic and spectacular
costumes. There were the Duke of Urbino, King Herod, Fauns, Dryads, and
Apostles, and finally the Jews, dancing round a Golden Calf.

‘King René wrote this religious ballet in all its details,’ writes
Castil-Blaze. ‘Decorations, dance music, marches, all were of his
invention, and his music has always been faithfully preserved and
performed. The air of _Lou Gue_ has some curious modulations; the
minuet of the Queen of Sheba, the march of the Prince of Love, upon
which so many _noëls_ have been founded, and, above all the _Veie de
Noue_, are full of originality. But the wrestler’s melody is good
René’s masterpiece, if it be true that he is its author, as tradition
affirms. This classic air has a pleasing melody with gracefully written
harmonies; the strolling minstrels of Provence play it on their flutes
to a rhythmical drum accompaniment, walking round the arena where the
wrestlers are competing.’

Some queer religious pantomimes came into vogue in France about the
twelfth century, and of these the torch dances, executed on the
first Sunday in Lent, enjoyed the greatest popularity; but they were
all suppressed by the clergy and later became degenerate. In Paris
the clergy sold dancing indulgences to the rich patricians for a
considerable sum of money. The high society was taught to despise
dancing as an amusement unworthy of its position. It remained only a
popular diversion among the middle class. The theatrical ballets and
strolling pantomimes disappeared altogether. The theatre was declared
by the clergy a Pagan institution and every art connected with the
stage of infernal origin. But, strange to say, mediæval stage dancing
was first introduced by women. Men appeared only as spectators of such
performances. Thus we read in a ballad of the twelfth century that the
_damosels_ arranged a grand ball and the knights came to look on.

The first dances that the mediæval nobility introduced at their
castles, in which they themselves participated, were the famous
_Caroles_. These were performed to the vocal accompaniment of the
dancers themselves, although sometimes a strolling band was hired.
Out of these grew gradually the various mediæval social dances and
the court ballets and gay masquerades, which reached a climax during
the middle of the seventeenth century. The most celebrated of this
kind were the _Ballets des Ardents_, arranged by the Duchess de Berri
and attended by the whole court. However, the most conspicuous of the
mediæval attempts in this respect was the _Fête_ given in 1489 by
Bergonzio di Botta of Tortona, in honor of Galeazzo, Duke of Milan, on
the occasion of his marriage of Isabella of Aragon. Of this we read:

‘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 the
Duchess appeared, Jason and 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 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 returned to present to the newly married pair,
after having had it nobly trussed and prepared by the best cook of
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.’

The writer describes how Diana, Mercury and the Nymphs followed the
first scene. Then Orpheus appears to the music of flutes and lutes.
‘Each singer, each dancer had his special orchestra, which was arranged
for him according to the sentiments expressed by his song or by 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 Monteverdi prove that 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.’

This was followed by a solo singer accompanied by a lyre, after whose
aria Atlanta and Theseus appeared to the sound of brass instruments.
After this appeared a ballet of Tritons. During the intermission
refreshments were served and the spectacle ended with the scenes
of Orpheus, Hymen and Cupid. Finally, Lucretia, Penelope, Thomyris,
Judith, Portia, and Sulpici advanced and laid at the feet of the
Duchess the palms of virtue that they had won during their lives.

There is no doubt that this spectacular fête of the Duke of Milan gave
the initial impetus to the following Grand Ballets at the French Court,
which in turn became the embryos of the modern stage dances. It is also
very likely that the well-known masques, so much in vogue during the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, were an outcome of the original
Milan pageant. In particularly high favor stood the masques at the
English court. Thus we read that in 1605 ‘The Masque of Blackness’ was
given at Whitehall, in which Queen Anne and her ladies blackened their
skins and appeared as blackamoors. The Spanish Ambassador, having to
kiss Her Majesty’s hand, gave voice to his fears that the black might
come off. Three years later ‘The Masque of Beauty’ was given. Both
were written by Ben Jonson. The speeches of the masques were mostly in
verse, but sometimes in prose. In the ‘Masque of Castillo,’ written by
John Crowne in 1675, the Princess Anne and Mary took part at St. James’
Palace and the performance was a great success. Though Bacon designated
masques as mere toys, nevertheless he enjoyed them as spectacles on
account of their rich colors and costumes. In 1632 James Shirley wrote
‘The Triumph of Peace,’ upon which production a sum of £21,000 was
expended. This was given for the first time before the king and queen
at Whitehall and was repeated in Merchant Tailors’ Hall. The music
to this was composed by William Lawes and Simon Ives. The scenes and
costumes were designed and superintended by the famous architect Inigo

Nearly all the masques of olden times were written in honor of the
marriage of royalty or of some great nobleman and were mostly given at
Christmastide Twelfth Night. They were said to be many-sided in their
construction, music and themes. For the most part they were dramatic,
festive and gay, the allegorical characters giving them an element
of poetic charm. Dancing was one of their most potent elements, and
this was graceful, dainty and lively. The dancers called maskers were
a special feature in the masques, though they had nothing to do with
speech or song. The dresses in these masques were not always accurate,
for the parts were sometimes acted by women in farthingales, though
they impersonated classic goddesses. Masques were patronized in England
for only two centuries, Henry VIII, Elizabeth, James I, and Charles I
being their main sponsors. Queen Anne of Denmark was so much delighted
with them that she acted one of the characters.

Alfonso Ferrabosco, a noted musician of Italian descent, was the
composer of many masques during the reign of James I. Other composers
were Nicholas Laniere and John Coperario. ‘Salmacida Spolia’ by Sir
William Davenant, with music by Ferrabosco, was said to be one of the
most spectacular masques of the seventeenth century. It consisted of
pretty scenes and songs between the dances, so full of allegory and
devices, and so gay in costumes and light that it was a favorite of
English nobility for three generations. The most popular of the English
masques were ‘Love’s Triumph Callipolis’ by Ben Jonson and Inigo
Jones, which was performed at the court in 1630; the ‘Sun’s Darling,’
performed in 1623; the ‘Masque of Owles,’ performed for King Charles
I; and ‘Tempe Restored’ by Aurelian Townsend, performed in 1632, with
Queen Henrietta Maria and fourteen ladies as the leading characters.
In the last-named masque the beasts form a procession, fourteen stars
descend to the music of the spheres, and Tempe is restored to the true
followers of the Muses. Large figures were posted on either side of
the stage, one a winged woman, the other a man, with the lighted torch
of Knowledge and Ignorance. Women with snaky locks mingled with Harmony
in the songs of the chorus of Circe. Dances by the queen and her ladies
added to the spectacular character of the scene.



  Louis XIV and the ballet; the Pavane and the Courante; reforms
  under Louis XV; Noverre and the _ballet d’action_; Auguste Vestris
  and others; famous ballets of the period--the Revolution and the
  Consulate; the French technique, the foundation of ‘choreographic
  grammar’; the ‘five positions’; the ballet steps--Famous
  _danseuses_: Sallé, Camargo; Madeleine Guimard; Allard.


Though Catherine de Medici, Henri IV, and Cardinal Richelieu are
often quoted as the first rulers who enabled and encouraged their
subjects to revive the ancient dances and thus lay the foundation of
the modern ballet, the honor really belongs to Louis XIV. His love for
dancing was so vital that he himself figured frequently on the stage,
and emphasized the fact that the theatre was not a Pagan or immoral
institution. He personally inspired Lully, Benserade and Molière to
devote their genius to the stage. He introduced Minuets, Gavottes,
Pavanes and Courantes at his court functions and they were copied by
all the other rulers and by the nobility. In 1661 the Royal Academy of
Dancing was founded. To its graduates were given the privileges that
were enjoyed only by the highest officers of the empire. It is said
that the king danced in the Masque of Cassandra when he was thirteen
years of age. The French historians write that Louis XIV danced in
twenty-seven grand ballets, not to mention the intermezzi of lyrical
tragedies and comedy-ballets. In the _Ballet du Carrousel_, given in
1662 on a large open space before the Tuileries, the king danced in the
rôle of a Roman emperor and his brother in that of a Turkish sultan.
On the occasion of the king’s marriage in 1660 the ballet ‘Hercules in
Love’ was given at the palace.

Lully’s ballet, ‘Cupid and Bacchus,’ was said to be a piece full
of imagination, dramatic, vigorous and rich in timely mood. ‘The
Triumph of Love,’ performed in 1681, being the first ballet in which
women appeared, is considered one of the best creations of this time
musically and scenically. One of the most popular comic ballets of
that era was _Impatiencem_, composed of series of disconnected scenes
of extremely humorous nature. Pecour and Le Basque were the two
celebrated dancers of those days, while Beauchamp, a talented composer
and artist of considerable imaginative power, acted as Director of the
Academy of Dancing and ballet-master in the Opéra. All his ballets
were distinguished by their extraordinary complexity of mechanical
contrivances, by imposing effects and their allegorical character.
However, towards the end of the century Dupré appeared on the stage and
soon far surpassed all his predecessors. Noverre speaks of him as the
god of dancing, whose harmony of movements was of marvellous perfection.

The principal tendency of dancing of this era was to be magnificent and
noble, but it lacked individuality and failed to stir the emotions. The
best examples of this kind of stateliness and stiffness are offered
by the Pavane and Courante, which still survive. The gentleman, with
hat in one hand, a gilded sword at his side, an imposing cloak thrown
over his arm, gravely bowed before his partner, stiff and statuesque in
her long train, and began the dance walking gravely around the room.
The Pavane was ridiculously ceremonial and conventional. The Courante
was different, somewhat resembling the Minuet. It was rather graceful,
consisting of backward and forward steps. How fond the king was of the
Courante is evident of what Regnard writes: ‘Pecour gives him lessons
in the Courante every morning.’ Littré says that the Courante began by
bows and courtseys, after which the dancer and the partner performed
a set figure, which formed a sort of elongated ellipse. This step was
in two parts: the first consisted in making _plié relevé_, at the same
time bringing the foot from behind into the fourth position in front
by a _pas glissé_; the second consisted of a _jetté_ with one foot,
and a _coupé_ with the other. The dancers performed the back stay step
twice, returning to position, and turned, beginning the movement again
by repeating the first springing step and the back stay step, so that
the partners changed places and turn. All these three figures were then
repeated, commencing with the opposite foot. Eight bars of music were
always occupied with the slow _pas de basque_ in a circle. This briefly
shows the same designs and forms in the dance of this era that we find
in the Rococco style of architecture.

But the beginning of the eighteenth century shows a marked reaction
against the statuesque solemnity, the dead stiffness and merciless
etiquette that had prevailed. An era of artificial reforms begins
with Louis XV. To this period belongs the origin of our modern
industrialism. The views and feelings of the feudal system begin to
give place to those of coming realism and individualism. But the change
is insignificant, as the art of dancing lacks in this as it did in the
other, energy, feeling and soul. The one was more impressive through
its grand outlines, the other excelled through its dainty charm, like
the fashions, decorations and other arts of that time. Long, gilded
mirrors, gay garlands of flowers, frail elliptic carvings, graceful
designs, gauzy tissues, mauve ribbons, painted faces and hands,
perfumed atmosphere, these and numerous other impressions emanate
of the art of dancing of the first part of the eighteenth century,
although to this era belong the vigorous attempts of Jean-Georges
Noverre, the greatest of all the dance authorities of the past

Noverre, the celebrated ballet-master of France, is considered the
father of the ballet and classic dancing generally. The brothers Gardel
and Dauberval based their ideas upon the principles of Noverre. It was
he who drove the masks, paniers, and padded coat-skirts from the stage
and made it human. ‘A ballet,’ he said, ‘is a picture, or rather a
series of pictures, connected by the action which forms the subject of
the ballet. To me the stage is a canvas on which the composer paints
his ideas, notes his music and displays scenery colored by appropriate
costumes. A picture is an imitation of Nature; but a good ballet is
Nature itself, ennobled by all the charms of art. The music is to
dancing what the libretto is to the music.’ According to his theory
the action of the dancer should be an instrument for the rendering of
the written idea. Before Noverre laid the foundation to his _ballet
d’action_, dancing had existed as an auxiliary form to opera and was
lacking in any signs of life. The dancers wearing powdered hair piled
up a foot on their heads, and the men in their long-skirted coats
made the impression more of a big puppet-show than of a living dance.
This made the use of intricate and plastic movements of the body
and, moreover, of mimic expressions, absolutely impossible. This is
Noverre’s argument:

‘I wish to reduce by three-quarters the ridiculous paniers of our
danseuses. They are opposed equally to freedom, to quickness and to the
prompt and animated action of the dance. They deprive the figure of its
elegance and of the just proportions which it ought to possess. They
diminish the beauty of the arms; they bury, so to speak, the graces.
They embarrass and distract the dancer to such a degree that the
movement of her panier sometimes occupies her more seriously than that
of her limbs.’

In spite of his great reputation and influence, Noverre found it
difficult to reform the stage fundamentally. He failed to perform
his own ballets in the way he wished. Thus in the ‘Horatii’ Camilla
appeared in hooped petticoat, her hair piled up and decorated with
fantastic ribbons and flowers. However, his reforms gained ground
little by little. Much as he tried, he failed in reforming the stage
celebrities of his time. This actuated the great reformer to say, ‘what
we lack is not talent, but emulation. It almost seems, in fact, as if
this were deliberately repressed. How I should rejoice to see a great
dancer performing some noble part without plumes or wig or masks! I
should then be able to applaud his sublime talent with satisfaction to
myself; and I could then justly apply the term “great” to him, whereas
now the most I say is: “_Ah la bella gamba!_” It is evident, therefore,
that theatrical dancing demands many reforms. They cannot, of course,
all be carried out at once; but we might at least begin. Let us do away
with those gold painted masks, which deprive us of what would be one of
the most interesting features of a _pas-de-deux_, the expressions of
the performers’ faces. The disappearance of the periwig would follow of
itself, and a shepherd would no longer dance in a plumed helmet.’

It is said that the Noverre’s ballets reached the number of fifty. But
most known of them are ‘The Death of Ajax,’ ‘The Clemency of Titus,’
‘The Caprices of Galatea,’ ‘Orpheus’ Descent Into Hell,’ ‘Rinaldo and
Armida,’ ‘The Roses of Love,’ ‘The Judgment of Paris,’ etc. Several of
these he produced at the courts of Stuttgart, Vienna, St. Petersburg
and Florence. It was through his influence upon the Empress Anna of
Russia that the great Russian Imperial Ballet School was founded,
whose graduates have been electrifying the European audiences during
the present and past decades.

Noverre’s reform ideas were much perfected by the French composers
and dancers of the following generation, men whom we have previously
mentioned--Gardel, Dauberval, the Vestris brothers, and, in addition,
Duport, Blasis and Milon. Auguste Vestris was twelve years old when he
made his début in Paris, in 1772, in the ballet _La Cinquantaine_, and
aroused the wildest enthusiasm in the audience. His high leaps were so
popular that his father used to boast, ‘If Auguste does not stay up in
the air, it is because he is unwilling to humiliate his comrades.’ For
thirty-six years he was _premier danseur_ of the Opéra of Paris, and
preserved his popularity till the age of sixty-six, when he retired
to give lessons in dancing at the Academy. Of an eighteenth-century
performance Weber writes graphically:

‘On June 11, 1778, Mile. Guimard and the younger Vestris danced in the
new ballet, _Les Petits Riens_, with Dauberval and Mlle. Anglin. The
performance was a great success. The only author mentioned was Noverre,
the celebrated ballet-master. It was he who had imagined the three
scenes, which were in fact the groundwork of his ballet. The first
scene represented Love, caught in a net and put in a cage; the second,
a game of blind-man’s buff; and in the third, which was the greatest
success, Love led two shepherdesses up to a third, disguised as a
shepherd, who discovered the trick by unveiling her bosom. “Encore!”
cried the audience. Mlle. Guimard, the younger Vestris, and Noverre
were heartily applauded, but not one “bravo!” was given to the composer
of the music--who was no other than the divine Mozart. Mozart, who,
fifteen years before, had been acclaimed in Paris as an infant prodigy
and an inspired composer, was vegetating in the city in poverty and
obscurity. The success of _Les Petits Riens_ apparently made little
difference to him, for a few days after the performance we find him
leaving Paris, and seeking employment as an organist to ensure his
daily bread.’

This sad episode of the treatment of one of the greatest musical
geniuses of his time is partly proof of how little valued was the
musical side of a ballet at that time, yet it is also a graphic picture
of the mental level of audiences of any time--ours not excluded--who
judge a genius by public sentiment artificially aroused, either by
means of some press-agent or by incidental novelty.

Of the Gardel ballets the most popular were _Paul et Virginie_, _La
Dansomanie_, _Psyche_, _L’Oracle_, _Telemaque_, and _Le Déserteur_.
The writer witnessed a performance of _Psyche_ given by the Russian
Imperial Ballet with all the true atmosphere of its age, and it made
a peculiar impression, similar to that which we get in visiting
ethnographic museums of Europe. It was performed in Paris first time
on December 14, 1790, at the Théâtre des Arts and pleased the people
so immensely that it has been repeated not fewer than a thousand times
since. The _Dansomanie_, which was given during the Revolution, was
less effective and the author was apparently depressed, though he had
chosen a subject of timely character--peasants, villagers and Savoyard
farmers acting as the heroes. His ballet, _Guillaume Tell_, promised
to be more successful, as the Committee of Public Safety had ordered
its performance, but the money granted for its staging was stolen by
politicians and Gardel took back his manuscript. It was given after his
death. But his spectacular ballet _Marseillaise_ created a furore when
it was given at the Opéra. The ballet opened with a blast of trumpets,
and was executed by dancers dressed as warriors and participants in
a hungry mob. Mlle. Maillard, personifying Liberty, took her rôle so
well that the actors on the stage and the audience fell on their
knees before her, as though in prayer. The solemn hymn passage of this
part of the opera, and the slow, majestic dance of the artist were so
impressive that the audience burst into sobs.


Though the ballet lost its previous splendor under the Revolution, yet
it became more vigorous in its enforced simplicity. The French writers
admit that the ballets performed in connection with the _fêtes_ of the
Republic were marked by more serious tendencies and possessed certain
profound emotional qualities. Actors and dancers soon accommodated
themselves to the new ideals of social life. The Festival of the
Supreme Being, conducted by Robespierre himself, was the most important
of the itinerant ballets of that time. It was a ceremony of classic
nature, performed with slow and march-like steps. Special ceremonial
dances were also performed by the colossal statue of Wisdom to the
accompaniment of an orchestra. The members of the Convention had their
places on a specially erected platform, while choirs chanted a hymn
to the Supreme Being. The President set fire with a torch to an image
of Atheism. ‘An immense mountain,’ writes Castil-Blaze, ‘symbolized
the national altar; upon its summits rises the tree of Liberty, the
Representatives range themselves under its protective branches, fathers
with their sons assemble on the part of the mountain set aside for
them; mothers with their daughters place themselves on the other side;
their fecundity and the virtues of their husbands are their sole titles
to a place there. A profound silence reigns all around; touching
strains of harmonious melody are heard: the fathers and their sons
sing the first strophe; they swear with one accord that they will not
lay down their arms until they have annihilated the enemies of the
Republic, and all the people take up the finale.’

This short picture gives a fairly clear idea of the Revolutionary
period, which laid a new foundation to the French arts, including the
art of dancing. The historians tell us that scarcely was the Terror
at an end when twenty-three theatres and eighteen hundred dancing
salons were open every evening in Paris. The costumes worn by the
dancers under the first Republic were more or less imitations of those
of the ancient Greeks. The women arranged their hair in imitation of
the coiffures of Aspasia and Sappho, and appeared with bare arms,
bare bosoms, sandalled feet, and hair bound in plaits round their
heads. Even during the Terror people danced in every restaurant on the
boulevards, in the Champs Élysées, and along the quays. It is said the
people danced in order to forget the tragedies of the day. Milon was
a celebrated composer and ballet-master under the Consulate. The most
popular of his ballets during this period were _Les Sauvages de la Mer
du Sud_, _Lucas et Laurette_, _Héro et Leandre_, _Clary_, _Nina_, _Le
Carnaval de Venise_, etc. As in their dress and their ideals, so also
in their dancing the people showed an outspoken tendency to appear _à
la sauvage_. However, the political turmoils that shook France in these
centuries, when the art of ballet crystallized into a systematic shape,
assisted its natural development, chiefly by forcing it to swing from
one extreme to the other.

The foundation which the French grand ballet laid for the art of
dancing still prevails in all the dancing schools of Europe. The
ballet codes of all the modern nations use the same French grammar
of technique as that which was taught to Mlles. Sallé, Camargo, and
Guimard during the past centuries. To the French Academy of Dancing the
world owes the principles of the ballet-technique, the _pirouettes_,
_jetés_, _chassés_, etc. The French ballet-masters found it necessary
to divide dancing into five different positions, which formed the
foundation of all dancing; and then classified the various styles of
steps. In describing first, the positions, we begin with the right
foot, but the movements would be the same if we would choose the left
foot. First position: place the heels against each other, the knees
and toes turned well out, the legs firm and straight, the body erect
and well balanced, standing equally on the two feet. Second position:
pass the right foot to the side to the length of the foot, the weight
of the body resting on both feet, the right heel turned forward. Third
position: bring the heel of the extended foot close to the hollow of
the other instep, in the middle. Fourth position: move the right toe to
the front, the toe pointed, the heel forward. Fifth position: let the
feet be completely crossed, the heel of one foot brought to the toe of
the other.

In systematizing the dance steps the French based their technique upon
the ancient method. Here we find the _pas marché_, or the walking step,
in which the toe is pointed and is accompanied by a springy gait, for
it is often combined with a _jeté_ and a _demi coupé_, as the primary
steps of the ballet. This is followed by the _jeté_, which means,
spring forward on the pointed toe of the front foot so that the weight
is thrown on it. To perform this it is necessary first to bend the knee
and jump on the foot; second, to bring the toe of the right foot into
the above-described third position; third, advance the right foot in
small steps; fourth, bring the left foot behind into the fifth position
and raise the right.

The _pas coupé_ is a step that requires the raising of one foot to the
second position, then bringing it quickly to the other foot, which is
then raised. Literally it means a step cut short. A step to the side is
called _coupé lateral_, it is a _coupé dessous_ if the same movement
is executed in front or behind. Then there is a _demi coupé_, in
which the step is half made. The _chassé_ is a step in which the feet
appear to be chasing each other close to the ground. It requires the
advancing of the front foot, bringing the other close to it behind,
then advancing the hind foot to the front, with an _assemblé_ round the
other foot. The first movement requires a step forward with right foot,
bringing the toe of the left to the heel of the front foot. Then step
forward, bring the foot back to third position with an _assemblé_, and
let the other foot take the fifth position in front.

The _battements_ is balancing on one foot, while the other is extended
to the side, front or back, and returning to the fifth position, in
front or at the back. In the _petit battements_ the movements are made
with the toe on the ground. For theatrical dancing the leg is raised as
high as possible. The _arabesque_ is a step that requires the placing
of the foot in the third position, then a slide of the left foot to
the second position, turning the face and body in the same direction,
the left hand curved above the head. In the second movement the right
foot should be well extended behind, and the right hand stretched out
behind. Of a quite different nature is the _cabriole_, which means
striking the feet or calves of the legs together in the course of a
leap. A _demi-cabriole_ is a leap from one foot to the other, striking
the feet while aloft. It requires the feet to be in the third position,
sliding the right foot to the side, passing the left foot to the back,
springing on the right foot, and turning and leaving the left foot
still behind; the fourth movement brings the left foot forward with the
right knee to the third position. Executed by trained ballet dancers
with both feet in the air while the legs are rapidly separated and
brought together, it is an effective trick.

Well known even to social dancers, as the basis of the polka-step, is
the _pas bourrée_. This requires the dancer to stand on the front foot
while the back one is raised. In the first movement the back foot is
brought into the third position on the toes. The second movement is the
beating of the front foot, and third movement the beating of back and
front feet. To this step belongs the _pas de bourrée emboîté_, which
requires the advancing of the right foot to the fourth position, the
toe pointed and the knee straight, the bringing up of the left foot
to the fourth position with the toe pointed behind the right, and the
advancing of the right foot with the toe pointed to the fourth position
without any raising or sinking of the body; it is all performed on the

Quite acrobatic in character are the celebrated _pirouettes_--movements
composed of a _demi-coupé_ and two steps on the points of the toes. The
_pirouette_ starts by bringing one foot to the fifth position behind,
the toe touching the heel, then raising both heels and turning on the
toe, reversing the position of the feet, and revolving on the toe. A
_pirouette_ used in the old dances consists of a turn on one foot and
the raising of the heel of the other, stepping with the toe of this
foot four times and so getting around the other one. In some of the
slow _pirouettes_ the movement seems to consist of the raising of the
foot and jumping round as in some of the country dances. To this class
belongs the _fouetté_, which gives a fluid, swinging impression.

Of ancient French origin is the _pas de basque_, which starts in the
fifth position with the bringing of the right foot forward with pointed
toe, and passing in a semi-circle to the second position with the
weight on the right foot, then with a _glissade_ through the third
position into the fourth. The _glissade_ is a slide. Slide the front
foot from the third position with pointed toe slightly raised to the
right; then bring the left toe to the right heel, and _vice versa_. The
first movement is the sliding of the foot from the third to the second
position; the second, the left foot is drawn into the third position
forward and repeats.

The _fleuret_ is a movement composed of a _demi-coupé_ and two steps on
the points of the toes. Start in the fourth position without touching
the ground, bend the knees equally and pass the right foot in front in
the fourth position, and so rise on the points of the toes and walk two
steps on the toes, letting the heel be firm as you finish. This can be
done also at the back and sides. The ‘balance’ is performed by rising
and falling on the side of one foot, while the other is brought up
close. The _brisé_ and _entre-chat_ are related movements. They occur
during the spring while in the air. The feet cross and recross, and
assume various positions. The _changement de pied_ is a conventional
step. In the first movement the dancer springs upward from the third
position with the right foot forward; in the second, he throws this
foot back and the left forward, dropping down into the third position,
the situation of the feet being changed; this can be done in the same
manner starting from the fifth position. The _pas sauté_ is a jumping
step, performed by bending the knee and leaping on one foot while the
other is raised. Of more or less importance are the _assemblé_ and the
_ballotté_. The movement in the former is that of bringing the foot
from an open to a closed position, as from the second position to the
fifth. The latter is a crossing of the feet alternately before and
behind. Then there is the _pivot_, in which the dancer revolves on one
foot while the other beats time in turning around.

This is briefly the elementary grammar of the French ballet technique,
upon which the mechanical part of the art of dancing has been based.
This was thought to be of essential value for a dancer in producing
the most effective lines of the various positions and gestures of the
body. According to the views of the authorities of the French Academy,
mental application to physical effort were the chief requirements of
a dancer. The gymnastic, and particularly the acrobatic, features
occupied the foremost place in the ballet performances. Thus dancers
in a ballet were not considered human beings but rather moving figures
in a decorative design. Even the celebrated _prima ballerinas_,
Mlles. Sallé, Camargo and Guimard, who are considered as the first
accomplished women dancers on the European stage, with their ‘ravishing
figures,’ and ‘enchanting appearances’ as Voltaire praised them in
his poems, remained acrobatic puppets, as compared with our modern
terpsichorean celebrities.


The advent of the above-named three French ballet dancers was due to
the genial reforms of Noverre, the Shakespeare of the dance, in the
eighteenth century. We know very little of the principal qualities
of Mlle. Sallé’s art, except that she disliked rapid measures and
choreographic eccentricities. She was the principal dancer in many of
Noverre’s ballets, especially in ‘The Caprices of Galatea’ and ‘Rinaldo
and Armida,’ and in several Gardel ballets. In 1734 she appeared at
Covent Garden in London, in the ballet of ‘Pygmalion and Galatea,’ and
seemed to electrify her audiences so much that Handel wrote for her the
ballet ‘Terpsichore,’ and at the close of the ballet purses filled with
jewels were showered on the stage at her feet.

The real favorite of the eighteenth century opera habitués was Mlle.
Camargo. Her success is said to have been so sensational that the
crowds around the doors of the theatre in London fought for the mere
privilege of seeing her. She was also famous for her enchanting body
and fascinating personality. Though born in Brussels, she was the
daughter of a Spanish ballet-master, therefore she had at her command
all the impassioned art of the ancient Caditians. At the age of ten
she was sent by the Princess de Ligne to Paris and became a pupil of
Madame Prévost, the foremost dancing teacher of that time. At the age
of eleven she made her début at Rouen; but she continued her study
until she was sixteen when she appeared for the first time at the Opera
in Paris with unparalleled success. ‘Nimble, coquettish, and light as a
sylph, she sparkled with intelligence,’ writes Castil-Blaze. ‘She added
to distinction and fire of execution a bewitching gayety which was all
her own. Her figure was very favorable 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 gayety was a gayety of the stage only; in private life
she was sadness itself.’

Camargo is credited with having brought about an absolute revolution
in opera by her fanciful and ingenious improvisations. In spite of
the prevailing stiffness and rigid rules in the ballet she made a
special place for herself by depicting the characters that she had to
personify on the stage. She delighted in the conquering of technical
difficulties. Stormy love affairs affected her so much that for six
years she retired from the stage. But she quitted public life in 1741
and lived in seclusion the rest of her life. She left two children with
the Duc de Richelieu and Comte de Clermont. She died at sixty years of
age and ‘was remembered as the grave, sweet woman whose last years had
been spent in loneliness and meditation.’

Madeleine Guimard, whose fame loomed up soon after the retirement
of Camargo, remained for forty years a commanding figure in the
French ballet. Born in Paris in 1743, she made her début at the age
of eighteen and was acclaimed as an artist of exquisite figure,
marvellous grace, and extremely distinguished manners. She knew how to
make money out of her rich patrons but she was also most reckless in
the expenditure of her wealth and her affections. She possessed two
elaborate villas, one at Pantin, the other in the Chaussée d’Antin,
in both of which she had built little stages on which she and her
contemporary stage celebrities gave performances to the high society
of Paris. Fleury says that ‘it was a gala day for one of our actors
when he could escape from the desert of the _Comédie Française_ and
disport himself on the boards of a theatre so perfectly arranged.’ She
entertained the guests of the court at her houses and loved to make
her arrangements to clash with those given at the court. She was said
to be pensioned by a Royal prince, a banker and a bishop, but lost
nearly everything in the revolutionary storms. Retiring from the Opéra
in 1789, she married the dancer Despreaux, who died soon after. Her
old age was verging on misery and she died neglected in a miserable
three-room apartment in the Rue Menars, at the age of seventy-three.

A great dramatic _ballerina_ after Camargo was Mlle. Allard, whose
partners were Vestris, Dauberval and Gardel. Her frenzied admirers
claimed that she far surpassed Camargo because of her added fire, her
unusual agility and the expressive beauty of her poses. At one time
she would be an ideal Sylvia, gentle and graceful to her finger-tips,
then again she was the terrible Medea; now she personified the ethereal
charms of a goddess of youth, then the voluptuous passions of a
sultana. She figured as the _prima ballerina_ in many of the ballets
written by Maximilian Gardel, Milon, Mozart and Rossini.

Of other dancers of the French school who enjoyed public favor
under the Republic and the early Napoleonic era Duport is the only
conspicuous figure. Being a special favorite with Napoleon, he
was the star in the ballets of Blasis and Blache. He composed some
ballets himself in which he played the leading rôles. But these gained
little success. Napoleon wrote to Cambaceres from Lyons that it was
inconceivable to him why Duport had been allowed to compose ballets.
‘This young man has not been in vogue a year. When one has made such
a marked success in a particular line, it is a little precipitate to
invade the specialty of other men, who have grown gray at their work.’
This clearly shows how much the great emperor was interested in the
ballet, and how well he could criticize its artistic values.

The Napoleonic era stopped temporarily the development of the ballet.
Pieces composed during this time gained production more easily on
foreign stages than at home. Thus the brilliant _Antoine et Cléopatre_,
with music by Kreutzer, lived a few performances at home, whereas it
became one of the most successful ballets abroad. The same was the
case with Blache’s ballets ‘Don Juan,’ ‘Gustave Vasa’ and ‘Malakavel,’
which became the favorites of the St. Petersburg audiences, while
they remained unknown at home. It seems as if the political events
which marked such a great step towards democratic ideas in France and
Europe became a serious stumbling-stone to the evolution of the dance.
Democratic England always relied on autocratic France, Italy, Austria
and Russia for stimulation in dancing. All the great ballet celebrities
of continental Europe found in England responsive and generous
audiences, but never any serious rivals. Who of the great French _prima
ballerinas_ or male dancers, from Mlle. Sallé till Carlotta Grisi, did
not make pilgrimages to Drury Lane?

[Illustration: Danseuses en Scène (The Ballet)

_Painting by E. Degas_]

Though to the period of the Renaissance and the European national
awakening belong all the immortal musical geniuses, like Bach, Mozart,
Gluck, Beethoven, Schubert and others, who laid the foundations
of the opera and symphony, yet these men seemed to ignore the ballet
(if we leave out of consideration their inferior or incidental works).
Gluck wrote a few pieces of this order, and so did Mozart; but they are
not the works of their inspiration. Scribe, Rossini, Auber, Weber and
Meyerbeer gave occasional expression to ballet music, particularly in
connection with their operas, but they regarded these works as inferior
to their operas. There are two reasons for this: ecclesiastical
prejudice and the revolutionary mob. Just as a fanatical clergy branded
the dance as Pagan and immoral, so the mob has always regarded the
ballet as an aristocratic luxury. Science seems to us essentially
democratic; but from the arts there breathes an air of snobbishness
and luxury. The history of civilization has not yet recorded a truly
democratic art, particularly a democratic ballet.



  The rise of nationalism--The Spanish folk-dances: the Fandango;
  the Jota; the Bolero; the Seguidilla; other Spanish folk-dances;
  general characteristics; costumes--England: the Morris dance;
  the Country dance; the Sword dance; the Horn dance--Scotland:
  Scotch Reel, Hornpipe, etc.--Ireland: the Jig; British social
  dances--France: Rondé, Bourrée and Farandole--Italy: the
  Tarantella, etc.--Hungary: the Czardas, Szolo and related dances;
  the Esthonians--Germany: the _Fackeltanz_, etc.--Finland;
  Scandinavia and Holland--The Lithuanians, Poles and Southern Slavs;
  the Roumanians and Armenians--The Russians: ballad dances; the
  Kasatchy and Kamarienskaya; conclusion.

The greatest factor in the stimulation of European art, particularly
music, drama and ballet after the bloody Napoleonic wars, was the
rise of nationalism, vigorously manifested in the folk-art--dresses,
customs, decorations, buildings, songs and dances--of various nations.
The first steps in this direction were taken by the Scandinavians:
Grieg, Ibsen, Björnson and August Bournoville. What Noverre was to
aristocratic France that Bournoville was to Scandinavia. Instead of
searching for models and inspiration in the aristocratic traditions of
the past centuries, these men turned to the inexhaustible treasuries of
the national folk-art. And they truly discovered new beauties in the
simple racial traits of the people. In the previously despised peasant
art they found unexpected æsthetic gems, out of which they began to
form the individual beauties of their new art.

The Scandinavians were soon followed by the young Russian dreamers:
Glinka, Dargomijsky, Seroff, Balakireff, Moussorgsky and Tschaikowsky
in music and also in ballet; Gogol, Turgenieff, Dostoievsky and
Ostrovsky in drama and literature, turned in their creations to the
rich and unexploited folk-lore of the people. Russian music, perhaps
more than any other, is a true mirror of the racial soul. There is
fire, gloom, sorrow and joy, remodelled and expressed in the same
racial spirit as that in which the moujik sings his _Ai Ouchnem_, or
builds his _izba_.

The electrifying effect of the Russian dancers upon the European
audiences is not due to the influence of the French Academy, on the
model of which the Russian Imperial Ballet School was formed, as many
music and dance critics of the old and new worlds seem to think, but to
the primitive racial spirit, to the great stage geniuses of the Russian
Empire, who began their work on the basis of ethnographic principles.
It is therefore in the folk-dances that we must look for the solution
of future dance problems, it is in the ethnographic element that is
laid the foundation of the modern art dance.


While taking into consideration the folk-dances of various European
nations, we find that those of Spain are the richest in racial
individuality, most passionate in their æsthetic conception, and most
powerful in their dynamic language. With their mediæval mystery, magic
passion, merciless fury, angelic grace and seductive plastic forms the
Spanish folk-dances remain the most impressive examples of folk-art.
The centuries of Inquisition, romantic tragedies of the Moors and the
silhouettes of an Alhambra are all expressed in the voluptuous lines of
a _Jota_ or _Fandango_, regardless of whether they are performed by an
Andalusian or an Aragon beauty.

So manifold is the Spanish folk-dance and so rich the Spanish
imagination that each province has its own peculiar dance, of which,
as in the case of the _Zarzuelas_, the inhabitants are immensely
proud, and which they dance on the occasion of the fêtes of their
patron-saints. The Andalusians boast of their _Bondinas_, the Galicians
of their _Muynieras_, the Murcians of their _Torras_ and _Pavanas_,
etc. Dancing is the great pastime of a Spaniard. A dance of distinctly
Moorish traits is the _Polo_. This is performed to the music of the
_gaita_, a kind of bagpipe, and to the songs accompanying it. Devilier
tells us how the male dancer looks over the girls present and, smiling
on one of them, sings: ‘Come hither, little one, and we’ll dance a
_Polo_ that’ll shake down half Seville.’ ‘The girl so addressed was
perhaps twenty years of age, plump, robust, strapping and supple.
Stepping proudly forward, with that easy swaying of the hips which is
called the _meneo_, she stood in the centre of the court awaiting her
cavalier. Then castañets struck up, accompanied by the gay jingle of
tambourines and the bystanders kept time by tapping the flags of the
yard with their heels or their sword-canes, or by slapping the backs
of the fingers of the right hand, and then striking the two palms
together. The dancer, marvellously seconded by her partner, had little
need of these incitements; now she twisted this way, and now that, as
if to escape the pursuit of her cavalier; again she seemed to challenge
him, lifting and lowering to right and to left the flounced skirt of
her calico dress, showing a white starched petticoat and a well-turned,
nervous leg. The spectators grew more and more excited. Striking a
tambourine, some one cast it down at the girl’s feet; and she danced
round it with redoubled animation and agility. But soon the exhausted
dancers had to sink upon a bench of the courtyard.’

One of the most typical of the Spanish folk-dances is the celebrated
_Fandango_, that surpasses in its wild passions and vulcanic vigor
everything of its kind. If you see it performed in the shadows of the
ruined Moorish castles and mosques to a measure in rapid triple time,
and hear the sharp clank of ebony or ivory castañets beating strange,
throbbing rhythms, you stand spellbound and electrified, a mute witness
of striking ethnographic magic. You seem to feel the pulse of the
semi-tropical, semi-African race. The flutter and glitter, passion and
quivering seductiveness, are a glimpse into the æsthetic depths of a
national soul. The dance seems to inflame the dancers as well as the
spectators. A Spanish poet speaks of the _Fandango_ as of an electric
shock that animates all hearts. ‘Men and women,’ he writes, ‘young
and old, acknowledge the power of the Fandango air over the ears and
soul of every Spaniard. The young men spring to their places, rattling
castañets, or imitating their sound by snapping their fingers. The
girls are remarkable for the willowy languor and lightness of their
movements, the voluptuousness of their attitudes--beating the exactest
time with tapping heels. Partners tease and entreat and pursue each
other by turns. Suddenly the music stops, and each dancer shows his
skill by remaining absolutely motionless, bounding again into the full
life of the _Fandango_ as the orchestra strikes up. The sound of the
guitar, the violin, the rapid tic-tac of the heels (_taconeos_), the
crack of fingers and castañets, the supple swaying of the dancers, fill
the spectators with ecstasy.’

An equally well known of the Spanish folk-dances is the _Jota_, which
is said to have originated in the province of Aragon, though the
inhabitants of Valencia and Andalusia claim that the _Jota_ is the
invention of their ancestors centuries before the Aragonians knew
of it. It is a more ceremonial and less passionate dance than the
_Fandango_, as it is performed on Christmas Eve and at other festivals
with the purpose of invoking the favor of the Virgin. The Kinneys write
of it: ‘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 vigor and the innocence of rustic,
romping, boy-and-girl courtship.’

‘A trace of stiffness of limb and angularity of movement, proper to the
_Jota_, imbued 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 castañets most of the time are held
strongly out at arm’s length. One of its many surprises is the manner
of the pauses: the movement is so fast, the pauses are so electrically
abrupt, and the group 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 analyze the
movements of the particles in a kaleidoscope.’

The _Jotas_ of the other provinces, particularly of Andalusia and
Valencia, are less racial than _la Jota Aragonesa_, but nevertheless
they are true to the spirit of their localities. Thus the Andalusian
_Jota_ breathes mystery and romantic gloom, while that of Valencia is
fluid and graceful in every movement. The great violinist Sarasate was
so fond of the _Jota_ that he made special trips after his concert
season in the capitals of the world to his home town in Spain, and
immensely enjoyed dancing with his old friends and the townspeople or
playing the violin to them free of charge.

An extremely graceful and dignified Spanish folk-dance is the _Bolero_.
This dance more than any other resembles the general architectonic and
decorative style of the Spanish middle class. It has round and fluid
lines, rich, soft forms, and graceful poses. In many respects it rather
suggests a mediæval ballroom than a simple folk-dance. Some authors
say that it is an invention of Sebastian Cerezo, a celebrated dancer
of the eighteenth century, but the Spaniards themselves maintain that
it dates back to the Arab rule or before. Blasis writes of it: ‘The
_Bolero_ consists of five parts: the _paseo_, or promenade, which is
introductory; the _differencia_, in which the step is changed; the
_traversia_, in which places are changed; then the so-called _finale_;
followed in conclusion by the _bien parado_, distinguished by graceful
attitudes, and a combined pose of both the dancers. The _Bolero_ is
generally in duple time, though some _Boleros_ are written in triple
time. Its music is varied and abounds in cadences. The tune or air may
change, but the peculiar rhythm must be preserved, as well as the time
and the preludes, otherwise known as feigned pauses--_feintes pauses_.
The _Bolero_ step is low and gliding, _battu_ or _coupé_, but always
well marked.’

A folk-dance of great antiquity, according to Fuentes, is the
_Seguidilla_, which has certain affinities with the _Bolero_. It is a
spirited, gay and modest country dance of the Andalusian peasants. The
_Seguidillas_ of some provinces have a rapid rhythm and are accompanied
by humorous recitative songs. It is said that in La Mancha, whose
inhabitants are famous for their passionate love of dancing, verses to
_Seguidillas_ are improvised by popular poets to suit every occasion.
The _Seguidillas_ are dances that you see performed on any occasion at
country inns and at social festivals. Though requiring less physical
strength and dynamic technique than many others, nevertheless the
_Seguidilla_ is difficult to untrained aspirants. But like most of the
Spanish folk-dances it betrays caprice, coquettishness and romantic
tendencies of some sort. The theme of the _Seguidilla_ poems is always
love. Davillier says that the _Seguidilla_ that he saw at Albacetex
‘began in a minor key with some rapid _arpeggios_; and each dancer
chose his partner, the various couples facing each other some three or
four paces apart. Presently, two or three emphatic chords indicated to
the singers that their turn had come, and they sang the first verse of
the _copla_ (the song that accompanies a dance); meanwhile the dancers,
toes pointed and arms rounded, waited for their signal. The singers
paused, and the guitarist began the air of an old _Seguidilla_. At
the fourth bar the castañets struck in, the singers continued their
_copla_, and all the dancers began enthusiastically turning, returning,
following and fleeing from each other. At the ninth bar, which
indicates the finish of the first part, there was a slight pause; the
dancers stood motionless and the guitar twanged on. Then, with a change
of step, the second part began, each dancer taking his original place
again. It was then we were able to judge of the most interesting and
graceful part of the dance--the _bien parado_--literally: well stopped.
The _bien parado_ in the _Seguidillas_ is the abrupt breaking off of
one figure to make way for a new one. It is a very important point that
the dancers should stand motionless, and, as it were, petrified, in the
position in which they are surprised by the final notes of the air.
Those who managed to do this gracefully were applauded with repeated
cries of _bien parado_!

‘Such are the classic lines upon which the dance is regulated, but
how shall we describe its effect upon the dancers? The ardent melody,
at once voluptuous and melancholy, the rapid clank of castañets, the
melting enthusiasm of the dancers, the suppliant looks and gestures of
their partners, the languorous grace and elegance of the impassioned
movements--all give to the picture an irresistible attraction only to
be appreciated to the full by Spaniards. They alone have the qualities
necessary for the performance of their national dance; they alone have
the special fire that inspires its movements with passion and with

Noteworthy among the other Spanish folk-dances is _El Jaleo_, a wild
and animated dance, consisting of acrobatic leaping and bounding,
pirouet wheeling and fury-like fleeing and rushing. It needs a strong
and experienced gypsy girl or a seasoned country dancer to give it
its peculiar electrifying quality. _El Garrotin_ is described as a
pantomimic dance, in which the gesture of the hands and arms plays a
leading rôle. The Kinneys write that _La Farruca_ is an interesting
folk-dance. ‘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. 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.’

The _Cachucha_, _Tascara_ and _Zorongo_ are Spanish folk-dances of more
or less local color. While the _Zorongo_ is a rapid dance, performed
in backwards and forwards movements, the dancer beating time with his
hands, the _Cachucha_ is danced by a single dancer of either sex, in
triple time. Its steps are gay, graceful and impassionate, head and
bust playing a conspicuous rôle. The _Tascara_ dance is more fantastic
and symbolic than hardly any other of Spain. The movements are slow
and languorous. It requires more backward curving and strange posing
than agility and grace. In olden times Tascara was imagined as a dragon
with an enormous mouth and fantastic wings. The slow movements of the
dance grow gradually in speed and near the end the castañets strike,
for without them a Spanish dancer seems to feel uneasy.

The choreographic designs of all the Spanish folk-dances are rich
in graceful curves, with abrupt sharp corners here and there, like
the national architecture. They speak of a sweet glow of emotion and
make a direct appeal to the passions. In dances of certain provinces
and certain ages we discern the influence of Egypt, particularly of
the Arabs. They give evidence of an ancient training which has grown
into the blood and bones of the nation. They betray more the forms of
Moorish arabesques than the clear-cut images of the Roman, Greek, or
Gothic style. You can feel in their vigorous rhythm and colorful tunes
simple, unspoiled souls, filled with energy and hope. To this the
picturesque and romantic dresses of their women add that atmosphere and
background which the individual stage dance seeks in proper scenery
and costumes. In this the Spaniards are born masters. Take, for
instance, the black velvet bodice, golden-yellow satin skirt, net-work
dotted with little black balls, draped over the hips of an Andalusian
belle, and you have a combination of colors and designs that so aptly
fit a _Fandango_ or _Bolero_ that it seems as if a genius had been
at work in this harmonious combination. Not less effective are the
silver-spangled costume of an Aragonian dancing girl, and the costume
of Spanish male dancers, which is suggestive of humor, brilliancy and
simple strength. The laced black breeches lashed at the knee, the black
velvety waist-coat, broad blue sash, and the red handkerchief tied
around the head, and you have the most harmonious counterpart to the
picturesque woman dancer. The music, steps, gestures, poses, dress and
choreographic figures of the dance melt into a grandiose masterpiece
of some gigantic yet unknown genius. The colors, the wide skirt, the
light sandals, the comfortable costumes and the animated gestures fit
so perfectly together and produce in the symbolic lines of the movement
a language that speaks so clearly of the æsthetic peculiarities of
the nation that we are convinced we have here the best lesson in the
fundamental principles of a new art dance.


How true a mirror the folk-dances and the folk-songs have been and
are in showing the racial differences in regard to beauty, is best
to be seen if we take the reader from semi-tropical Spain into
cold, conventional England, where æsthetic views have developed so
differently. In this field we owe much to Cecil Sharp, whose careful
works on English folk-dances are of exceptional service to the student
of choreography.

The most typical of English folk-dances are the Morris Dances, the
Country Dances, and the Sword Dances. All three lack the fire and
boisterous passions of the Spanish _Jotas_, _Boleros_ and _Fandangos_.
They betray the traits of a more phlegmatic and more critical, perhaps
more intellectual, but less emotional race. Take, for instance,
the Morris Dance, and you find it to be a manifestation of vigor
rather than of grace. The same you will find true of all the other
English folk-dances. They are, in spirit, the organized, traditional
expressions of virility and sound health--they smack of cudgel-play, of
wrestling and of honest fisticuffs. There is nothing dreamy, nothing
romantic, nothing coquettish about them. Speaking particularly of the
Morris Dance, Mr. Sharp writes:

‘It is a formula based upon and arising out of the life of man, as
it is lived by men who hold much speculation upon the mystery of our
whence and whither to be unprofitable; by men of meagre fancy, but of
great kindness to the weak; by men who fight their quarrels on the spot
with naked hands, drink together when the fight is done, and forget
it, or, if they remember, then the memory is a friendly one. It is the
dance of folk who are slow to anger, but of great obstinacy--forthright
of act and speech; to watch it in its thumping sturdiness is to hold
such things as poniards and stilettos, the swordsman with the domino,
the man who stabs in the back--as unimaginable things. The Morris
Dance is a perfect expression in rhythm and movement of the English

The Morris dancers wear bells strapped to their shins, and properly
to ring them requires considerable kicking and stamping. This ringing
is done to emphasize the _fortissimo_ part of the music. The foot,
when lifted, is never drawn back, but always thrust forward. The toe
is never pointed in line with the leg, but held at a right angle to
it, as in the standing position. The stepping foot is lifted as in
walking, as if to step forward, then the leg is vigorously straightened
to a kick, so as to make the bells ring. At the same instant that
the forward leg is straightened, a hop is made on the rear foot; the
dancer alights upon the toe, but lets the heel follow immediately and
firmly, so that he stands upon the flat foot. The dancer jumps as high
as his own foot, holding his legs and body straight while he is in
the air, alighting upon the toes (but only so as to break the shock
sufficiently), then letting the heels come firmly down. In alighting
from the jump, the knees are bent just enough to save the dancer from
injurious shock, and are straightened immediately. The Morris Dance
is danced by men, usually six. Occasionally, but rarely, women have
figured as performers. The music in early times was furnished by the
bagpipe, whistle and tabor; but for a century or so a fiddle did the
service. The dress of the dancers was a tall hat with a band of red,
green and white ribbons, an elaborately frilled and pleated white
shirt, fawn-shaded breeches with braces of white webbing, blue tie
with the ends long and loose, substantial boots, and rough, gray wool
stockings. All dancers carry a white handkerchief, the middle finger
thrust through a hole in one corner.

Of somewhat different type is the Country Dance, which is performed
by men and women together. Though less of a festival nature than
the Morris, the Country Dance has been practised as the ordinary,
every-day dance of the people. It is performed in couples and contains
gestures that suggest flirtation. For this no special dress is needed.
The figures and steps are simple and more graceful than those of the
Morris Dance. Its step is of a springy walking nature, two to each bar,
executed by women with a natural unaffected grace, and on the part of
men with a complacent bearing and a certain jauntiness of manner. Like
the Morris, the Country Dance never requires pointed toes, arched legs
or affected swayings. The galop, waltz and polka steps are occasionally
used. The movements are performed smoothly and quietly, the feet
more sliding than walking. The figures are numerous and involve many

Of a very spectacular character are the Sword Dances, which bear a
stamp of high antiquity. During the mythologic era they may have been
practised as war dances, as we find similar ones practised by all
primitive tribes. The history of all nations speaks of sword dances of
some kind. There is to be seen in the Berlin Museum a picture from the
seventeenth century that shows two double rings of dancers in white
shirts, holding up on a frame of interlaced swords two swordsmen clad
entirely in colors. There are also, separately, seven sword-dancers,
six in white shirts, the first only clothed in red, like one of the
swordsmen. They dance in file toward the left, each sloping his own
sword back over his left shoulder and grasping the sword-point of the
men next in front of him. The last man only shoulders his sword.

In England there seem to have been six principal sword dances, three
long and three short. The long-sword dance of Yorkshire requires six
men dancers, the Captain, and the Fool. These are accompanied by a
musician who plays either a fiddle, bagpipe or accordion. The dancers
wear red tunics, cut soldier fashion and trimmed with white braid down
the front and around the collar and sleeves; white trousers with a red
stripe an inch or more wide down the side of each leg; brown canvas
shoes, and tightly fitting cricket caps, quartered in red and white.
Each dancer carries a sword; the leader, an ordinary military weapon,
and the others swords forged by a village blacksmith. The Captain wears
a blue coat of flowered cloth, ordinary trousers and a peaked cap of
white flannel. He used to carry a drum, slung round his waist, upon
which he accompanied the dance tunes. The Fool used to wear a cocked
hat, decorated with peacock feathers. He wore a dinner-bell and a fox’s
tail attached to the back buckle of his trousers, and he used to run
among the spectators making humorous exclamations. The steps, a kind
of leisurely tramp, or jog-trot, fall on the first and middle beats of
each bar of the music, and the tramp of the feet should synchronize
with the rhythm of the tune. The dancers move slowly round in a ring,
clockwise, stepping in time with the music and clashing their swords
together on the first and middle beats of each bar of the first strain
of the music. The swords are held points up, hilts level with the chin,
the blades nearly vertical, forming a cone immediately above the centre
of the circle. Each dancer places his sword over his left shoulder
and grasps the sword-point belonging to the dancer in front of him. He
then faces the centre of the ring, passes his sword over his head and
lets his arms fall naturally to his sides. The dance consists of eight
different figures. In the last figure the dancers draw close together,
linked by their swords, each crossing his right hand well over his
head. Each man then drops the tip of his neighbor’s sword and, using
both his hands, presses the hilt of his own sword under the point of
the sword adjacent to it. In this way the swords are tightly meshed
together in the form of a double triangle, or six-pointed star. The
process of fastening the swords together is carried out as quickly and
smartly as possible.

The writer saw a series of English folk-dances given at the MacDowell
Festival at Peterboro, N. H., in 1914, among them the sword-dance
described. The performance was exceedingly effective, though the
instructor had only inexperienced young amateurs at his disposal. The
character of the English folk-dances made rather the impression of a
wholesome sport than of a social ceremonial. It seemed as if they were
void of all emotional suggestions and their language was clever and
realistic rather than fanciful and imaginative.

Though of the same order as the previously described Morris, Country
and Sword Dances, yet of a more fantastic appearance is the Horn
Dance, which the English have borrowed from the Finns, and greatly
changed after their own taste. The English Horn Dance requires ten
performers, six dancers, a fool, Maid Marian, a hobby-horse, and a boy
carrying a bow and arrow. These are accompanied by a musician, who
plays an accordion, and a boy with a triangle. Each dancer carries a
pair of reindeer horns. The antlers borne by the first three dancers
are painted a white or cream color, the remaining three a dark blue.
The horns are set in a wooden counterfeit skull, from which depends
a short wooden pole or handle about eighteen inches long. Each dancer
bears the head in front of him, and supports it by grasping the handle
with his right hand and balancing the horn with his left. The fool has
a stick with a bladder attached to it; Maid Marian is impersonated by
a man dressed in woman’s clothes and carries a wooden ladle which is
used to collect money. The boy holds a bow and arrow which he clicks
together in time with the music. The step is similar to the country
dance step, an easy, rhythmical, graceful and springy walking movement.


The Scotch folk-dances, which surpass the English by their more
rigorous movement and spirited steps, picture graphically the simple,
industrious traits of a thrifty race. The most characteristic of the
Scotch folk-dances are the _Highland Fling_, the _Scotch Reel_, and the
_Shean Treuse_. All the Scotch dances are more or less variants of the
previously described English ones. They have the same strong, sporty
rhythm and jaunty bearing as the others. Their choreographic figures
are so closely related to the English, and the English to theirs, that
it were superfluous to give a detailed description of them on this
occasion. Perhaps the _Scotch Reel_ shows most typical traits of the
Scottish race. This dance requires four ladies and four gentlemen, who
all join hands, forming a circle. Then the gentlemen and ladies cross
their hands and move eight steps forward and eight steps back in the
style of a promenade. The gentleman balances his partner, swinging his
right and left arms alternately and proceeds through the chain, the
ladies separating left, the gentlemen right, until all arrive at their
previous positions. The first lady goes into the centre of the ring
while others hop around her until they reach their original position,
after which the lady in the centre balances to her partner and back to
the opposite gentleman in a half-swing, forming occasionally a chain
of three. Thus it goes on until all the four ladies have done, after
which the gentlemen follow the same figures and steps. All their steps
are of a sharp, skipping nature and the lines of their poses remind
one of the designs on their checked decorations and on the patterns of
their bright and plain dresses. Noteworthy among the Scotch folk-dances
is the _Hornpipe_, which has been a favored dance of the sailors and
peasants. Its lively, rapid measure, so far as the feet are concerned,
the folded arms, the firm and stiff body are typical characteristics
of a Scotchman’s manners. The dance owes its name to the fact that it
is performed to the music of a pipe with a horn rim at the open end.
There are an infinite variety of _Hornpipes_ and of music to which they
can be danced, either in common or triple time, the final note having a
special stress laid on it.

Of somewhat different character than the English and Scotch folk-dances
are those of Ireland. The Irish _Jig_ enjoys a popularity throughout
the world. Already the name suggests a light, frolicking and airy
movement. Since the days of Charles II and Queen Anne, this dance has
been associated with humorous verses. The _Jigs_ were already in vogue
at the time of Shakespeare, who speaks of them as leading pieces in
the theatrical repertoires. A dancing or singing _Jig_ was the real
climax of a piece, often being given as an entertainment during the
intermissions. Audiences were accustomed to call for a _Jig_ as a happy
ending to a show. The Irish people, possessing a natural love for music
and dancing, have put their soul into the _Jig_. It mirrors best the
semi-sentimental, the semi-adventurous racial traits of an Irishman.

There are single and double _Jigs_; the distinction rests on the
number of beats in the bar and they have often enough been danced to
the strains of the bagpipe. As a rule, the foot should strike six times
to a bar, and it needs a certain amount of enthusiasm to get into
the spirit of the thing, the music thereof being most exhilarating.
It adds to the charm if the dancers appear as Paddy in a brown coat,
green breeches, and the soft hat with the pipe in it, and his partner
in emerald green stockings and skirt, with a red kerchief about her
head. The music of a _Jig_ is usually an old Irish ditty, and anything
more spirited or more in tune to the step could not be found. The first
sixteen bars of the dance are occupied with the pitch in which the
leg is thrown out. Sixteen bars are given to the toe and heel step.
Thirty-two bars are occupied with the diagonal cock-step, supposed
to represent the strutting of a cock. Sixteen bars are danced to a
rocking-step, in which the legs are crossed. Eight bars are given to
pointing; sixteen to stamping firmly with both feet, then the dancers
advance and pivot. Finally, sixteen bars are given to a round and round
movement. It requires a great deal of hand movement and body vivacity.
It has been said by certain Irishmen that a _Jig_ is in its apparent
fun and fury a short symbolic drama of Irish life. The first figures
mean love making, wooing, wedding and marriage. Then come the troubles
of married life, the repentance and sinking into the grave.

To old Irish, Scotch and English folk-dances belong the ‘All in a
Garden Green,’ ‘Buckingham House,’ ‘Dargason,’ ‘Heartsease,’ and
‘Oranges and Lemons.’ They are all graceful and dignified, but depict
more the English middle class or nobility than the people. Thus in
the ‘All in a Garden Green’ the man begins by shaking the hand of his
lady partner and kissing her twice, which was rather the custom of
the fashionable ballroom than of a puritan people. They all give the
impression of a refinement of manners that belongs more to the early
French social dances than to the folk-dances of a heavy and realistic
race. We know how the English high society and court imitated the
French in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, so it is only
natural that it accepted with certain modifications the French social


It seems like a paradox that a country which gave to the world the
classic ballet in the modern sense, Noverre, Blasis and Vestris, never
produced any folk-dances of such racial flavor as we find in many
other nations. The old French Rustic Dances, ‘Rounds,’ _Bourrées_, the
Breton Dances, and the _Farandole_, betray only in certain figures the
characteristics of the French race; otherwise they make the impression
of a pleasing and polished bourgeois art. The _Ronde_, considered as
the first form of French folk-dances, being performed in circles by
taking each other by the hand, is to be found among races like the
Finns, Esthonians, Letts and Lithuanians, as we read from the old
epics of these nations. Thus we read in the _Kalewipoeg_ that ring
dances--_ringi tants_--of eleventh-century Esthonians were practically
of the same order as the French _Rondes_. The Greeks had ‘Rounds,’ so
had other ancient civilized races.

An old French dance is the _Bourrée_ of Auvergne. It is said to be a
shepherd dance originally; but Catherine de Medici introduced it at
court and polished out all the heavy, simple and characteristic traits
of the people. From that time it has figured as a semi-fashionable
dance danced in the society. Bach, Gluck, Handel, and many others since
have either composed _Bourrées_ or treated _Bourrée_ themes in their
orchestral compositions. Originally the _Bourrée_ was a simple mimic
dance of the peasants. The woman moved round the man as if to tease
him. He advanced and returned, glanced at her and ignored her. In the
meanwhile she continued her flirting. Then the man snapped his finger,
stamped his foot and gave an expression of his masculinity. That
induced her to yield, and the dance stopped--only to begin anew.

Like the _Bourrée_, the _Farandole_, which originated in Southern
France, was concocted into a dance of the _Beaux Monde_ and deprived of
its racial language. The _Farandole_ that one sees danced in Provence
is only a pretty social dance and has little of the old flavor. The
dancers performing it stand in a long line, holding the ends of each
other’s handkerchiefs and winding rapidly under each other’s arms
or gyrating around a single couple in a long spiral. The modern
‘Cotillions’ and ‘Quadrilles’ are based on the old French _Farandole_.

It is likely that the idolized French ballet killed the interest of
the people in their simple and idyllic folk-dances. The peasant going
to the town felt the contempt that a patrician had for the country art
and naturally grew to dislike his traditional old-fashioned village
dance. The music that he heard in the city cafés cast its spell upon
him, as did the city dances. Urban ideals have been of great influence
upon the French country people, upon their traditional folk-dances and
folk-songs, and this has deprived the race of valuable ethnographic
reserve capital, in which many other nations excel. The French, like
the English, have been strong in cosmic tendencies but weak in ethnic.
While science grows out of the cosmic principles, art’s vigor lies
in those of ethnographic nature. An average Frenchman is a great
connoisseur of dancing and indulges in it with a particular pleasure.
But his love of the refined and most accomplished impressions puts him
naturally outside a simple and coarse peasant art.

The Italian is less pretentious in his taste than the former. But an
average Italian, regardless of whether he be a peasant from the most
secluded corner of the country or a citizen of Naples, lives and dies
in music, particularly in song. The predilection that a Frenchman shows
for the ballet transforms itself in the case of an Italian into a love
for the opera. Italy has produced great composers, great musicians and
singers, but only a few great dancers. An Italian dancer is either
acrobatic or blunt. She seems to lack the more subtle qualities of
plastic expression, the ability to speak in gestures and mimic forms.
This is best illustrated in the celebrated folk-dance, the _Tarantella_.

The _Tarantella_ owes its name to a great poisonous spider, whose bite
was supposed to be cured only by dancing to the point of exhaustion.
The Italians perform it to the music of a tambourine, which in the
hands of an expert gives an amazing variety of tones. Like the skirt,
apron and the head-dress of the dancing girl, the tambourine is
adorned with glaring red, white and green colored ribbons. The white
under-bodice of the Italian peasant dress is capable of any amount
of embroidery, the hair intertwisted and interplaited with ribbons,
the aprons interwoven with colors, and, instead of the usual square
head-dress, with its hard oblong board resting on the head, a scarf
is gracefully folded over the foundation and caught back with bright
ribbons; this is the special Tarantella dress of a girl. The Italian
costumes, both ancient and modern, are full of grace and beauty and
give the appropriate atmosphere to a dance.

The _Tarantella_, being a tragic dance, demands considerable
temperament, fire and dramatic gift. It begins with the dancers
saluting each other, and dancing a while timidly. Then they withdraw,
return, stretch out their arms and whirl vehemently in a giddy circle.
It has many surprising and acrobatic turns. Towards the middle the
partners turn their backs on each other in order to take up new
figures. It ends with a tragic, whirling collapse of the girl and
the man looking sadly on. It is typical of hysteric fury, revenge,
superstition, hatred, fanaticism, passion and agony. It speaks of a
quick and sanguine temperament. An Englishman, Scandinavian or Dutchman
could never dance a _Tarantella_. It is the dance of a temperamental

Like the ancient Romans, the Italians are fond of pantomimes and
spectacular effects, with little discrimination for poetry and poise.
We can see the same traits in the Italian ballet, which has an
outspoken tendency to the acrobatic. All the Italian ballet teachers in
Russia are kept there only for their acrobatic specialties. You find
in Italy everywhere singing parties, but comparatively little dancing.
Some provinces may be more inclined to dancing than those around Naples
and Rome. We have heard of a pretty dance, called _Trescona_, that the
people dance in Florence, but we have never seen it performed. Other
Italian folk-dances are the _La Siciliana_, _Saltarello_, _Ruggera_
and _Forlana_. Some of them are more graceful and less dramatic than
the _Tarantella_, but they have comparatively little racial vigor,
little original appeal. They are either pantomimic or imbued with
gymnastic tricks, and with a strong tendency towards the extravagant or
the grotesque. However, the _Tarantella_ is and remains the crown of
Italian folk-dances. How much it has impressed the Italian and foreign
composers is evident in the numerous compositions that they have
devoted to this theme. Rubinstein’s ‘Tarantella’ is one of the best.


We find a remarkable contrast to the Italian style and spirit in
the folk-dances of the Hungarians, whose popular themes have been
successfully employed by Liszt and Brahms in their instrumental and
orchestral compositions. A nation of Mongolian descent, of impassionate
and virile temperament, living its own life, isolated from the æsthetic
influence of their European neighbors, little conventional, optimistic,
fantastic and lovers of adventure, the Hungarians are born dancers.
True to the quick and fiery temperament of the race, the Hungarian
dances are vivid sketches, full of action and color. Music and dancing
have been for centuries past the foremost recreations of the race.
Their ancient legends speak of worship that consisted only of music and
dancing. Unlike other nations, their dance music is exceedingly pretty,
melodious and full of imaginary beauty. The Hungarian folk-dance is
expressive, rich in pictorial episodes, symbolic and elevating.

The Hungarian costume for a _Czardas_ is singularly effective, the
petticoat of cloth of gold, the red velvet bodice opening over a
stomacher of gold and precious stones, crimson and green blending in
the sash which surrounds the waist. It is said that the name _Czardas_
is derived from an inn where it was danced by the peasants in past
centuries. In every _Czardas_ the music governs the dance, which is
romantic, full of lyric beauty and very changeable. It is mostly
written in 2/4 time, in the major mode. The dance consists of a slow
and quick movement, the music beginning with _andante maesteso_,
changing gradually to _allegro vivace_. It is of ancient origin and
was probably used as a worship dance. It is danced to different tunes
of one and the same character, as far as the figures are concerned.
Six, eight, ten, or more couples place themselves in a circle, the
dancer passing his arm round the waist of his partner. As long as the
_andante_ movement is given, he turns his partner to the right and
left, clapping his spurred heels together and striking the ground with
his toe and heel, and then they continue the step as a round dance. In
some provinces the women put their hands on their partners’ shoulders
and jump high from the ground with their assistance. So fond is the
Hungarian of his _Czardas_ that, as soon as he hears the stirring tunes
of the dance played by a gypsy band or fiddler, it seems to electrify
him so that he can hardly listen to it without dancing. As the music
continues, the dance gets wilder and wilder until it ends abruptly.
The steps of the Hungarian folk-dances are as varied as the music. Now
they are gliding and sharp, then again graceful and curved. Some of the
dances are quiet and of seductive nature, others of involved steps and
tricky tempo.

The _Szolo_ is said to be a semi-acrobatic dance, in which the woman
is swung through the air in a horizontal position from which she
descends as if she were coming down from a flight. The _Verbunkes_ is a
dance of military character, performed mostly by men (ten or twelve),
each dancer being provided with a bottle of wine which he swings
as he dances, singing in between a patriotic song as an additional
accompaniment to the occasional gypsy band. Unlike the English
folk-dances, the Hungarian are mostly built upon some romantic theme,
either legendary or symbolic. Being a nation with rural traditions and
rural ideas, Hungary has no sport spirit in any of her folk-dances.
There is a strong feeling for Bohemianism and nomadic abandon in their
mute language. Mostly the Hungarian dances are gay, sparkling with life
and fantasy. They suggest Oriental designs mixed with Occidentalism, a
world of queer dreams and sentimentalism.

Folk-dances related to those of Hungary, that deserve to be known, are
the Esthonian _Kuljak_, _Kaara Jaan_, and _Risti Tants_. Descendants
from the same stock as the Hungarians and the Finns, the Esthonians
settled down in the Russian Baltic Provinces about the seventh or
eighth centuries and since that time have formed their independent
racial art and traditions, which they have cultivated and preserved
till to-day. The great Esthonian epic _Kalewipoeg_, known so little
to the outside world, remains, like Homer’s _Iliad_, and the Indian
_Mahabarata_, a valuable treasury of ethnographic art, and it is from
this book that we have gained an authentic knowledge of the character
of the Esthonian folk-dances, though the writer has seen some of them
performed in the country.

The _Kuljak_, like many other Esthonian folk-dances, is performed
to the accompaniment of a harp--_kannel_--and the singing voices of
the dancers themselves. It is danced by men and women alike, in a
similar formation as the Irish _Jig_. But the _Kuljak_ tempo is very
similar to that of the _Czardas_, with the exception of the latter’s
tune and the formation of the figures. Like the national costumes of
the Esthonians, their folk-art is more sombre and poetic than the
Hungarian, but less romantic and less fiery. The _Kuljak_ steps are
sharp, angular and timid, without that boisterous and jaunty expression
which is so conspicuously evident in the dances of the southern
nations. The peculiarity of the _Kuljak_ is that it is performed around
a bonfire or kettle filled with burning substance. Sometimes the
dancers circle round the fire holding each other’s hands, sometimes
they go in gliding promenade step, sometimes they dance singly, as
if challenging or fearing the cracking and high-leaping flame. There
is no doubt that this is a rare survival of the ancient sacrificial
temple dance. The legendary and mythologic element is the unique
peculiarity of the Esthonian folk-dances. The _Risti-Tants_--‘Cross
Dance’--which is performed by men and women, first, in crossing the
hands, then in making the cross designs with the steps, is of great
antiquity and many of its cabalistic figures are incomprehensible to
the modern mind. Like the designs of the Esthonian national dress, the
figures of their primitive and simple folk-dances have a tendency of
never-ending lines. The colors, white, black and red--the symbols of
red blood, white light and black earth--suggest dreamy, melancholy, but
determined traits of a semi-Oriental race. Dance here is not a sport,
not an amusement, not a medium of love-making, not a social function,
but a magic motion to influence the great powers of Nature, and a
semi-mythologic ceremony for the purpose of future joy and happiness.
On this occasion the æsthetic element is interwoven with the ethical,
the art is at the same time religion.


The German mind has not been strikingly original or racial in
folk-dances. It has taken more an abstract and purely musical direction
and paid little attention to the dance. If we leave out the dances
of the Bavarians, Saxons and Tyroleans, there is little that is of
any ethnographic interest in this respect. The Prussian _Fackeltanz_
belongs more to the elaborate pantomimes of the order of ancient Rome,
rather than to regular dances. The mediæval Germany that was ruled
politically and ecclesiastically from Rome never felt the influence
of the rural country people, but, on the contrary, was mostly under
the æsthetic and intellectual influence of the feudal barons and urban
middle class. Under the influence of these two classes, German music,
poetry, drama and literature came into existence. The German classic
art is predominantly aristocratic and ecclesiastic. The early German
artists were constrained to gather in the aristocratic salons of
the rich patricians. The peasant was rarely a model of early German
artists, but a German _Freiherr_, _Bürger_ or _Handwerker_ has been the
subject of many German dramas, operas and musical compositions, and of
much painting, sculpture and dancing. Wilhelm Angerstein tells us in
his interesting book _Volkstänze in deutschen Mittelalter_ that already
in 1300 there existed German guild dances--_Zunfttänze_--such as the
_Messertanz_ (‘knife dance’) in Nürnberg, _Schafftertanz_ (‘cooper’s
dance’) in Munich, etc. Besides these there were the aristocratic
_Schreittänze_ and _Schleiftänze_. The _Drehtanz_, out of which
originated the later _Walzer_, was an aristocratic and patrician, but
never a truly rural folk-dance.

There is no question that the German people has always been interested
in dancing, a fact which is best illustrated in the frequent outbursts
of mediæval _Tanzwuth_--‘dance craze’--that affected the population of
various cities. These phenomena became occasionally so threatening to
the public morality that in 1024 the Bishop Burchard von Worms issued
a special decree putting dancing under the ban of the church. In 1237
over two thousand children left Erfurt, dancing. In 1418 an epidemic
rage for dancing manifested itself in Strassburg. The well-known
_Veitstanz_--St. Vitus’ dance--originated in mediæval Germany and
spread itself all over the world. The _Schuhplatteltanz_ of Bavaria
is a real folk-dance and contains in its gay and grotesque figures
characteristic spiritual traits of the Tyrolean peasants. Most of
the tunes of the _Schuhplatteltänze_ are gay, joyful and bubbling
with mountainous brilliancy, as is the dance. Though played in the
waltz-rhythm, the dance is by no means a waltz, but a pretty, quaint
little ballet of the people. There are some six to eight different
figures in the dance as one can best see it performed in some villages
near Innsbruck. It is danced by a man and girl, and begins with a
graceful, slow promenade of the couple. Then she starts to flirt with
him by spinning coquettishly round and round until he is enchanted
and puts his hand gracefully round her waist. Now they dance together
awhile, seemingly in love. But suddenly she seems to have changed her
mind and tries to turn him down. The dance is full of buoyant joy and
clever mimic expressions. It gives the impression of a healthy mountain
race, optimistic, simple and humorous. Though occasionally rough, there
are passages of sweet and sentimental grace which convey the impression
of an old-fashioned Minuet.

The _Schmoller_ is a characteristic dance of the Saxonian peasants,
in which the man never reaches his hand to the lady, though they
perform the four or five movements in the rhythm of the _Mazurka_ with
considerable turning and stamping the heels. A quaint old dance is
the _Siebensprung_ of Schwaben which is danced to the accompaniment
of a song with humorous verses. The _Taubentanz_ of the Black Forest
region is a very graceful and simple dance with distinct mazurka
steps, in which the gentleman reaches only his right hand to the lady.
The _Zwölfmonatstanz_ of Wurtemberg is a semi-social dance, which is
performed by twelve couples. The _Fackeltanz_ has been for centuries a
ceremonial display of Prussian nobility and the court. The following
is a short account, from the _Figaro_, of a Torch Dance as it was
performed at the marriage of the sister of Kaiser Wilhelm II:

‘Twelve youthful pages, pretty and dainty as the pages of opera,
slowly entered by a side door under the direction of the chamberlains.
They carried torch-holders in wrought silver, containing thick white
wax-candles, which they handed to the twelve ministers. The marshal
raised his _bâton_, the orchestra from the gallery opposite the emperor
slowly began a tuneful _Polonaise_. The bride and bridegroom placed
themselves after the ministers, who made the tour of the room, the
chamberlain completed the _cortège_, which stopped before the emperor.
The bride made a slight curtsey, the emperor rose and offered his
arm, the _cortège_ again passed in procession around the room. On
returning, the bride invited the empress and made the tour with her.
Then the twelve pages approached and took the torches again. The dance
continued. The ceremony might have been monotonous but for the infinite
variety and richness of the costumes and uniforms, and the liveliness
of the music. The twelve pages were quite delicious and marched with
all the enthusiasm of youth.’

The German _Rheinländer_ and the _Walzer_ are both dances of the middle
class and the city. Whether they ever were danced as folk-dances by
the German peasants, we do not know. They probably originated in the
mediæval guild circles and spread gradually over the country. The
Waltz, as we know it to-day, originated in the eighteenth century in
Germany, though the French claim that it is a development of _Volte_,
which originally was an old folk-dance of Provence. The _Volte_ was in
vogue in France in the sixteenth century. Castil-Blaze writes that ‘the
waltz which we again took from the Germans in 1795 had been a French
dance for four hundred years.’ The German waltz originated from the
widespread folk-song, ‘_Ach du lieber Augustin!_’ which dates back to
the middle of the eighteenth century. Gardel introduced it first in his
ballet _La Dansomanie_ in 1793 in Paris. But the real vogue for the
waltz began after the Czar Alexander the First danced it at his court
ball in 1816. Until the masses began to imitate the nobility it was a
‘high society’ dance and such it remained fully half a century, if not

The waltz is written in 3/4 rhythm and in eight-bar phrases. It has a
gliding step in which the movements of the knees play a conspicuous
rôle. Each country developed its particular style of waltz. The Germans
and French treated it as a dainty and graceful courtship play. In
Scandinavia it grew more heavy and theatrical. In the English waltz
the dancers walked up and down the room, occasionally breaking into
the step and then pushing the partner backward along the room. The
German rule was that the dancers should be able to waltz equally well
in all directions, pivoting and crossing the feet when necessary in the
reverse turn but the feet should never leave the floor. Waldteufel and
Johann Strauss may be considered as the master-composers of the waltz
as a social dance.


As elaborate as the Finnish folk music is in racial color and line,
the Finns have few interesting and original folk-dances. Dr. Ilmari
Krohn has hundreds of Finnish folk-dance tunes, but they reveal
musical rather than choreographic vigor. A large number of graceful
Finnish folk-dances are imitations of the Swedish or Norwegian style.
In their own dances the figures and steps are heavy, languorous and
compact as the rocky semi-arctic nature. Like the Finnish sculpture,
the Finnish folk-dance has a tendency to the mysterious, grotesque and
unusual line. Some of their folk-dances are as daring and unusual as
the Finnish architectural forms. You find in the Finnish architecture
that straight lines are broken up in the most extraordinary manner,
projecting gables, turrets and windows are used to avoid the monotony
of gray, expansive and flat walls. It falls into no category of known
styles. Like fantastically grown rocks, it compels your attention.
There is something disproportionate yet fascinating in the Finnish
style and folk-dance.

The most racial of the Finnish folk-dances are not the pleasing village
_Melkatusta_ and other types of this kind, but the ‘Devil’s Dance,’
_Paimensoitaja_ (‘Shepherd Tune’), _Hempua_, _Hailii_ and _Kaakuria_.
Like the Finnish _Rune_, Finnish dancing shows an unusual tendency to
the magical, the mystic and the fantastic in emotions and ideas. It
is less the graceful and quick, fiery style that appeals to a Finn
than heavy, rugged and compact beauty. The ‘Devil’s Dance’ is weird,
ceremonial and mystical. It is performed by a single woman inside of a
ring of spectators, who are chanting to her a rhythmic and alliterative
hymn of mythologic meaning. The hands are crossed on the breast and
take no part of any kind in the display, while there are slight
mimic changes to convey the more subtle meaning of the performance.
Like the other northern races, the Finns make their dancing a
function of the body and the legs. The Finns dance to the music of a
harp--_kantele_--horn--_sarwi_--and to the singing voices. It is never
the dancer who sings, but the spectators or special singers.

More picturesque and graceful than the Finnish are the Swedish,
Norwegian and Danish folk-dances. Grieg, Svendsen, Gade, Hartmann and
the modern Scandinavian composers have made successful use of the old
folk-themes for their individual orchestral compositions. Though simple
in step, the Scandinavian folk-dances are complicated in figure, lively
and gay in manner, and rich in pantomime. They seem to have a strong
predilection to square figures and sharp lines. The Swedish dancers are
fond of arabesques, minuet grace and dainty poses. The Norwegian dance
is more rugged and imaginary, the Danish and Swedish more refined and
delicate. While the Norwegian is a naturally gifted singer, the Swede
is a born dancer. There is a strong feeling in Sweden for reviving
their old _Skralat_, _Vafva Vadna_, and other old national dances.
The latter is a weaver dance and imitates the action of the loom. The
girl, representing the movements of the shuttle, flashes back and forth
through the lines of other performers, who are imitating the stretched
threads. It is a clever piece of folk-art showing the vivid and quick
temperament of the race. There are quite a few such symbolic country
dances in Sweden, of which the harvest dances take the first place.
The _Daldans_ and _Vingakersdans_ are pantomimic dances of humorous
character, both themes dealing with the social-sexual relations in
a rather satirical way. In the latter two women are endeavoring to
gain the affection of a man. The favored one seats herself a moment
on the man’s knee and finishes the number by waltzing with him, while
the other bites her nails with vexation. In Sweden, as in France, the
sexual elements play a conspicuous rôle in the folk-dance and render it
sweetly graceful, seductive and sensuous by turns.

The Danes, being a race of industry and agriculture from the earliest
times on, have followed the lead of Norway in ethnographic matters, but
of Paris and Vienna in artistic manners. While they have developed the
national art of the ballet to a high degree, their folk-dances have
impressed me more by their cosmopolitan and imitative nature than by
any original and racial traits they may have. There are certain plastic
traits, certain soft nuances in the Danish mimicry, that speak of
something racial, yet they melt in so much with the universal art that
it is hard to analyze the national elements. Whether the ‘Corkscrew’
is a Norwegian, Danish or Swedish folk-dance, we have been unable to
learn, but it is a charming piece of folk-art. In this the couples form
in two lines. The top couple join hands, go down the middle and up
again, and turn each other by the right arm once; then the gentleman
turns the next lady, the lady the next gentleman, then each other again
to the end, when the other couples kneel and clap their hands; and the
first couple, joining hands, dance up one line and down the other, the
lady inside. Then follows the corkscrew: all join hands outstretched
with their vis-à-vis, the leading couple thread their way in and out
of the other couples, the ladies backing, taking the lead, and then
the gentlemen. All hands are raised when they reach the bottom, and,
passing under the archway thus formed, they give place to the next

The Dutch had previously many characteristic and racial folk-dances, as
their great painters have handed down to us in their numerous works,
but they have mostly died out. A Dutch folk-dance, with the performers
dressed in long brocaded gowns and close-fitting caps of the same
material, the face framed with small roses edging the cap, makes a most
quaint and charming impression. The best known of the Dutch folk-dances
is the Egg Dance, which was given with eggs beneath the feet. Another
very effective dance, though slightly coarse in conception, is their
Sailor’s Dance. The latter is danced by a couple in wooden-shoes, man
and woman with their backs to each other and faces turned away. The
dance has some eight figures and only at the end of each figure the
dancers turn swiftly around to get a glimpse of each other, and turn
back in the original position. If well executed this is an exceedingly
humorous dance.


The Lithuanians had in olden times snake dances and dances somewhat
related to the legendary and mystic themes of the American Indians.
Even in the folk-dances of the modern Lithuanians there are elements to
be found that show relation to the ancient American tribes. An average
Lithuanian folk-dance, as known and danced to-day is simple but pretty,
and is either mixed with Byzantine or with Romanesque designs. But the
legendary ideas still prevail, even in the picturesque wedding dances.

The Polish folk-dances, the _Polonaise_, _Mazurka_, _Krakoviak_, and
_Obertass_, contribute their quota of originality. The _Krakoviak_ is
a circular dance with singing interspersed; lively graceful poses,
soft delicate lines and gliding steps make it look like a refined
salon dance of mediæval nobility. The _Polonaise_ and _Mazurka_ have
spread as social dances in numerous variations throughout the world.
Chopin used the themes of many Polish folk-dances for his individual
compositions, as they are exceedingly sweet, romantic, and delicate in
their melodic structure. The _Obertass_ is a real gymnastic performance
with occasional polka-steps and wild turns. It is danced by a couple
with such velocity towards the end that the woman must hold strongly
to the shoulders of her partner in order to keep from reeling off
towards the spectators. Delicate, temperamental, with occasional
traits of melancholy and softly graceful line, the Polish folk-dances
are characteristic of the racial soul. In many respects the Poles
resemble the French in racial qualities. The debonair manners of the
French, their tendency toward romantic emotions, are to be noticed in
the Polish national dance. The qualities give it an air of seeming
refinement and make it a distinct social amusement, and nothing else.

The Bohemian, Ruthenian, Servian and Bulgarian folk-dances are each
typical of their race. A tendency of most of the Slavic folk-dances is
that the two sexes should mingle as little as possible. Men and women
join hands in certain figures, emphasizing the dramatic meaning of the
dance, otherwise they remain separated. They rarely dance in couples
as the other European races do. They make promenades, march or gallop;
they leap and bound in such a manner that the woman faces the man but
rarely touches him. The woman’s movements are distinctly feminine, the
man’s masculine. The Slav feels that the mixing of the sexes, or the
putting of woman on the same plane with man, is detrimental to the
æsthetic emotions, particularly to the romantic feelings.

The _Romaika_ and _Kolla_ are both picturesque circle dances of the
Southern Slavs. In the latter the man does not take the hand of the
woman next to him, but passes his arm under hers to clasp the hand of
her neighbor. The whole ring circles round in skipping step to the
accompaniments of melancholy songs. The women are adorned with glass
beads, huge gowns, artificial flowers and false jewelry of the most
fantastic colors. The men wear richly embroidered bright-colored shirts
and wide trousers. Sometimes a special woman dancer enters the ring and
executes a dramatic pantomime, reflecting somehow a local affair. On
other occasions man and woman go through a vivid pantomimic performance
in the circle, while the rest circle around them singing.

The Roumanians have a strange folk-dance called the _Hora_ which is
performed by the youth in languishing cadence to the long drawn notes
of the bagpipes. This consists of a prelude and a real dance. At first,
the dancers advance to the left five steps, stamping the ground and
stopping suddenly, after which they repeat the same motions for a few
times. Of this M. Lancelot writes: ‘Gradually the mandolins strike in
to enliven the solemn strain, and seem desirous to hurry it, emitting
two or three sonorous notes, but nothing moves the player of the
bagpipes; he perseveres in his indolent rhythm. At last a challenging
phrase is thrice repeated; the dancers accompany it by stamping thrice
on the ground, and looking back at the girls grouped behind them. The
latter hesitate; they look at each other, as if consulting together;
then they join hands and form a second circle round the first. Another
call, more imperious still, is sounded, they break from each other, and
mingle in the round of young men.

‘At this moment the old gypsy opens his keen little eyes, showing
his sharp white teeth in a sudden smile, shaking out a shower of
joyous, hurried notes over the band, he expresses by means of an
agitated harmony the tender thrill that must be passing through all
the clasped hands. The _Hora_ proper now begins. It lasts a long time,
but retains throughout the character of languor that characterized
its commencement. Its monotony is varied, however, by a pretty bit of
pantomime. After dancing round with arms extended, the men and their
partners turn and face each other in the middle of the circle they have
been describing. This circle they reduce by making a few steps forward;
then, when their shoulders are almost touching, they bend their heads
under their uplifted arms, and look into each other’s eyes. This figure
loses something of its effect from the frequency with which it is
repeated; and the cold placidity with which the dancers alternately
gaze at their right-hand and left-hand neighbors is disappointing, and
robs the pantomime of its classic aroma.’


Of Oriental flavor are the Armenian folk-dances, which the writer saw
many years ago performed by Armenian students to the music of a queer
mandolin-like instrument and the rhythmic beats of the drum played
by the dancer with his fingers. This drum gives a register of six or
seven different tones and adds its peculiar effect to the whole. It
seems that most of the Armenian dances are executed by a single dancer,
either man or woman, in bent, erect, arched and twisted positions,
often standing on a single spot for minutes. Though languorous and
weird, they possess a grace of their own.

In no other country have the folk-dances reached such a variety of
forms, such a high degree of development and an individuality so
distinctly racial and rich in dramatic and imaginary poses, steps,
gestures and mimic expressions as in Russia. In the Russian dances
we can trace the elements of all the hundreds of ancient and modern
tribes and nationalities who have been molten in one homogeneous
mass of people, a world in itself. Here the Orient and Occident have
found a united form for their æsthetic expressions, with no relation
to those of the West-European nations. The Russian dances, like the
country itself, are a mixture of contrasts and extremes: melancholy
and yet gay, simple and even sweet; ghastly yet fascinating and
seductive; mysterious and yet open as the prairies of its own boundless
steppes; old and yet young. All these contrasts and contradictions
may be found reflected in the essentials of the Russian folk-dance.
Like the semi-Oriental style of architecture, now curved and gloomy,
then suddenly straight and dazzlingly brilliant, occasionally bizarre
and fantastic, but strongly inclined to the romantic and the mystic
forms, are the innumerable figures and steps of the Russian dances.
In Russia more than in any other country the sexual diversity in the
style of the steps, poses and mimic display is subjected to a most
careful consideration. The woman is neither equal nor inferior to the
man. She occupies her dignified position in the slightest move, by
remaining more subtle, tender and passively fascinating, while the
man’s rôle often is extravagantly masculine, sometimes even rough.
No Russian dance puts the two sexes on the same level æsthetically
and dramatically. The couple dance is an unknown, or at best a rather
crude, conception to a Russian.

Up to this time no one has yet made a thorough study of all the
Russian folk-dances, as each province and district has its particular
traditions and dances. The Volga region, having once been inhabited
by Bulgarian and Tartar tribes, has a more nomadic and adventurous
dance style than the dreamy peasants of Kostroma and Nijny Novgorod.
The dances of the Little Russians are more joyful and humorous than
those of more northern regions, but they are also less elaborate and
less dramatic. The dances of the provinces of Novgorod and Pskoff
possess an unusual tendency towards the legendary and towards free
forms of plastic expression, as if meaning to express tales of a golden
age in the past when they had a republican form of government and a
democratic evolution. The dances of the Caucasian and Crimean regions
are outspokenly romantic and epic, those of Siberia tragic and heroic.

Fundamentally, the Russian folk-dances can be divided into four
different groups: the ballad dances, or _Chorovody_; the romantic
dances of the _Kamarienskaya_ type; the dramatic dances of the
_Kasatchy_ type; the bacchanalian dances of the _Trepak_ type; and
the unlimited number of humorous, gay, amusing and entertaining
country dances--the so-called _Pliasovaya_--of purely local flavor.
Besides these there are the historic ballad dances, such as ‘Ivan the
Terrible’, ‘Ilia Murometz,’ and others. The Cossack dance, _Lesginka_,
the _Kaiterma_, the _Polowetsi_ dances, the _Vanka_, and others of this
kind, are dances of a rather local character, though they have spread
all over the country.

The oldest and most varied of Russian folk-dances are the _Chorovody_,
or the ballad dances, performed only to the singing voices of the
dancers themselves. This is a kind of ring dance like the old French
Round. In some dances the men reach their hands to the girls, in
others they touch each other with their elbows only, as the girls
keep their hands on their hips, while the men cross them on their
breast. The real dance is performed inside the ring, usually by a
girl, who sometimes has a man partner; this dance may be pantomimic,
humorous or full of wildest joy and agility. The writer has witnessed
some _Chorovody_ which were performed with such skill and finesse of
plastic pose and mimic art as to leave many ballet celebrities far in
the background. The Russian folk-dancer employs every inch of his body,
his hands, legs, toes, heels, hips, shoulders, head and the mimic art
so masterfully and correctly that you must often marvel his born talent
and lively interest in dancing. However, in all folk-dances the women
seem to play the leading rôle, the men merely supporting them with the
contrasted figures.

The _Chorovody_ were used by the mediæval _Boyars_ in a more refined
and poetic style for their social functions and the entertainment of
their guests. Later they were introduced to the court and finally they
were employed in the Russian ballets and operas. Ivan the Terrible
was fond of _Chorovody_ dances and often danced them himself, as did
also other Russian rulers. The aristocratic _Chorovody_, however, grew
more stately and artificial and lost their racial freshness. Catherine
the Great sent her chamberlains to every province to invite the best
folk-dancers to come to the court, which they did. All dances of
this type are picturesque, romantic, poetic and restrained in their

An entirely different dance is the _Kasatchy_, danced by a man and a
woman at the same time. This is more a man’s than a woman’s dance.
He selects his partner and proceeds to execute a series of seductive
motions around her, while she demurely hangs her head, refusing for a
while to be seduced by his allurements. At length she thaws and begins
to sway in harmony with his manly but graceful movement. Now they bend
and bow together, and swerve from side to side, the while performing
a multitude of gestures depicting timidity and embarrassment, till
finally from shy, half-tearful expression of love and flirting glances
they proceed with gay eyes expressive of the most burning devotion.
Now the dance waxes fierce and fast, in and out they circle, turn
and twist, ever now and then reverting to that crouching posture,
so commonly seen in the Russian folk-dances. Finally they meet in
close embrace and whirl with incredible rapidity round and round,
till thoroughly out of breath and dizzy from their effort, they sink
exhausted on a friendly bench.

The _Kamarienskaya_ is a bride’s dance, in which the girl symbolizes
all the imaginary bliss and happiness of her future married life.
In the first part, which consists of a soft _legato_, she dances
dreamily but dramatically, using conspicuously every muscle of her
body and her arms to express the imagined love motions that she will
perform in meeting her beloved. Thus the pantomime continues on to the
blissful moment of meeting, which she performs like a whirlwind, until,
unexpectedly stopping, she ends the dance with a slightly disappointed,
humorous expression.

Since our space is limited, the writer must refrain from more detailed
and further description of the previously mentioned types of the
Russian folk-dances. He need only repeat that they surpass by far
the folk-dances of all the rest of the world, in that they are so
much more racial, so rich in plastic lines, and so perfect in their
artistic appeal; it seems as if a remarkable genius had presided over
their invention and execution. They are masterfully original from the
beginning and continually furnish new ideals of choreographic beauty.
They draw their inspiration from some rich fountain unknown to the
Occidentals. They are too fresh, vigorous and alive to be perverse.

Thus having drawn kaleidoscopic sketches of the primitive racial
choreographic impulses of a number of the civilized and barbaric
races, we can come to the conclusion that in these alone are to be
found the sound and virile germs of lasting individual or highly
developed national art-dance. Ethnographic essentials are the next
stepping-stones to a more developed future cosmic choreography, and in
this the folk-dances give the most eloquent elementary lessons. As from
a mute conversation we learn from the ethnic dances in what manifold
forms one and the same beauty can manifest itself to the human mind.
The ethnic symbols are graphic and true to the spirit of the thing
expressed; for this reason a folk-dance, no matter how coarse, how
grotesque and how strange it seems, is yet sincere and intelligible to
the open-hearted observer. It always impresses one as something manly
and direct, sound and firm.



  The _Pavane_ and the _Courante_; the _Allemande_ and the
  _Sarabande_; the _Minuet_ and the _Gavotte_; the _Rigaudon_ and
  other dances.

Since we have devoted a chapter to the folk-dances, it will be fitting
to describe a few of the most noted dances of the nobility in order
to complete our comparative treatment of such a vast subject, so
little systematized and so much ignored. While the general tone of
all the folk-dances is masculine, that of all the social dances seems
predominantly effeminate, rather soft and delicate. Their exceedingly
graceful plastic lines, shaded movements, soft forms and subtilized
gestures speak of gilded ball-rooms, silk and perfume, affected manners
and the artificial air of a Rococo style. It seems as if a woman’s mind
had worked out their embroidered figures and timid steps. They belonged
to no particular nation, but to the rich class of all the world. The
same _Allemande_ that was danced by the French nobility was copied at
the castles of the German barons, English lords, Italian and Russian

The oldest and most ceremonial of the Middle Ages’ social dances was
the _Pavane_, the celebrated peacock dance, in which kings and princes,
lords and ladies took part, the men wearing gorgeous uniforms, the
ladies flowery trains. It was distinguished by rhythmic grace, and
by slow and stately measure. The dancers attempted to enshroud their
very souls in majestic dignity, gracefully rounding their arms, while
crossing and recrossing, keeping their heads away from each other. One
big step and two small ones accompanied one bar of the music, which was
sung by a chorus of hidden singers. Beginning side by side, hand in
hand, with a curtsey and bow, the couple started with a _pas marché_
down the floor, making four steps, the cavalier taking the lady’s left
hand. After making a turn with four steps, they danced backward with
four steps. He took her right hand and turned with four steps. Thus
it went on in four different movements. The _Pavane_ was a dance for
cortèges and processions, and the lady’s trains were spread out like
the tail of a peacock.

The next most conspicuous nobility dance was the _Courante_, which
was practised for nearly three centuries at the European castles and
courts. It was a great favorite of Louis XIV, and no one else danced
it so well as he. It was danced at the court of Charles II and Queen
Elizabeth was fond of it. The ladies danced it in short soft velvet
skirt; bodice with basques and lace berthes. It had three movements
and started usually with a deep curtsey, a springing step forward and
back, both arms raised and each dancer turning outward. These movements
occupied four double bars of the music. Handel and Bach wrote many
_Courantes_, but they were too elaborate and quick, therefore they were
used only by professional dancers.

Bach and Handel have also written numerous _Chaconnes_, which were
dances in slow triple time, of a stately character, light and graceful.
In the _Chaconne_ two or three people could participate. This dance was
said to be of Spanish origin, though the Italians claim that one of
their blind musicians composed it in the sixteenth century. Cervantes
writes in ‘Don Quixote’ that it was a mulatto dance for negroes and
negresses, imported by the French. It is composed of a springing and
walking step on the toes, at the end of which the heels must be so
placed that the body is firm. The rhythm is slow and well marked. The
dance has seven different movements. The fourth and sixth movements are
in Mazurka steps, the fifth in skating steps and the last in bourrée
step. In the third movement the lady turns under her partner’s arm.

A celebrated dance of more than four centuries was the _Allemande_, in
which the head and arm movements played the foremost rôle. It had five
movements, danced by any number of couples, placing themselves behind
each other. The _Allemande_ step is three _pas marchés_ and the front
foot raised. The lady stands in front of the gentleman and he holds her
left hand with his left and her right with his right hand. For four
bars they go forward and pose, repeat this four times and turn. The
second movement has four steps around, after which the gentleman turns
the lady with arms over head, and the lady turns the gentleman. The
third movement is a polka step backward and forward and turned. In the
fourth the lady takes four steps in front of the gentleman and turns.
In the last they take four steps across the room, turn and pose; two
steps back and pose, and repeat.

A dance of pretty music and more original design was the _Sarabande_
of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which was danced as a solo
by a man or a woman, although later it was danced by couples. It had a
slow and stately step and consisted of four different figures. In the
first figure the dancer raised the right foot and took a step forward,
turned to the right and posed, and repeated to the left and the right.
The second figure was a _pas bourrée_ to the left and the right, with
some turning in between. The third figure consisted of an accentuated
hip movement, _coupé_, a pose with head movement, and a repetition to
the opposite direction. The last figure consisted of springing on the
left foot, stretching the right leg to the back, and bowing. This was
carried on in several repetitions. The most effective _Sarabande_ music
was composed by Lully. For this the ladies wore a picturesque dress of
cloth of gold, the sleeves and tunic in the form of gigantic oak leaves
of red and gold, tipped with sequins; red shoes and stockings.

Probably the most celebrated and widespread of old social dances was
the _Minuet_, which demanded much repose and dignity on the part of
the dancers. It was performed by men and women, but was given also by
ladies only. It began with a deep reverence on the part of the lady
and a bow on the part of the man, the dancers turning towards each
other at right angles to the audience, the lady with her left hand
holding her dress, the elbow prettily rounded. They advanced, the lady
turning around and assuming the position in which they started. This
was repeated, and the dance ended with a bow and a curtsey. Then the
lady held her dress in both hands, her head being turned over her right
shoulder, while her partner’s head was turned to the left. A favorite
step was that of lifting the foot high, rising on the toes, and then
taking three little steps on tip-toes to the next bar. The _Minuet_
requires much grace and deliberation, with every movement thought out
and studied. The main rule is that in passing each other the partners
should make a deep curtsey and bow. The fingers of the hand should be
moderately open, the arms curved and graceful. The women often carried
a feather fan. Louis XV was a virtuoso in the _Minuet_. The English
kings used to take lessons in the dance. It is the one dance that
England has looked on kindly. It created a perfect sensation in France
and was in vogue until the Revolution swept it away. Many celebrated
composers have written fine _Minuet_ music, Lully’s being probably the
best. It had nine different movements. The ladies wore for the minuet
a satin petticoat, bordered with a deep flounce. The bodice had a
pleating round _à la veille_, which was carried down to the open front
of the skirt, on either side of the bodice, and round the back, which
left a plain pointed front with a rosette in the centre of the neck.
The sleeves were elbow length, the hair powdered and worn very high, a
ribbon tied across the back from which rose three large bows of white
plumes, the shoes pointed.

A dance as distinguished as the minuet was the _Gavotte_, performed
by couples in joyous, sparkling little steps. Its foundation was
three steps and an _assemblé_ in quadruple time, commencing on the
fourth beat of the bar. It starts in a line or a circle, one couple
separating themselves from the rest. It has six figures. The first
figure consists of four gavottes forward, four gavottes round, four
back, four around again, the dancers hand in hand, the figures always
accompanied by graceful head movements, the partners turning towards
each other or apart. The following three movements are nearly the same,
with slight variations. The fifth consists of four skating steps and
gavotting around the partner. The sixth figure consists of gavotting
forward three times, pirouetting back, raising the foot up to the heel,
and advancing four times. In the _Gavotte_ the partners generally
kissed each other, as they did in so many other dances. In later days
the cavalier presented a flower in the course of the figure instead.
The _Gavotte_ was a favorite dance of Louis XV, Marie Antoinette and
Napoleon. Lully, Gluck and Grétry composed pretty gavottes, and it was
frequently performed on the stage by Gardel and Vestris.

The _Rigaudon_, which enjoyed a great popularity at all the European
castles and courts till the French Revolution, was rather intricate. In
it each figure occupied eight bars and both dancers started together
without taking hands. The dance consisted of seven figures, the first
being a sliding step and four running steps, turning, posing and
repeating with the opposite foot. The second consisted of turning to
left and right alternately four times, and sliding backwards. The third
figure was danced diagonally to the right with running steps, turning,
posing and repeating. The fourth figure was a graceful hopping and
turning, repeating, running diagonally to the right and turning with
the arms out straight. The fifth was in two half turns, one turn and
repetition. The sixth was three steps left with arms over the head,
hopping around, turning to left and right, posing with right hand down
and the left hand above the head. The seventh consisted of balancing
four times on the left foot and four times on the right and posing.
Like the music of so many other old social dances, that of the Rigaudon
was of extremely gracious cadences, with sentimental pathos and sweet,
gay melodic turns. Music combined with dancing carried gladness and joy
into the soft-shaded ball-rooms, bringing smiles and laughter to the
lips of the picturesque gatherings.

Somewhat resembling the Minuet, but with quicker steps, was the
celebrated French _Passepied_, with which most of the balls began,
all the guests dancing around hand in hand. It originated many other
old-time social dances with song. It opened with the dancers joining
hands and facing each other, then setting to each other with the
_pas de Basque_, bringing the first left shoulder forward and then
the right, and changing their places with a waltz step. The partners
cross hands, placing the arms round each other’s neck and making the
pirouette with eight pony steps, pawing the ground and then turning.
The dance consists of ten figures, each of which demands some dramatic

Other celebrated old dances were the _Galliard_, consisting of five
figures, that require some pirouettes, _pas de bourrées_, _coupés_,
_dessous_ and springing. Similar to this was the _Tourdion_, which
was more of a _glissade_ movement. The _Canaries_ was a queer old
dance, very popular in England and Germany. It had seven figures and
started with a _pas jeté_, by throwing the right foot over the left,
and the left over the right. In the last movement the partners held
hands vis-à-vis, turning each other without separating hands, posing
vis-à-vis one bar and repeating four bars. History tells us how in
former times queens and princesses often fell in love with graceful
male dancers as did their husbands with the pretty women dancers. Queen
Elizabeth fell in love with young Hatton, an insignificant London
lawyer, whom she first met at a ball dancing the _Galliard_. Sir Perro
used to say that Hatton danced into the court by the _Galliard_. It is
said that the favors which the virgin monarch extended to the young
lawyer excited the jealousy of the whole court, especially that of the
Earl of Leicester, who, thinking to depreciate the accomplishment of
his rival, offered to introduce to Her Majesty a professional dancer
whose performances were considered far more wonderful than those of
Hatton. To this the royal lady exclaimed: ‘Pish! I will not see your
man; it is his trade!’

A languishing eye and a smiling mouth were considered indispensable
accessories to a fashionable society dance. Like the prevailing style
of dress and manners, the dances were too delicate and artificial to
last. The high-heeled shoes, the elaborately piled-up structures of
powdered hair and ornament, and the dresses with long trains were by no
means favorable to virility and sincerity. Like all effeminate art, the
nobility dances of the past lacked spontaneity and inspiration.

[Illustration: The Ball

_After a painting by Auguste de Saint-Aubin_]



  Aims and tendencies of the nineteenth century--Maria
  Taglioni--Fanny Elssler--Carlotta Grisi and Fanny Cerito; decadence
  of the classic ballet.

The end of the Napoleonic wars marks the beginning of a new era of
European art, particularly of the ballet. To this period belong the
great ballet masters, Taglioni, Bournoville, Didelot, and the greatest
of all, Marius Petipa; the great ballet composers, Meyerbeer, Rossini,
Adam, Delibes, Nuitter, Dubois, Hartmann, Gade, Tschaikowsky, and
Rimsky-Korsakoff; the celebrated _ballerinas_, Taglioni, Grisi,
Elssler, Genée, Teleshova, Novitzkaya, Liadova, Muravieva, Bogdanova,
Sokolova and Kshesinskaya. It seems as if the evolution of the art of
dancing is always stopped by political disturbances; during the middle
of the past century, which was marked by revolutionary movements, in
which even Wagner participated, we notice a sudden indifference to
dancing ideals on the part of the public. The history of evolution
seems to proceed in certain cosmic waves of public sentiment and
ideals. They grow, reach their climax and die.

The foundation that the French Academy, particularly Noverre, Vestris
and Gardel, had laid for the ballet, developed during the nineteenth
century into a solid and essential stage art. We find the beginning
of a rivalry among the various schools, of which those of Paris,
Milan, Vienna, Stockholm, Copenhagen and St. Petersburg stand in the
first rank. Like music and drama, the ballet strives either towards
the classic or romantic. The most conspicuous ballets of this period
are _La Sylphide_ by Léo Delibes, _Corsaire_ by Adam, _Sakuntala_ by
Gautier, _La Source_ by Delibes, _La Farandole_ by Dubois, _Sylvia_
by Delibes, _Gretna Green_ by Nuitter, _Excelsior_ and _Sieba_ by
Manxotti, _Flore et Zephire_ by Didelot, _La Esmeralda_ by Perrot
and Pugni, _Iphigenia in Aulis_ by Gluck, _Laurette_ by Galcotti,
_Ghiselle_ by Gautier and Adam, _Abdallah_ by Bournoville and Paulli,
_Arkona_ by Hartmann, _Swan Lake_, _Sleeping Beauty_ and _The Snow
Maiden_ by Tschaikowsky, _Baba Yaga_ by Balakireff, _Scheherezade_ by
Rimsky-Korsakoff, etc.

The main tendency of the nineteenth century ballet is to get rid of the
mechanical contrivances, the monstrous etiquette and majestic solemnity
and, like music, give it more coherence and better harmony with the
plot. Between 1820 and 1850 it became an inseparable accompaniment
to the opera to such an extent that the occupants of the gilded
boxes preferred the thrill of the dancing to the music. The ballet
represented at that time more than a stage filled with masses of
elegant _coryphées_ and a magnificent spectacle. The public interest
began to centre in a few great dancers whose names were as familiar to
the audiences as those of the prima donnas. The first phenomenon of
this kind was the cult of Taglioni that spread with miraculous rapidity
throughout the Occidental world.


Maria Taglioni was born at Stockholm in 1804 of an Italian father and
Swedish mother and made her début in Vienna in 1822, in the ballet
_Reception d’une jeune Nymphe à la Court de Terpsichore_, written by
her father, M. Taglioni, who was a ballet master in the Swedish Royal
Opera. Inspired by the ideas of Noverre, M. Taglioni laid a solid
foundation for his daughter’s training in dancing. Though she was
successful in her début in Vienna, the father did not think that she
was sufficiently ripe for public appearances in a larger style, so he
continued to instruct the girl himself and secured for her education
other celebrities of the time. Even when she appeared five years later
in _Le Sicilien_, in Paris, she did not arouse any enthusiasm. It was
only in _Les Bayaderes_ and, above all, in _La Sylphide_, that her art
attained the utmost limits of spirituality and she was hailed as one of
the most ethereal appearances that the European stage had ever seen.

Taglioni appeared in Paris in _La Vestale_, _Mars et Venus_, _Le
Carnaval de Venise_, and many other ballets, which marked the beginning
of her career. A French critic of that time writes: ‘Her talent, so
instinct with simple grace and modesty, her lightness, the suppleness
of her attitudes, at once voluptuous and refined, made a sensation at
once. She revealed a new form of dancing, a virginal and diaphanous
art, instinct with an originality all her own, in which the old
traditions and time-honored rules of choreography were merged. After
an appearance of a few days only on our boards, this charming mirage
vanished to shine in great triumph at Munich and Stuttgart. But she
came back, and an enthusiastic reception awaited her. And in the midst
of these brilliant successes, taking the hearts of the people by storm,
admitted to the intimate friendship of the Queen of Wurtemberg, she
remained sweet, simple and reserved.’

Besides her choreographic training, Taglioni was a highly educated girl
in every other respect, and was of the most charming personality and
manners. The people, and even her many rivals, loved and adored her
as a great artist and great woman. Though not pretty in any sense, as
so many other dancers were, she was fascinating through her distinct
spiritual appeal. This same note of spirituality manifested itself in
her dance. Her admirers used to say that she looked in _La Sylphide_
like some supernatural being always ready to take wing and soar up in
the air. Her steps were pure and innocent, as were all her gestures and
mimic expressions. Even in her romantic dances she failed to suggest
any symptoms of voluptuous or sensual emotions. Throughout her life she
remained as poetic as she was in her art.

In London she appeared first in 1830 in Didelot’s ballet _Flore
et Zéphire_ and made an instantaneous success. On nights when she
was announced to appear the London theatre was literally besieged.
Thackeray immortalized her in his ‘The Newcomes,’ saying, ‘you can
never see anything so graceful as Taglioni.’ She received in London
£100 a night, and insisted on handsome sums for her family, as well
as £600 for her father as ballet master, £900 to her brother and
sister-in-law, together with two benefit performances. She was so much
the fashion of the hour that women wore Taglioni hats, gowns, and
coats, and even a stage coach was called after her.

With all her charm and refinement, Taglioni was in many respects
an undeveloped girl emotionally, capricious and sentimental to her
finger-tips. It is said that one evening when Perrot, her partner,
happened to receive a greater amount of applause than she, she refused
to continue the performance, and accused her surrounding stage people
of having intrigued against her for malicious reason. She received
immense sums of money, but she spent everything just as lavishly as
it was received, not so much on herself as for her relatives, friends
and the poor. She married Comte Gilbert des Voisins in 1832, but their
married life was of short duration. There is a story that she met him
some years later at a dinner at the Comte de Morny’s, when he had the
effrontery to ask to be introduced to Maria Taglioni. She replied that
she thought she had made the gentleman’s acquaintance in 1832, the year
of her marriage. In 1837 she went to Russia and remained there for five
years as prima _ballerina_ of the Imperial Ballet.

Taglioni’s freedom and style had a great influence upon the development
of the ballet at that juncture. Her dress, a long tunic of white silk
muslin which reached almost to her ankles and fell in graceful folds
from her figure, was the first of this kind. Through this she was able
to reveal the plastic lines of her body, and thus made her movements
free from the artificial stiffness that had prevailed before her. She
was a reformer in many ways, and in this her father, as a practical
ballet-master, was of material help. It was not until Fanny Elssler
appeared in 1847 that Taglioni began to lose her hold upon the public.
Little by little her art grew old-fashioned to the novelty-loving
audiences, as the dancing of Elssler brought a new note of more
romantic nature to the stage. Actually this change was nothing but a
turn of public sentiment indicative of some new social fad. Trying
to maintain her living by giving dancing lessons in various European
capitals, she died in Marseilles in 1884, in great poverty, forsaken by
all her previous adorers and frenzied audiences.


Of a very different nature were the art and personality of Fanny
Elssler, the pretty Viennese girl, who in many respects followed the
example of Taglioni. Emerson, who saw her dancing in Boston, exclaimed,
‘that is poetry!’ But Margaret Fuller, who sat next to him, replied,
‘Ralph, it’s religion.’ Turgenieff was so impressed by her art that
he wrote to Balzac: ‘Her dance is the most magic novel that I have
ever read. What a mystery of beauty! Her every step and gesture is a
line of unwritten verse. Her lines are accentuated phrases, her poses
illustrations to the intoxicating text. Her art haunts me.’

Born in Vienna in 1810, Elssler received an early and thorough musical
education from her father, who was a copyist to Haydn. Her ballet
training, which she received partly in Vienna, partly in Italy, was of
the old order. It was the _Cachucha_ that made her a favorite of the
Milan and Naples audiences, but, as with Taglioni, it was _La Sylphide_
that made Elssler’s final reputation. Elssler saw _La Sylphide_ danced
by Taglioni in Munich and it electrified her so that she made it a main
aim of her ambition to surpass Taglioni, which she did.

A girl of receptive mind, good education and great talent, Elssler took
notice of all the critical views of her future rival, as expressed by
her contemporary ballet-masters, composers and dance critics. This
enabled her to embody in her art and style the features which were
less developed and most disliked by Taglioni. Taglioni was said to be
poetic, but lacking in romantic warmth and dramatic sentiment. In this
latter quality Elssler excelled. She made a special study of those
gestures, poses and steps, which express by passionate emotions, and
made appropriate use of them. The mechanical features of the dance
interested her little, though occasionally she indulged in acrobatic
tricks. Chorley, the English critic, writes of her: ‘The exquisite
management of her bust and arms set her apart from everyone whom I have
ever seen before or since. Nothing in execution was too daring for
her, nothing too pointed. If Mademoiselle Taglioni flew, she flashed.
The one floated on the stage like a nymph, the other showered every
sparkling fascination round her like a sorceress. There was more,
however, of the Circe than of the Diana in her smile.’

[Illustration: Sylphides; a Typical Classic Ballet]

A graphic description of Elssler is given by Gautier. ‘Clad in a skirt
of rose-colored satin clinging closely to the hips, adorned with deep
flounces of black lace, she came forward with a bold carriage of her
slender body, and a flashing of diamonds on her breast. Her leg, like
polished marble, gleams through the frail net of the stocking. Her
small foot is at rest, only awaiting the signal of the music to start
into motion. How charming she is with the large comb in her hair, the
rose behind her ear, her flame-like glance, and her sparkling smile! At
the extremity of her rose-dipped fingers tremble the ebony castañets.
Now she darts forward; the castañets 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 any one say that she gathered all the desires and
all the enthusiasm of those who watch her?’

It was a pity that such a bitter rivalry was created between Elssler
and Taglioni by theatrical managers, which became a source of fierce
controversy throughout Europe. We are told by the writers of that
time that a veritable war of sentiments between the Taglionists and
Elsslerists lasted for years. Now the one, now the other party claimed
victory. Each party claimed to have the highest art in the individual
style of its idolized dancer. It was a conflict between two movements
rather than two artists: here the classic idealism, there the romantic
realism. Elssler at the end remained the winner, but not for a long
time, as the political unrest that swept Europe in the middle of the
nineteenth century distracted the public attention from the ballet.
After a successful tour in America, Elssler returned to Milan, when
the La Scala opera, which was supported by the Austrian government,
began to feel keenly the political pulse of the time. Elssler was to
appear in Perrot’s ballet _Faust_, when she beheld the members of the
ballet wearing a medal that represented the new liberal Pope, who was
strongly pro-Italian, while Elssler was an Austrian. To her it seemed a
demonstration directed against her fatherland and she refused to go on
the stage unless the demonstration stopped. The audience was informed
of the trouble behind the scenes, and from this time on Elssler’s
career was finished. Vainly trying her luck in Russia and England till
1851, she realized the sentimental opposition of all the audiences to
her art and retired forever. She spent her life in comfort, as the
American tour alone had netted her a sum of five hundred thousand
dollars. She died in 1884 in Vienna, a few months after the death of
her rival, Taglioni.


The star that followed Taglioni and Elssler was Carlotta Grisi, born in
a village of Istria and educated in Milan by Perrot. She was a medium
between the poetic Taglioni and romantic Elssler. Her favorite ballets
were _La Peri_ and _Ghiselle_ (the libretto of the latter by Théophile
Gautier and the music by Adolphe Adam). She was excellent in fairy
rôles, in which she showed a marvellous conception of imaginary motions
and gestures. Her fragile figure was favorable to similar rôles and in
these her mimic expressions were superb. She danced in England with
success, but somehow failed to arouse the enthusiasm that greeted her
contemporary Fanny Cerito. Grisi married her former teacher Perrot, who
composed for her many ballets.

Cerito distinguished herself in _Ondine_ and _La Vivandière_, and was
for a long time a favorite of the French audiences. A French critic
writes of her: ‘A good many of our readers will probably remember
Saint-Léon, the distinguished and popular ballet-master. Originally an
eminent violinist, it was out of love for the fairy-like Cerito, whom
he married, that he first gave himself up to the enthusiastic study of
dancing. Mme. Cerito bewitched the public with her exquisite dancing,
while Saint-Léon delighted them with his skill upon the violin and the
dignity and distinction of his compositions.’

There were several French, Italian or Austrian ballet dancers who
distinguished themselves at home, but none of them succeeded in
attracting much the English or American public’s attention. Katty
Lanner and Madame Weiss danced with some success in London, and enjoyed
a high reputation in Vienna. The characteristics of all the Vienna
dancers of this age were their decadent manners and their pretty,
plastic poses. Vienna developed more conspicuous operetta dancers than
real ballet dancers. Katty Lanner achieved a particular grace and
agility in the _Le Papillon_, by Emma Livry.

Of the French and Italian ballet dancers that appeared during the
second half of the nineteenth century most conspicuous are Leontine
Beaugrand, Mlle. Subra, Rosetta Mauri, Mlle. Bernay, Mlle. Petipa, and
Rita Sangalli. Though local critics praised one or other of these as
rivals of Taglioni and Elssler, the fact is they were all either mere
acrobatic imitators, decadent impressionists, or conventional figures.
The ballet shrinks into a secondary position, as the vogue for opera
and orchestral music occupies the foremost attention of the public.
Stage dancing degenerates into shows of insignificant meaning. With our
best will we can find nothing that would seem worthy of the attention
of the French critic who writes of Beaugrand:

‘Before long the public will learn to love this strange profile--so
like a frightened bird’s--and criticism will have to reckon with this
aspiring talent. She has not yet put forth all her strength. It was not
until she appeared in the part of _Coppélia_ that she wholly revealed
what was in her, and that the full extent of her grace and poetic
feeling was unfolded to the public.’

One season later the expected virtuoso vanishes from the public
eye and a new aspirant takes her place. Considering one after the
other, one finds little crisp and spontaneous beauty in the steps and
gestures of the _ballerinas_ of the last part of the past century. The
umbrella-like stiff dress of the classic ballet has only a momentary
semi-sensuous appeal. In the long run it becomes unæsthetic and
unpractical, since it hides the natural lines of the human body.



  The Danish ballet and Bournoville’s reform; Lucile Grahn, Augusta
  Nielsen, etc.--Mrs. Elna Jörgen-Jensen; Adeline Genée; the mission
  of the Danish ballet.


The French ballet dominated civilized Europe for centuries, as did the
French fashions, manners, language, art and social traditions. The high
society of every country was outspokenly French, and so were its views
and entertainments. How much even Germany was in the grip of French
ideals can be seen best from the efforts of her eighteenth-century
writers and reformers on behalf of their own national traditions.
Lessing was most bitterly fighting the French influence in German
life and art. It was only natural that semi-aristocratic Sweden
and Denmark felt the French sway. Stockholm introduced the ballet
during the last part of the eighteenth century, but used it for the
most part as an accessory of the opera. Taglioni, the father of the
celebrated _ballerina_, was employed as a ballet-master in Stockholm
where, in addition to his actual stage work, he was training dancers
for the ballet corps. He was succeeded by no one else than the great
Didelot, who later became a director of the ballet and ballet school
in Petrograd. But Sweden strictly followed the footsteps of France
and Italy and never took another direction. The Swedish ballet of the
nineteenth century was strictly French-Italian.

But the Danish ballet, which had been founded at the same time with
the Swedish, took a different turn. The early part and middle of the
nineteenth century mark a great turning point in the history of the
Danish stage dance. This is wholly due to the patriotic efforts of
its great reformer, Bournoville, who did not like the foreign flavor
of such an important art as dancing, and, moreover, found the stiff
style, artificial manners and the incoherent relation between the music
and dancing too crude and outmoded for a new era. On the other hand,
the method of training the dancers was lacking in system and seemed
too insufficient to make any thorough artists of the young men and
women who wished to make their career as dancers. Vincenzo Tomaselli
Galeotti, who had been for half a century an autocratic figure and
ballet-master of Denmark, emphasized either the acrobatic Italian or
the stereotyped French styles. For Galeotti the Danish ballet was
perfection itself, but not so for Bournoville.

Antoine Auguste Bournoville was born in 1805 in Copenhagen, where
his father had been a dancer and assistant conductor under Galeotti.
Already at the age of eight he danced in small parts in Copenhagen.
But it was not until 1829 that he made his real début in _Gratiereness
Hulding_. In 1824 he made a trip with Orloff to Paris where he saw
Vestris and Gardel, whose instruction and art inspired him to do for
the Danish ballet what they had done for the French. After a tour in
Austria and Italy, Bournoville settled down in Copenhagen and began to
reform the stage of his native land.

Bournoville’s main reformative idea was that a dancer should first of
all have a perfect technique, and then be an individual and not a dead
figure in a spectacular design. The technique of the Milan school was
to him one-sided, striving for gymnastic effects at the expense of the
musical and thematic requirements of a composition. Taglioni had just
made her reputation on the foundations that Bournoville had laid for
the Danish ballet. Virtuosity had been the danger of the old school.
Admiration was centred exclusively in the difficulty of the execution
of the steps. The _pointes_ and _pirouettes_ had been regarded as
the highest form of accomplishment. Bournoville realized that this
step, when it is abused, becomes the curse of ballet dancing. While
recognizing that it was absolutely necessary for momentary use, when
completing an attitude or giving a suggestion of ethereal lightness (as
of the poise of a winged being alighting for an instant upon the earth)
he combated the tendency to base the significance of the dance only on
this. On other occasions, one quick passage across the stage, the tips
of the toes scarcely brushing the dust of the carpet, the dancer may
make the impression of the grace of a bird’s flight. But if this trick
is displayed constantly during a performance the effect is lost in the
ugliness of the effort.

Bournoville was also dissatisfied with the ballet compositions and
plots. He remodelled many French ballets and wrote some himself. In
many things Bournoville coöperated with Pierre J. Larcher. The most
conspicuous of their works was _Valdemar_, which was first performed
in 1835, with music by Froehlich. Not less successful was the _Festen
i Albano_, an idyllic ballet in one act with music by Froehlich. This
was first performed in 1839. A very popular ballet that Bournoville
arranged to the music of Hartmann was _Olaf den Hellige_.

The most conspicuous pupil of Bournoville and the foremost of his prima
_ballerinas_ was Lucile Grahn, a girl of outspoken individuality,
temperament and dramatic force. She was a rival of Taglioni and
Elssler, not only in Denmark, but in France, England and in other
European countries. Grahn’s favored ballet was _La Sylphide_, though
she danced superbly in the _Fiorella_, and _Brahma und Bayaderen_. The
Danish critics wrote that the Copenhagen audience fairly went wild over
her dancing in the _Robert af Normandie_. Grahn differed from Taglioni
in her individual style, which was more romantic and lofty, and in her
dramatic talent. Besides being a great dancer she was an excellent
actress. The London and Petrograd audiences were particularly fond
of her _divertissement_ numbers, mostly written by Danish composers.
She was born in 1819 and died in Munich in 1875, after having lived
nineteen years of happy married life with Friedrich Young, a celebrated
opera singer of that time.

Next to Lucile Grahn in the Danish ballet stands Augusta Nielsen, born
in 1823 in Copenhagen. As a girl of fifteen, she danced in _Valdemar_.
But her real career began with _Toreadoren_, in which she danced for
the first time in 1840. Nielsen’s tendency in dancing was to be natural
rather than acrobatic. Her mimic and rhythmic talent surpassed by far
that of Grahn, Taglioni and Elssler. But since she strove less for
gymnastic effects than her celebrated contemporaries, she failed to
arouse the enthusiasm that greeted the others. She came close to the
modern natural dancers, since dancing was for her an individual art
like singing, in which each artist should express only the best of his
inner self. Like many other Danish dancers, Nielsen was a born actress
and emphasized the dramatic features as the most important ones in the

Among Danish ballet dancers the most conspicuous figures are Adolph
F. Stramboe, Johann Ferdinand Hoppe, Waldemar Price and Hans Beck.
They all follow the footsteps of Bournoville, whose reforms in Danish
dancing are equal to those of Noverre in France, or Petipa in Russia.
Bournoville’s main efforts were to make dancing a serious dramatic
art. In this he succeeded. The influence of the Danish ballet upon
the Russian is of far-reaching extent. Didelot, having been a
ballet-master in Stockholm, was inspired by Bournoville’s attempts,
and followed his example after becoming a ballet director in Russia.
But the art of dancing has its period of youth, maturity, decay and
rebirth. The Danish ballet stopped its evolution after Bournoville. It
has remained what it was half a century ago. It is sound, classic, and
noble in its spirit, but it lacks the fire and soul of youth.


The writer has a record of the young living solo dancer of the
Danish Royal Ballet, Mrs. Elna Jörgen-Jensen, whose exquisite
delicate plastic art in Strindberg’s _Brott och Brott_, and Gabriele
d’Annunzio’s _Gioconda_ aroused stormy enthusiasm among Copenhagen’s
audiences. Haagen Falkenfleth, the celebrated ballet critic of
the _Nationaltidende of Copenhagen_, writes of her; ‘Mrs. Elna
Jörgen-Jensen, the _prima ballerina_ of the Danish Royal Ballet,
entered the Copenhagen Ballet School as a child, as the result of
an episode that is still little known. Her parents knew that little
Elna was passionately fond of dancing, but their surprise was great
when one day she disappeared from her home. It appeared that she had
run after a street organ-grinder to whose screaming tune she was
dancing in the middle of the street to the surprise of the occasional
spectators. At the age of seven she became a pupil of the Royal Ballet
School in Copenhagen, where the children are taught not only dancing
and _calisthenics_, but also the general school subjects, in the same
way as the dancers are educated in the Russian Imperial Ballet School
in Petrograd. As a pupil she was favored with small dancing parts in
certain ballets. She was excellent for little fairy rôles. In this way
she received a gradual training for the stage and had already mastered
her routine when she made her real début in Drigo’s “Harlequin’s
Millions.” She had personified Sylvia’s child in d’Annunzio’s
_Gioconda_ and the page in Schiller’s _Don Carlos_. Her dancing was so
sure, her movements so graceful and her mimicry so true to life that
her reputation was instantly established; but how versatile she was
became known only later.

‘No one who saw her during her début in the rôle of the gay Pierrette,
with frolic-humorous eyes and graceful juvenile steps, could imagine
that on the next occasion she would be so easily transformed into a
tragedienne in Schnitzler’s and Dohnányi’s “Veil of Pierrette.” She
practically created her rôle. Her romantic eyes, so full of sorrow and
despair, added a magic gloom to her dramatic dance, in which she stands
so high above her many contemporaries. She is realistically gripping.
Already at the age of nineteen she was an accomplished mute actress of
the modern type, and a great solo dancer. Dohnányi, who attended the
performance, told me that he had not supposed she could possibly add
such a tragic fire to the rôle that he wrote for untrained theatrical
dancers. Mrs. Jörgen-Jensen proved in this rôle that she had broken
loose from all the traditions of the Bournoville school in which she
was trained. You could not see a line of the conventional ballet style.

‘Bournoville, the reformer of the Danish ballet, introduced a
strong dramatic element into the national art. Yet his tendency was
outspokenly romantic. In this he aimed to be classic and strictly
choreographic. In many of his ballets the romantic and the realistic
issues are closely interwoven. In these Mrs. Jörgen-Jensen sometimes
has gone against the Bournoville principles and used her own judgment.
She has figured as the principal dancer in the “Flower Festival
at Genzano,” _La Ventana_, “Far from Danemark,” _Coppélia_ and
_Swanhilde_. But in “The Little Mermaid,” a ballet based on Hans
Andersen’s fairy-tale, she is best of all. While dancing in the rôle
of the Mermaid, she makes the impression of a magic creature of a
different world, with grace and charms that we have never known, yet
which cast a spell upon us. Mrs. Jörgen-Jensen’s repertoire is large,
but still larger is the range of her dramatic personifications. The
Copenhagen audiences are sorry to see her so little, but the stage of
our National Theatre is more adapted to the opera and drama than to the

Perhaps the best known of the living Danish dancers is Adeline Genée,
whose name has figured during the past twenty years in the ballet
repertoires of all the more or less known opera houses. She has been
a special favorite of the London public, where she made her début in
_Monte Cristo_ in November, 1897. She has shown her best in Delibes’
_Coppélia_, though some critics maintain that her triumph in the
_Dryad_ is even greater. But what _La Sylphide_ was to Taglioni,
_Ghiselle_ to Grisi and _Éoline_ to Lucile Grahn, that is _Coppélia_
to Genée. She is a true exponent of the Bournoville school of ballet,
though she claims that she owes her brilliant technique to some
other sources. Though she studied dancing with her uncle in Denmark,
yet the method, style and technique originate from Bournoville. Max
Beerbohm has given a pretty characteristic account of her appearance
in _Coppélia_ in London. ‘No monstrous automaton is that young lady.
Perfect though she be in the _haute école_, she has by some miracle
preserved her own self. She was born a comedian and a comedian she
remains, light as foam. A mermaid were not a more surprising creature
than she--she of whom one half is that of an authentic _ballerina_,
whilst the other is that of a most intelligent, most delightful human
actress. A mermaid were, indeed, less marvellous in our eyes. She
would not be able to diffuse any semblance of humanity into her tail.
Madame Genée’s intelligence seems to vibrate in her very toes. Her
dancing, strictly classical though it is, is a part of her acting. And
her acting, moreover, is of so fine a quality, that she makes the old
ineloquent conventions of gesture tell meanings to me, and tell them so
exquisitely that I quite forget my craving for words.--Taglioni in _Les
Arabesques_? I suspect in my heart of hearts, she was no better than
a doll. Grisi in _Ghiselle_? She may or may not have been passable.
Genée! It is a name our grandchildren will cherish, even as we cherish
now the names of those bygone dancers. And alas! our grandchildren will
never believe, will never be able to imagine, what Genée was.’

The writer has attended a number of Genée’s performances in Europe and
in America, and does not agree entirely with Mr. Beerbohm’s eulogy. As
already explained above, Bournoville’s method was a great improvement
over the French-Italian schools of dancing, in that it emphasized
the dramatic issues and individual traits in the ballet, which Genée
has exactly followed; but unfortunately the evolution of the Danish
ballet stopped with Bournoville. The art remained in its preliminary
state of development and ended with the Dresden-china steps. It is
this very style that makes Genée an attractive museum figure. In this
she stands unrivalled. She exhibits an art of the past, with every
detail sedulously studied. You can see how mathematically exact is the
position of the fingers, the attitude of the head, the lines of the
arms and limbs, and so on. ‘Every step has its name, every gesture
belongs to its code; there is only one way and no other of executing
them rightly, and that way is Madame Genée’s,’ writes one of her
admirers. But the dance is more than an exhibition of mathematical
figures. The studied smile and sorrow fail to arouse the emotions of
the audience. The Dresden-china step is a fossilized thing of bygone
centuries. It somehow does not belong to the stage.

The significance of the Danish ballet, and its influence upon the
evolution of the art of dancing is greater than it is universally
admitted. The Danes introduced the element of drama into the ballet in
order to make the dancing a kind of mute acting. They were the first
to revolt against many time-worn rules of the old schools. They were
the first to advocate the imitation of nature to a certain extent.
Bournoville said ‘as nature moves in curves and gradations rather than
by leaps and turns, dancing should take that into consideration.’ The
Russian ballet was influenced through the Danish and Swedish. The
Danish ballet was a stepping-stone between the academic French-Italian
and ethno-dramatic Russian schools. It has accomplished a great task
in the evolution of the art of dancing by making the ballet a dramatic
expression on academic lines.



  Nationalism of the Russian ballet; pedagogic principles of the
  Russian school; French and Russian schools compared--Begutcheff and
  Ostrowsky; history of the Russian ballet--Didelot and the Imperial
  ballet school; Petipa and his reforms--Tschaikowsky’s ‘Snow-Maiden’
  and other ballets; Pavlova and other famous _ballerinas_; Mordkin;
  Volinin, Kyasht, Lopokova.


The celebrated saying of the German poet, ‘_Und neues Leben blüht aus
den Ruinen_’ applies better than anything else to the Russian ballet,
which has risen out of the West European choreographic ruins. The
Russian ballet marks a new era in the history of the art of dancing.
The Russian ballet is a new word in the dance world. It brings the
smell of trees and flowers, the songs of birds, the leaps of gazelles
and lions and the very soil of nature to the stage. It breathes the
spectral shadows of the trees and mountains; it begins with the
simplest mushroom and ends with the most complicated hot-house plant.
It emanates nature with all its uncouthness and grace. Like the Russian
composers and poets, the Russian dancers strive to echo Nature with all
its majesty and mystery.

Even with the beginning of the nineteenth century the Russian ballet
begins a course entirely different from that which the schools of
Western Europe were preaching and teaching. Though the ballet-masters
and instructors are foreigners, yet they are actuated by outward
circumstances to apply their academic theories to the conditions of
a different school. With the advent of a national school of music
and drama, at the head of which stood Balakireff, Borodine, Seroff,
Moussorgsky, Tschaikowsky and Rimsky-Korsakoff in music, and Ostrowsky,
Turgenieff, Gogol and others in the drama, the Russian ballet is
forced in the same channels. The Russian ballet grows gradually into
a new nationalistic art, and separates itself altogether from the
French-Italian aristocratic academicism. The frequent remarks of the
foreign critics, suggesting that the Russian ballet was and is a
direct offspring and copy of the classic French-Italian schools, are
absolutely wrong. It is true that the Russians borrowed from the French
the skeleton and from the Italians the mechanic contrivances, but they
built up the body themselves and created something entirely different
from what Western Europe knew of the ballet.

A born dancer, the Russian could never stand the prescribed poses,
smiles, tears, steps and gestures, that were and are still practised
outside. He is ready to undergo the most strenuous training, and
follows microscopically the instructions of the teachers, in order to
acquire the necessary technique; but when it comes to a performance,
he will put his spontaneous ideas and impulses above the technique and
act according to his emotions and inspiration. This is a peculiarity of
the Russian. He is and remains an individual. No school can put him on
the same level with his fellow-students. Is not Pavlova quite different
from Fokina or Karsavina?

No other nation cares so much for racial beauty as the Russian. And
in this it is essentially democratic. All Russian art is based on
the peasant, and not on aristocratic ideals. It expresses this by
being simple, direct, spontaneous and rugged. The greatest factor
in separating the Russian ballet from the western, is the Russian
folk-dance. It owes everything to folk-art. No outside influence
has ever been able to change the Russian æsthetic taste. In art,
particularly in the ballet, the peasant ideals force themselves upon
all aristocratic and bureaucratic classes. Already as a youth he sucks
from the atmosphere the innumerable forms of dance expression. In
his blood lives unconsciously the whole choreographic code, as his
ancestors have known and practised it for centuries. The design of a
peasant is the æsthetic scale of a Russian artist, particularly of
a dancer. Aristocratic ideals never amounted to anything in Russia.
The fact is, the nobleman follows in matters of æsthetic taste the
_moujik_, but never _vice versa_. The benefit of this has been that
neither the court nor foreign academicism could influence the Russian
art of dancing.

Besides the racial motives, the question of scientific education has
been a hobby with the Russian art pedagogues since the early part of
the last century. The Russians are almost fanatic in this respect
and have specialized their educational institutions to such a degree
that they stand unique. The method of training the dancers in other
countries was centred mainly in training the step technique and was, so
to speak, purely choreographic. The Russians took into consideration
all the arts that are related to dancing, and made a rule that all
pupils in the dancing schools should have at least an elementary
training in human anatomy, in sculpture, drama, architecture, painting,
music and in general educational subjects. To know every branch of art
correspondingly well--this made it necessary that children be educated
in an institute from their childhood on. Thus the education for the
Russian ballet is given in the two Imperial Ballet Schools, one in
Petrograd, the other in Moscow, both being connected with the dramatic
departments in which children are trained for the stage. The course
in the school lasts eight years, with an extra one or two years’
post-graduate practice at some opera stage, after which a graduate
receives his ‘Free Artist’ degree which places him on an equal rank
with the graduates of a college, university or musical conservatory.

Marius Petipa, the director and leading spirit of the Petrograd ballet
school, has, upon one occasion, said to the writer: ‘We employ the
French, the Italian, the Danish and the Russian instructors in order
to give the best of every school and style to our pupils. We teach
things that no other school would teach. For instance, our pupils must
know psychology, which is supposed to be unnecessary for a dancer. But
I say, no. How can a girl personify the Snow Maiden when she does not
know the psychology of a fairy? It’s ridiculous, you might think, as
fairies are only legendary figures. But the very fact that they are
imaginary makes it necessary for a girl to know how to avoid showing
any human characteristics.

‘The foreign schools do not care in what steps a dancer should express
such subtle emotions as jealousy, longing, bliss and sorrow. Abroad
they prescribe pirouettes for joy and happiness. They prescribe acting
in this, dancing in that phrase. It is not so with us. We teach the
pupil to see the various human emotions in historic sculpture and
painting. We show them the attitudes of various celebrated actresses in
this or that emotion. Then, we go back to psychology and leave it to
the artist to formulate the position that he would occupy in various
emotions. So you see psychology is very important to a dancer.

‘Dancing is the cream of architecture and sculpture. We teach our
future dancers to know the difference between architecture and
sculpture and then between a dance and a dramatic pose, which are
just as different as opera singing and concert singing. All our
graduates must be accomplished dancers, actors, acrobats, architects
and designers. We teach the difference between a Gothic and Byzantine
line, a Moorish and Romanesque design. We have to analyze music and
sculpture to their elementary parts in order to be able to show the
manifold manifestations of the human soul, and the manifold forms of
beauty. It is in this way that a dancer comes to know which step or
gesture corresponds to the emotions of a Romanesque Italian, Gothic
German or Byzantine Russian.

‘I have been assailed by our critics and composers as being too
strict in demanding technique from our dancers. But tell me, please,
can any talent make a man an artist without technical ability, where
mathematical laws are required as in dancing and in music? Can there
ever be a Rubinstein, Paderewski or Kubelik without the acquired
harmonic and melodic skill on the instrument which I call technique?
Just as little chance has a man of being a great dancer if he does not
possess the ability to control his body, though he be the greatest
choreographic genius in the world. Art is technique plus talent. No
great artist in dancing was ever produced without technique.

‘Do you know what Lubke said in his immortal History of Sculpture, that
applies also to a dancer? I am telling all my pupils when they leave
the institution that, like sculptor in the clay, a dancer in himself
must seek the “Image of God,” the spark of divine life. When he fails
to find this in separate lines, poses, gestures, attitudes and mimic
expressions, he must search for it in the whole, and, by thoughtful
study and thinking, he will certainly attain the reflex of immortal
beauty--the image of deity. This I call artistic creation. In sculpture
as in dancing the divine and heroic are the aims of the artistic
achievements. Without this striving after the divine spark nothing is
produced but lifeless figures and dead forms. A dancer, like any other
artist, should aspire after spirit-breathing beauty.’

[Illustration: Pavlowa

_a painting by John Lavery_]

This briefly expresses the fundamental traditions of the Russian
ballet school. To a certain extent it is academic, but it has never
interfered with the racial and the individual tendencies of the
artists. Though there are only three large independent ballet corps in
Russia, those of Petrograd, Moscow, and Warsaw, yet nearly every one of
the sixty or more provincial opera houses keeps its local ballet corps
in connection with the operatic and dramatic staff. While in foreign
countries ballet has been appreciated mainly as an accessory to the
opera for its spectacular effects, its æsthetic appeal being regarded
as not possessing a high order of merit, in Russia it is considered a
great and independent art of the stage, standing on a plane with opera,
both musically and dramatically. When a few years ago the Russian
dancers made their appearance abroad the public was startled, as no one
could imagine that any good thing could come out of Czardom. It is a
great mistake to suppose that the Russian ballet is an aristocratic or
autocratic institution. By no means. Like Russian drama and music the
Russian ballet is a national institution and a national achievement.

In how far the Russian ballet differs from her sister institutions
outside is best to be seen in such old-fashioned ballets as _Les
Sylphides_, which was danced by Taglioni, and is danced by the artists
of the French-Italian schools and figures in the repertoires of the
Russian ballet. Another work of similar nature is the _Coppélia_.
Not only are these two time-worn ballets wholly changed in their
thematic and musical sense but in the very form of conception. The
Russian _Sylphides_ and _Coppélia_ are old scenes in modern light,
the French-Italian _Sylphides_ and _Coppélia_ are pitiable museum
shows. Where a French-Italian _ballerina_ would leap and whirl, a
Russian acts and poses. Like the art of an actress that of a Russian
_ballerina_ is in the first place a personification of the character
in whose rôle she is dancing. Pavlova as she depicts the incomparable
fury of Glazounoff’s _L’Autômne Bacchanale_, could not by any means
be a Cleopatra as personified by Astafieva. Karsavina with all her
dramatic thrill and _arabesques_ is a mediocrity in the rôles in which
Pavlova excels. The dramatic issue is the foremost question in the
Russian ballet, often to such an extent that it minimizes the musical
significance. The most talented of the foreign ballet dancers do not
begin to go into the dramatic details of a dance as the Russians do.

To get an idea of the Russian ballet with all its true atmosphere one
must go to Russia. The performances of the Diaghileff company which
foreign audiences have seen, belong to the revolutionary school, but
not to the typical classic dance of Russia, which we shall discuss
later. The Russian ballet dancer is free from all the stiffness,
decadent artificiality, preconceived emotions, and fossilized
formalities of the French-Italian ballet dancers. This freedom he owes,
in the first place, to the thorough training in the school; second,
to the distinctly racial traditions of the Russian drama and art; and
third, to the serious critical attitude of the audiences. To say that
the Russian ballet has not travelled in ideals far from those of Milan
in the earlier part of the nineteenth century, as a foreign dance
critic has said, is untrue. The difference between these two schools is
just as real as that between the Catholic and the Protestant church:
the one believes in the form, the other in the spirit.


How much the Russian ballet has influenced drama, opera, painting and
music can be judged from the fact that almost without an exception all
the Russian operas require dancing; thus there are several dramas and
orchestra works interwoven with the ballet. On the other hand the
dancer has made use of themes and compositions that had been created
for other purposes; for all such ballets as the _Scheherezade_,
_Prince Igor_, _Baba Yaga_ and many others, were written as orchestral
suites, symphonic poems or parts of operas. But the choric imagination
discovered in them latent music dramas adapted for dancing. We are
inclined to think that the Moscow ballet, but not that of Petrograd,
is a thoroughly Russian institution, since Begutcheff, who was a
director of the Moscow Opera and Ballet at the time of Tschaikowsky and
Ostrowsky, banished all foreign influence from that stage, more so than
has ever happened in Petrograd.

In 1873 Begutcheff asked Ostrowsky, one of the foremost Russian
dramatists, to write a fairy ballet for performance at the Imperial
Opera in St. Petersburg, exacting that it should be free from any
satirical or politically undesirable element. Begutcheff asked the
dramatist to submit the scenario to him for approval. Ostrowsky was
noted for his bitter sarcasm anent the Russian bureaucracy and for
his idealization of the peasants. This he was told he should avoid in
the ballet, ‘for such would be not pleasing to the imperial family.’
Ostrowsky smiled, grunting: ‘God be thanked, the imperial family
has no business to interfere with the imagination of an artist.’ He
finished his libretto without consulting Begutcheff and entitled
it _Snegourotchka_--‘Snow Maiden.’ The director of the Petrograd
ballet did not like Ostrowsky’s libretto and refused to consider it.
Begutcheff, however, turned the libretto over to Tschaikowsky to
compose the music and it was performed with great success in Moscow.

One of the special features of the Russian ballet is its _chorovody_
character--that is, the musical accompaniment, on many occasions,
is supplied by the singing of the dancers themselves. This species
of vocal ballets evidently originated in the choral dances of
the peasants. The Russian ballet is, in fact, an outgrowth of the
folk-dance just as Russian music emanates from the folk-song. While
watching the Russian ballet, you see glimpses of the racial traits.
It is not like the music, however, a picture of the gloom of lonely
_moujik_ life, in which only here and there a beam of light breaks
through the melancholy. It is a succession of brilliant pictures of the
mediæval Boyars, the semi-barbaric nobility. Every part of the ballet
is meant to show the rich Byzantine colors, and primitive passions as
set forth in a half-civilized garb.

It is true the Russian ballet is controlled by the court and therefore
is forced to be aristocratic in appearance. The composers and the
ballet-masters have been strictly instructed to avoid all undesirable
themes; but, strange to say, the ballet is just as much a mirror of
the hospitable, good natured, naïve and emotional peasant as it is of
a spoiled Boyar. It is not that all the ballet dancers are children of
peasants, educated for the stage by the court, but because the Russian
dramatists and composers have unconsciously put their own _moujik_
souls in their creations, for, though most of the Russian composers and
dramatists are descendants of the aristocracy, yet in their hearts they
have remained one with the people, whose life they live in thought and

In its principles the ballet is the most aristocratic and the oldest of
all Russian arts of the stage. The unwritten history of the enchanting
Russian dance would make a thrilling record of more than two centuries.
The romances, tragedies, mysteries, and intrigues connected with this
sealed drama have often played a decisive rôle in the affairs of the
country. As the result of a romance with pretty Teleshova Griboyedoff,
a famous Russian dramatist was killed in Teheran. For having dedicated
his ‘Eugene Onyegin’ to the fascinating Istomina, prima _ballerina_ of
the Imperial Opera, Poushkin, the poet, lost the love of his wife and
was subsequently shot in a duel. The Czar Paul fell in love with Eugeny
Kolossova and in consequence was strangled at his palace in Petrograd.
Before the present Czar ascended the throne he was said to have been so
much in love with Mathilda Kshesinskaya that he made plans to renounce
his throne and marry her.

The ballet was introduced in Russia as early as 1672. Czar Alexis
Mihailowitch ordered his aid-de-camp, Colonel Van Staden, to have a
troupe of Dutch comedians brought to Moscow. Van Staden made a contract
with a ballet manager in Brussels, but the foreigner was frightened
into giving up the venture because of a rumor that he and his troupe
might eventually land in Siberia. After this a German pastor, the
Rev. Johann Gregory, undertook the management of the troupe, hiring
sixty-four German and Italian dancers and producing in 1673 the first
ballet, ‘Orpheus and Euridice,’ with great success. Peter the Great was
so fascinated with the ballet that he himself took part and for this
purpose received lessons from the ballet-master.

The ballet of this time was, of course, Italian-French in conception
and music. But the early foreign masters soon produced a school of
native instructors who gradually made use of the peculiarities of
national dances. Many Russian ballets were already at this time of
national color, one of them, _Baba Yaga_, having been written by the
Czar himself. _Baba Yaga_ is a Russian fairy tale. Like the English
‘Witch on a Broomstick,’ _Baba Yaga_ rides through the sky on a huge
mortar, propelling herself with a pestle, while her great tongue licks
up the clouds as she passes. The dancers were trained in various
military or municipal schools and the teaching was unsystematic in
every respect.

The first impetus to a national dancing academy was given by Empress
Anna Ivanovna, the sister of Peter the Great, who felt that the
education of the dancers was not systematic enough, and regretted
that the best dancers had to be hired from abroad. In 1735, she asked
Christian Wellmann, a teacher of gymnastics in the Cadet Corps, to
found a dramatic dancing school in which girls and boys could be
educated for the ballet. The Italian composer Francesca Areja was
employed to take care of the music, while Lande, a pupil of Noverre,
was to act as ballet director. As the newly formed school could not
get children of the nobility to learn dancing, Lande trained a number
of poor city boys and girls free of any charge, and with them gave
a performance at the palace. The Empress was so pleased with their
dance that she instructed that the pupils be educated in the Imperial
Dramatic Dancing School free of charge.


The most conspicuous figures in the development of the early Russian
ballet were Locatelli, Hilferding and Lessogoroff. To the latter’s
efforts are due the reforms that made the Russian school independent
from French-Italian influences. But to Charles Louis Didelot is due
the thorough and many sided system of training that makes the School a
unique institution in Europe. He may be considered the real father of
all the pedagogic technical perfection, for it was he who emphasized
the importance of a systematic training in a true dramatic spirit,
contending that a good ballet dancer should also be a good actress and
an artist and a poet at heart. Up to his time lessons had consisted
mostly of physical training, fencing and gymnastics, but he insisted
that the ballet be put on the same basis as drama. Whereas the dance
had been merely a spectacular part of opera he intended that it should
become an independent production. This brought upon him a storm of
indignation on the part of the clergy and their supporters, the quarrel
becoming so intense that in 1801, as one of its effects, the Czar Paul
was acclaimed a heretic and was combatted by the ecclesiastic powers
until he was strangled in his palace and his son, Alexander I, ascended
the throne. The young Czar was religious, but so much an admirer of the
ballet that he did not interfere with the plans of Didelot and gave him
a still greater authority.

It is strange how Didelot, a rather small, insignificant, pock-marked
and deformed Frenchman, who had been for some time a ballet teacher
in Stockholm, could play a dominating rôle during the twenty-five
years that he was director of the Imperial Ballet School. The best
known dancers of his school were Istomina, Teleshova and the uncle of
Taglioni, who later undertook the training of Maria Taglioni. Miss
Novitzkaya was a celebrated pupil of Didelot, but her career was soon
destroyed by an affair of the heart. Gedeonoff, the director who
followed Didelot, fell madly in love with Novitzkaya and proposed
to her, but the dancer, having given her heart to a poor composer,
remained true to him and became his wife. This was the end of her art,
though critics claimed her superior to Taglioni and Elssler.

By 1847 the Russian ballet had taken a leading place in Europe, but
in a purely artistic sense it was still foreign in character, the
librettos being built mainly on foreign themes or constructed to
foreign music. With the advent of the composers Glinka, Dargomijsky,
Seroff, Balakireff and Moussorgsky, it was evident that ballet faced a
reform similar to that which music had undergone. The ballets of the
old school had usually been divided into several acts and figures,
each of which had _entrées_ and strictly prescribed rules for using
various gestures, steps, etc., in certain places. They, however,
failed to define the relation of emotion and acting to the plot and
made dancing a complicated artificial salon-plant. An uninitiated logic
could hardly grasp the hieroglyphic meaning of all the queer gymnastic
tricks. With the engagement of Marius Petipa, in 1849, there came a
change. Although a Frenchman by birth Petipa was just such a reformer
in the ballet as Michelangelo was in sculpture. More powerful than any
other master, he entered the sphere of choreographic art, transforming
it completely, and assigning it new limits. Petipa was the master
of a new ballet, an idealist in the strictest sense of the word. He
sought for a universally available expression, and often even ignored
questions of racial beauty. He gave himself up for many years to an
anatomical study of the dance and the human body. By him the human form
in all its majesty was valued for its own sake. To exhibit it in all
conceivable attitudes and poses, to display it freely and grandly after
the principles of classic beauty, was the aim of his endeavor. The weak
decadent movements and the forced forms of the Paris and Milan schools
were irritable to his broad views of the art of dancing. Unfettered
subjectivity prevailed in his efforts, which admitted no objective
realism in their absolute sway. All his method betrays an eternal
struggle to introduce into dancing the most sublime ideas, the sway
of idea over form. Whether a figure was natural or not interested him
little, if it only expressed what was floating before his mind. Petipa
infused a new life into Russian ballet. Nevertheless he could not
wholly free himself from the mannerism of the time, nor could he yet
find the path to perfect purity and naïveté of conception.

Petipa surrounded himself with the best dance authorities of the
time. Felix Kshesinsky, Leggatt, Schirjajeff and Bekeffy became his
associates in the task he had undertaken. Coöperating in harmony and
inspired by the new tendency of nationalism in music and drama, they
made the ballet typically national by introducing a long repertoire
of national themes in the dance. With pretty Kshesinskaya, Bogdanova,
Breobrashenskaya, Sokolova, Pavlova, Karsavina, Lopokova and Fokina
as the _prima ballerinas_ many new ballets became thrilling novelties
to the Russian audiences. The ballet in the eyes of the Petipa school
became a mute drama with music, and at once took a high position
artistically and poetically. People grew to find the ballet far more
alluring than the pessimistic drama.

What Petipa did pedagogically for the uplifting of the Russian ballet,
Vsevoloshky did scenically and industrially. Vsevoloshky made himself
the spirit of the nationalistic movement by combining with the purely
choreographic part the creations of the new school of painters and
composers in a highly artistic manner. Rubinstein, Tschaikowsky,
Rimsky-Korsakoff, Arensky and Glazounoff in music, Bilibin, Benois and
Bakst in painting, contributed their best works to the ballet. On the
other hand, while the West European ballets cared little for training
the male dancers, the Russians laid a special stress on training an
equal number of boys with the girls in all their ballet schools. The
training of a boy is different from that of a girl in that it teaches
chiefly those traits that lend virility and strength to expression. A
weak masculine element deprives the ballet of its natural effect. A
Pavlova, Karsavina or Fokina without a Nijinsky, Mordkin or Volinin,
would be like an orchestra without the bass. How repulsive it is to see
the ‘boy’ dancer of the English stage, who is always a girl!


The most typical of the early purely Russian native ballets was the
_Snegourotchka_--‘The Snow Maiden’--which was first performed in
1876 in Moscow. Tschaikowsky took for his musical themes half a dozen
folk-songs from Brokunin’s collection, and a few from the lips of the
village people near Kieff. This ballet has been of the greatest success
on the Russian stage thus far. This is musically and choreographically
a dramatized fairy tale. The Snow Maiden is the issue of the union of
the gladsome fairy, Spring, with the grim old geni, Winter. The father
jealously guards her from the courting Sun-God, who is eager to pour
upon her his scorching and destructive rays. Winter would like to
keep her in the forest, but the mother, proud of her child’s beauty,
wants to send her into the busy world to charm its inhabitants. After
a serious conflict of the parents the father yields. The girl feels
the strange emotions of love and trembles, singing a thrilling melody.
She wanders from village to village in search of a lover, but her
numerous admirers are unable to stir her heart, because snow circulates
through her veins. She realizes that she is void of real passion.
Spring appears to her and endows her with the tenderness of a lily, the
languor of a poppy and the desire of a rose. The Snow Maiden’s heart
is touched at last, but in the moment when she wishes to fall on her
lover’s neck a brilliant sun ray pours its Summer heat on her. She
dissolves in vapor and floats into the skies.

The score is wholly Russian in mood and color. The dramatic treatment
of the subject is the best that Tschaikowsky has ever done. The
Snow Maiden’s theme is very sad and beautiful in the last movement.
The pantomime and steps are excellent, and seem to melt into one
magic whole. Tschaikowsky, with his peculiar genius for evolving
floating, curving dance rhythms and his remarkable gift for lyrical
characterization, made ‘The Snow Maiden’ a great success.

Of less success was Tschaikowsky’s second ballet, ‘Swan Lake,’ though
it has been in recent years a favorite ballet with the Petrograd
audiences. Like the first, it was built on a fairy tale and an old
folk legend theme. It was performed in 1876. Another ballet full of
imaginary episodes and pretty music is ‘The Sleeping Beauty.’ The
finest pages of this score are found in the _Adagio misterioso_,
describing the sleep of the princess. But choreographically the best
part is the _Pas d’action_, in which the _prima ballerina_ seems to
melt into one audio-visible beauty that thrills the utmost depths of
the soul. The ‘Nut Cracker’ has had less success than the others,
yet it is a magnificent work of art. It probably lacks the feminine
sentimentality that is always sure of a stage success.

To our knowledge none of Tschaikowsky’s ballets has been given in
America. Whether the Diaghileff company ever gave any of them in
Paris and London, we have been unable to learn. The Russian ballets
that the foreign audiences have thus far seen abroad, are nearly
without exception musical patch-works. Neither the Rimsky-Korsakoff
_Scheherezade_ nor _Prince Igor_ nor _Cleopatra_ was ever written for
dancing. The _Scheherezade_, for instance, is an orchestral suite of
Rimsky-Korsakoff. He never meant it for a ballet. Of all the real
ballets that the Diaghileff troupe has given only those composed by
Stravinsky and a few by Tcherepnin are meant to be danced.

Among the best Russian ballet dancers of the strictly classic or, as we
should say, of the Petipa school, are Kshesinskaya, Breobrashenskaya,
Geltzer, Pavlova, Mordkin, Novikoff, Volinin, Kyasht and Lopokova,
most of whom are known abroad. But there are quite a number of Russian
_prima ballerinas_, who, for some reason or other, have not been able
to display their art abroad, yet who rival the best we know. As with
other artists, dancers all have their individual traits of superiority
and weakness. In some dances we have seen Kshesinskaya superior to all
the rest, in other rôles she is just a mediocrity. We can imagine
nothing more inspiring and beautiful than Pavlova and Mordkin in
Glazounoff’s _L’Autômne Bacchanale_. No Russian ballet dancers have
surpassed them in this. In the same way we consider Pavlova a goddess
of grace and beauty in Drigo’s _Papillon_ and Saint-Saëns’ ‘The Swan.’
We measure her one of the most lyric artists of the Russian classic

Mme. Pavlova is a graduate of the Petrograd Ballet School and was for
years a _prima ballerina_ at the Mariensky Theatre in that city before
she made a tour to Riga, Warsaw and Helsingfors. Having been received
with greatest enthusiasm on her provincial tour she decided to try her
luck abroad and made her London début in 1910, where she immediately
had the city at her feet. It is only in recent years that Pavlova
has danced in her own regular ballet, whereas before she appeared
exclusively in solo dances, either with Mordkin, Novikoff or Volinin.
In our judgment she has not added anything to her reputation or success
by her patchy ballet, particularly in America, where the public is
least impressed by pantomimic art of the kind they can see with more
advantage in the moving-picture show. It is Pavlova’s art that the
people admire, not the ballets that are concocted for her. It must be
said that the ballets recently produced by her possess little dramatic
or choreographic appeal.

In questions pertaining to her dancing Pavlova has been broad and
tolerant, and has listened quietly to every eulogistic or critical
remark. She has not remained indifferent to the latest choreographic
movements but has adapted herself to many suggestions, particularly to
those of the movement of the naturalistic school of Isadora Duncan. In
spite of the growing influence of the revolutionary new ballet of the
Fokine-Diaghileff group, and while keeping in view the changing taste
and requirements of the public, Pavlova should, we believe, guard
against too great a compromise. She surpasses in her magic swiftness,
delicacy, bird-like agility, floating grace and lyric pirouettes all
her living rivals. One can see that she has tuned her body to the most
delicate _pianissimi_ and the most powerful _forti_. But when she
attempts to use her arms too conspicuously, or produce Greek poses,
she is a disappointing failure. We must admit with an English critic
that ‘in Pavlova’s dancing we are no longer aware of the conscious and
painful obedience of the body to the dictates of a governing mind. It
is as though the spirit itself had left its central citadel and, by
some unwonted alchemy becoming dissolved in the blood and fibres of her
being, had penetrated to the extremities of the limbs. Soul from body
is no longer distinguishable, and which is servant to the other none
can tell.’

Mordkin and Volinin stand by no means beyond the dynamic beauty of
Pavlova. In their virilly graceful gestures and poses lies something
heroic and strong, something beast-like in its beauty. Mordkin perhaps
more than Volinin is endowed with a robust, massive and splendid
physique, qualities which leave some of his less critical admirers
blind to the deficiencies of his art. Both dancers have acquired most
of their pliancy and manliness by a course of systematic and rigorous
training which gives to their dance an unusual _abandon_ and loftiness.
Their dancing has a tendency to give a semblance of repose to their
quickest motions. They seem to avoid the conventional whirls and pivots
with intention, and to prefer the lion-like leaps and _chassées_. Their
reckless swing in _L’Autômne Bacchanale_ is just as much an expression
of manly vigor as Pavlova’s _pirouette_ and _rond de jambe_ is one of
feminine grace.

The ranks of the Russian ballet dancers are of a peculiar bureaucratic
order, beginning with the simple _danseuse_ and ending with the _prima
ballerina_, which is a rank similar in the hierarchy to that of a full
general. Lydia Kyasht, for instance, is a lieutenant in her rank of
_première sujet_. Pavlova and Karsavina are _ballerinas_, while only
Kshesinskaya and Breobrashenskaya are _prima ballerinas_. Among the
Russian dancers known abroad, Lydia Kyasht and Lydia Lopokova are next
to Pavlova brilliant exponents of the Russian classic or so called ‘Old
Ballet.’ They have both impressed us as sincere and eloquent artists
of their school, the one romantic, the other extremely poetic. The
ethereal twists and glides of Lopokova surpass by far those of Pavlova
in their peculiar fairy-like lines and poses. Kyasht appeals to us
immensely on account of her absolutely classic plastic and enchanting
poses, which add an exotic air to her enchanting expressions.

In introducing Pavlova, Mordkin and other more or less prominent
exponents of the Russian classic ballet to America and England Max
Rabinoff has been the practical spirit behind the scenes. An authority
on the dance, Mr. Rabinoff had the conviction, even when the Russian
dancers were yet unknown in America, that they would ultimately triumph
as they did. To his persistent efforts the Russian ballet owes its
success in America.

The classic Russian ballet is a pure Byzantine piece of stage art.
It mirrors the bizarre glow and colors of the cathedrals, the mystic
romanticism of the Kremlin walls and cupolas, the Tartar minarets, the
vaulted _teremas_ (Boyar houses), the lonely steppes, the gloomy penal
colonies, the luxurious palaces and twisted towers of a semi-Oriental
country. Strongly replete with the character of the passing Boyar life,
it is an era in itself.



  Nineteenth century decadence; sensationalism--Loie Fuller and the
  Serpentine dance--Louise Weber, Lottie Collins and others.

During the last half of the nineteenth century the art of dancing
reached such a low level that Max Nordau said: ‘It is a fleeting
pastime for women and youths, and later on its last atavistic survival
will be the dancing of children.’ An English writer of that time wrote
aptly: ‘In these days of culture, when the public mind is being trained
to perceive and appreciate whatever is lovely in nature and art, when
music is universally studied, when there is ample evidence of general
improvement in taste and design in our streets, our buildings, on the
walls and in the furniture of our homes, is it not strange that a
single art, one which was in classic times deemed worthy to rank with
poetry and painting--the art of dancing--has degenerated to such an
extent that its practice, as frequently exhibited both in public and
in private, is a positive disgrace to the age? This is no exaggerated
statement. It is one which I think any competent critic is hardly
likely to deny.’

The Skirt Dance, the Serpentine Dance, the High Kickers, the Nude
Bayaderes were the sensations of the day. Here Lottie Collins, there
Loie Fuller, now Letti Lind, then again Connie Gilchrist, figured as
the greatest dance attractions of the day. London blamed Paris, Paris
blamed New York. How much the craze for such an art had cast its spell
on the public of that period is best illustrated by the immense sums
of money that the theatrical managers paid for their shows. The gross
receipts during one season in New York of ‘Humpty Dumpty,’ a celebrated
ballet of that time, amounted to $1,406,000. It brought in a similar
sum, if not more, outside.


A brilliant star of the sensational school of dancing was Loie Fuller,
of Chicago. She made her New York début in ‘Jack Sheppard,’ with a
salary of seventy-five dollars a week. While rehearsing a new play,
she received from an English officer a present of an extremely fine
Oriental robe that floated gracefully in the air. This gave her the
idea of using it for her dancing. While making some experiments before
the mirror, she noticed the effects brought about by the then newly
invented electric light. She tried innumerable variations of poses
and all were delightful. This was the birth process of the Serpentine
Dance. J. E. Crawford Flitch writes of the incident:

‘The invention of the Serpentine Dance coincided with the discovery
of electricity as a method of lighting the stage. Until that time gas
alone had been used. Loie Fuller immediately saw the possibilities of
the new scientific illumination, and with the aid of a few friends
she devised a means by which the effect of the vivid sunshine could
be obtained through the use of powerful electric lights placed in
front of reflectors. Then various experiments with color were tried;
for the white light of electricity were substituted different shades
of reds, greens, purples, yellows, blues, by the combinations of
which innumerable and wonderful rainbow-like effects of color were
obtained. Played upon by the multitudinous hues, the diaphanous silk
gave an impression of startling originality and beauty. Coming at the
time when the artistic lighting of the stage was scarcely studied at
all, the riot of color created a sensation. Nothing like it had been
seen before. The old-fashioned limelight, the flickering gas-jets,
the smoking red and blue flames dear to the Christmas pantomime,
paled before this discovery of science which apparently possessed
inexhaustible possibilities of a stage illuminant.’

Loie Fuller made a sensation in America, particularly in New York and
Chicago. But her success was much greater when she gave spectacular
performances to the morbid Berlin, Paris and London audiences. Her
début at Folies Bergères was more than a triumph. She became the rage
of France. The management of the Folies Bergères engaged her for three
years at a salary of one thousand dollars a week. How greatly ‘_La
Loie_,’ as she was called in Paris, impressed the French audiences is
best to be seen in what one of the French critics writes of her: ‘We
shall not easily forget the Serpentine Dance, undulating and luminous,
full of weird grace and originality, a veritable revelation! By means
of a novel contrivance, the gauzy iridescent draperies in which Loie
Fuller swathes herself were waved about her, now to form huge wings,
now to surge in great clouds of gold, blue, or crimson, under the
colored rays of the electric light. And in the flood of this dazzling
or pallid light the form of the dancer suddenly became incandescent,
or moved slowly and spectrally in the diaphanous and ever-changing
coloration cast upon it. The spectator never wearied of watching the
transformations of these tissues of living light, which showed in
successive visions the dreamy dancer, moving languidly in a chaos of
figured draperies--in a rainbow of brilliant colors or a sea of vivid
flames. And after having roused us to a pitch of enthusiasm by this
luminous choreography, she appeared triumphant in the pantomime-ballet
_Salome_, reproducing the gloomy episode of the death of John the

Among the dances that Loie Fuller had in her repertoire, besides
the Serpentine Dance, were the Rainbow Dance, the Flower Dance,
the Butterfly Dance, the Mirror Dance, and the Fire Dance. It is
only natural that all her dances of this kind made necessary a vast
paraphernalia of accessories and an army of assistants. The Fire Dance
she performed in the centre of a darkened stage before an opening
in the floor through which a powerful electric reflector threw up
intensely brilliant rays. None of her dances had any classified steps,
any poses, gestures of the kind employed by dancers of various other
schools and different ages. The function of the limbs and arms was
merely to put veils and draperies into motion.


Of somewhat the same class were the entertainments given by Louise
Weber or ‘La Goulu,’ another American girl of the type of Loie Fuller.
Occasionally she exhibited some skill in her kicking scenes. It is
said that she never made pretension to rhythm and grace. Her ‘art’ was
a negation of every beauty. It was a frenzied delirious gymnastic.
An American critic says that her legs were agitated like those of
a marionette, they pawed the air, jerked out in the manner of a
pump-handle, and menaced the hats of the spectators.

Lottie Collins was a favorite of the English, French and American
audiences, though she was little more than a jumper of a new style.
The watchword of the ballet _habitués_ of this time was novelty at
any price. It is extremely amusing to read a Kansas City criticism of
Miss Collins’ performance in that city: ‘Lottie Collins has the stage
all to herself and she bounces and dances and races all over it in the
most reckless and irresponsible way, precisely as if she were a happy
child so full of health and spirits that she couldn’t keep still if
she wanted to. Sometimes she simply runs headlong all the way round
the stage, finishing the lap with perhaps a swift whirl or two, or a
whisk and kick. Sometimes she simply jumps and bounces, and sometimes
she doubles up like a pen-knife with the suddenness of a springlock to
emphasize the “boom.” She is invariably in motion except when she stops
to chant the gibberish that passes for verses, but the wonder is that
she has breath enough to sing after the first cyclonic interlude.’

Still more debased were the performances of Olga Desmond, Villiani
and others, who made erotic gestures and nude dances a fad of many
European capitals. The argument of these dancers was that dancing,
like sculpture, is predominantly an art of nudes. Only the naked body
could show the perfect plastic lines and graceful poses. They strove
to dance slow music, sonatas and symphonic poems, in order to display
the effects of certain pretty poses and arabesques. They put a special
stress upon the rhythm, but their interpretation was morbidly perverse.

The best figure of this decadent school of dancing was Kate Vaughan,
who strove to follow the style and manners of Taglioni’s dance. But the
sensation and novelty-loving public of England found her art too tame
and old-fashioned, so she died in poverty and broken health in South
Africa. Mr. Crawford Flitch says of her: ‘Although of course she never
reached the perfection of her predecessor [Taglioni], it was to her
careful training in the school of the ballet that she owed the ease and
grace of her movements and the wonderful effect of spontaneity with
which she accomplished even the most difficult steps. She danced not
only with her feet, but with every limb of her frail body. She depended
not merely upon the manipulation of the skirt for her effect, but upon
her facility of balance and the skillful use of arms and hands. Her
andante movements in particular were a glorious union of majesty and
grace. It is true that she condescended at times to introduce into her
dance some of those hideous steps which vulgarized the dancing of the
period--in particular that known as the “high kick”; but even this
unpleasant step she accomplished with a certain sense of elegance and
refinement which disguised its essential ugliness and suggestion of
contortion. She danced with a distinct inspiration, and upon her style
was built up all that was best in the dancing of her time.’

This new dance hysteria seemed to be of an epidemic nature. The
vogue for crude and sensational dances held the whole western world
for nearly half a century in its iron grip. With the exception of
Scandinavia and Russia, all Europe and America were affected by a
decadent dance taste. Novelty was reckoned far superior to beauty.
Cleverness was placed high above talent and genius. It was seemingly a
prelude to a subsequent effeminacy that was to spread over Occidental
art and life.



  The ‘return to nature’; Isadora Duncan--Duncan’s influence: Maud
  Allan; Duncan’s German followers--Modern music and the dance; the
  Russian naturalists; Glière’s ‘Chrisis’--Pictorial nationalism:
  Ruth St. Denis--Modern Spanish dancers; ramifications of the
  naturalistic idea.


During the last part of the past and the beginning of the present
century, when the outside world was ignorant of the existence of the
Russian ballet, circles of more serious-minded students of art began to
voice protest against the cult of skirt and fire dancers, jongleurs and
kickers, and the time was ripe for any movement that would bring relief
from the prevailing deterioration of such a noble art as dancing. Even
the general public grew bored of acrobatic performances and as during
every period of decadence ‘there were a few teachers who consistently
resolved to impart to their pupils only what was good and beautiful
in dancing, whose voices, feeble as they sounded, were nevertheless
strong enough to carry weight and rescue their art from the deplorable
condition into which it had for the time fallen,’ as a dancing critic
of that time aptly writes. One of the most ardent advocates of a new
classic art of dancing during this time was Mrs. Richard Hovey. In
all her teaching and preaching Mrs. Hovey based the principles of the
prospective style upon the plastic art of the ancient Greeks. She made
a vigorous propaganda for this in New York, Boston and California.
Whether directly or indirectly Miss Isadora Duncan, who had been
interested in initiating a reform of human life in its least details
of costume, of hygiene and of morals, felt the impulse of Mrs. Hovey’s
propaganda and joined the worthy movement.

The fundamental principle of Mrs. Hovey’s propaganda was the return
to nature. According to the theory of this new movement, dancing was
declared an expression of nature. Water, wind, birds and all forces
of nature are subject to a law of rhythm and gravity. Not the tricky,
broken lines, spinning whirls and toe gymnastics, but soft, curved
undulations of nature, are close to Mother Earth. Thus also man in
his normal life and savage state, moved rather in slow curves than in
quick broken lines. This, briefly, was the principal argument of the
few reformers who inspired Miss Duncan. Already Noverre and Petipa had
emphasized the fact that ancient Greek sculpture and Greek designs gave
the best ideas of graceful lines and pleasing human forms. But the
votaries of the new school explained that in a return to the natural
gesture of human life Greek art was the only logical criterion. Miss
Duncan in her essay, ‘The Dance,’ says:

‘To seek in nature the fairest forms and to find the movement which
expresses the soul of these forms--this is the art of the dancer. It is
from nature alone that the dancer must draw his inspirations, in the
same manner as the sculptor, with whom he has so many affinities. Rodin
has said: “To produce good sculpture it is not necessary to copy the
works of antiquity; it is necessary first of all to regard the works of
nature, and to see in those of the classics only the method by which
they have interpreted nature.” Rodin is right; and in my art I have
by no means copied, as has been supposed, the figures of Greek vases,
friezes and paintings. From them I have learned to regard nature, and
when certain of my movements recall the gestures that are seen in works
of art, it is only because, like them, they are drawn from the grand
natural source.

‘My inspiration has been drawn from trees, from waves, from clouds,
from the sympathies that exist between passion and the storm, between
gentleness and the soft breeze, and the like, and I always endeavor to
put into my movements a little of that divine continuity which gives to
the whole of nature its beauty and its life.’

Thus Miss Duncan started her career by interpreting natural qualities
by means of natural movements. ‘I have closely studied the figured
documents of all ages and of all the great masters, but I have never
seen in them any representations of human beings walking on the
extremity of the toes or raising the leg higher than the head. These
ugly and false positions in no way express that state of unconscious
Dionysiac delirium which is necessary to the dancer. Moreover,
movements, just like harmonies in music, are not invented; they are
discovered,’ writes Miss Duncan. To her the only mode of dancing is
barefoot. According to her ‘the dancer must choose above all the
movements which express the strength, the health, the grace, the
nobility, the languor or the gravity of living things.’ Gravity to Miss
Duncan is natural and right. A ballet dancer, a Pavlova, Nijinsky and
Karsavina, eager to defy the laws of gravity, is to her a freak.

Prince Serge Volkhonsky, who has been a conspicuous figure in the
Russian dance reform-movement, writes of Miss Duncan’s school in
comparison with that of Jacques-Dalcroze: ‘Her dance is a result
of personal temperament, his movements are the result of music;
she draws from herself, he draws from rhythm; her psychological
basis is subjective; his rhythmical basis is objective; and, in
order to characterize her in a few words, I may say Isadora is the
dancing “ego.” This subjective psychological basis of Isadora’s
art I find clearly emphasized by Mr. Levinsohn’s words: “The
images or moods (_Stimmungen_) created in our mind by the rational
element--music--cannot be identical with every one, and therefore
cannot be compulsory. Just in that dissimilitude of moods and
uncompulsoriness of images resides the best criterion for the
appreciation of Isadora Duncan as a founder of a system. Her dance
is precisely not a system, cannot found what is called a ‘school’;
it needs another similar ‘ego’ to repeat her. And according to this
it seems quite incomprehensible that some people should see in Miss
Duncan’s art ‘a possibility for all of us being beautiful.’ No, not at
all for all of us; for not every temperament, while embodying ‘images
or moods’ called forth by music, will necessarily create something
beautiful; one cannot raise the exceptional into rule. In order to be
certain of creating something beautiful, no matter whether in the moral
or the æsthetical domain, it is not in ourselves that we shall find
the law, but in subjecting ourselves to another principle which lives
outside of ourselves. For the plastic (choreographic), this principle
is Music. It is not instinct expressing itself under the influence
of music--which with every man is different, and only in few chosen
natures beautiful in itself--but the rhythm of music, which in every
given composition is an unchangeable element subjecting our ‘ego.’
This is the basis of living plastic art. And in this respect Isadora’s
art satisfies the double exigencies of the visible and the audible art
as little as the ballet. Her arms are certainly more rhythmical than
her legs, but as a whole we cannot call her rhythmical in the strict
sense of the word, and this appears especially in the slow movements:
her walk, so to speak, does not keep step with music; she often steps
on the weak part of the bar and often between the notes. In general
it is in the examples of slow tempo that the insufficiency of the
principle may be observed. The slower a tempo the more she ‘mimics,’
and the farther, therefore, she strays from the music. If we look at
the impression on the spectators we shall see that all in the paces of
the quick tempos the movement must enter into closer connection with
the music; in cases of very minute divisions of the bar the simple
coincidence of the step with the first ‘heavy’ part already produces a
repeated design which makes ear and eye meet in one common perception.
If the representatives of that particular kind of dance were to realize
this they would endeavor to introduce into slow tempos the rhythmical
element instead of the mimic, which leads them out of the music and
converts the dance into a sort of acting during the music, a sort of
plastic melo-declamation.”’

These critics have pointed out the subjective nature of Miss Duncan’s
dance and her impatience of rules and formal technique. They believe
that because of these two qualities of her art it cannot be repeated,
except by ‘another similar ego.’ But as if in direct answer to these
charges come Miss Duncan’s pupils. They are by no means highly selected
material or ‘similar egos,’ but each (among the more mature pupils)
is a beautiful and individual dancer. To each she has transmitted her
spirit; in each she has preserved the native personality. They are
the best evidence thus far obtained of the truth of Miss Duncan’s
dictum of the ‘possibility for all of us being beautiful.’ Moreover we
must not suppose that Miss Duncan’s contempt for _formal_ technique
is a contempt for technical ability. She herself is a marvellously
plastic and exact dancer, and she demands, ultimately, no less of
her pupils. The limited range of her technique, so often complained
of, is the deliberate result of her belief that the only movements
proper to the dance are the _natural_ movements of the human body.
She stakes the success of her art upon the proposition that these
movements alone are capable of the highest absolute and interpretive
beauty. As to the truth of this proposition each observer must judge
for himself from the results. Again, Miss Duncan does not always ‘dance
the music’ literally, note for note, according to the theory of the
Jacques-Dalcroze system. Her interpretation is frankly emotional and
subjective, but it does not pretend to transcend the music.

In further justice to her efforts we should consider Isadora Duncan
as much a prophet of a new movement, as a dancer of a new school. Her
influence has been more far-reaching in Russia than anywhere else.
She practically brought about a serious revolution among the Russian
dancers, of whom we shall speak in another chapter. She influenced
the art of dancing in Germany, France, Italy and England. She was the
striking contrast to all the deteriorated stage dances of the early
twentieth century in America. She has given a powerful impulse to all
dance reforms by counteracting the academic and time-worn views. She
is the indirect motive of the Diaghileff-Fokine break with the old
Russian ballet and their striving for new rules and ideas in the art
of dancing. To her is due the gradual increase of refined taste and
higher respect for the stage dance. Personally we have found that her
dances failed to tell the phonetic story of the music. Her selection
of the compositions of Gluck, Schubert, Chopin and Beethoven has not
been uniformly successful, since most of them were never meant by the
composer to be danced. Compositions of this kind lack the necessary
choreographic episodes and often even the plastic symbols. No genius,
we believe, could visualize the slow cadences and solemn images of any
symphonic music of those German classics, whose works have been the
choice of Miss Duncan. With a few exceptions, such as the _Moments
Musicals_ and some other pieces, we have never been able to grasp
the meaning of the phonetoplastic images of Isadora Duncan’s dances.

[Illustration: Duncan]


It was only natural that Miss Duncan’s laureated appearances in various
European cities quickly found followers and imitators. The best known
exponent of Duncan’s naturalism has been Miss Maud Allan, a talented
Canadian girl, whose dancing in England has made her a special favorite
of the London audiences, before whom she first appeared in 1908. How
favorably she was received by the English audiences is evident from
the fact that the late King Edward invited her to dance for him at
Marienbad. Like Miss Duncan, Maud Allan has danced mostly barefoot, her
body slightly clothed in a loose Greek drapery. The most sensational
in Miss Allan’s repertoire has been the ‘Vision of Salome,’ compiled
from passages from Richard Strauss’ opera, in which she has tried to
give the impression of the ghastly Biblical tragedy by means of plastic
pantomime and dancing. Among her artistically successful dances has
been the Grieg _Peer Gynt_ suite, of which the London critics speak
as of ‘a beautiful art of transposition.’ ‘The faithfulness with
which her movements follow the moods of the composer is probably only
fully realized by those who are musicians as well as connoisseurs of
dance. Her translation of music has not seldom the rare quality of
translations of being finer than the original, and there are not a few
who, when they hear again, unaccompanied, the music which her dancing
has ennobled, will be conscious of a sense of incompleteness and loss,’
writes an English dance authority of her art.

Isadora Duncan’s naturalism has probably made the most powerful direct
impression upon German aspirants, first, through the school of dancing
of Isadora’s sister, Elisabeth, and second, through the pretended
appeal to the moods by means of classic ideals, and yet requiring
comparatively little technique. Assiduously as a German student will
practice in order to acquire the most perfect technique for being
an artist, musician, singer or architect, he lacks the painstaking
persistency of a Russian, Hungarian, Bohemian or Spaniard in acquiring
a thorough technique for his dance. He is inclined to interpret music
by means of the most easily acquired technique, such as seemingly the
naturalistic school requires. For this very reason, Miss Duncan has
been the greatest dance genius for the Germans, as that is so clearly
to be seen in the excellent work of Brandenburg, _Der moderne Tanz_.
This book from the beginning to the end, written in a fine poetic
prose, is a eulogy of Duncan’s naturalism, and an elaborate display
of the minutest pretty moves of the German exponents of the movement.
Among the praised geniuses of Brandenburg are the sisters Wiesenthal,
who attracted widespread attention in some of Max Reinhardt’s

The sisters Wiesenthal, Elsa and Grete, were received with unparalleled
enthusiasm at home and in consequence made a tour abroad, on which
occasion one of them danced in New York. How little she impressed the
New York audience, can be judged from what one of the most favorable
critics wrote of her as having ‘a pretty fluttering, tottering
marionette manner of her own.’ Our impression is that the sisters
Wiesenthal proved most successful in the quaint, naïve and simple
ensemble performances which they gave in Germany. They displayed
some excellent _ritartandos_ and a few successful _adagio_ figures.
One could see that their steps and arm twists were not a result of
systematic studies but of spontaneous impulses, since in repetitions of
the music there was no sign of a well trained art, the wing-like arms
of the first phrase being arabesque-like in the repetition, etc. They
showed that they possessed a poetic conception of the dance, but failed
to grasp and express its intrinsic meaning. They were rather poets
than dancers, rather actresses than designers in the choreographic
sense. Their acting often interfered with dancing and brought about an
unpleasant disharmony with the musical rhythm. They may have danced
better on other occasions, but what a number of impartial connoisseurs
of the dance saw of them stamps them as talented dilettantes rather
than accomplished artists of a school.

A girl who enjoyed a great reputation in Vienna, Munich and in other
German cities in the first decade of this century, but of whom was
heard nothing later, was Miss Gertrude Barrison, an Anglo-Viennese.
Her art was more clever and more in style with the principles of the
naturalistic than that of the sisters Wiesenthal. She won the ear of
Austria for the new message. With a certain assurance in the conviction
of her individuality, Miss Barrison treated her art with freedom
and loftiness. She enforced her personality more than her art upon
the spectators, and this was, to a great extent, the secret of her
phenomenal success.

The best of all the German dancers of this century thus far has been
Rita Sacchetto, a pretty Bavarian girl, who made her début in Munich,
and was at once recognized as an artist of much talent. Though the
Berlin critics did not receive her with the enthusiasm that they had
shown to the Wiesenthals, she was by far the biggest artist of all.
Her slighter recognition was possibly due to her lighter style of work
and an unfavorable repertoire, lacking in music that was of timely
importance. This withholding of recognition has always been peculiar
to Berlin. Tired out by hundreds of aspiring virtuosi and artists of
every description, an average Berlin critic, like one of New York,
grows at the end of a season nervous in the presence of the vast
majority of mediocrities and press-agented celebrities, so that he is
likely to ignore or tear down the serious beginner, if her performance
coincides with his ‘blue’ moods. This is what probably happened to
Miss Sacchetto. The connoisseurs and authorities of other countries
who have seen her dances speak of them in highest terms as pretty and
exceedingly graceful exhibitions of poetic youthful soul. What has
become of Miss Sacchetto lately the writer has been unable to learn.


Though none of the above mentioned dancers of Germany has pretended
to be a follower of Miss Duncan, yet all belong to the new movement
that was brought into being by her persistent efforts. They all defy
the principle of the classic ballet, they all pretend to interpret
music in their ‘plastic art,’ as they have preferred to term the
dance. Traditionally the German music has been either inclined to
classic abstraction, or to strictly operatic lines. The spectacular
ballet of Richard Strauss, ‘The Legend of Joseph,’ belongs more to
pantomimic pageantries than a class of actual dance dramas, of which
we shall speak in another chapter. The music of a foreign school and
race is always lacking in that natural stimulating vigor that it
gives to those who are absolutely at home with racial peculiarities
choreographically. In this the Russians have been lately more fortunate
than other nations. A great number of talented young Russian composers
have written an immense amount of admirable dance music, ballets and
instrumental compositions that could be danced. They have an outspoken
rhythmic character, which is the first requirement of the dance. In
this the recent German composers have remained behind the Russians.
The compositions of Richard Strauss, Reger, Schönberg and the other
distinguished musical masters of modern Germany offer nothing that
would inspire a new school of the art of dancing. In the first place
they lack the instinct for rhythm, and in the second, they lack the
plastic sense so essential for the dance. This circumstance has been
most detrimental to those of the young German dancers who attempted to
follow the naturalistic movement.

How much better than the German Duncanites have been those of
Scandinavia, Finland and France in this direction is difficult to say
authentically, though they have had the advantage over the Germans, of
having at their disposal the works of some of the most talented young
composers of dance music. Grieg, Lange-Müller, Svendsen and many others
have written music with strong rhythmic and choreographic images. But
superior to all the Scandinavian composers, in the modern dance music
or music that could be danced, are the Finns: Sibelius, Jaernefelt,
Melartin, Merikanto and Toiwo Kuula. Many of Sibelius’s smaller
instrumental compositions offer excellent themes and music for dancing.
A few of them are real masterpieces of their kind. But the Finns have
shown up to this time little interest for the modern dance movements.
The Danes, Swedes and Norwegians have been more affected by the new
ideas that are connected with the stage, though none of them has shown
any marked achievement that would be known in wider circles. Ida
Santum, a young Scandinavian girl in New York, has given evidence of
some graceful plastic forms and idealized folk-dances. Thus far she has
not shown anything strikingly appealing to the audiences. Aino Akté’s
Salome Dances are purely operatic and have no bearing upon our subject.

Among English and American girls who have followed the footsteps
of Miss Duncan are Gwendoline Valentine, Lady Constance
Stewart-Richardson, Beatrice Irvin, and a number of others, but the
writer has been unable to gather any sufficient data for critical

Undoubtedly the most talented dancer of the naturalistic school whom we
have known among the Russians is Mlle. Savinskaya of Moscow. In power
of expressing depth and subtlety of dramatic emotions Savinskaya is
supreme. She is an actress no less than a dancer. Her conception of
naturalistic dancing is so deeply rooted in her soul and temperament
that it often acts against the plastic rules and grace, often displayed
by the dancers for the sake of pleasing effects. Miss Duncan herself
strives to create moods by means of classic poses, but Savinskaya’s
ideal is to express the plastic forms of music in her art. She is
romantically dramatic, more a tragedian than anything else. Her dance
in the graphically fascinating ballet _Chrisis_ by Reinhold Glière, in
Moscow, revealed her as an artist of the first rank, and perhaps the
first thoroughly trained Duncanite whose technique and dramatic talent
rival with any _ballerina_, of the new school or the old.

Probably the lack of suitable music has been thus far the greatest
obstacle in the way of the naturalistic dancers, though they pretend to
find their ideals in the eighteenth and nineteenth century’s classic
compositions. No doubt some of the old music can be aptly danced, such
as the light instrumental works of Grieg, Mozart, Chopin and Schumann,
but the proper music has yet to be composed. The phonetic thinking of
past music was involved, hazy in closed episodes and often disconnected
in structural form. There is one single theme of a poem in a whole
symphony. To illustrate this plastically is a physical impossibility.
Maud Allan’s and Isadora Duncan’s attempts to dance symphonies of
Beethoven and other classic idealists have been miserable failures.
Those who pretend to see in such dances any beauty and idea, are
ignorant of musical and choreographic principles.

To our knowledge Reinhold Glière, the genial young Russian composer and
director of the Kieff Symphony Society, is the first successful musical
artist in the field of naturalistic ballets. His ballet _Chrisis_,
based on an Egyptian story by Pierre Louis, is a rare masterpiece in
its line.

Though built on the style of the conventional ballets, its music is
meant for naturalistic interpretation and lacks all the _pirouette_,
_chassée_, and other semi-acrobatic ballet music forms. Like the
principles laid down by Delsarte and his followers, Glière’s music
‘moves with the regular rhythm, the freedom, the equipoise, of nature
itself.’ It has for the most part a slow ancient Egyptian measure,
breathing the air of the pleasant primitive era. It suggests the even
swing of the oar, the circular sweep of the sling, the rhythmic roar
of the river, and all such images that existed before our boasted
civilization. It gives a chance for the dancer of the naturalistic
school to display pretty poses, primitive gestures and ‘sound’ steps.
Like all Glière’s compositions this is exceedingly lyric, full of
charming old melodies and curved movements that occasionally call to
mind Schumann, Schubert and Chopin. The ballet begins with Chrisis in
the majestic valley of the Nile spinning cotton on a spinning-wheel,
which she stops when a soft music, coming from a far-away temple,
comes to her ears. It is the music of the morning-prayer. She prays,
dancing to the trees and the clouds. At this time Kise, another little
maiden, is passing with food for her parents and _Chrisis_ calls her.
They dance together and spin for a while. There is in the background
a sacred tree. _Chrisis_ approaches it in slow dance and utters her
secret wish. During this time Kise meets on the river shore a blind
musician carrying a lyre. He plays a gay dance to the girls, to which
they dance so exquisitely that phantom-like nymphs and fawns emerge
from the river, and stop to watch. Finally a shepherd, who has been
looking on from the top of the hill, becomes interested in the dance
and makes friends with the girls. There ensues a passionate love scene
and dramatic climax for the first act, _Chrisis_ going into a convent.
The second act takes place in an ancient convent, _Chrisis_ as a
dancing priestess. The last act takes place with _Chrisis_ as a courtly
lady with every luxury around her. It is a magnificent piece of work
musically and choreographically, and should find widespread appeal.

We may count as belonging to the naturalistic school of dancing the
exponents of idealized and imitative national dances, though they
do not belong among the Duncanites. Particularly we should mention
Ruth St. Denis, who is widely known through her skilled imitation and
idealization of the Oriental dances. As Isadora Duncan sought by the
ancient Greeks the ideal of her ‘natural’ dances, so Ruth St. Denis
attempted to find choreographic beauties in the art of the East. In
this she has been strikingly successful. Her Japanese dances can
be considered as real gems of the Orient in which she has made the
impression as if an exotic old print of the empire of the Mikado became
alive by a miracle, though it was in the Indian sacred dances that she
made her reputation. This is what a dance critic writes of her:

‘Clad in a dress of vivid green spangled with gold, her wrists
and ankles encased in clattering silver bands, surrounded by the
swirling curves of a gauze veil, the dancer passed from the first
slow languorous movements into a vertiginous whirl of passionate
delirium. Alluring in every gesture, for once she threw asceticism
to the winds, and yet she succeeded in maintaining throughout that
difficult distinction between the voluptuous and the lascivious. The
mystic Dance of the Five Senses was a more artificial performance and
only in one passage kindled into the passion of the Nautch. As the
goddess Radha, she is dimly seen seated cross-legged behind the fretted
doors of her shrine. The priests of the temple beat gongs before the
idol and lay their offerings at her feet. Then the doors open, and
Radha descends from her pedestal to suffer the temptation of the five
senses. The fascination of each sense, suggested by a concrete object,
is shown forth in the series of dances. Jewels represent the desire
of the sight, of the hearing the music of bells, of the smell of the
scent of flower, of the taste of wine, and the sense of touch is fired
by a kiss. Her dancing was inspired by that intensity of sensuous
delight which is refined to its farthest limit probably only in the
women of the East. She rightly chose to illustrate the delicacy of the
perceptions not by abandon but by restraint. The dance of touch, in
which every bend of the arms and the body described the yearning for
the unattainable, was more freely imaginative in treatment. And in the
dance of taste there was one triumphant passage, when, having drained
the wine-cup to the dregs, she burst into a Dionysiac Nautch, which
raged ever more wildly until she fell prostrate under the maddening
influence of the good wine. Then by the expression of limbs and
features showing that the gratification of the senses leads to remorse
and despair, and that only in renunciation can the soul realize the
attainment of peace, she returns to her shrine and the doors close upon
the seated image, resigned and motionless. So she affirmed in choice
and explicit gesture the creed of Buddha.’

Very strange yet effective are the dances of Ruth St. Denis in which
she exhibits the marvellous twining and twisting art of her arms,
which act as if they had been some ghastly snakes. Her arms possess
an unusual elasticity and sinuous motion which cannot be seen better
displayed by real Oriental dancers. The hands, carrying on the first
and fourth finger two huge emerald rings, give the impression of
gleaming serpents’ eyes. Miss St. Denis is apparently a better musician
than Miss Duncan, while in her poetic sense and in the sense of beauty
she remains behind. However, as a musician she is excellent, and always
acts in perfect rhythm with the composition. But unfortunately all
her dance music is just as little Oriental as Miss Duncan’s is Greek.
Ruth St. Denis seemingly is ignorant of the numerous Russian Oriental
compositions which would suit her art a thousand times better than the
works of the Occidental classics. In justice to her efforts it must
be said that she is a thorough artist in spite of the fact that she
has never studied her dances in the East. Her slender tall figure and
semi-Oriental expression give her the semblance of an Indian Bayadere.
It has always impressed us that she minimizes her art by affected
manners and an air that lacks sincerity. We believe her to have very
great talent, but for some reason or other, she has failed to display
it fully.


The modern Spanish dances as performed by Rosario Guerrero, La Otero
and La Carmencita, are in fact a perfected type of Spanish folk-dances.
The Kinneys write of them as follows: ‘So gracious, so stately, so rich
in light and shade is the _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.’ It is clear that none but a Spaniard could perform the more
or less perfected folk-dances of the country. It requires a physique
with born talent and traditions to give the dance its proper fire and
brutal elegance.

[Illustration: Maud Allan

_After a painting by Otto Marcus_]

Havelock Ellis gives a graphic picture of the Spanish dance. ‘One
of the characteristics of Spanish dancing,’ he writes, ‘lies in
its accompaniments, and particularly in the fact that under proper
conditions all the spectators are themselves performers. In flamenco
dancing, among an audience of the people, every one takes a part by
rhythmic clapping and stamping, and by the occasional prolonged “oles”
and other cries by which the dancer is encouraged or applauded. Thus
the dance is not the spectacle for the amusement of a languid and
passive public, as with us. It is rather the visible embodiment of an
emotion in which every spectator himself takes an active and helpful
part; it is, as it were, a vision evoked by the spectators themselves
and upborne on the continuous waves of rhythmical sound which they
generate. Thus it is that at the end of a dance an absolute silence
often falls, with no sound of applause; the relation of performer and
public has ceased to exist. So personal is this dancing that it may be
said that an animate association with the spectators is necessary for
its full manifestation. The finest Spanish dancing is at once killed or
degraded by the presence of an indifferent or unsympathetic public, and
that is probably why it cannot be transplanted but remains local.’

The naturalistic school of dancing is by no means an invention of
Isadora Duncan, though she has been one of its most persistent
preachers. The true psychological origin belongs to Delsarte, whose
method of poetic plasticism inspired Mrs. Hovey to give lessons and
lectures on the subject. It branched out like a tree. Every country
was interested in the new idea in its own way. America, having no
æsthetic traditions whatsoever, found the pioneers in Isadora Duncan
and Ruth St. Denis; Germany found hers in the sisters Wiesenthal, Miss
Rita Sacchetto and others; France, in Mme. Olga Desmond; Spain, in
the refined and talented folk-dancers; Russia, in the rise of a new
ballet, and so on. Like a magic message, the idea filled the air and
was inhaled by special minds. There was a strong argument in favor
of its development, and that argument was the spiritual yeast that
set the world into a ferment. The more it was opposed and fought the
more it spread and grew. The naturalistic dance has been thus far
more an awakening than a mature art. As such it is apt to be crude
and imperfect. There is no reason to fear that a fate like that which
befell the Skirt Dance may overtake the ‘classical’ dancing of the
naturalistic school. It has accomplished a great service in bringing
the audiences to realize that the argument of natural plasticism is
based on philosophical truth. Soon the ranks of those who believe
that ‘natural’ dancing is that which requires the least technique
will decrease in favor of those serious minded artists, who seek the
solution in technique plus talent. ‘The theory that a dancer can ignore
with impunity the restrictions of technique, that she is bound to
please if only she is natural and happy and allows herself to follow
the momentary inspiration of the music and dances with the same gleeful
spontaneity as a child dancing to a barrel-organ is a doctrine as
seductive as it is fatal.’ The future solution of the movement lies
in perfection of the technique and in grasping the deeper depths of
musical relation to the art of dancing.

‘The chief value of reaction resides in its negative destructive
element,’ says Prince Volkhonsky. ‘If, for instance, we had never seen
the old ballet, with its stereotyped character, I do not think that the
appearance of Isadora Duncan would have called forth such enthusiasm.
In Isadora we greeted the deliverance. Yet in order to appreciate
liberty we must have felt the chains. She liberated, and her followers
seek to exploit that liberty.’



  The old ballet: arguments _pro_ and _con_--The new movement:
  Diaghileff and Fokine; the advent of Diaghileff’s company;
  the ballets of Diaghileff’s company; ‘Spectre of the Rose,’
  ‘Cleopatra,’ _Le Pavillon d’Armide_, ‘Scheherezade’--Nijinsky and
  Karsavina--Stravinsky’s ballets: ‘Petrouchka,’ ‘The Fire-Bird,’
  etc.; other ballets and arrangements.


Gordon Craig very aptly characterized the French ballet as the most
deliciously artificial impertinence that ever turned up its nose at
Nature. Commenting on this Prince Volkhonsky says: ‘Seldom one meets
in a short definition with such an exhausting acknowledgment of the
positive and negative sides of the question. How easy and pleasant it
is to agree with a judgment which is penetrated with such impartiality.
Who will not acknowledge that that powdered Marquise is charming,
and yet who will not acknowledge that that huge pile of false hair
sprinkled with powder is against Nature?’ Magnificent as the old
Russian ballet has been dramatically and acrobatically, yet it failed
to acknowledge the artificialities of its form and the deficiencies
of its phonetic conceptions. It failed to see what Delsarte, Mrs.
Hovey, Isadora Duncan and the partisans of the naturalistic school had
grasped: the call of Nature. Though it banished the powdered Marquise
of the French school from the stage, yet it did not banish the creed
from the ballerina’s toe--the unmusical acting, the spectacular leaps
and pirouettes, the umbrella-like tunics, the acrobatic stunts, the
fossilized forms of the dead ages. In praise of the old ballet Mr.
A. Levinsohn has written in a Russian magazine of the dance: ‘When a
ballerina rises on the tips of her toes (_pointés_), she frees herself
of a natural movement and enters a region of fantastic existence.’
The principal meaning of all the ballet technique in preaching the
toe-dance is to defy the laws of gravity and give the dance the
semblance of a flight, or floating in the air. There is no question
that a few musical phrases require such plastic, particularly in such
compositions as Saint-Saëns’ ‘The Swan,’ or Drigo’s _Papillons_, which
Pavlova has visualized so magnificently. But to apply the same style to
express the romantic, poetic, tragic and other human emotions, to apply
the toe-technique to every form of dancing, is really abnormal. Prince
Volkhonsky, who has contributed so much to the Russian ballet reform,
writes with striking argument and vigor: ‘Movement cannot be an aim in
itself; such a movement would be nonsense. What does a dancer express
when he imitates a spinning-top? What does the ballerina express when
with a fascinating smile she regards caressingly her own toe, as she
toe-dances over the smooth floor? What does her body express, the human
body--the most wonderful instrument of expression on earth--when,
carried away by gymnastic enthusiasm in an acrobatic ecstasy, with
panting chest and terror in her open eyes, she crosses the stage
diagonally, whirling on one toe, while with the other she executes the
famous “thirty-two fouettés”?’ ‘Gymnastics transform themselves into
fantastics,’ exclaims Levinsohn; ‘but I assure you, when in the circus
the man-serpent, all dressed in green scales, puts his legs behind
his shoulder, this is no less fantastic.’ The so-called tunic (the
French _tutu_)--a light short garment of pleated gauze--has, with Mr.
Levinsohn, not only a physical justification from the point of view of
comfort but a logical explanation, an æsthetic sanction; it ‘lends
to the body a seeming stability.’ ‘Do you catch this?’ he continues.
‘The perpendicularity of the human figure in our eyes is, so to speak,
balanced by the horizontality of the skirt; just the principle of the
spinning-top. Now, is it possible to invent a more deplorable formula
for transforming man into a machine? Is it possible to give a more
definite expression to the principle of eliminating one’s “ego”? Is
not art the expression, the manifestation, the blossoming of man? And
what, finally, shall we say from the purely æsthetic point of view
of that exaltation of a costume which by its umbrella-like stiffness
cuts the human body into two? Shall we remain indifferent to the
beauty of folds, to the obedience of the flowing veils, to the plastic
injunctions of the living movement?

‘The theory of mechanisation of the human body could not but lead
to the panegyric of the “flat-toed” ballet slipper. The simple sad
necessity of giving to the ballerina a point of support receives
a philosophico-æsthetic interpretation: this slipper “generalises
the contour of the foot” and “makes the impression of the movement
clearer and more finished.” In the name of all--I won’t say of all
that is sacred--but of all that is beautiful, is it possible to say
such things? You have never admired a foot; you do not know what it
is--a foot that slowly rises from the ground, first with the heel,
then with the sole; you do not know the beauty of supple toes; you
evidently never saw the foot of Botticelli’s “Pallas,” the foot of
Houdon’s “Diana.” If it is so valuable to “generalise” the contour
of the foot by the flat-toed slipper, why not, then, “generalise”
the contour of the hand and give to the ballerinas boxing-gloves?
Art is an exteriorisation of man, a spreading of one’s self outside
the limits of one’s ego, and here we are asked to cut, to shorten,
to hide: a principle which is exactly the contrary of art. It was
also a “generalisation” of the human figure when Niobe was being
metamorphosed into a rock, but it remains till the end of time the
expression of grief; the Greeks have not found a more eloquent myth for
the eternalisation of human sorrow than the return of form into that
which is not formed. They knew that all process of creation goes from
the general to the particular. When the musician shapes the musical
material accessible to everybody into a particular musical melody, he
goes from the general to the particular. When the sculptor takes away
piece by piece from the block of marble, he goes from the general to
the particular. If, out of the shapeless mass of the human family, the
great types could detach themselves and crystallise themselves into
definite characters, it is only thanks to their particularities that
they conquer and receive their universal value. The direction of the
artist is from the shapeless, from the abstract, into the concrete;
the process of art is a process of individualisation. It is easy to
understand, therefore, the instinctive hostility which is provoked in
a man who loves art, by all attempts at “generalisation”: it is the
infiltration into art of that which is not art, it is that which in the
course of centuries has deserved the appellation of “routine.” This
crust of uniformity and impersonality which spreads over art is nothing
but an infiltration of the generalising principle into that which is
and ought to remain the sacred domain of personality. It is the desert
under whose breath fades and withers the beauty of the oasis.

‘No wonder that a reaction should set in against an art which seeks its
justification in such theories; the reaction against the stereotyped
ballet is a direct act of logic--it is the voice of common sense:
it would be impossible that a form of art should live which is in
contradiction to the principle of art. When I say “live,” I do not mean
the right of existence; I take the word in its most real sense: to
live, that is, to possess the elements of development. In the form into
which it has developed the “classical” ballet lacks these elements--it
cannot evolve; as Mr. Svetloff judiciously remarked, if every ballerina
could execute seventy-five instead of “thirty-two fouettés,” it would
be a greater difficulty to overcome, it would not be art developed.
Thus I repeat, when I say that such a form of art as the old ballet
cannot live I am not denying its right to exist, but I am indicating
the absence of elements of development, the atrophy of the principle of

‘There is one point of view possible as to the “classical ballet”; it
is the one form in which we see the established forms of old dances.
Who will deny the charm of the minuet, of the gavotte, of the pavane?
But, on the other hand, who ever will dare to say that this is the
final word of plastic art? Miniature painting is a lovely art, is it
not? Yet equally wrong are those who would assert that the miniature
has expressed all that painting is capable of, and those who would
say that miniature is “all right, but it needs enlarging.” And when
we consider the ballet from the only possible point of view, from the
point of view of the crystallised dance, how offensive will appear
to us “gymnastics that transform themselves into fantastics.” On the
other hand, we shall not be astonished when we hear the regrets of some
adherents of the old “dance” in the presence of the “Scythian invasion”
on that same stage where the plastic formulas of the Latin race have
blossomed; only imagine it--where the gavotte and sarabanda used to
reign there now bursts out the tempest of the “Tartar hordes”!’


The appearance of Isadora Duncan and her pupils in Russia was truly a
high explosive bomb. Her art startled the Russian dancers and public.
It was the very opposite of what everybody had been accustomed to
see, and what everybody imagined the dance to be. Though the limited
character of her technique decreased the effect, yet the truth of
her principle was what caused the greatest discussion and made the
deepest impression. In the fundamentals of her dance were that freedom,
individuality and relief which the Russian mind had missed in the old
ballet. It was this theoretical argument that made Miss Duncan’s art
such a factor in Russia. Marius Petipa had been an excellent scholar
and academician in his days, but he had grown old and his views had
become obsolete. His genius saw the evolution of the ballet only in the
conventional channels. Among his assistants were a group of talented
young dancers and teachers, some of whom were dissatisfied with the old
order, yet found themselves forced to follow the time-worn rules. One
of the young students of this type was M. Fokine, a very intelligent
student and gifted artist, who was particularly electrified by Miss
Duncan’s art. He saw the shortcomings of Miss Duncan’s school and
realized that here he, with his thorough understanding of the ballet
and its technique, could do much that she had been unable to do.

With all the best will Fokine found himself bound to the old order of
things. But it was at this very juncture that M. Diaghileff, who had
been successfully editing the annual Reviews of the Imperial Ballet,
laid the foundation for a new art magazine on radical principles.
Having been a graduate of the Conservatory of Music of Petrograd and
a connoisseur of the art of dancing, he was just the man to gather
a group of radical dance and music students and artists of every
description around his venture and attempt to accomplish something
radically modern in all the fields of stage art. His efforts found a
quick response among the various artists of the ballet, who already
knew of his work and tendencies. One of them was Fokine, and with him
came many of his talented pupils and friends. Like with every other new
movement this needed crystallization theoretically and practically. For
some reason or other Diaghileff’s magazine failed. But it had already
accomplished its evolutionary task: a group of artists was ready to
join any leaders of revolution who would be worthy of their confidence.

The next move from the revolutionary Diaghileff and his general Fokine
was their unexpected appearance in Paris. Here they had surrounded
themselves with a few genial ballet dancers of Petrograd and Moscow.
The announcement of an appearance of the Russian ballet in Paris,
under the management of Diaghileff and Fokine and with stars like
Nijinsky, Mmes. Fokina, Karsavina and Astafieva, marks the first
revolutionary move in Russian dance history. It was undoubtedly the
phenomenal success that Pavlova and Mordkin had had outside of Russia,
particularly in Paris and London, which actuated and encouraged the
rebels. They argued, ‘If Pavlova and Mordkin had such phenomenal
success as solo dancers, in the old classic style, we are more sure
of a success in real modern ballets.’ And they proved that they had.
Here is what a London critic writes of the appearance of the Diaghileff

‘For the unknown to be successful in London it is always necessary to
create what is called a boom--marvelous clothes or the lack of them;
a terrifying top note; a tame lion; a Star that has been shining with
unparalleled brilliancy in another city. But we were told nothing about
the Russian dancers when they arrived in 1909--some half dozen of them
only--and so we expected nothing. And it is to be feared that some of
us found what we expected. Now, two years later, we are slowly opening
our eyes.

‘There is no need to describe either Karsavina or Pavlova. If there
were, indeed, pen and ink would be incapable of the task, for they both
typify and express the woman of all ages, and ageless.

‘*** For many it was as if they understood life for the first time,
had entered a chamber in the castle Existence which hitherto had been
hidden from them. They gave us thoughts, these Russian magicians, for
which we have been unconsciously seeking and travailing many years.
They gave us knowledge we thought to buy in a huckster’s shop, steal
from a bottle of wine, or find in a bloodless novel or in the crude
stage play of the average theatre, bearing little or no relation to
life. Now here it was, all expressed in dances men and women danced
thousands of years ago: music of face and body, of muscle and brain,
which stirred and sang in our hearts like wind in the trees.

‘The elusive spirit of youth she (Karsavina) most eloquently expresses
in _Les Sylphides_, the music by Chopin, which is described as a
_Rêverie Romantique_. The sex of the dancer, instead of dominating,
disappears. And so, of all the good things the Russian Dancers have
given us, the Spirit of Youth of Tamara Karsavina comes first and

‘The men of the Russian Ballet possess the same technical perfection,
the same marvelous grace, as the women. Whether their bodies be as
slim and light as Nijinsky’s and Kosloff’s, or as massive and muscular
as Mordkin’s and Tichomiroff’s, makes no difference: they can be as
graceful, as supple, as tender as a girl, without losing a scrap of
their superb masculinity.’

Among the most conspicuous Russian dancers who followed the
revolutionary call of Diaghileff and Fokine, were Vera Fokina,
Tamara Karsavina, Sophie Feodorova, Seraphime Astafieva, Nijinsky,
and Kosloff. The real drawing cards of the revolutionary group were
Karsavina and Nijinsky, one more genial than the other, the one the
very type of the Russian youthful poetic and passionate girl, the other
that of masculine virility and grace. The leaping of Nijinsky and the
darting of Karsavina will remain as the most effective symbols in the
mind of those who have witnessed their inspiring dances. In _Le Spectre
de la Rose_, danced by Karsavina and Nijinsky, we can best compare
their individualities. ‘Their bodies, flower-like, representing the
spirit of flowers, weave dreams with silent and graceful movements,’
writes a critic. ‘We are altogether removed from the world of flesh
and blood to a kingdom of enchantment.’ Nijinsky and Karsavina are the
two talented exponents of the New Russian Ballet, in the same sense as
Pavlova and Mordkin belong to the Old Ballet.

The question arises in what respect Nijinsky differs from Mordkin and
Karsavina from Pavlova? If we could see illustrative performances by
these four greatest figures of the two Russian schools the difference
would be immediately evident, in spite of their individual traits.
Where Pavlova concentrates attention on her conventional toe-dancing,
Karsavina employs conspicuously the naturalistic steps and strives to
display the plastic lines of her beautiful body. Where Mordkin resorts
to pantomime, Nijinksy finds his expression through the movements of
the dance. However, the difference between the two ballets is not
so clearly cut with the men as with the women dancers. Fokine has
introduced a great deal of the plastic element that has actuated the
partisans of the naturalistic school. We find the acrobatic stunts
of the old ballet almost lacking in the new. You will hardly see
Karsavina, Fokina or Astafieva performing the leg-bending tricks of
the followers of the old school. If they resort to pirouettes and leg
agility, they do so in a different sense than the others.


A highly praised dance of Karsavina and Nijinsky is _Le Spectre de
la Rose_ (with music arranged from the compositions of Weber), which
takes place in a summer night in old aristocratic France. The music,
though old-fashioned, is soft and tender. Karsavina represents a young
sentimental girl who has just returned from the ball. She is thinking
of her lover, while raising to her lips a red rose which he gave her at
the ball. Going through a pantomimic scene of her sentimental dreams
Karsavina depicts the romantic prelude of a young girl until Nijinsky,
representing her visionary lover, leaps in. ‘The spirit of the garden
and the song of the night have entered her bedroom, and the wind blows
this rose-spirit to and fro. It is love in human shape: now he hovers
above the sleeping figure, caressing: now he is dancing just in front
of the window. And we dare not breathe lest by so doing the air is
stirred to drive him back into the moving shapes outside. But he rises
on the arms of the wind, he crouches beside the girl. She falls into
his arms and the love dream of a ballroom is realized. The music of the
night has entered the room, languid music like water which these two
spill as they dance to and fro, until, our eyes being opened, we can
see as well as hear music. The miracle is so brief that we scarcely
realize it before it has gone. But they were chords and harmonies,
these two spirit shapes floating on the implacable air: hands and feet,
arms and legs, lips and eyes spilling and spelling each note of music.
The hour has passed. Jealous dawn lays his fingers on the night.... The
girl is in her chair again. The spirit of the rose hovers like love
with trembling wings above her.’

A favorite ballet of the Diaghileff company is _Cléopatre_, arranged
by Fokine to music by Arensky, Taneieff, Rimsky-Korsakoff, Glinka,
Glazounoff, and Moussorgsky. The chief characters of this ballet are
Seraphime Astafieva, as Cleopatra, Sophie Feodorova, as Ta-Hor, Vera
Fokina, as a Greek woman, and Nijinsky, as the favorite of Cleopatra.
It has been declared the most popular of all Fokine’s ballets. It
describes the well-known love drama of the great Egyptian queen. The
first scene is laid on the shores of the Nile. There is just visible
the arch of an ancient temple and its entrance with great figures of
stone. The ground on which it stands is flanked by pillars which tower
towards the sky. The waters of the river gleam between these pillars.
The sun is sinking into the hot desert. The first character of the
dance is Ta-Hor, a priestess; the second Amoun, a warrior, her beloved.
She emerges through the dark curtain of the night and meets him in the
silent precincts of the temple. Music quivers from hands and feet, lips
and eyes. We feel an impending danger. The silence is broken with the
sudden appearance of the High Priest. Cleopatra is coming. But Ta-Hor
clings to the lips of Amoun. When the Queen appears the lovers shrink
back into the shadows of the temple. She is a voluptuous beauty. We see
her resting, her limbs tangled in a mass of color, her eyes fixed like
serpent’s, staring into the hot night of the desert while she waits
for what it will bring her. She is tired of the wealth the world has
poured at her feet. There is but one thing that never tires her and is
ever new. Her subtle limbs uncurl from the tangled colors, open like a
rose at a breath of warm wind--to close again with a little shiver of
ecstasy. Love is always new and beautiful. Of love she has never tired,
only of lovers.

Cleopatra finally sees Amoun dancing, and falls madly in love with him.
There are many passionate and dramatic scenes. ‘Like the sea-foam, her
body is tempest-tossed. Her eyes burn into his soul. The music sings
songs of the desert, invocations to the Nile, hymns to the god of
love. Around the royal divan of Cleopatra we see a medley of men and
women, twining and grouping themselves. The music sounds like a gentle
breeze, full of love and enchantment, which longs yet fears to slake
its thirst. We see Egyptian dancers moving slowly and quietly. String
instruments are thrumming like nightingales. We see a whole company
of men and women dancing in the torchlight. The sight of the costumes
pours a spell of the Nile upon us. The stars of the desert and the
passionate music of string instruments, the beautiful girls and the
black virile bodies of the slaves, the waves of light and the distant
wall of soldiers and priests, fill the air with something tragic and
black. We get a glimpse of Cleopatra and Amoun, he standing beside her
couch. The high priest of the temple holds between his hands the sacred
cup filled with the poisonous wine that Amoun must drink. He takes the
cup firmly and looks into her eyes, and smiling he drinks. She smiles,
too. At this moment Amoun drops the cup to the ground. Death lays hands
upon him. His agony is brief. Cleopatra stands waiting. When he falls
his fingers clutch the air. A shiver shakes the Queen’s body. Cleopatra
goes out from the night passing through the vast pillars of the temple
into the dawn of the desert. After her comes Ta-Hor, looking for her
lover. But she finds the dead body. We see her warm brown body shiver
and shrink. She would tear out her heart. A soft wind comes whispering
over the desert bringing with it the red of the rising sun. It is the
end of a ghastly picture.’

Impressive as _Cléopatre_ is in its scenic and pantomimic vigor and
tragic atmosphere, yet it is hardly a ballet in the modern sense.
There is no unity of music, this being altogether a patch-work. It
may sound exceedingly pretty and appropriate occasionally to the
accompaniment of the mute drama, yet it is by no means dance music.
This is an example of the patchy ballet music that the Diaghileff
company is continually trying to employ. Musically less patchy is _Le
Pavillon d’Armide_, with music by Tcherepnin and setting by Benois. But
the theme is old-fashioned and over-perfumed. The story takes place in
mediæval France at the castle of a certain Marquis, a magician. It is
night. Winds blow, rain pours down and thunder rolls. A nobleman is
to meet his sweetheart near the Marquis’ castle and takes refuge from
the bad weather. The Marquis places his _Pavillon d’Armide_ at his
disposal. In the pavilion he sees an old Gobelin tapestry representing
the beautiful Armide, beneath it, a great clock supported by Love and
Time. The nobleman goes to sleep and at midnight sees the figures of
Love and Time step down from the clock. Armide becomes alive. The
nobleman falls in love with her and Armide embraces him. This is the
beginning of an animated dance. It is a fantastic scene, the old
Marquis taking part in the feast. Finally Time triumphs over Love and
they return to their places. It is an interesting short phantasy, a
poem in pantomime.

A ballet which has created the greatest comment and discussion in
its dramatic and scenic beauty is the _Scheherezade_, with music by
Rimsky-Korsakoff. This is a symphonic suite of which Bakst and Fokine
have manufactured a kind of pantomime-ballet. Though the music is
magnificent as an orchestra piece by itself, yet it is a perversion to
employ it to accompany a queer pantomimic drama. Rimsky-Korsakoff had
no idea of a Zobeide played by Karsavina, of her negro lover, danced
by Nijinsky, of Schariar, the Grand Eunuch, and of the Odalisque, who
are the characters of the ballet. This again is a patch-work and not a
dance in its real sense. If it is a dance, it is such that only one
artist or at most two could depict. According to the scenario writers
it draws the story of a Sultan’s harem from ‘The Arabian Nights.’ All
the harem beauties are dancing with their lovers and slaves. Among them
we find the pretty Sultana. The Sultan enters and suspects that Zobeida
has betrayed him. He finds her lover. We see death and passion. It is
picturesque, but the dance is only an incidental affair. _Scheherezade_
without Karsavina’s vivid mimicry and youthful beauty, and Nijinsky’s
agility, would be nothing. In the words of a Russian critic, ‘Nijinsky
makes us understand that a gesture is, as Blake said of a tear,
an intellectual thing. His gestures, by which I do not mean the
technical steps, are different in manner and in spirit from those of
the traditional Italian school. With the conventional gestures of the
academies, which mimic such attitudes as men are supposed naturally to
adopt when they perform certain actions or experience certain emotions,
he will have nothing to do. Nijinsky’s gestures mimic nothing. They are
not the result of a double translation of idea into words, and words
into dumb show. They are the mood itself. His limbs possess a faculty
of speech. Wit is expressed in his Arlequin dance as lucidly as in an
epigram. His genius consists in a singular pliancy of the body to the

    [C] S. Hudekoff: ‘History of Dancing’ (in Russian).

If Karsavina had not joined the choreographic revolutionists her
dramatic talent would have had little or no opportunity to express
itself, for the exponents of the old classic ballets are strictly
opposed to display of natural gestures and acting. While she now
exhibits a talent equal to Pavlova’s, in the old ballet she would be
only half of what she is. Although her excellent dramatic sense is
displayed in _Le Spectre de la Rose_, _Scheherezade_ and in several of
Stravinsky’s ballets, still we have not had a chance yet to become
enthusiastic over any of her abstract dances. This view we notice also
expressed by many French and English critics. ‘Of her performances at
Covent Garden, all were marked by such rare technique and instructed
grace that it is difficult to put any one before another; but certainly
she never surpassed her achievement in _Le Spectre de la Rose_. Her
dancing caught the very spirit of a maiden’s revery, and nothing could
have been more finely imagined than those transitions from languor
into quick rushes of darting movement, which illustrate the abrupt and
irrational episodes of a troubled dream. She was the very embodiment
of faint desire. We felt, as it were, a breath of perfume, and were
troubled in spite of ourselves. Moreover, the long partnership between
the two performers seemed to have resulted in a very special and
intimate harmony. For the most part they simply floated about the stage
as though borne upon a common current of emotion. There was a marriage,
not only between their bodily movements, but between their spirits,
such as I have never noted in the union of any other dancers.’

Like the ballet _Prince Igor_, music by Borodine, scenario by Fokine,
_Le Carneval_, music from Schumann, Liadoff, Glazounoff, Tcherepnine
and various other sources, are nothing but dances from an opera, dances
taken here and there. Neither is there any unity of theme or style in
these trimmed-up panoramas. The Polovetsi dances of Borodine’s opera
_Prince Igor_ are magnificent examples of savage Tartar art. The music
is the very image of the hot and restless Mongolian temperament, the
very breath of battle lust, the exaltation of victory. Fokine has taken
a scene from the second act of the opera and patched a story together
with some characters of the opera. The dance in the opera itself is
wonderful. But in the ballet form, as arranged by Fokine, it is a


In the repertoire of Diaghileff’s company there have been, thus far,
only two more or less satisfactory ballets, _Le Pavilion d’Armide_,
by Benois and Tcherepnin, and _Le Spectre de la Rose_ by Weber and
Vaudoyer. But both might be termed choreographic sketches in one scene
rather than ballets. Without Nijinsky and Karsavina even these would
not be very charming. The aristocratic sentimentality and poetic pathos
of the two dance pantomimes are perfectly displayed by these two most
talented artists of the revolutionary group, as their miming and
dancing are characterized by a certain natural softness of movement,
the quality of languor and passion. But it was the music of Igor
Stravinsky, a young Russian composer working in the impressionistic
style, that saved the situation of the new ballet. Stravinsky has
a genius for the ballet, such as perhaps the world has never seen
before. However, he seems to be greatly hampered by lack of proper
conception of what constitutes the modern ballet. It is evident that
he is influenced in his compositions too much by the Diaghileff-Fokine
tendencies, as most of his ballets are built up in the old form of
construction, though the phonetic images and spirit are new. His
music is graphically vivid, as it should be, has a strong rhythm and
inspiring modern spirit. It is the form of construction that he has not
grasped yet fully, except in his _Petrouchka_.

This _Petrouchka_, Stravinsky’s masterpiece, is a Russian burlesque
taken from an old fairy-story of Harlequin in love with the Clown’s
wife. In this ballet the scenes are splendidly arranged by Fokine and
the music is thrilling. The puppet has always exercised a curious
fascination upon the human mind. The animated doll is a fantastic and
yet pathetic symbol of our emotions. _Petrouchka_ is the Russian
counterpart of English ‘Punch and Judy,’ though differing in its more
sentimental character. _Petrouchka_ represents the character of a real
puppet. Stravinsky has woven a dramatic plot around the puppet stage.
‘To take us behind the scenes and show the mingled comedy and tragedy
of the puppet world, was a true and dramatic inspiration’ of the
composer. The scenic effect of _Petrouchka_ is calculated to create a
melancholy feeling in the spectator with its bleak gray background and
dull frigidity. It gives a striking contrast to the barbaric colors of
the crowd on the stage. One has the feeling of opaque leaden skies,
of snow and gay people at a fair. The costumes and scenery designed
by Benois are true to Russian life and strikingly in harmony with
the dance. In every phrase of the music the composer shows himself a
master of the art of writing ballet music. ‘Throughout the four scenes
he displays not only a nice sense of dramatic firmness, but a shrewd
appreciation of character. In the treatment his humorous percept is of
large assistance. In the trumpet dance by which the Blackamoor is first
lured into the fair one’s toils or in the slower _pas de fascination_,
by which the conquest of him is completed, Stravinsky’s sense of the
ludicrous has turned two slender occasions to most diverting account. A
piece of clever orchestration is a passage at the outset of the opening
scene where the composer succeeds not only in reproducing the peculiar
sounds of an old hurdy-gurdy, but weaves the opposition between two
such competing instruments into a most entertaining and harmonious

As in all the other Stravinsky ballet compositions, the orchestration
of _Petrouchka_ is realistically true to the action and the characters
of the play. It is full-blooded and modern. It breathes an air of the
unsophisticated joy of a simple people who attend to their affairs
regardless of conventional restrictions. Nijinsky, with his dramatic
flexibility and vigor, makes the play a vivid fairy tale in actuality,
or rather gives life to a dream of a fairy tale. ‘That the ballet
is thereby endowed with meaning, an inwardness, which it might not
otherwise possess, must be accounted as a tribute to the dancer’s
genius,’ writes an English critic.

Another splendid Stravinsky ballet performed by the Diaghileff company
is _L’Oiseau de Feu_. Fokine has arranged the music successfully in
this ballet. Like _Petrouchka_, it is based upon a folk-tale. The
overture of the play indicates that a fantastic story is to follow.
Strange mutterings and unexpected harmonies dispose the hearer to an
atmosphere of another world. The adventurous pantomime opens in a
gloomy forest emanating an air of midnight mysteries. But the music
glows gradually like the magic glow in the forest. One sees the
spectacular Fire Bird floating downward toward the stage. Now dancing
and music melt into one fascinating picture of two dimensions, to which
the brilliant scenic effects add a special spiritual note. Performed by
Karsavina, as the Fire Bird, the ballet is excellent.

But Stravinsky has succeeded less well in his post-impressionistic _Le
Sacre du Printemps_. This consists of two tableaux of ancient pagan
Russia. The first scene is the adoration of the earth; the second, the
adoration of the sun. The music is less spontaneous and less graphic
than that in Stravinsky’s other ballets. But, all in all, Stravinsky
remains the greatest drawing card and the greatest æsthetic factor in
the art of the Russian ballet rebels.

A charming number in the repertoire of the Diaghileff company is
Balakireff’s _Thamar_. Balakireff wrote this as a symphonic poem on
an Oriental theme, but Bakst has manufactured out of it a ballet.
The music is very beautiful and typically Russian. The story is a
thrilling tale of Caucasian life, which takes place at an ancient
castle built in a gorge of romantic mountains. But because it is
an artificial construction, it is less interesting musically and
choreographically than the Stravinsky ballets.

The Russian new ballet has attempted to perform Claude Debussy’s
_L’Après-Midi d’un Faun_, and Richard Strauss’ _La Légende de Joseph_.
In the latter ballet a new Russian dancer, Leonide Miassine, was
introduced in the title rôle. Neither Miassine nor _La Légende de
Joseph_ proved great attractions. Magnificent as Strauss and Debussy
are in their modern compositions otherwise, in ballet music they remain
mediocrities. Their rhythm is so anæmic, their images so hazy and their
episodes so disconnected that not even a Nijinsky or a Karsavina could
put life into them.

In criticising the new Russian ballet of Diaghileff and Fokine,
Prince Volkhonsky writes: ‘Their main defect is that they develop
[the dance] independently from the music; they are a design by
themselves--complicated, interesting, very often pleasing to the eye,
yet independent of the music. And we have already seen when we spoke
of the old codas that the most unpretentious figure, even when banal,
becomes inspiring when it coincides with the musical movement, and, on
the contrary, the most interesting “picturesque” figure loses meaning
when it develops in discord with music. Look at some dance, definite,
exact, that has crystallized itself within well-established limits;
you may look at it even without music. But try to watch a pantomime
without music. In the first place, it will be a design without color,
quite an acceptable form; in the second it will be a body without
skeleton--something unacceptable.’

The Russian new ballet is an interesting proof of the far-reaching
effect that the naturalistic school of dancing indirectly exercised
upon the development of the art of dancing. The efforts of the reform
that Fokine is attempting to achieve are admirable and show the great
possibilities that the revolutionists face in the immediate future.
Their whole drawback has been in their conception of the form and
music. Even Stravinsky has not been able to shake himself loose from
the old pantomimic form. But sooner or later they will see the new
point of view and acknowledge the mistake that every reformer is apt
to make in his first step. The Russians have the technique, the music,
the innate talent and the traditions for all future choreographic
inspiration. The solution lies, to a great extent, in the coöperative
work of their composers, writers, critics, painters, designers,
teachers and dancers.



  Jacques-Dalcroze and his creed; essentials of the ‘Eurhythmic’
  system--Body-rhythm; the plastic expression of musical ideas;
  merits and shortcomings of the Dalcroze system--Speculation on the
  value of Eurhythmics to the dance.


What apparently proves to be the elementary step in building up a
new school of choreography--perhaps that which some of the younger
dancers have chosen either by accident or by roundabout ways--are the
Jacques-Dalcroze Rhythmic Gymnastics or ‘Eurhythmics’ on the order
of the ancient Greeks. Thus far this style of dancing is merely in
its preliminary form. Therefore it is now as difficult to draw any
definite conclusion, as it was about 1905, when the Swiss composer
Dalcroze, who had been since 1892 a professor of harmony at the Geneva
Conservatoire, first launched the movement. However, the systematic
work of instruction by Dalcroze began in 1910, when the brothers Wolf
and Harald Dohrn invited him to come to Dresden, where, in the suburb
of Hellerau, they built for him a College of Rhythmic Gymnastics. From
this time on the inventor of the new method began a systematic training
of young men and women.

Ethel Ingham writes of the life at the college at Hellerau: ‘The day
commences with the sounding of a gong at seven o’clock; the house
is immediately alive, and some are off to the College for a Swedish
gymnastic lesson before breakfast, others breakfast at half-past seven
and have their lesson later. There is always a half hour of ordinary
gymnastics to begin with. Then there will be a lesson in _Solfège_,
one in Rhythmic Gymnastics, and one in Improvisation, each lasting for
fifty minutes, with an interval of ten minutes between lessons.’

‘One of the most marked tendencies of the modern æsthetic theory is to
break down the barriers that convention has created between the various
arts,’ writes Michael T. H. Sadler of the value of Jacques-Dalcroze’s
eurhythmics to art. ‘The truth is coming to be realized that the
essential factor of poetry, painting, sculpture, architecture and music
is really of the same quality, and that one art does not differ from
another in anything but the method of its expression and the conditions
connected with that method.

‘The common basis to the arts is more easily admitted than defined,
but one important element in it--perhaps the only element that can be
given a name--is rhythm. Rhythm of bodily movement, the dance, is the
earliest form of artistic expression known. It is accompanied in nearly
every case with rude music, the object being to emphasize the beat and
rhythmic movement with sound. The quickness with which children respond
to simple repetition of beat, translating the rhythm of the music into
movement, is merely the recurrence of historical development.

‘To speak of the rhythm of painting may seem fanciful, but I think
that is only lack of familiarity. The expression is used here with
no intention of metaphor. Great pictures have a very marked and real
rhythm, of color, of line, of feeling. The best prose-writing has
equally a distinct rhythm.

‘There was never an age in the history of art when rhythm played a more
important part than it does to-day. The teaching of M. Dalcroze at
Hellerau is a brilliant expression of the modern desire for rhythm in
its most fundamental form--that of bodily movement. Let it be clearly
understood from the first that the rhythmic training at Hellerau has
an importance far deeper and more extended than is contained in its
immediate artistic beauty, its excellence as a purely musical training,
or its value to physical development. The beauty of the classes is
amazing; the actor as well as the designer of stage-effects will come
to thank M. Dalcroze for the greatest contribution to their art that
any age can show. He has recreated the human body as a decorative unit.
He has shown how men, women and children can group themselves and can
be grouped in designs as lovely as any painting design, with the added
charm of movement. He has taught the individuals their own power of
gracious motion and attitude. Musically and physically the results
are equally wonderful. But the training is more than a mere musical
education; it is also emphatically more than gymnastics.

‘To take a joy in the beauty of the body, to train his mind to move
graciously and harmoniously both in itself and in relation to those
around him, finally, to make his whole life rhythmic--such an ideal
is not only possible but almost inevitable to the pupil at Hellerau.
The keenness which possesses the whole College, the delight of every
one in his work, their comradeship, their lack of self-consciousness,
their clean sense of the beauty of natural form, promise a new and more
harmonious race, almost a realization of Rousseau’s ideals, and with it
an era of truly artistic production.’

Dalcroze’s school has emphasized that its purpose is not merely to
train dancers but to educate for life generally. His theory is that
all the people should be raised to feel and appreciate the intrinsic
value of the rhythm, which is best proven in M. Dalcroze’s own essay,
_Le Rhythme_, which was published in 1909. ‘Schools of Music,’
he says, ‘formerly frequented only by born musicians, gifted from
birth with unusual powers of perception for sound and rhythm, to-day
receive all who are fond of music, however little Nature may have
endowed them with the necessary capacity for musical expression and
realization. The number of solo players, both pianists and violinists,
is constantly increasing, instrumental technique is being developed to
an extraordinary degree, but everywhere, too, the question is being
asked whether the quality of the instrumental players is equal to their
quantity, and whether the acquirement of extraordinary technique is not
joined to musical powers, if not of the first rank, at least normal.

‘Of ten certified pianists of to-day, at the most one, if indeed one,
is capable of recognizing one key from another, of improvising four
bars with character or so as to give pleasure to the listener, of
giving expression to a composition without the help of the more or less
numerous annotations with which present-day composers have to burden
their work, of experiencing any feeling whatever when they listen to,
or perform, the composition of another. The solo players of older
days were without exception complete musicians, able to improvise and
compose, artists driven irresistibly towards art by a noble thirst for
æsthetic expression, whereas most young people who devote themselves
nowadays to solo playing have the gifts neither of hearing nor of
expression, are content to imitate the composer’s expression without
the power of feeling it, and have no other sensibility than that of the
fingers, no other motor faculty than an automatism painfully acquired.
Solo playing of the present day has specialized in a finger technique
which takes no account of the faculty of mental expression. It is no
longer a means, it has become an end.

‘There are two physical agents by means of which we appreciate music.
These two agents are the ear as regards sound, and the whole nervous
system as regards rhythm. Experience has shown me that the training of
these two agents cannot easily be carried out simultaneously. A child
finds it difficult to appreciate at the same time a succession of notes
forming a melody and the rhythm which animates them.

‘Before teaching the relation which exists between sound and movement,
it is wise to undertake the independent study of each of these two
elements. Tone is evidently secondary, since it has not its origin
and model in ourselves, whereas movement is instinctive in man and
therefore primary. Therefore I begin the study of music by careful and
experimental teaching of movement. This is based in earliest childhood
on the automatic exercise of marching, for marching is the natural
model of time measure.

‘By means of various accentuations with the foot, I teach the different
time measures. Pauses (of various length) in the marching teach the
children to distinguish duration of sound; movements to time with the
arms and the head preserve order in the succession of the time measures
and analyze the bars and pauses.

‘Unsteady time when singing or playing, confusion in playing, inability
to follow when accompanying, accentuating too roughly or with lack of
precision, all these faults have their origin in the child’s muscular
and nervous control, in lack of coördination between the mind which
conceives, the brain which orders, the nerve which transmits and the
muscle which executes. And still more, the power of phrasing and
shading music with feeling depends equally upon the training of the
nerve-centres, upon the coördination of the muscular system, upon rapid
communication between brain and limbs--in a word, upon the health of
the whole organism; and it is by trying to discover the individual
cause of each musical defect, and to find a means of correcting it,
that I have gradually built up my method of eurhythmics.

‘The object of the method is, in the first instance, to create by the
help of rhythm a rapid and regular current of communication between
brain and body; and what differentiates my physical exercises from
those of present-day methods of muscular development is that each of
them is conceived in the form which can most quickly establish in the
brain the image of the movement studied.

‘It is a question of eliminating in every muscular movement, by the
help of will, the untimely intervention of muscles unless for the
movement in question, and thus developing attention, consciousness and
will-power. Next must be created an automatic technique for all those
muscular movements which do not need the help of the consciousness, so
that the latter may be reserved for those forms of expression which are
purely intelligent. Thanks to the coördination of the nerve-centres, to
the formation and development of the greatest possible number of motor
habits, my method assures the freest possible play to subconscious

‘The first result of a thorough rhythmic training is that the pupil
sees clearly in himself what he really is, and obtains from his powers
all the advantage possible. * * * The education of the nervous system
must be of such a nature that the suggested rhythms of a work of art
induce in the individual analogous vibrations, produce a powerful
reaction in him and change naturally into rhythms of expression.
In simpler language the body must become capable of responding to
artistic rhythms and of realizing them quite naturally without fear of

‘Gestures and attitudes of the body complete, animate and enliven any
rhythmic music written simply and naturally without special regard
to tone, and, just as in painting there exist side by side a school
of the nude and a school of the landscape, so in music there may be
developed, side by side, plastic music and music pure and simple.
In the school of landscape painting emotion is created entirely by
combinations of moving light and by the rhythms thus caused. In the
school of the nude, which pictures the many shades of expression of
the human body, the artist tries to show the human soul as expressed
by physical forms, enlivened by the emotions of the moment, and at the
same time the characteristics suitable to the individual and the race,
such as they appear through momentary physical modifications.

‘At the present day plastic stage music is not interpreted at all, for
dramatic singers, stage managers and conductors do not understand the
relation existing between gesture and music, and the absolute ignorance
regarding plastic expression which characterizes the lyric actors of
our day is a real profanation of scenic musical art. Not only are
singers allowed to walk and gesticulate on the stage without paying
any attention to the time, but also no shade of expression, dynamic
or motor, of the orchestra--crescendo, decrescendo, accelerando,
ralletando--finds in their gestures adequate realization. By this I
mean the kind of wholly instinctive transformation of sound movements
into bodily movements such as my method teaches.’


This is briefly the essential part of the Jacques-Dalcroze school
of Eurhythmics. The method falls into three main divisions: (1)
ear training; (2) rhythmic gymnastics; and (3) improvisations. The
ear method is nothing but the training of the pupil in an accurate
sense of pitch and a grasp of tonality. However, the system of
teaching rhythmic gymnastics is based upon two different methods:
_time_ and _time-values_. Time is expressed by movements of the arms;
time-values--note durations--by movements of the feet and body. A
combination of these two methods is called the plastic counterpoint,
in which the actual notes played are represented by movements of the
arms, while the counterpoint in crotchets, quavers or semi-quavers, is
given by the feet. The crotchet as the unit of note-values is expressed
by means of a step. Thus for each note in the music there is one step.
Notes of shorter duration than the crotchet are also expressed by
steps, only they are quicker in proportion to their frequency. ‘When
the movements corresponding to the notes from the crotchet to the whole
note of twelve beats have, with all their details, become a habit,
the pupil need only make them mentally, contenting himself with one
step forward. This step will have the exact length of the whole note,
which will be mentally analyzed into its various elements. Although
these elements are not individually performed by the body, their images
and the innervations suggested by these images take the place of the

The first training of a pupil in the Dalcroze school consists of steps
only. Simple music is played to which the pupils march. After the pupil
has an elementary command of his legs the rhythmic training of his
arms and body begins. At this stage the simple movements to indicate
rhythms and notes are made a second nature of the pupil. This can be
compared to the pupil’s learning of the alphabet. Plastic reading
consists of composing more or less definite images from the elementary
rhythm-units. This is done either individually or in groups. The pupil
is taught to form clear mental images of the movements corresponding
to the rhythm in question and then give physical expression to those
images. As a child learns to compose letters and syllables to words
and words to phrases, a Dalcroze pupil is taught to understand the
elementary parts of the music and the rules of its composition and to
recompose it into a lengthy series of body movements.

The main object of Dalcroze’s method is to express by rhythmic
movements rhythms perceived by the ear. The exactness of such
expression is the main aim of the school. The body must react
momentarily to the time and sound-units of the music that the ear
perceives. As the wind creates waves in the sea, music is meant
to create motion in the human body. Percy B. Ingham writes that
characteristic exercises of this group are ‘beating the same time with
both arms but in canon, beating two different tempi with the arms while
the feet march to one or perhaps march to yet a third time, e. g.,
the arms 3/4 and 4/4, the feet 5/4. There are, also, exercises in the
analysis of a given time unit into various fractions simultaneously, e.
g., in a 6/8 bar one arm may beat three to the bar, the other arm two,
while the feet march six.’

According to Dalcroze’s plastic theory the arms should express the
theme in making as many movements as there are notes, while the feet
should mark the counterpoint in crotchets, quavers, triplets or
semi-quavers. A compound rhythm can be expressed by the arms taking one
rhythm, the feet, another. This is meant to correspond to the technical
exercises of orchestral music, by training the body to react to the
various tones of different instruments. The general purpose, however,
is and remains the development of feeling for rhythm by teaching the
physical expression of body rhythms. There is no doubt that shades
of crescendos and decrescendos, fortes and pianissimos are achieved
by this method, yet the question remains: how near does the Dalcroze
school come to visualizing the music in all its symbolic and spiritual

Music is more than rhythm; it is a subjective symbolic language of
our soul and the universe. It is a mystic factor of life, human and
cosmic. There is an unaccentuated language in every genial and great
composition, an æsthetic image and philosophic meaning that we can
grasp not by means of the intellect but mostly through the emotions,
and it is in expressing this that Dalcroze’s school has failed in
so far. Dalcroze has aimed to express the elemental factors of the
music, and in this he has succeeded. The performances given by Mr. T.
Jarecki, one of the most talented of the graduates of Hellerau, are
sufficient proof of the fact that the school has its shortcomings in
the above-mentioned directions. He performed a Prelude by Chopin, a
composition of Rachmaninoff, one by Schubert, and several numbers of
other classics in a costume that looked like a bathing suit. Powerful
as he was in all his rhythmic grace, he yet failed to translate the
musical language of the compositions by means of bodily plasticity.
Chopin’s and Rachmaninoff’s preludes possess distinct tonal expressions
and designs of something very human and emotional that lies beyond mere
rhythm. Poetry is based on the laws of rhythm, yet it is not alone the
rhythm that makes a poem beautiful, but the image that it creates. Thus
in the art of dance it is not only the rhythm but the æsthetic episode
that concerns a dancer most of all. It is the transformation of this
phonetic episode into plastic forms, the visualization of the audible
beauty, that lies at the bottom of every great dance. This requires
certain symbols and those lie beyond the achievements of the Dalcroze


The great value of Dalcroze’s method lies in his insistence on perfect
rhythm as an elementary training upon which the coming art of dancing
can be based. The various folk-dances are outspokenly rhythmic, but
they contain that peculiar racial flavor which is very difficult to
keep outside its proper atmosphere and race. We have found that the
best Russian dancers could not give the simple folk-dances of another
race with the racial perfection which a native untrained folk-dancer
would have imparted to it. In the same way foreign dancers with their
best efforts fail in trying to dance what a Russian dances. The
national dances can be employed as valuable bases for the individual
art, but that is all. They lack the cosmic element, the language of
the world. An Italian understands his _Tarantella_, a Spaniard his
_Fandango_, a Russian his _Trepak_ best of all. The future art of
dancing needs a universal element of choreographic design and it is
in this that the Dalcroze school may be of immense value. It bases
everything on rhythm only, which is very significant, but its aim
should lie far beyond that. Rhythm is the syllable and the word, but
words must be combined into phrases and phrases into paragraphs before
we can read a story. It is after all the story in which the mind is
interested, not the words and phrases.

We have seen in previous chapters that the foundation of the ballet
lacks the firmness and soundness of a natural art. It is decadent and
altogether shaky. No genius could build anything lasting unless the
foundation is firm. The aim of dancing is not acrobatic nor gymnastic
effect, but plasticity. Symmetry is the chief element of architecture,
rhythm that of music. If we can combine the symmetric rules with those
of the rhythmic we have the basis upon which a new choreography can be
built. Isadora Duncan, Fokine, Lada, Trouhanova and many others are
trying to grasp the truth in their individual ways, but the elemental
truth lies in Dalcroze’s system. That Dalcroze has not aimed to train
any stage artists is evidenced by the bathing-suit-like costume
that his pupils wear, which in itself is unæsthetic and objectionable
to our eye, though it may fit well for regular class-room work. It is
at illusion that the stage aims, and this is not to be found in naked
realism but in something else.


[Illustration: A Plastic Pantomime (Dalcroze Eurhythmics)]

Some writers and critics seem to think that the great importance of
Dalcroze’s system lies in his Neo-Hellenism, in that it is so close
to the ancient Greek ideas. This view is particularly widespread in
Germany, the country of classic adoration. But Greek spirit and ideals
cannot help but only mislead a modern man. We have our problems, so
many thousand years of evolution after the Greek civilization, that
differ fundamentally from those of the bygone centuries. It is not in
looking backward, but in looking forward that we have to find the great
cosmic ideal of beauty. Dalcroze is by no means an imitator of the
Greeks, but a man of to-day. He maintains emphatically that his method
of eurhythmics is meant to be a general educational subject in all the
schools--an elementary rhythmic training for life.

It is to be hoped that the Dalcroze system of training dancers will
be employed as the elementary step in all the dancing schools, for
only then we may hope to see the rise of a new art of dancing.
Without learning the alphabet thoroughly or without knowing the most
elementary rules of a science nothing could be obtained by a pupil in
his later studies. Here is the elementary system in all its primitive
simplicity and truth. All we need is to adapt it to the higher
schools of choreography. What the Dalcroze schooling of to-day gives
is insufficient for a stage art. But it is by far a more thorough
elementary training than any ballet, naturalistic or individual school
can give, as it makes a student feel the music in his body and soul
before he expresses it in his plastic forms. Then again, there is a
strict system, a method of gradual development of those essentials
which lie at the bottom of every art dance.

In spite of the many shortcomings the Jacques-Dalcroze school can be
considered as the first move towards a new stage art. It means the
beginning of a new school of dancing altogether. However, it needs
another reformer to begin where Dalcroze ended. Can we expect this of
Fokine, Volkhonsky or some one else? Dance in its highest sense is
symbolic. The symbols that it expresses should not be others than those
of music. We know only that they should form images of the symmetric
and rhythmic elements, but their exact nature remains either for an
individual artist or a future school to determine.



  The defects of the new Russian and other modern schools; the new
  ideals; Prince Volkhonsky’s theories--Lada and choreographic
  symbolism--The question of appropriate music.


We have witnessed the various phases and changes which the art of
dancing has undergone during the past centuries. The ancient Egyptians
danced the movements of astral bodies, the Greeks danced the hymns of
their mythology, the Romans their war songs, the Middle Ages danced
the aristocratic etiquette of gilded ball-rooms, the French Ballet
danced to stereotyped tunes with marionette-like manners, the Russian
Ballet danced to dramatic scenarios that had musical accompaniment,
the various nations danced to their simple tunes, the Duncanites to
the mood-creating elements of the music, the Jacques-Dalcrozists to
the rhythm of a composition only. It is inconceivable that none of the
reformers, none of the new schools, danced the music itself. Those
among the partisans of ‘natural’ or ‘classic’ dancing who claim to
interpret the music have given us thus far supposed imitations of the
Greek, Oriental or fantastic styles of some kind, based upon hazy
rhythmic mood-producing forms of a composition. We have seen only
fragmentary passages here and there, single numbers of the celebrated
dancers, which expressed the phonetic designs of the music in true
plastic lines. Pavlova has certainly succeeded in expressing all the
emotional fury of Glazounoff’s _L’Autômne Bacchanale_, the grace of
Drigo’s _Papillons_, and Saint-Saëns’ ‘The Swan.’ We must give all due
credit to Karsavina, for her dancing of Stravinsky’s _L’Oiseau de Feu_,
and half a dozen others of her repertoire depict truly the very soul
of the music. The child pupils of Miss Duncan dance all the ethereal
grace of Schubert’s _Moments Musicals_. In the same way we find in
one or several dances of Mordkin, Nijinsky and Volinin, of Lopokova,
Fokina and Kyasht that they have succeeded in dancing the music. We are
pretty safe to say that each of the celebrated dancers of history has
probably been able to translate into visible ‘plasticism’ only a few of
the phonetic forms of one or another composition of his repertoire. And
this is what we may term ‘dancing the music.’

We have attended innumerable dance performances, have seen many new and
old ballets, in Russia and abroad, have seen the new and ultra-modern
dancers, yet we have so far seen but a microscopic fragment of what
we here call ‘dancing the music.’ Certainly the greatest part of the
repertoire of all the celebrated dancers has been the dancing of
something else than the music. All the Pavlova ballets that have been
given in America, all the elaborate ballets of the Russian classic
school, all the ballets of the Diaghileff-Fokine group, are and remain
dances to preconceived plots, dances to a style or a mood, but rarely
dances of the music. We should like to have any of the celebrated
dancers show us where there is expression of the music in all the
spectacular pirouettes of Pavlova, Karsavina, Nijinsky and Fokina, in
their dramatic acting to a musical composition, even in the most modern
ballets of Stravinsky. The dancing that they perform during the whole
ballet is pantomimic acting to a certain plot, arranged to music. We
are not by any means biased in making the statement, but make it with

Dancers of various schools and ages have failed to see the point.
Though Prince Volkhonsky is preaching exclusively the Jacques-Dalcroze
rhythmic gymnastics as the basis of a new school of dance and therefore
sees nothing more in a dance than the rhythmic expression, yet he has
described aptly the defects of the Russian ballets, old and new, of
the Duncanites and other modern schools of dancing. ‘Their main defect
is that they develop independently of the music,’ he writes; ‘they are
a design by themselves--complicated, interesting, very often pleasing
to the eye, yet independent of the music. And we have already seen
when we spoke of the old _codas_ that the most unpretentious figure,
even when banal, becomes inspiring when it coincides with the musical
movement, and, on the contrary, the most interesting picturesque
figure loses meaning when it develops in discord with music. Look at
some dance, definite and exact, which has crystallized itself within
well-established limits; you may look at it even without music, but try
to watch a pantomime without music. In the first place, it will be a
design without color, quite an acceptable form; in the second, it will
be a body without skeleton--something unacceptable.

‘The main fault of the leaders of the modern ballet is that they put
the centre of gravity of the ballet in the plot, in the event, in the
story: what in painting is called literature. Whereas the subject
of the ballet is not in the plot, the subject is in the music. Any
picture which is not dictated by music, any independent movement, is
synonymous with abandonment of the subject, the essence; it is in
the end an interruption of art, an interruption caused by a rupture
between the two equivalent elements of the visuo-audible art--sound
and movement. This rupture with music is all the more felt the more
participants there are in the picture, and the more markedly it tends
towards “realism.” Only look at them when they represent scenes of
disorder; and by and by we lose the impression of “art”; we see real,
not represented, disorder; and finally we are turned to the dramatic
point of view, and we are called upon to admire the “acting crowd.”
And if you are musical, if you live in the movement of sound, this
independent visible movement cannot but appear as a sort of unasked-for
interference of some intruder. The acting crowd is not admissible where
a rhythmically moving crowd is required. Acting leads the artist out
of music and conducts him into the plot; and the subject of ballet, I
repeat, is not in the plot, it is in the music; the plot is but the

‘Only through the rhythm will the ballet come back to music and
accomplish the fusion which has been destroyed by independent acting.
Schopenhauer said that music is a melody to which the universe serves
as a text; take away the music from the ballet--it will have nothing
to say. There is quite a clear parallel here with the vocal art. The
musician composes a song; he puts words to music. Imagine a singer
coming out and telling us only the words; he will be far from the
fulfillment of his task; he will have accomplished but the half of it,
the lesser part of it. It is the same with the ballet; the musician
composes the ballet, he puts the plot to music. Imagine a dancer coming
out and acting the plot alone; he will be far from the fulfillment of
his task; he will have accomplished but the lesser part of it. For the
ballet does not relate how the Sleeping Beauty, for instance, fell
asleep and awoke (this is the business of literature, declamation
and drama); the ballet relates how music tells it. Music is the only
real essence in that which forms the subject of the ballet. All the
remaining “reality,” the real man with his real movement, is nothing
but a means of expression, nothing but artistic material. It is evident
how wrong, how offensive it is (for a musician) when this material
of living movement embodies a new moving formula which is not implied
in the music. Have you seen those “processions” of maidens, slaves,
priests, etc.? Have you ever been shocked by the discord of their walk
with music? Have you noticed that the pace which you see is quite
different from the one you hear? Have you ever felt offended on seeing
that they step between the notes and thus give you the impression of
syncopes which are in no way justified by music? I am afraid you have
not. Few are those who realize the importance of the accord of movement
and sound, who long for its realization, and, together with Schiller,
desire that “Music in its ascendant ennoblement shall become Image.”

‘The music we hear is the subject of the image we see. And in fact the
singer sings music, the dancer dances music, and cannot dance anything
else; he cannot “dance” jealousy or grief or fright, but he can and
must dance the music which expresses the feeling of jealousy, grief or
fright. And when he has rendered the music he will, by the same means,
have rendered its contents, and naturally the silly question will
be dropped: “How is it possible that on the stage the people should
dance everything, whereas in life only dances are danced, or, at the
utmost, joy?” The question is strange, to be sure, yet no less strange
are those who forget that the only thing they may dance is music, and
think they may dance a “rôle.” The dramatic principle based upon an
arbitrary division of time is directly opposed to the choreographic
principle, which is wholly founded on the musical, consequently
regulated, division of time. Therefore the introduction of the element
of “personal feeling,”[D] of individual choice, and even more, destroys
the very essence of the choreographic art, and eats away its very

    [D] As the Duncanites do.--Editor.

I do not speak against the working out of such; I speak against an
independent working out--that is, a separate one running a course other
than that in which music is the greatest essential. I remember one of
the best _ballerinas_ contorting herself in wild movements of anguish
while the notes of the violin were dying away in one long sound of a
trill. She “acted,” and there is, of course, no harm in this, but she
acted according to her ideas, instead of acting according to music. It
is just the same sin against art as if a singer were to execute a lyric
song with bravado. Would you forgive him? Why, then, do we not forgive
a singer, yet forgive a mimic, even admire his “acting”? Why is it
every one understands that singing must agree with music, and so few,
almost nobody, feel the offensiveness of movement which disagrees with
music? And yet how sensitive to the observation of the musico-plastic
principle are those who are so indifferent to its non-observation. How
much they enjoy, though unconsciously, every manifestation of that
concordance! We may say with certitude that for the best moments,
the moments of greatest satisfaction in the living art--that is, the
musico-plastic art combining the visible with the audible--we are
indebted to the simultaneous concurrence of the plastic movement with
the musical; in other words, to the equality in division of space and
time. In an old French treatise on the dance, published in the year
1589, the author says among other bits of advice: “It is wrong for
the foot to say one thing and the instrument the other.” In its naïve
conciseness this sentence represents the germ of all that has been
said, perhaps with some prolixity, in these pages.

‘Space and time are the fundamental conditions of all material
existence--and for that same reason the inevitable conditions of all
material manifestation of man within the limits of his earthly being.
If we agree that art is the highest manifestation of order in matter,
and order in its essence nothing but division of space and time, we
shall understand the fullness of artistic satisfaction which man must
feel when both his organs of perfection, eye and ear, convey to him not
only each separate enjoyment, but the enjoyment of fusion; when all his
æsthetic functions are awakened in him not separately but collectively,
in one unique impression: the visible rhythm penetrated by the audible,
the audible realized in the visible, and both united in movement. This
is the combination of the spacial order with the temporal. And when
this combination is accomplished, and still more when it is animated
with expression, then no chord of human impressionability is left
untouched, no category of human existence is neglected; space and time
are filled with art, the whole man is but one æsthetic perception.

‘And, once we have understood all that, how is it possible not to
express the wish that the leaders of the art of the ballet should
assimilate the principle of concordance of motion and music? Without
this there is no art in movement, and all our old “pointés” and
“fouettés,” all those records of rapidity and difficulties are nothing
but words without significance, whereas the new “choreographical”
pictures are but a dramatization of movement to the sound of an
accompanying music.’


One of the first among living dancers to realize the truth of the
above-described lack of concordance between motion and music in all the
ancient and new schools, and to devise, intuitively, a method of her
own in expressing only the music, is Lada, a young American girl, who
had been assiduously studying dancing in Europe and in Russia. She felt
so keenly the discord in the ballet, in the art of Isadora Duncan,
in the dances of so many modern celebrities, that she was led to draw
her inspiration from the folk-dances of various European countries.
Here was something simple and primitive, the simple and naïve harmonic
relation between the audible, and the visible, the plastic, conception.
It was the concordance of motion and music.

Lada’s New York début in the late spring of 1914 was, in spite of so
many unfavorable circumstances, a choreographic triumph such as few
dancers have achieved under similar conditions. The New York musical
and dramatic critics, though unfamiliar with subtle choreographic
issues, declared her an artist of the foremost rank. Yet this girl
has not had yet the chance to display the best of her art. Her art
may be divided into three different categories: those based on the
racial, on the dramatic and on the symbolic principles. Her Brahms’
Hungarian Dance, Glinka’s _Kamarienskaya_, and Schubert’s _Biedermayer_
are distinct ethnographic plastic panoramas; her Sibelius’ _Valse
Triste_ is a masterpiece among her dramatic and realistic dances, while
MacDowell’s ‘Shadow Dance,’ Sibelius’ ‘Swan of Tuonela,’ Glière’s
_Lada_, and Rimsky-Korsakoff’s _Antar_ are perfect choreographic gems
of unusual symbolic breadth. In the _Valse Triste_ the sad majesty, as
if absorbed in infinite grief, overcomes the spectator so irresistibly
that he almost forgets the morbidly beautiful music of Sibelius.
On occasions, impressively executed with unsurpassed loftiness and
freedom, she places before us a visionary being, though on the verge of
death, in whose presence everything low falls from us, and our feelings
express the same elevation that they do in genuine tragedy.

But, however excellently Lada may interpret the sentimental issues
of various ethnographic compositions and how well she may portray
the tragic vigor of the dramatic music, the best of her art lies
in the symbolic visualization of phonetic beauties. In these she
appears like a supernatural being raised above common humanity. Her
rendering of Gretchaninoff’s ‘Bells,’ which we have seen so far only in
rehearsals, makes an impression as if she were lost in sacred revery.
A touch of religious feeling pervades the beautiful panorama. In other
dances of similar religious character she seems floating in mid-air,
unsubstantial as the moon whose pale beams pour a magic beauty over
sleeping Nature--and yet so far removed. Her art is an absolute image
of the music. Lada is by no means a mood creator or a believer in
genial spontaneity that requires nothing but a stage and orchestra. She
possesses in her simplest folk-dance-like choreographic sketches the
same technical perfection, the same strenuous practice, as the most
accomplished ballet dancer. This is what makes her body seem like a
highly strung instrument, whose strings the slightest breath of wind
can set quivering. Let us hope that she will not change her views and
aspirations for the sake of managerial or timely requirements, as so
many successful dancers have done. It would be a loss to the evolution
of the art of dancing.

To this school of dancing belongs also Natasha Trouhanova, a
fascinatingly beautiful Caucasian girl, whose appearances in Russia and
Paris have attracted great attention. Being of semi-Oriental descent
herself, Trouhanova’s art has verged on Oriental conceptions. Russian
music is rich in excellent Oriental themes; Borodine, Rubinstein,
Balakireff, Ippolitoff-Ivanoff and Spendiaroff have written a large
number of instrumental works of Oriental cast, which adapt themselves
magnificently to dancing. Indeed, the composers of other countries
have not been able to approach the Russians in the treatment of
Oriental subjects. Mlle. Trouhanova has specialized in a romantic
Oriental symbolism, in which she has succeeded more than any of the
other living dancers. There is an enchanting, exotic atmosphere in
Trouhanova’s plastic expressions, something that breathes of the
Thousand and One Nights, seductive and saturated with passion, yet
beautiful in every detail. Her best performances have been those which
she has given in Oriental surroundings, in the atmosphere to which
such expressions belong. Like Lada, Trouhanova seeks the solution of
choreography in the music itself. She has been inclined to a kind
of symbolism that pertains to the romantic emotions, and in this
particular field she stands supreme.


How important Lada’s illustration of the theory of concordance of
motion and music is at this time of dancing evolution can be more
concretely grasped by the coming generations than by an average
dance-lover to-day. It is perspective that gives the true visual
impression of a mountain. ‘In the unison of plasticity and music,
of the visible with the audible, of the spacial with the temporal,
lies the guarantee of that new art which we so ardently desire and so
unsuccessfully seek,’ writes a celebrated dance authority. But here
comes the question of music, the phonetic image that should guide
the choreographic artist. Lada complains that she has a very limited
choice of compositions that can be danced. The problem of proper dance
music is more serious than one would think. Sibelius’ _Valse Triste_
is perhaps the best sample of dramatic dance music that corresponds
perfectly to a dancer’s requirements. MacDowell’s ‘Shadow Dance’ is
another gem of this kind. There are quite a few by other composers.
The sum is slight. But the dancer can hardly blame the composer alone,
for the latter knows only the old ballet, the naturalistic school or
folk-dance themes. He has never heard of any other dance music than the
one which has been danced, either socially or on the stage.

Dancing to music requires short phonetic episodes with sufficient
poetic, symbolic or dramatic element, and images clearly depicted in
strong rhythmic measure and sufficient background for the story. The
more variety of figures, the greater contrasts and the more ‘chapters’
in such a composition, the better for the dancer. The modern decadent,
unrhythmic, vague mood music of the radical French and German schools
is of little appeal and practically impossible to render in plastic
forms. It is the Russian school of music, as also the works of modern
Finnish composers, that have all the rich, clear and powerfully vivid
magic of the north, and appeal so strongly to a dancer’s imagination.
Sibelius’ _En Saga_, a tone-poem for full orchestra, would be the most
grateful composition for this purpose had it not been written in the
old symphonic form. It belongs to that baffling and unsatisfactory
class of symphonic poems to which Sibelius has failed to give a clear
literary basis. The music suggests the recital of some old tale in
which the heroic and pathetic elements are skillfully blended. The
music is vigorous and highly picturesque, but its interest would be
greatly enhanced by a more definite program. Again, the same composer’s
‘Lemminkainen’s Home-Faring’ would make an excellent dance for a man
dancer, had the composer rearranged it for a smaller orchestra and
for dancing. It is an episode from the _Kalevala_. Sibelius’ Fourth
Symphony is a composition that could be danced, being based on a series
of single episodes of extremely imaginary character. But the score
is written for a large symphony orchestra, therefore unpractical for
dancing in a general way. Sibelius’ incidental music to Adolf Paul’s
tragedy, ‘King Christian II,’ and the other to Maeterlinck’s ‘Pelléas
and Mélisande’ are large ballets rather than music that could be
performed without any particular difficulties by dancers of Lada’s type.

The question of appropriate music for the latest phase of the art
of dancing is so serious that it requires earnest consideration. In
considering the best dances of all the great dancers of all ages and
schools we find that among the phonetic images the symbolic element
renders itself most gratefully to plastic transformation. By its
very nature dancing is the symbolic rendering of music. The more
symbolic the subject of a composition the better chance it has of
being transmitted into a visible language. A dancer represents in his
vibrating body lines the symbolic complex of all the phonetic unities
of a composition. He is, so to speak, the unset type. Music is the text
that he has to print in such pictorial forms, in such symbols that our
mind can grasp it. Throughout his dance, he remains a kaleidoscopic
tracer of the musical designs of the composition. The plastic positions
of the human body, the mimic expression of the face, the gestures and
the steps, are the mediums that can suggest certain phases of emotion
and feeling, certain ideas and impressions of soul and body. There
is a certain tonal and pictorial ‘logic,’ a kind of unarticulated
thinking, in music as well as in dancing. But this cannot be depicted
in any other than symbolic form. Essentially both arts are composed
of a succession of peculiar emotional symbolic images. Music is the
vibration of the sound, dancing the vibration of the form. Both arts
appeal directly to our emotions, music more than dancing, the latter
being more mixed with our intellectual processes. Dancing may be termed
the translating of the absolutely subjective language into a more
objective one. According to this theory all the ballets in the old
form of drama, where the characters dance their rôles, is against the
principle of pure art dancing. It is impossible to imagine that there
is any music on the order of our conventional dramas, of so or so many
characters. At the utmost there can be only two dancing figures, two
characters that we could imagine in a tone-drama of this kind; but even
so, the other could be only the acting, the pantomimic character, while
only one dancer at a time can render the real transformation process of
the musical theme.

To comply with the requirements of the above-described theory of
musical dancing, the writer has composed a scenario, ‘The Legend of
Life,’ to which Reinhold Glière is composing the music. In this ballet,
or more correctly _plastomime_, which is arranged in three scenes,
there is only one single dancer throughout the whole performance, and
she is the symbolic image, the visualized imagination of a young monk,
who is sitting in the evening before the festival of ordainment in his
gloomy cell and thinking of the girl he used to love outside. Here he
begins to hear the worldly music that is interrupted by the chimes
and the choir of the church. The girl of whom he is thinking appears
before him and dances romantic episodes--dances, so to speak, his vivid
reminiscences. The monk is the realistic figure, the dancing girl the
symbolic image of the music. It is a whole drama, which takes place in
the monk’s mind. The drama is in music, and is his love, his romantic
emotion, which is often interrupted by ecclesiastic surroundings. The
second scene is the dream of the monk at night in a beautiful garden.
The vision of the dancing girl. The third scene depicts him watching
his own ordination in the church and the people arriving solemnly
through the courtyard to witness the ceremony. Among them he sees his
beloved. This scene is laid in the monastery’s courtyard. The charm
of the dancing girl here becomes so overwhelming to the monk that
he throws off his robe and rushes to her. Here she vanishes like a
phantom and the plastomime ends. This, briefly, is an attempt at the
sort of literary basis upon which the author considers dance music can
be constructed in concordance with the new symbolic ideals.

The above-described scenario is merely one of the innumerable dance
themes that modern composers could employ in their future dance music.
It is to be hoped that composers will grasp the idea and enrich musical
literature with works that adapt themselves to the requirements of a
new choreography.



As in the physical so in the spiritual world there prevails a kind
of circulation of energies and life; growth, maturity and decline.
Individuals seem nothing but the beginnings where the universes
end, and _vice versa_. As a man mirrors the world in his soul, so a
protoplasm mirrors the man. An invisible hand pushes a worm along the
same road of evolution as it does an imperious Cæsar. One and the same
feeling heart seems to beat in the breast of man that beats in the
action of the constellations. Yet the hand of evolution that tends to
adjust the equilibrium between the individual and the cosmic will gives
by every new turn a new touch of perfection to the subjective and the
objective parties. This tendency manifests itself in the history of
individuals and races, and also in the history of art. The greatest
genius of to-day is surpassed by another to-morrow.

The art of dancing, as it stands to-day, promises much encouragement
for to-morrow. It is near the beginning of a new era--the era of the
cosmic ideals. The past belongs to the aristocratic ideals, in which
the Russian ballet reached the climax. The French were the founders
of aristocratic choreography; the Russians transformed it into an
aristocratic-dramatic art; to the Americans belongs the attempt at a
democratic school.

‘The chief value of reaction resides in its negative, destructive
element,’ says Prince Volkhonsky. ‘If, for instance, we had never seen
the old ballet, with its stereotype, I do not think that the appearance
of Isadora Duncan would have called forth such enthusiasm. In Isadora
we greeted the deliverance.’ The chief merit of Duncan lies in
destroying the aristocratic foundation of the ballet, and in attempting
to find a democratic expression. She meant to find the solution in
ancient Greek ideas and tried to imitate them. But she forgot that she
was an outspoken American individualist and grasped only the democratic
principles of a young race. All she achieved was to prove that the
democratic essentials are no more satisfactory in the future æsthetic
evolution of the dance than were the aristocratic traditions of the
bygone centuries. The question remains, where is to be found the true
basis of the coming choreography?

It is strange to contemplate what different directions the development
of the dance in various countries and in various ages has taken.
In ancient Egypt and Greece the primitive folk-dances developed
into spectacular religious ballets, in Japan they assumed the same
impressionistic character as the rest of the national art, in
aristocratic France the folk-dances grew to a gilded salon art, in
Italy they became acrobatic shows, while in Russia they transformed
themselves into spectacular racial pantomimes. In every age and
country the art of dancing followed the strongest æsthetic motives of
the time. If a nation worshipped nobility it danced the aristocratic
ideals, if it worshipped divine ideas it danced them accordingly. The
social-political democratic ideals of the New World have exercised
a great influence in this direction upon the art of the Old. Though
imitating aristocratic Europe, America has not failed to add an element
of its own to the æsthetic standards of the former. But had America
been only democratic there would be little hope left that it could
attribute anything to the future beauty, particularly to the future
dance. There are, however, other elements that give encouragement to
something serious and lasting, and this is the cosmic tendency in
American life and art.

The chief characteristics of the American mind are to condense
expressions and ideas into their shortest forms. This is most evident
in the syncopated style of its music, in its language and in its
architecture. Like the American ‘ragtime’ tune, an American skyscraper
is the result of an impressionistic imagination. Both are crude in
their present form, yet they speak a language of an un-ethnographic
race and form the foundation of a new art. Instead of having a
floating, graceful and, so to speak, a horizontal tendency like the
æsthetic images of the Old World, the American beauty is dynamic,
impressionistic and perpendicular. It shoots directly upwards and
denies every tradition. The underlying motives of such a tendency are
not democratic but cosmic. While a nationalistic art is always based on
something traditional, something that belongs to the past evolution of
a race, the cosmic art strives to unite the emotions of all humanity.
The task of the latter is very much more difficult. It requires a
universal mind to grasp and express what appeals to the whole world.
It requires a Titanic genius to condense the æsthetic images so that
in their shortest form they may say what the others would express in
roundabout ways. This gives to beauty a dynamic vigor and makes it so
much more universal than the art of any nation or age could be. But
this requires the use of symbols, and tends to subjectivism. However,
the symbols employed in this case are fundamentally different from
those employed by the Orientals. Since the earliest ages the Orient has
made use of symbols in art and religion. But the Oriental symbols have
been mystic or philosophic in their nature. The American symbols will
either be purely intellectual or they will be poetic.

The future of the art of dancing belongs to America, the country of
the cosmic ideals. This is evident from its evolution since Isadora
Duncan’s début. The Russian New Ballet (of Diaghileff’s group) is the
best proof that the traditional racial plasticism is being transformed
into a cosmic one. Compare the steps and gestures of Karsavina and
Nijinsky with those of Pavlova and Volinin. Where the former have
become realistically dramatic, the latter remain acrobatically
academic. There is more symbolism in Karsavina’s and Nijinsky’s art
than in that of Pavlova and the followers of the old ballet. But the
plastic symbols of Lada are far more condensed than those of Karsavina.
This is what we have termed the essential of a cosmic choreography.

The tendency of every art is from the simple to the complex and then
again from the complex to the simple. The greatest dancer is the one
who can express the most complex musical images in the simplest plastic
forms. Dancing in the future will be nothing but a transformatory
process of the time-emotions in the space-emotions. ‘Rhythm is in time
what symmetry is in space--division into equal parts corresponding to
each other,’ said Schopenhauer. Arthur Symons called dancing ‘thinking
overheard.’ ‘It begins and ends before words have formed themselves, in
a deeper consciousness than that of speech. * * * It can render birth
and death, and it is always going over and over the eternal pantomime
of love; it can be all the passions, all the languors; but it idealizes
these mere acts, gracious or brutal, into more than a picture; for it
is more than a beautiful reflection, it has in it life itself, as it
shadows life; and it is farther from life than a picture. Humanity,
youth, beauty, playing the part of itself, and consciously, in a
travesty, more natural than nature, more artificial than art: but we
lose ourselves in the boundless bewilderment of its contradictions.’
It follows that a neo-symbolism is the logical outcome of the future
dance. Dancing will become an independent stage art and take the place
of the obsolescent opera. But before it reaches that stage, composers
will be compelled to realize the importance of the new choreography,
and produce music that contains all the graphic designs, the plastic
possibilities, the dynamic drama and, above all, that structure of
sounds which gives ample possibility for symbolic plasticism and yet
contains a message.

The real future dance will be expressionistic and subjective. Instead
of copying life it will suggest its deepest depths and highest heights
by combining the plastic symbols with the musical ones. It will not
try to imitate nature but transpose it, as a painting transposes a
landscape. Our mind is growing tired of the prevailing naked realism
and its photographic effects. The realistic drama is gradually losing
its æsthetic appeal. The aristocratic opera seems to belong to past
centuries. Opera has lost its grip on the modern mind. Our æsthetic
conception has reached the point where our subjective mind requires not
imitation but inspiration. Instead of traditional beauties we require
dynamic ones. We enjoy a suggestion of an æsthetic sensation more than
an accurate description of it. This proves that the symbolic sensations
will sooner or later take the upper hand, and symbolic dancing will be
the watchword of the coming age.

Since, according to our theory, the future of the art of dancing
belongs to America, we should take into consideration those primary
elements of musical art that form the foundation of every dance.
American art naturally lacks fundamentally national elements; it
strives toward cosmic ideals instead. Miserable as is the syncopated
form of American popular music it yet constitutes the musical
_Volapük_ of all the nations. This same syncopated form of expression
manifests itself in American architecture and in its social dancing.
The broken lines, the irregular dynamics, and the restless corners here
and there that we find predominant in American architecture are nothing
but a transposed form of popular music. It is evident that neither one
of the arts has yet found its foundation. A New York skyscraper is
a silent ‘ragtime’ tune, and _vice versa_. But the ‘ragtime’ rhythm
can be modulated to the same æsthetic expressions as the skyscrapers.
Unconsciously the dance follows the patterns of architecture and music.
The future choreography does not necessarily need to be based upon
syncopated rhythm only, but upon the various factors of the style, the
method of expression and the spiritual issues.

The physical and spiritual bases of every folk-art lie in the rural
life. A folk-song or a folk-dance is and remains the product of idyllic
village atmosphere. It mirrors the joys and sorrows, hopes and passions
of the country people. It has been molded under the blue sky, in
sunshine and storm. The songs of birds and the voices of nature form
its æsthetic background. A village troubadour or poet is usually its
creator, and simplicity is its fundamental trait. It exalts the rural
atmosphere, poetry and characteristics. The place of the birth and
growth of syncopated rhythm and broken symmetry is exclusively the
city. It exalts the noise, rush and triviality, also the alertness and
forces of the street. It suggests motion and intellectual fever. It
leaves images of something artificial and fatal in the mind. The spirit
of the country is different in every nation; but the spirit of the city
is a similar one all over the world. It is in this very fact that we
have to look for the logical foundation of the future choreography. It
will emanate from no particular race, from no particular country, nor
from any particular element of national art. It will come from the
artificial city, the mother of cosmic idealism. The symbolism of the
city is destined to take the place of the symbolism of the country. The
New York plasticism will be also the plasticism of Paris and Petrograd.

The ethnographic and aristocratic era in the art of dancing has reached
the climax of æsthetic development. We are entering the era of cosmic
art. We begin it with the same primitive steps that our ancestors made
so many centuries ago; only with this difference--that now we view the
problem from a universal point of view while our forefathers beheld
it from a nationalistic and aristocratic point of view. We are in the
cosmic current of evolution and begin our circle where it was left by
those who had passed the current of a certain race or class. The future
dance will grasp beauty from a broader stretch and deeper depths than
the greatest virtuosi of the past and present could do. The fundamental
law of all spiritual as well as physical evolution is to bring about a
better equilibrium between the individual and the universal powers.


_In English_

  S. A. BARRETT: The Dream Dance of the Chippewa and Menominee Indians
      (Milwaukee, Wis., 1911).

  CAROLINE AND CHARLES CAFFIN: Dancing and Dancers of To-day (New York,

  HAVELOCK ELLIS: The Philosophy of Dancing (Atlantic Monthly, Boston,
      April, 1914).

  J. E. CRAWFORD FLITCH: Modern Dancing and Dancers (London, 1912).

  MARCELLA A. HINCKS: The Japanese Dance (London, 1910).

  A. HOLT: How to Dance the Revived Ancient Dances (London, 1907).

  TROY AND MARGARET WEST KINNEY: The Dance (New York, 1914).


  G. VUILLIER: A History of Dancing (New York, 1898).

_In German_

  W. ANGERSTEIN: Volkstänze im deutschen Mittelalter (Berlin, 1868).

  F. M. BOEHME: Geschichte des Tanzes in Deutschland (Leipzig, 1886).

  HANS BRANDENBURG: Der Moderne Tanz (Munich, 1913).

  ÉMILE JACQUES-DALCROZE: Der Eurythmus (Dresden, 1913).

  H. FLACH: Der Tanz bei den Griechen (Berlin, 1880).

  G. FUCHS: Der Tanz (Stuttgart, 1906).

  G. MOHR: Die deutschen Volkstänze (Leipzig, 1874).

  HEINZ SCHNABEL: Kordax: Archeologische Studien (Munich, 1910).

  R. VOSS: Der Tanz und seine Geschichte (Erfurt).

_In French_

  CASTIL-BLAZE: Histoire littéraire, musicale, choréographique, etc.
      (Paris, 1847).

  AUGUSTE EHRHARD: Une vie de danseuse: Fanny Elssler (Paris, 1909).

  MAURICE EMMANUEL: La danse grecque antique (Paris, 1896).

  J. G. NOVERRE: Lettres sur les arts imitateurs en général (Paris,

_In Italian_

  G. B. DUFORT: Trattato del ballo nobile (Naples, 1728).

_In Russian_

  Bulletins of the Russian Imperial Ballet School (Petrograd,

  CÉSAR CUI: Istoria Russkoi Musyki (Petrograd, 1903).

  S. HUDAKOV: Istoria Tanzev, 2 vols. (Petrograd, 1914).

  N. RIMSKY-KORSAKOFF: Memoirs (Petrograd, 1910).

  PRINCE S. VOLKHONSKY: The Ballet (Petrograd, 1913).

_In Danish_

  Bulletins of the Danish National Theatre (Copenhagen, 1910–14).

  TOBIAS NORLIND: Svardsdans ock Bagdans (Copenhagen, 1911).

_In Finnish and Esthonian_

  Kalevala (Helsingfors, 1880).

  Suomen Kansan Sävelmiä (Helsingfors, 1898).

  DR. F. KREUTZWALD: Kaliwipoeg [in Esthonian] (Tartu, 1900).



  _Abdallah_ (Bournoville and Paulli), 152.

  Academicism (French, Italian), 171.

  Academies of dancing, 151f;
    (Egyptian), 17;
    (Chinese), 31f, 34;
    (Cadiz, Spain), 46f;
    (Greek), 71;
    (French), 86f, 94f, 99, 105, 151;
    (Russian), 90f, 105;
    (Copenhagen Ballet School), 165;
    (College of Rhythmic Gymnastics, Hellerau), 234ff.

  Accentuation, 238.

  Accompaniment (in Spanish dances), 211.

  Accordion (in English folk-dance), 116f.

  _Ach, du lieber Augustin_, 131.

  Acting (in relation to ballet), 250, 252.

  Adam, Charles-Adolphe (as ballet composer), 151, 152, 158.

  Æschylus, 55, 66.

  African Bantu, iii.

  African guitar, 47.

  _Ai Ouchnem_, 105.

  Akté, Aino, 205.

  Albinus (Roman consul), 76.

  Alexander I, Czar of Russia, 131, 181.

  Alexis Mihailowitch, Czar, 179.

  Algiers, 21.

  _All in a Garden Green_ (British folk-dance), 120.

  Allan, Maud, 201, 206.

  Allard, Mlle. (ballet dancer), 101.

  _Allemande_, 144, 146.

  Alliamatula (Roman dancer), 77.

  Almeiis, 18, 21ff.

  Amaterasu (Japanese deity), 35f.

  America (future of dancing in), 261f.

  American Indians, iv, 38f.

  Ammon, Temple of (Egyptian school of dancing in), 17.

  _Anabasis_ (quoted), 55f.

  Andalusia (folk-dancing), 106, 107f.

  Andersen, Hans Christian, 167.

  Androgeonia (Greek hero), 54.

  Angerstein, Wilhelm (cited), 128f.

  Anglin, Mlle. (ballet dancer), 91.

  Anna, Empress of Russia, 90.

  Anna Ivanovna, Empress of Russia, 179.

  Anne of Denmark (English Queen, patron of the masque), 83, 84, 119.

  [d’]Annunzio, Gabriele, 165.

  Antagonism to dancing (of Western Church), 9, 103, 129;
    (of Roman consuls), 76.

  _Antoine et Cléopatre_ (ballet), 102.

  Aphrodite, 61, 67, 69, 70;
    (compared to Venera), 24;
    (mysteries), 61.

  Apollo, 54, 56, 57, 59, 69f;
    (mysteries), 61.

  Apostles, 80.

  _[L’]Après-midi d’un Faun_, (Debussy), 232.

  Arabesques (in Egyptian dances), 18;
    (in French ballet step), 95.

  Arabia (_Stomach Dance_), 3, 22;
    (_Graveyard Dance_), 21;
    (_Axis Dance_), 22;
    (character of dancing), 46ff;
    (influence of, on Spanish dances), 112.

  ‘Arabian Nights,’ 226.

  Aragon (folk-dancing), 107f.

  Arcadia, 55, 57, 60.

  Architecture, 235, 265;
    (development of, synchronous with dancing), 46;
    (American), 263.

  Areja, Francesca, 180.

  Arensky, Anton Stephanovich, 183, 224.

  Ariadne, 56.

  Aristides, 54.

  Aristophanes (cited), 52, 55, 61.

  ‘Ark of the Covenant,’ iii, 10, 43.

  _Arkona_ (Hartmann), 152.

  Armenia (folk-dancing), 138f.

  Artemis, iv, 64.

  Arts (primitive, in India), 24;
    (common basis of), 235.

  Asparazases (Indian nymphs), 26.

  Aspasia (Greek dancer), 54, 70, 94.

  Assemblé (French ballet step), 95, 98.

  Astafieva, Seraphine, 220, 221, 224.

  Astral Dance (Egyptian), iv, 13f, 63.

  Athenæus (quoted), 55, 60;
    (cited), 59.

  Athens (dancing at festivals), 53;
    (theatre of Dionysius), 64f;
    (Mænad Dance), 69.

  Auber, Daniel-Esprit, 103.

  Augustus (Roman Emperor), 73, 75.

  Aulos (Greek flute), 58.

  Austria, 102.

  _L’Autômne Bacchanale_, 186, 187.

  Auvergne (folk-dancing), 121.

  _Axis Dance_ (Arabian), 22.


  _Baba Yaga_ (Russian ballet), 152, 179.

  Bacchanalian dance, 65.

  Bacchus (Greek and Roman god), 54, 65, 69, 74;
    (Roman orgies), 75f.

  Bach, Johann Sebastian, v, 102f;
    (bourrées), 121;
    (courantes), 145.

  Bacon, Sir Francis (cited on masques), 83.

  Bagpipes (in Morris dance), 115;
    (in English Sword Dance), 116;
    (in Irish jig), 120;
    (in Roumanian folk-dance), 137.

  Baken Amen (Egyptian tablet), 20.

  Bakst, Léon, 183.

  Balakireff, Mily Alexejevich, 104, 152, 171, 181, 231f, 256.

  Ballerina’s tunic, 215.

  Ballet (origin), 8, 10;
    (18th cent.), 14;
    (Russian), 23, _170ff_;
    (French), _86ff_;
    (defined by Noverre), 89;
    (Italian), 124;
    (classic), 151ff;
    (Danish), 162ff;
    (plots), 163.

  _Ballet des Ardents_ (French court dance), 81.

  _Ballet du Carrousel_ (performed at Tuileries), 86f.

  Ballet slipper, 216.

  Ballotté, 98.

  Barefoot dancing, 197, 201.

  Barrett, S. A. (cited on plot of _Dream Dance_), 39.

  Barrison, Gertrude, 203.

  [Le] Basque (French ballet dancer), 87.

  Bathyllus (Roman dancer), 73, 74f.

  Battements, 95.

  Bayaderes, 25, 27, 28.

  _[Les] Bayederes_ (French ballet), 153.

  Beauchamp (director of French Academy of Dancing), 87.

  Beaugrand, Leontine (ballerina), 159f.

  Beck, Hans (Danish ballet dancer), 164.

  Beerbohm, Max (quoted on Genée), 167f.

  Beethoven, v, 102f, 200, 206.

  Begutcheff (director of Moscow ballet), 177.

  Bekeffy, 182.

  Belle Fatma [La] (20th cent. Egyptian dancer), 22.

  Bellicrepa saltatio (Roman dance), 73.

  Bells (in Morris Dance), 114.

  Benares, 25.

  Benois, 183, 226, 229, 230.

  Benserade, 86.

  Berlin, 203f.

  Berlin Museum (painting of Sword Dance), 115f.

  Bernay, Mlle. (ballerina), 159.

  Berri, Duchess de, 81.

  Bibasis (Greek dance), 61, 62.

  Bible (cited), 19; (quoted), 43, 44.

  Bilibin, 183.

  Birds (courtship dances of), 6.

  Björnson, Björnstjerne, 104.

  Blache (ballet composer), 102.

  Black Forest (dance of the), 130.

  Blasis, 91, 102;
    (quoted on Bolero), 109.

  Bogdanova (ballerina), 151, 183.

  Bohemia (folk-dancing). See Slavic folk-dances.

  Bolero (Spanish folk-dance), 50, 109, 112.

  Bondina (Andalusian folk-dance), 106.

  Borodine, Alexander, 171, 228, 256.

  Botta, Bergonzio, di, 81f.

  Botticelli, 45.

  Bournoville, Antoine August, 104, 151, 152, 162f, 164f, 166, 168, 169.

  Bourrée, 121f.

  Boyars, 141, 178.

  Boys (training of, as dancers), 183.

  Brahma, 25.

  _Brahma und Bayaderen_ (German ballet), 164.

  Brahminism (relation to dancing), 25ff.

  Brahms, Johannes, 125, 254.

  Brandenburg, Hans, 202.

  Brass instruments (in 15th cent. Italian ballet), 82f.

  Brass plates (Indian), 27.

  Breobrashenskaya, 183, 185, 188.

  Breton dances, 121.

  Brisé (ballet-step), 98.

  British Museum, 18, 20.

  Buckingham House (British folk-dance), 120.

  Buddhism, 36.

  _Bugaku Dance_ (Japanese), 38.

  Bulgaria (folk-dancing). See Slavic folk-dances.

  Burchard, Bishop of Worms, 129.

  Burette (cited on Greek dance), 63.

  Buriat dances (compared to American Indian), 39.

  Butterfly Dance, 192.

  Byzantium (painting of Hebrew dancing), 44;
    (influence of, in Lithuanian folk-dance), 135f;
    (influence on Russian ballet), 188.


  Cabriole (in Egyptian dance), 20;
    (in Bibasis), 62;
    (French ballet step), 95.

  Cachucha (Spanish folk-dance), 111, 156.

  Cadiz, Spain (centre of ancient dancing), 10;
    (dancers from, in Rome), 76.

  Calcutta, 25.

  Caligula (Roman emperor), 76.

  Calumet (American Indian), 39.

  Calzvaro, 34f.

  Camargo, Mlle. (French ballet dancer), 94, 99, 100.

  _Canaries_ (English and German social dance), 150.

  [_The_] _Caprices of Galatea_ (ballet by Noverre), 90, 99.

  Carmencita (Spanish dancer), 210.

  [_Le_] _Carnaval de Venise_ (French ballet), 94, 153.

  Caroles (mediæval dances), 81.

  Carpæa (Greek dance), 55f.

  Caryatis (Spartan dance), 54f.

  Castanets (in Spanish folk-dance), 106, 107, 110, 112.

  Castil-Blaze, François-Henri-Josef, quoted (on mediæval strolling
          ballet), 80f;
    (on French ballet), 93;
    (on Camargo), 100;
    (on origin of waltz), 131.

  Castor and Pollux, 54.

  Catherine the Great, 141.

  Caucasia (folk-dancing), 140.

  Cerezo, Sebastian (Spanish dancer), 109.

  Cerito, Fanny (ballerina), 158f.

  Cervantes (cited on Chaconne), 145.

  Chaconne (Italian and Spanish social dance), 145f.

  Changement de pied, 98.

  Charles I, King of England, 84.

  Charles II, King of England, 119, 145.

  Chassé (ballet step), 94, 95.

  Cheremias (Spanish instruments), 79.

  China, 3, 9, 30ff;
    (attitude of moralists in, toward dancing), 30;
    (court dancing), 32;
    (musical instruments), 32;
    (dancing of, adopted in Japan), 36.

  _Chinese Wedding_ (ballet by Calzevaro), 34f.

  Chippewas, 39.

  Chironomia (in Greek choreography), 71.

  Choirs (in Egyptian temples), 17.

  Chopin, Frédéric, 136, 200, 206, 221.

  Choral dances (of Russian peasants), 177f.

  Choreographic principle (vs. dramatic), 251.

  Choreography (Chinese), 30;
    (mediæval), 78ff;
    (in 17th cent. France), 87f;
    (French development), 94f;
    (influence of democracy), 102;
    (Finnish), 133;
    (naturalistic school), 195ff;
    (plastomimic), 247ff.

  Chorley, Henry Fothergill (quoted on Elssler), 156.

  Chorovody (Russian ballad folk-dance), 140f.

  _Chrisis_ (ballet), 206, 207f.

  Christian moralists (antagonism to dancing), 9.
    See also Church, Roman.

  Chronos, 59.

  Chrotal (Greek instrument), 58.

  Church, Roman (hostility to dancing), 81, 103, 129;
    (dancing in, during Middle Ages), 78, 79f.

  Cicero (quoted), 72.

  [_La_] _Cinquantaine_ (French ballet), 91.

  _Clary_ (French ballet), 94.

  Classics, musical (dance music by), v.

  [_The_] _Clemency of Titus_ (ballet by Noverre), 90.

  Cleonica (Greek dancer), 70.

  Cleopatra (as dancer), 17f.

  _Cleopatra_ (ballet), 23.

  _Cléopatre_ (ballet), 223ff.

  Clermont, Comte de, 100.

  Clothing (decorative purpose of, for the dance), 6.

  Collins, Lottie, 189, 192f.

  Comédie Française, 101.

  Confucius, 33;
    (honored in Japanese dance), 38.

  Coördination (of intellect and nerves), 238.

  Copenhagen School, 151.

  Coperario, John, 84.

  Copiola, Galeria (Roman dancer), 77.

  _Coppélia_ (ballet), 160, 166f, 175.

  Cordax (Greek Satyr dance), 61, 63f.

  Corkscrew (folk-dance), 134f.

  Corpus Christi (festival of, with church dancing), 78f.

  _Corsaire_ (French ballet), 152.

  Corybantes, 54.

  Cosiers (Spanish church dancers), 79f.

  Cossack folk-dances, 2.

  Costume. See Dress.

  Cotillion, 122.

  Country Dance (English), 113, 115.

  Coupé (in Egyptian dance), 20.

  Coupé dessous (ballet-step), 95.

  Coupé lateral (ballet-step), 95.

  Courante, 86, 87f, 145f.

  Court ballets (French), 83.

  Court dancing (in China), 32f;
    (at Jerusalem), 43, 44;
    (in Seville), 47;
    (in England), 83ff;
    (in France), 86f, 121f;
    (in Germany), 129;
    (in Russia), 141f.
    See also Social dancing.

  Courtship dances (of birds), 6.

  Covent Garden (Mlle. Sallé at), 99.

  Craig, Gordon (cited on French ballet), 214.

  _Crane Dance_ (Greek), 69.

  Crete, 54.

  Crimea (folk-dancing), 140.

  Crowne, John, 83.

  _Cupid and Bacchus_ (French ballet), 87.

  Curetes (Cretan dancers), 54.

  Cybele, 54.

  Cyclops, 59.

  Cymbals (in Greek dances), 71.

  Czardas (Hungarian folk-dance), 125f.


  Daedulus, 53.

  Dalcroze. See Jacques-Dalcroze.

  Daldans (Swedish folk-dance), 134.

  Dance music (classical), v.

  Dance of Baskets (in Eleusinian mysteries), 68.

  Dance of Feathers (Chinese court dance), 33.

  Dance of the Five Senses (modern Indian dance), 209.

  Dance of the Flag (Chinese dance), 33.

  Dance of the Four Dimensions (Egyptian dance), 16.

  Dance of the Glasses (pseudo-Egyptian dance), 22.

  Dance of the Golden Calf, 44.

  Dance of Greeting (Arabian), 49.

  Dance of Humanity (Chinese dance), 33.

  _Dance of Innocence_ (Greek), iv.

  Dance of the Knees (in Dionysian Mysteries), 68f.

  Dance of the Mystic Bird (Chinese), 33.

  Dance principles, 2.

  Dancing defined, 2.

  Dancing girls (Greek), 57.

  Dancing Mandarins, 34.

  ‘Dancing the music,’ 248.

  Danish ballet (influence on Russian), 164f.

  _Dansomanie_ [_La_] (French ballet), 92, 131.

  Dante (cited), iii.

  _Daphnis and Chloë_, 68.

  Dargason (British folk-dance), 120.

  Dargomijsky, Alexander Sergeyevitch, 104, 181.

  Dauberval, 89, 91, 101.

  _Daughter of the Pharaoh_ (ballet), 21.

  Davenant, Sir William, 84.

  David, King of Israel, 10, 43, 44.

  Davillier, Baron, quoted (on mediæval church dance), 79;
    (on Spanish folk-dance), 106;
    (on Seguidilla), 110f.

  Death Dance (Fakir dance compared to), 28.

  [_The_] _Death of Ajax_ (ballet by Noverre), 90.

  Debussy, Claude, 232.

  Degeneration (of ballet), 189ff.

  Delians, 59.

  Delibes, Léo, 151, 152, 167.

  Delicias caditanas (Cadiz dancers in Rome), 77.

  Delphic Festivals, 69.

  Delsarte, François Alexandre, 207, 211f, 214.

  Demetrius, 67, 69;
    (Mysteries), 61.

  Demi-cabriole (ballet-step), 95.

  Demi-coupé (ballet-step), 95.

  Democracy (effect of, on choreography), 102.

  Democratic basis of dancing, 171.

  Denmark (folk-dancing), 134;
    (ballet), 162ff;
    (influence on Russian ballet), 169.

  [_Le_] _Déserteur_ (French ballet), 92.

  Desmond, Olga, 22, 193, 212.

  Despreaux (Parisian ballet dancer), 101.

  Desrat (cited on Eleusinian Mysteries), 67.

  Devadazis (Indian temple dancers), 26.

  Devil’s Dance (Finnish folk-dance), 133

  Diaghileff, Warslof, 219f.

  Diaghileff ballet, 176, 185, 200.

  Diana (Greek goddess), 54.

  Didelot, Charles-Louis, 151, 154, 161, 164f, 180f.

  Diodorus (cited), 13.

  Dionysian Mysteries, 61, 68.

  Dionysius of Syracuse, 54.

  Dionysos, 56, 67, 69, 74.

  Dipoda (Greek dance), 61.

  Dohnányi, Ernst von, 166.

  Dohrn, Wolf and Harald, 234.

  Dolci (painting of Salome dance), 45.

  Dominique (Parisian harlequin), 100.

  _Don Juan_ (French ballet), 102.

  ‘Don Quixote,’ 145.

  Doré (painting of church dancing in Seville), 79.

  Dorians, 60.

  Dostoievsky, 104.

  Drama (influenced by Russian ballet), 176.

  Dramatic principle (against choreographic), 251.

  _Dream Dance_ (American Indians), 38ff.

  Drehtanz, 129.

  Dresden, 234.

  Dress (in Greek dancing), 66;
    (of dancers in Seville Cathedral), 79;
    (in English masques), 84;
    (in 18th cent. ballet), 89f;
    (in ballet during French Revolution), 94;
    (in Spanish folk-dances), 112f;
    (of Morris dancers), 115;
    (in English Sword dance), 116;
    (in Hungarian folk-dance), 125;
    (in Esthonian folk-dance), 127f;
    (in Dutch folk-dances), 135;
    (in Slavic dances), 137;
    (in Minuet), 147.

  Drigo, 186.

  Drum (Egyptian), 22;
    (Indian), 27;
    (Chinese), 32;
    (Japanese), 38;
    (American Indian), 39f;
    (in _Lou Gue_), 81;
    (in Armenian folk-dance), 138.

  Drury Lane, 102.

  _Dryad_ [_The_] (ballet), 167.

  Dryads, 80.

  Dubois, Théodore, 151.

  Duncan, Elizabeth, 201.

  Duncan, Isadora, 22, 187, _197ff_, 204, 206, 211, 212, 213, 214,
          244, 247;
    (quoted), 196f;
    (compared with St. Denis), 210;
    (influence in Russia), 218f;
    (pupils), 248.

  Duncan School, 197f, 248.

  Duport (Paris ballet dancer), 91, 101f.

  Dupré (French ballet dancer), 87.

  Dutch folk-dancing, 135.

  Dynamic expression, 240.


  Ear-training (in Jacques-Dalcroze School), 240.

  Education (necessity of, for Greek dancers), 65;
    (liberal, of ballet dancers), 172f.

  Edward VII, King of England, 201.

  Egg Dance (Dutch folk-dance), 135.

  Egypt (temple dancing), iv, 8, 15ff;
    (musical instruments), 8;
    (relation of dancing and religion), 9, 247, 262;
    (secular dancing), 15ff, 20f;
    (influence of, in modern choreography), 22;
    (influence of, on Hebrew dancing), 43f;
    (worship of Pan), 57;
    (strophic principle in choreography of), 63;
    (history of, in Greek education), 65;
    (influence of, on Spanish dances), 112.

  Egyptian Wedding Scenes (pseudo-Egyptian dance), 22.

  Electricity, 190.

  Eleusinian Mysteries, 67f.

  Elisseieff, Prof, (cited on Egyptian dancing), 21.

  Elizabeth, Queen of England, 84, 145, 150.

  Ellis, Havelock, quoted (on American Indian dances), iv;
    (on relation of rhythm to life), vi;
    (on modern Spanish dances), 211.

  Elssler, Fanny, 151, 155ff.

  Emerson, Ralph Waldo (quoted on Elssler), 155.

  Emmanuel (cited on Greek choreography), 70.

  Emmeleia (Greek dance), iv, 61, 62f.

  Endymatia (Greek dance), 61.

  England (folk-dancing), 113;
    (waltz), 131f;
    (social dancing), 150.

  English Cathedrals (rhythmic ritual used in), viii.

  Entrechat, 98;
    (in Egyptian dance), 20.

  Erfurt, 129.

  Esclatism (Greek gymnastics), 71.

  [_La_] _Esmeralda_ (Perrot and Pugni), 152.

  Esthonian folk-dances, 121, 126f.

  Eugenius IV, 78f.

  Eurhythmics (of Jacques-Dalcroze), 234ff.

  _Excelsior_ (ballet), 152.


  Fabiol (in Spanish dance), 79f.

  Fackeltanz, 128, 130.

  Fakir dances, 28f.

  Falkenfleth, Haagen (quoted on Jörgen-Jensen), 165.

  Fandango (Spanish folk-dance), 50, 105, 106f, 112.

  Farandole (French folk-dance), 121;
    (as court dance), 122.

  [_La_] _Farandole_ (Dubois), 152.

  [La] Farruca (Spanish folk-dance), 111.

  Fauns, 80.

  _Faust_ (ballet by Perrot), 158.

  Feodorova, Sophie, 221, 224.

  Ferrabosco, Alfonso, 84.

  _Festen i Albano_ (Danish ballet), 163.

  Festival of the Sacred Bull (Egyptian), 15f.

  Festival of the Supreme Being (French strolling ballet), 93f.

  Festivals (Roman), 74, 75f.

  Finland (folk-dances), 2, 121, 132;
    (compared to American Indian dances), 39;
    (rune tunes), 63;
    (horn dance), 117;
    (naturalistic school), 205.

  _Fiorella_ (ballet), 163f.

  _Fire Bird_ [_The_], 231.

  Fire Dance, 192.

  Fleure (ballet step), 98.

  Fleury (quoted), 101.

  Flitch, J. E. Crawford, quoted (on Fuller), 190f.

  Floralia (Roman festivals), 75.

  _Flore et Zéphire_ (French ballet), 152, 154.

  Florence (court ballet), 90;
    (folk-dance), 124.

  Flower Dance, 192.

  Flute (in Egyptian dance music), iv, 8;
    (in Indian dance music), 27;
    (in Chinese dance music), 32;
    (in Japanese dance music), 38;
    (in American Indian dance music), 41;
    (in Arabian dance music), 49;
    (in Greek dance music), 56, 58f, 61, 70;
    (in Roman dance music), 74, 76;
    (in 15th cent. Italian ballet), 82.

  Fokina, Vera, 171, 220, 221, 224.

  Fokine, vi, 219f, 220, 228, 231, 244.

  Folk-dances, 266;
    (rel. to sex instinct), v;
    (Spanish), 105ff;
    (Italian), 122ff;
    (German), 128f;
    (Finnish), 132f;
    (Scandinavian), 133;
    (Dutch), 135;
    (Lithuanian), 135f;
    (Polish), 136;
    (Slavic), 136ff;
    (Armenian), 138f;
    (Russian), 139ff, 171.

  Folk-songs, 265;
    (Russian), 183.

  Forlana (Italian folk-dance), 124.

  Fouetté (French ballet step), 97.

  Fouetté pirouette (in Egyptian dances), 18.

  Fountain of Magic Dances (in Eleusinian Mysteries), 67.

  Fox Dance (Greek), 69.

  France (rhythmic church ritual), iii-f, 81;
    (folk-dancing), 2, 121ff, 262;
    (court dancing), 10;
    (grand court ballets), 83, 86ff, 247;
    (democratic influence), 102;
    (waltz), 131;
    (influence of, on Russian ballet), 171;
    (naturalistic school), 205.

  French Academy of Dancing, 94f, 99, 105.

  French ballet, 86ff;
    (modern criticism of), 214ff.

  French Revolution, 92, 93f, 148.

  Froehlich (Danish composer), 163.

  Fuentes (cited on Seguidilla), 109f.

  Fuller, Loie, 189, 190ff.

  Fuller, Margaret (quoted on Elssler), 155.

  Funeral dances (Japanese), 36;
    (Greek), 54.


  Gade, Niels W., 133, 151.

  Gaita (Spanish instrument), 106.

  Galcotti (ballet composer), 152.

  Galeazzo, Visconti, Duke of Milan, 10, 81.

  Galen (quoted), 54.

  Galeotti, Vincenzo Tomaselli, 162.

  Galicia (church dancing), 78;
    (folk-dancing), 106.

  Galliard, 149f.

  Gardel, Maximilian (ballet composer), 14, 89, 91, 131, 148, 151, 162.

  [El] Garrotin (Spanish folk-dance), 111.

  Gautier, Théophile, 152, 158;
    (quoted on Elssler), 157.

  Gavotte, 70, 86, 148.

  Gedeonoff, 181.

  Geltzer (Russian ballet dancer), 185.

  Genée, Adeline, 151, 167.

  Generalization, theory of (in ballet), 216f.

  Germany, v;
    (folk-dancing), 128f;
    (the waltz), 131f;
    (social dancing), 150;
    (influence of Duncan), 201.

  Gesture (relation between, and music), 240.
    See also Pantomime.

  _Ghiselle_ (French ballet), 152, 158.

  Ghost Dance (American Indian dance), 38, 40f.

  Gia (Chinese dance), 32.

  Gilchrist, Connie, 189.

  Glazounoff, Alexander Constantovich, 183, 186, 224.

  Glière, Reinhold, 206, 207, 254, 259.

  Glinka, Mikail Ivanovich, 104, 181, 224, 254.

  Glissade (ballet-step), 97f.

  Gluck, Christoph Willibald, 102f, 121, 148, 152, 200.

  Gogol, 104, 171.

  Golden Calf (in mediæval ballet), 80.

  Goulu [La] (ballet dancer), 192.

  Grahn, Lucile (ballerina), 163f.

  Grand ballets (of French court), 83, 86ff.

  _Gratiereness Hulding_ (Danish ballet), 162.

  _Graveyard Dance_ (Oriental), 21f.

  Gravity (in naturalistic dancing), 196f, 215.

  Greece (philosophers of, quoted on dancing), iii;
    (religious dancing), iv, 9, 10, 52ff, 59;
    (writers of, cited on Spanish dancing), 46f;
    (its choreography), _52–71_;
    (festival dancing), 54f;
    (folk-dancing), 121.

  Greek dancing (modern ‘revivals’ of), 195f;
    (Jacques-Dalcroze system), 245, 247.

  Greek Church (dancing in), iii.

  Greek Mysteries, 61.

  Gregory, Johann (ballet master in Russia), 179.

  Gretchaninoff, Alexander, 255.

  _Gretna Green_ (ballet), 152.

  Grétry, André Erneste Modeste, 148.

  Griboyedoff, Teleshova, 178.

  Grieg, Edvard, 104, 133, 201, 205, 206.

  Grisi, Carlotta, 151, 158.

  Grouping (decorative), 235.

  Guerrero, Rosario, 210.

  Guild dances (German), 129.

  _Guillaume Tell_ (French ballet), 92.

  Guimard, Madeleine (French ballet dancer), 91, 94, 99, 100f.

  Guitar (Egyptian), 8;
    (African), 47;
    (in Spanish folk-dance), 107, 110.

  _Gustave Vasa_ (French ballet), 102.

  Gymnastics (rhythmic), 234ff.

  Gymnopædia, 59f.


  Hailii (Finnish folk-dance), 133.

  Handel, George Frederick, 99;
    (bourées), 121;
    (courantes), 145.

  Harlequin, Parisian (Dominique), 100.

  Harp (in Egyptian dance music), 8;
    (in American Indian dance music), 41;
    (in Greek dance music), 53, 56;
    (in Roman dance music), 76;
    (in Esthonian folk-dance music), 127;
    (in Finnish dance music), 133.

  Hartmann, Johann Peter Emil, 133, 151, 152, 163.

  Hatton (English dancer), 150.

  Hawasis, 20f.

  Haydn, Joseph, v.

  Hebrews, iii, 43ff.
    See also Jewish Marriage Dances, etc.

  Helen of Sparta, iv.

  Hellerau (College of Rhythmic Gymnastics), 234ff.

  Hempua (Finnish folk-dance), 133.

  Henri IV, King of France (patron of dancing), 86.

  Henrietta Maria, Queen of England, 84.

  Henry VII, King of England, 84.

  Herculaneum, 57.

  _Hercules in Love_ (French ballet), 87.

  Hermes, Egyptian god (Thoth), 13.

  _Héro et Leandre_ (French ballet), 94.

  Herodotus (cited), 13.

  Hesiod (cited), 52, 65.

  Heteræ (Greek), 69, 70.

  Hieroglyphs, 12ff.

  High Kickers, 189.

  Highland Fling (Scotch folk-dance), 118.

  Hilferding, 180.

  Hincks, Marcella A. (cited on Japanese dancing), 35.

  Historical Ballet (Chinese), 33.

  Homer (cited), 52, 53f, 56f, 57, 65.

  Hoppe, Johann Ferdinand, 164.

  Hora (Roumanian folk-dance), 137f.

  Horace (cited), 72.

  _Horatii_ (French ballet), 90.

  Hormos (Greek dance), 61, 64.

  Horn (in Finnish dance music), 133.

  Horn Dance (English folk-dance), 117f.

  Hornpipe (Scotch folk-dance), 119.

  Hovey, Mrs. Richard, 195f, 212, 214.

  Huang-Ta, 30.

  _Humpty-Dumpty_ (ballet), 190.

  Hungary (folk-dancing), 2, 124ff.

  _Hymn to Apollo_, 56.

  _Hymnea_ (Greek dance), 61.

  _Hyporchema_ (Greek dance), 55, 59.


  Ibsen, Henrik, 104.

  Idealism (classic), 157.

  Ilia Murometz (Russian folk-dance), 140.

  Iliad (cited), 53f, 127.

  Impatiencem (17th-cent. ballet), 87.

  Imperial Ballet School (Russian), 90f, 105, 172, 181.

  Imperial Dramatic Dancing School (Russian), 180.

  Improvisation (course in Jacques-Dalcroze school), 240.

  India (relation of dancing and religion), 9;
    (choreographic art), 24ff;
    (effect of music on dancing), 25;
    (dances of, in European imitation), 209.

  Indians. See American Indian.

  Indulgences (sold by clergy for dancing), 81.

  Ingham, Ethel (quoted), 234f.

  Ingham, Percy B. (quoted), 242.

  Innocence, Dance of (Egyptian), iv.

  Innsbruck, 129.

  Instruments (in Egyptian dance music), 8, 16.

  Ionic Movements, 56.

  _Iphigenia in Aulis_ (Gluck), 152.

  Ippolitoff-Ivanoff, Mikail Mikailovitch, 256.

  Ireland (folk-dancing), 119f.

  Irvin, Beatrice, 206.

  Isabella of Aragon, 81.

  Isis cult, 15f.

  Istomina (Russian ballerina), 178, 181.

  Italy, v, 102;
    (folk-dances), 2, 122ff;
    (court dancing), 10;
    (mediæval strolling ballets), 80f;
    (influence on Russian ballet), 171.

  ‘Ivan the Terrible’ (Russian folk-dance), 140, 141.

  Ives, Simon (composer of masque music), 83.

  Ivi-Men (Chinese dance), 32.


  _Jack Sheppard_ (ballet), 190.

  Jacques-Dalcroze, Émile, 234ff, 247, 249;
    (eurhythmics of, compared with Greek dancing), 71.

  Jacques-Dalcroze School, 197f, 200.

  Jaernefelt, Armas, 205.

  [_El_] _Jaleo_ (Spanish folk-dance), 111.

  James I, King of England, 84.

  Japan (pantomimic character of dancing), 3;
    (dance of, adopted in China), 33f;
    (funeral dances), 35ff;
    (European choreographic imitations), 208;
    (folk-dances), 262.

  [_de_] _Jaulnaye_ (cited on Roman dancers), 73.

  Java (pantomimic choreography), 3.

  Jerusalem, Temple of, 44.

  Jeté, 94, 95;
    (in Egyptian dance), 20;
    (in Bibasis), 62.

  Jewish marriage dances (in Morocco), 44.

  Jewish moralists (antagonism to dancing), 9.

  Jig (Irish folk-dance), 119f.

  Jota (Spanish dance), 50, 105, 107f.

  Jones, Inigo, English architect, 83, 84.

  Jonson, Ben, 83, 84.

  Jörgen-Jensen, Elna (ballet dancer), 165ff.

  _Judgment of Paris_ [_The_] (ballet by Noverre), 90.

  Jupiter, 54.

  Juvenal, 74.


  Kaakuria (Finnish folk-dance), 133.

  Kaara Jaan (Esthonian folk-dance), 126f.

  Kagura (Japanese dance), 38.

  Kaiterma (Cossack dance), 140.

  Kalevala, 257.

  Kalewipoeg, 121, 127.

  Kalmuk dances (compared to American Indian dances), 39.

  Kamarienskaya (Russian folk-dance), 140, 142.

  Karsavina, Tamara, 171, 176, 183, 188, 220, 221, 222, 226, 227f,
          229, 231, 248.

  Kasatchy (Russian folk-dance), 140, 141f.

  _Kia-King_ (ballet by Titus), 34.

  Kinney, Troy and Margaret West (quoted on Arabian dances), 47ff;
    (quoted on _Fandango_), 107f;
    (quoted on _La Farruca_), 111;
    (quoted on modern Spanish dances), 210f.

  Kirchoff (cited on Greek dance), 63.

  Kolla (Slavic folk-dance), 137.

  Kolossova, Eugeny, 179.

  Kon-Fu-Tse (Chinese moralist), 30.

  Kosloff (Russian ballet dancer), 221.

  Kostroma (folk-dancing in), 140.

  Kreutzer, Rodolphe, 102.

  Krohn, [Dr.] Ilmari, 132.

  Kshesinskaya, Mathilda, 151, 179, 183, 185, 188.

  Kshesinsky, Felix, 182.

  Kuljak (Esthonian folk-dance), 126f.

  Kuula, Toiwo, 205.

  Kyasht, Lydia, 185, 188.


  Lacedæmonian dance, 59f.
    See also Spartan dance.

  Lada, 244, 253ff.

  Lancelot (quoted), 137f.

  Lande (ballet director), 180.

  Lange-Müller, Wilhelm, 205.

  Laniere, Nicholas, 84.

  Lanner, Katty, 159.

  Lantern Festival (in China), 35.

  Larcher, Pierre J., 163.

  _Laurette_ (ballet), 152.

  Lawes, William, 83.

  ‘Leap with Torches’ (in Eleusinian mysteries), 67.

  _Légende de Joseph_ (Strauss), 232.

  Leggatt, 182.

  Leicester, Earl of, 150.

  Lesginka (Cossack dance), 140.

  Lessing, 161.

  Lessogoroff, 180.

  Lettish folk-dances, 121.

  Levinsohn, A. (quoted on Duncan School), 198;
    (quoted on the old ballet), 215.

  Liadova (ballerina), 151.

  Ligne, Princess de, 100.

  Li-Kaong-Ti (Chinese monarch), 31.

  _Lily_ (ballet by San-Leon), 34f.

  Lind, Letti, 189.

  Liszt, Franz, 125.

  Lithuania (folk-dancing), 121, 135f.

  _Little Mermaid_ [_The_] (ballet), 167.

  Littré (cited), 88.

  Livingston (cited), iii.

  Livry, Emma, 159.

  Livy (cited), 74.

  Locatelli, Pietro, 180.

  Lopokova, Lydia, 183, 185, 188.

  Loti, Pierre (cited on Indian dancing), 28.

  _Lou Gue_ (mediæval ballet), 80f.

  Louis XIV, 86f, 145.

  Louis XV, 86f, 88, 145, 147, 148.

  Louis, Pierre, 207.

  _Love’s Triumph Callipolis_ (masque by Ben Jonson), 84.

  Lubke (cited on ballet dancing), 173.

  _Lucas et Laurette_ (French ballet), 94.

  Lucceia (Roman dancer), 77.

  Lucian (quoted), iii;
    (cited), 14, 52, 54, 63, 64, 65.

  Ludiones (Roman bards), 74.

  Lully, Jean-Baptiste, 86, 87;
    (sarabandes), 147;
    (gavottes), 148.

  Lupercalia (Roman festival), 75.

  Lutes (in 15th cent. Italian ballet), 82

  Lyre, iv;
    (Egyptian), 8, 13;
    (Hebrew), 44;
    (in Greek dance music), 57, 58;
    (in 15th cent. Italian ballet), 82.

  ‘Lysistrata’ (comedy by Aristophanes), 61.

  Lysistrata (Greek dance), 61.


  MacDowell, Edward, 254, 256.

  MacDowell Festival (Peterboro, N. H.), 117.

  Mænad Dance (Greek), 69.

  Maeterlinck, Maurice, 257f.

  Mahabharata (Indian epic), 127.

  Maillard, Mlle. (ballet dancer), 92.

  _Malakavel_ (French ballet), 102.

  [La] Mancha (its folk-dances), 109.

  Mandarin dances (Chinese), 34.

  Maneros (dancing Pharaoh), 13.

  Marathon games, 54.

  Marie Antoinette, 148.

  Marriage ceremonies, masques performed at, 83.
    See also Jewish marriage dances.

  Mars, 74.

  _Mars et Venus_ (French ballet), 153.

  _Marseillaise_ (ballet), 92f.

  Martial (cited), 77.

  Masai (war dancing), 5.

  _Masque of Beauty_ (Ben Jonson), 83.

  _Masque of Blackness_ (Ben Jonson), 83.

  _Masque of Cassandra_, 86.

  _Masque of Castillo_ (John Crowne). 83

  _Masque of Owles_, 84.

  Masques (English), 83.

  Mathematics (relation of, to dancing and architecture), vi.

  Mauri, Rosetta (ballerina), 159.

  Mazurka, 136.

  Mediævalism (relation to dancing), v.
    See also Middle Ages.

  Medici, Catherine de’, 10, 86, 121.

  Mek na snut (Egyptian pirouette), 20.

  Melartin, Erik, 205.

  Melkatusta (Finnish folk-dance), 132.

  Memphis (temple dances to Osiris), 15f.

  Merchant Taylor’s Hall (masques performed at), 83.

  Merikanto, 205.

  Messertanz (of Nuremberg), 129.

  Mexicans, iii.

  Meyerbeer, Giacomo, 103, 151.

  Miassine, Leonide, 232.

  Middle Ages (choreography of), 78ff, 247.

  Milan School, 151.

  Military dance. See War dance.

  Milon (French composer and ballet master), 91, 94, 101.

  Mimii (Roman dancers), 74.

  Minerva, 54.

  Minuet (comparison of, to Greek dances), 70;
    (in _Lou Gue_), 80;
    (in 17th-cent. French court), 86, 147f.

  Miriam (Biblical character), 19.

  Mirror Dance, 192.

  Mohammedans, 21.

  Molière, 86.

  Mongolian tribes (dancing of, compared with Indians), 28;
    (use of Pyrrhic dance by), 60.

  Monteverdi, 82.

  Moors, 46;
    (influence of, on Spanish dances), 50f, 105, 106, 112.

  Mordkin, Mikail, 185, 187, 220, 221, 222, 248.

  Moreau (painting of Salome dance), 45.

  Morocco (Almeiis dancing), 21.

  Morris Dances, 113ff.

  Moscow (Imperial Ballet School), 172;
    (opera house), 175.

  Moses, 43, 44.

  Moujiks, 172, 178.

  Mount Ida, 54.

  Moussorgsky, Modest, 104, 171, 181, 224.

  Movement (rel. to sound), 238.

  Mozart, v, 101, 102f, 206.

  Müller, Max (cited), 60, 62.

  Munich (guild dance), 129.

  Muravieva (ballerina), 151.

  Murcia (folk-dances of), 106.

  Muses (Egyptian), 13;
    (Greek), 10, 54, 57.

  Museums. See British Museum, Petrograd Museum, Naples Museum.

  Music (of Japanese), 38;
    (in Greek dances), 58;
    (influenced by Russian ballet), 176;
    (as underlying principle of dancing), 198;
    (in relation to eurhythmics), 235, 236f, 242;
    (relation to gesture), 240, 248;
    (in rel. to modern ballet), 249ff;
    (syncopated, of America), 265.

  Musical notation (Arabic), 17, 47;
    (Egyptian), 17;
    (Spanish), 17;
    (Chinese), 33.

  Muyniera (Galician folk-dance), 106.

  Mysteries. See Eleusinian Mysteries, Dionysian Mysteries.

  Mysteries of Demetrius, 69.


  Naples Museum, 69.

  Napoleon, 102, 148.

  Nationalism (expressed in folk-dancing), 3, 113;
    (rel. to arts), 104ff;
    (in Scandinavia), 104;
    (in Russia), 104f;
    (in Irish folk-dance), 119f;
    (in Finnish folk-dances), 132f.

  Naturalistic School, 195ff, 232f.

  Nature (expression of, in dancing), 196.

  Nausicaa, 52.

  Nautch Dance, 209.

  Nautch girls, 26.

  Naxos, 54.

  Neo-Hellenism, 245.

  Neoptolemus, 60.

  Nero, 74, 75.

  Nicomedes of Pithynia, 55.

  Nielsen, Augusta, 164.

  Nijinsky, Waslaw, 220, 221, 222, 224, 226, 229, 248.

  Nijny Novgorod, 140.

  Nile (centre of ancient dancing), 10.

  _Nina_ (French ballet), 94.

  Notation. See Musical notation.

  Noverre, Jean Georges, vi, 10, 87, 89, 91, 99, 151, 152, 180, 196.

  Novikoff (Russian ballet dancer), 185.

  Novitzkaya (ballerina), 151, 181.

  Nude Bayaderes, 189.

  Nudity (in Egyptian dances), 18;
    (in Greek dances), 54f;
    (in modern degenerate dances), 193.

  Nuitter, Charles Louis Étienne (as ballet composer), 151, 152.

  Numa (mythical founder of Roman sacred dance), 10, 73.

  Nuremberg (its guild dance), 129.

  _Nut Cracker Suite_ (Tschaikowsky), 185.

  Nymphs, dances of (in Dionysian Mysteries), 68f.


  Oberammergau Passion Play (comparison with Chinese ‘Historical
          Ballet’), 33.

  Obertass (Polish dance), 136.

  Oboe (in Indian dance), 27.

  Odyssey (cited), 52.

  [_L’_]_Oiseau de Feu_ (ballet), 231.

  Ojibways, 39.

  _Olaf den Hellige_ (Danish ballet), 163.

  Olympic games, 54.

  Opera (influenced by Russian ballet), 176;
    (in rel. to modern ballet), 265.

  Opera houses, 175.
    See also Paris Opéra; Moscow (opera house).

  [_L’_]_Oracle_ (ballet), 92.

  ‘Oranges and Lemons’ (British folk-dance), 120.

  ‘Orchestra’ (in Greek dance), 63.

  Orchestration (in 15th-cent. ballets), 82.

  Orient, dancing in, 3.
    See also China, India, Japan, etc.

  Oriental dances (European imitations), 208f.

  _Orpheus’ Descent into Hell_ (ballet by Noverre), 90.

  _Orpheus and Euridice_ (17th-cent. ballet), 179.

  Osiris cult, 15f.

  Ostrovsky, 104f, 171, 177.

  [La] Otero (Spanish dancer), 210, 211.

  Owl Dance (Greek), 69.


  Paësiello, Giovanni, v.

  Paimensoitaja (Finnish folk-dance), 133.

  Painting, 235;
    (influenced by Russian ballet), 176;
    (in relation to eurhythmics), 239.

  Pallas, 74, 75.

  Pan (Greek and Egyptian deity), 57;
    (Roman), 74.

  Pantin (amateur stage at), 101.

  Pantomime (in Chinese dancing), 31ff;
    (in Japanese dancing), 36ff;
    (in American Indian dances), 41f;
    (Arabian), 47f;
    (Roman), 74, 76f;
    (mediæval sacred), 81;
    (in Spanish folk-dance), 111;
    (in Roumanian folk-dance), 138;
    (in Salome dance), 191;
    (used by Duncan), 199;
    (in rel. to music), 249.

  [_Le_] _Papillon_ (ballet), 159, 186.

  Paris (Italian court pantomime introduced), 10;
    (‘Fatima’ sensation), 22;
    (ecclesiastical attitude toward dancing), 81;
    (18th-cent. ballet), 91;
    (popularity of the _Psyche_ ballet), 92;
    (Camargo), 100;
    (Taglioni), 153.

  Paris Opéra, 91, 100.

  Paris School, 151.

  Pas bourrée, 97.

  Pas coupé, 95.

  Pas d’allemande, 20.

  Pas de basque, 97;
    (in Passepied), 149.

  Pas de bourrée emboîté, 97.

  Pas de cheval (in Egyptian dances), 18.

  Pas marché, 95.

  Pas sauté, 98.

  Passepied, 149.

  Paul, Adolf, 257.

  Paul, Czar, 178f, 181.

  _Paul et Virginie_ (French ballet), 92.

  Paulli, Simon Holger, 152.

  Pavana (Murcian folk-dance), 106.

  Pavane, 70;
    (characteristics), 87;
    (in 17th-cent. French court), 86, 144.

  _Pavilion d’Armide_ (ballet), 226, 229.

  Pavlowa, Anna, vi, 171, 175f, 183, 185, 186f, 187, 215, 220, 222, 247.

  Pecour (ballet dancer), 87, 88.

  _Peer Gynt Suite_ (as ballet), 201.

  [_La_] _Peri_ (ballet), 158.

  Pericles, 70.

  Perrot (ballet dancer and composer), 152, 154, 158.

  Persian Graveyard Dance, 21.

  Peter the Great, 179.

  Petipa, Marius, vi, 21, 151, 159, 182f, 196, 219;
    (quoted on Petrograd Imperial Ballet School), 173f.

  Petipa school, 185.

  Petit battements, 95.

  [_Les_] _Petits Riens_ (Noverre and Mozart), 91.

  Petrograd (Museum), 13;
    (Imperial Ballet School), 172;
    (opera house), 175.

  _Petrouchka_ (Stravinsky), 229ff.

  Pharaohs (dancing in the court of), 17.

  Philip of Macedonia, 55.

  Philippus (Roman consul), 76.

  Philosophic symbolism (in Indian dance), 29.

  Phœnicians, 57.

  Physical exercises, 239.

  Pipe (Egyptian), 8, 18.

  Pipes (in _Graveyard Dance_), 22;
    (in 15th-cent. Italian ballet), 82.

  Pirouette, 94, 97, 150, 163;
    (in Egyptian dancing), 18, 20.

  Plaasovaya (Russian folk-dance), 140.

  Plastomimic choreography, 247ff.

  Plato (quoted), iv;
    (cited), 52, 58, 67, 69.

  Plots (for ballets), 250.

  Plutarch (cited), iv, 14, 45, 67.

  Poetry, 235.

  Pointes, 163, 215.

  Poland (folk-dancing), 136.

  Pollux, 54.

  Polo (Moorish dance), 106.

  Polonaise (Polish folk-dance), 136.

  Polowetsi dance (Cossack), 140.

  Portugal (mediæval strolling ballets), 80f.

  Positions. See Steps.

  Poushkin, 178.

  Prévost, Mme., 100.

  Priapus, 54.

  Price, Waldemar (Danish ballet dancer), 164.

  Primitive dances (rel. to sexual selection), 6.

  Primitive peoples, 3ff.

  _Prince Igor_, 228.

  Professional dancing, 7;
    (Egyptian), 18.

  Provence, 80f, 122, 131.

  Prussia (_Fackeltanz_), 128.

  Pskoff, 140.

  _Psyche_ (French ballet), 92.

  Psychology, 1ff, 24, 45, 136, 139.

  Pugni, Cesare (ballet composer), 152.

  _Pygmalion and Galatea_ (ballet), 99.

  Pylades (Roman dancer), 73, 74f.

  Pyrrhic dance, 60f.

  Pythian games, 54.


  Quadrille (French social dance), 122.

  Quintilian (quoted), 72.


  Rabinoff, Max, 188.

  Racial characteristics, 11.

  ‘Ragtime,’ 263.

  Rainbow Dance, 192.

  Ramble (Indian goddess of dancing), 24f.

  Realism, 157, 249f.

  _Réception d’une jeune Nymphe à la Court de Terpsichore_, 152.

  Reed pipes. See Pipes.

  Reger, Max, 205.

  Regnard (quoted), 88.

  Reinach, Théodore (cited on Greek arts), 69.

  René of Provence (author of mediæval ballet), 80.

  Reno (painter of Salome dance), 45.

  Rheinländer (German dance), 131.

  Rhythm, 1, 2;
    (in naturalistic dancing), 196, 198;
    (as basis of all arts), 235;
    (in Jacques-Dalcroze system), 239, 244;
    (in ballet), 250.

  Rhythmic gymnastics, 234ff, 240, 249.

  Richelieu, 86, 100.

  Rigaudon, 148f.

  Rimsky-Korsakoff, Nicolai, 151, 152, 171, 183, 224, 226, 254.

  _Rinaldo and Armida_ (ballet by Noverre), 90, 99.

  Risti Tants (Esthonian folk-dance), 126ff.

  _Robert of Normandie_ (ballet), 164.

  Robespierre, 93.

  Robinson, Louis (cited on dance instinct), 3.

  Rodin (quoted), 196.

  Romaika (Slavic folk-dance), 137.

  Rome (dancing in), 3, 72ff, 247;
    (sacred dancing), 9;
    (imitation of Greek dances), 10;
    (Pyrrhic dance), 60.

  Roman Church. See Church.

  Romulus, 73.

  Rondes (similarity to Eleusinian Mysteries), 67;
    (French folk-dance), 121.

  _Roses of Love_ (ballet by Noverre), 90.

  Rossini, 101, 103, 151.

  Rouen, 100.

  Roumania (folk-dance), 137f.

  Round. See Ronde.

  Royal Academy of Dancing (French), 86.

  Rubinstein, Anton, 183, 256;
    (composed ‘Tarantella’), 124.

  Rubinstein, Ida, 45.

  Ruggera (Italian folk-dancing), 124.

  Rune tunes (Finnish), 63.

  Russia (Imperial Ballet), 92;
    (influence of, on choreography), 102;
    (nationalistic tendencies), 104f;
    (folk-dancing), 139ff, 262;
    (influences on ballet), 169;
    (ballets of opera house), 175;
    (influence of Duncan school), 200, 206, 218f.

  Russian Imperial Ballet School, 90f, 105, 172.

  Russian Imperial Dramatic Dancing School, 180.

  Ruthenia (folk-dancing). See Slavic folk-dances.


  Sacchetto, Rita, 203, 212.

  _Sacre du Printemps_ (Stravinsky), 231.

  Sacred dancing (in rel. to folk-lore), 9;
    (Egyptian), 15;
    (Indian), 26;
    (Japanese), 38;
    (American Indian), 39, 41f;
    (Greek), 59, 67ff;
    (Roman), 73f.

  Sadler, Michael T. H. (quoted on Jacques-Dalcroze School), 235f.

  Sahara Graveyard Dance, 21.

  Sailor’s Dance (Dutch), 135.

  St. Basil (cited), iii.

  St. Carlos (celebrated by strolling ballet), 80.

  St. Denis, Ruth, 208, 212.

  Saint-Léon, 159.

  St. Matthew (quoted), 44.

  St. Petersburg (court ballet), 90, 161.
    See also Petrograd.

  Saint-Saëns, Camille, 186.

  St. Vitus’ Dance, 129.

  _Sakuntala_ (French ballet), 152.

  Sallé, Mlle., 94, 99, 100.

  _Salmacida Spolia_ (Sir William Davenant), 84.

  Salome dances, 44f, 191.

  _Salome_ (Richard Strauss), 45.

  _Saltarello_ (Italian folk-dance), 124.

  Sangalli, Rita, 159.

  Sappho, 70, 94.

  Sarabande, 146.

  Sarasate, Pablo, 108.

  Satyr Dance (in Dionysian Mysteries), 68, 69.

  _Sauvages de la Mer du Sud_, [_Les_] (French ballet), 94.

  Savage peoples. See Primitive peoples.

  Savinskaya, 206.

  Saxony (folk-dancing), 130.

  Scaliger, Joseph Justa (cited), 54.

  Scandinavia (folk-dances), 2, 133;
    (nationalistic tendencies), 104f;
    (waltz), 131;
    (naturalistic school), 205.

  Schafftertanz (of Munich), 129.

  _Scheherezade_ (Rimsky-Korsakoff), 152, 226.

  Schiller, 166, 250.

  Schirjajeff, 182.

  Schliemann (Egyptologist), cited, 17.

  Schmoller (Saxonian folk-dance), 130.

  Schnitzler, Arthur, 166.

  Schönberg, Arnold, 205.

  Schools of dancing, (Petipa), 185;
    (Duncan), 197;
    (Jacques-Dalcroze), 197f.
    See Academies.

  Schopenhauer (cited), 250;
    (quoted), 64.

  Schleiftänze, 129.

  Schreittänze. 129.

  Schubert, Franz, 103f, 254.

  Scotch Reel, 118f.

  Scotland (folk-dancing), 118f.

  Scribe, Eugène. 103.

  Schuhplatteltanz (Bavarian folk-dance), 129f.

  Schumann, Robert, 206.

  Sculpture (in rel. to dancing), 173, 196, 235.

  Seguidilla (Spanish dance), 50.

  Sensationalism, 190.

  Seroff, Alexander Nikolayevitch, 104, 171, 181.

  Serpentine Dance, 189, 190f.

  Servia (folk-dancing).
    See Slavic folk-dances.

  Setche, Egyptologist (cited), 14.

  Seville (church dancing), iv, 78;
    (court dancing), 47.

  Sex instinct (in rel. to folk-dancing), v, 11, 134, 139.

  Shakespeare (cited on the jig), 119.

  Sharp, Cecil (quoted on Morris dances), 113f.

  Shean Treuse (Scotch folk-dance), 118.

  Shintoism (Japanese religion), 36.

  Shirley, James, 83.

  Sibelius, Jean, 205, 254, 256, 257f.

  Siberia (folk-dancing), 140.

  Siciliana (Italian folk-dance), 124.

  [_Le_] _Sicilien_ (ballet), 153.

  _Sieba_ (ballet), 152.

  Siebensprung (Swabian folk-dance), 130.

  Singing (in Finnish dances), 133.

  Singing ballet, 177f.

  Singing Sirens, 57.

  Skirt Dance, 189, 212.

  Skoliasmos (in Dionysian mysteries), 68f.

  Skralat (Swedish folk-dance), 133.

  Slavic folk-dances, 136ff.

  _Sleeping Beauty_ (Tschaikowsky), 152, 185.

  Snake dances (Lithuanian), 135;
    (American Indian), 38, 41, 135.

  _Snegourotchka_ (Rimsky-Korsakoff). See _Snow Maiden_.

  _Snow Maiden_ (Rimsky-Korsakoff), 152, 177, 183f.

  Social dancing (Greek), 54f;
    (Polish), 136;
    (in 17th cent.), 144ff.
    See also Court dancing.

  Socrates, 54, 56.

  Sokolova (ballerina), 151, 183.

  Solomon, Hebrew king, 43, 44.

  Sophocles, 62.

  Sound (in relation to movement), 238

  [_La_] _Source_ (Delibes), 152.

  Spain (religious dancing), iv;
    (folk-dancing), 2, 105ff, 210ff;
    (choreographic art of Moors), 46, 50f;
    (mediæval strolling ballets), 80f.

  Spartan dance, 54f, 60.

  _Spectre de la Rose_ (ballet), 221, 223, 229.

  Spendiaroff, 256.

  Spinning top principle, 216.

  Stage dancing (in Middle Ages), 81, 148.
    See also Professional dancing.

  Steps, 2;
    (in American Indian dances), 42;
    (in courante), 88;
    (in classic French ballet), 95f;
    (Bolero), 109;
    (Seguidilla), 110;
    (Hungarian folk-dances), 125f;
    (Rigaudon), 149;
    (Bournoville’s reform), 163.

  Stephania (Roman dancer), 77.

  Stewart-Richardson, Lady Constance, 206.

  Stockholm (ballet dancing), 161.

  Stockholm school, 151.

  _Stomach Dance_ (Arabian dance), 3, 21, 22.

  Stone Age, 5.

  Stramboe, Adolph F., 164.

  Strassburg, 129.

  Strauss, Johann, 132.

  Strauss, Richard, 204f, 232.

  Stravinsky, Igor, 185, 229ff.

  Strindberg, August, 165.

  String instruments (Indian), 27.

  Strolling ballets (mediæval), 80f;
    (in French Revolution), 93f.

  Strophic principle, 63.

  Stuck (painter of Salome dance), 45.

  Stuttgart (court), 90, 153.

  Subra, Mlle. (ballerina), 159.

  Su-Chu-Fu (dancing academy), 34.

  Suetonius (cited), 76.

  _Sun’s Darling_ (English masque), 84.

  Svendsen, Johann, 133, 205.

  Svetloff (cited), 218.

  _Swan, The_ (Saint-Saëns), 186.

  _Swanhilde_ (ballet), 167.

  _Swan Lake_ (Russian ballet), 152, 184f.

  Swabia (folk-dancing), 130.

  Sweden (influence on Russian ballet), 169.
    See also Scandinavia.

  Sword Dance (English), 21, 33, 113, 115ff.

  _La Sylphide_ (Delibes), 152, 153, 154, 156, 163.

  [_Les_] _Sylphides_, 175, 221.

  _Sylvia_ (Delibes), 152.

  Symbolism (in Indian dancing), 29, 263f;
    (in Hungarian folk-dancing), 126;
    (in Lada’s dances), 254f;
    (in modern ballet), 258, 265.

  Symons, Arthur (quoted), 264f.

  Symphonic music (as basis for dancing), 200, 206.

  Syrinx (Egyptian instrument), iv.

  Szolo (Hungarian folk-dance), 126.


  Tabor (in Morris dance), 115.

  Tacitus (cited), 76.

  Taglioni, Maria, 11, 151, 152ff, 156, 157, 193.

  Taglioni, Salvatore, 151, 152, 161.

  Ta-gien (Chinese dance), 32.

  Ta-gu (Chinese dance), 32.

  Ta-knen (Chinese dance), 32.

  Talmud, 43.

  Ta-mao (Chinese dance), 32.

  Tambourine (in Hebrew dance), 19;
    (in Indian dance), 27;
    (with bells, Chinese), 32;
    (in Greek dances), 71;
    (in Spanish dance), 79f, 106;
    (in Tarantella), 122.

  Taneieff, Sergei Ivanovich, 224.

  Tarantella (Italian folk-dance), 122ff.

  Tartar tribes, 140.

  Tascara (Spanish folk-dance), 111f.

  Taubentanz (Black Forest), 130.

  Ta-u (Chinese dance), 32.

  Tcherepnin, 185, 226, 229.

  Technique (Duncan), 199;
    (instrumental), 237;
    (eurhythmic), 239.

  Telemachus, 53.

  _Telemaque_ (French ballet), 92.

  Teleshova (ballerina), 151, 181.

  Telethusa (Roman dancer), 77.

  _Tempe Restored_ (Aurelian Townsend), 84f.

  Temple dancing (Hebraic), 43, 44;
    (Greek), 54f;
    (Esthonian), 127.
    See also Sacred dancing.

  Terpsichore, 10, 57.

  _Terpsichore_ (ballet by Handel), 99.

  Teu-Kung (Chinese dancing teacher), 31.

  Thackeray (quoted on Taglioni), 154.

  Thales, 59.

  Théatre des Arts, 92.

  Theatre of Dionysius, 64f.

  Thebes, 19.

  Theseus, iv, 54, 69.

  They (Chinese monarch), 30.

  Tiberius (Roman emperor), 76.

  Tichomiroff, 221.

  Time, 240f.

  Time-marker (in Greek dancing), 70f.

  Time-values, 241.

  Titans, 59.

  Titus (Roman emperor), 34.

  Toe-dance, 215.

  Toledo (church dancing), iv, 78.

  _Toreadoren_ (ballet), 164.

  Torra (Murcian folk-dance), 106.

  Tourdion (social dance), 150.

  Townsend, Aurelian, 84f.

  Trepak (Russian folk-dance), 140.

  Trescona (Florentine folk-dance), 124.

  Triangle (in English Horn dance), 117.

  Tripoli (Almeiis dancers in), 21.

  _Triumph of Love_, 87.

  _Triumph of Peace_ (James Shirley), 83.

  Trouhanova, Natasha, 45, 244, 256f.

  Trumpets (in 15th-cent. Italian ballet), 82.

  Tschaikowsky, Peter Ilyitch, 104, 151, 152, 171, 177, 183, 184, 185.

  Tshamuda (Indian goddess), 26.

  Tuileries, 87.

  Tunic, ballerina’s, 215.

  Tunis (Almeiis dancers in), 21.

  Turgenieff, 104, 171;
    (quoted on Elssler), 155f.

  Tuta, 215.


  Uchtomsky, Prince (cited), 28.

  U-gientze (Chinese dance), 32.

  Ulysses, 52.

  Urbino, Duke of, 80.


  Vafva Vadna (Swedish folk-dance), 133f.

  _Valdemar_ (Danish ballet), 163, 164.

  Valencia, iv, 78, 107f.

  Valencian Bishop (advocate of dancing), 78.

  Valentine, Gwendoline (ballet dancer), 206.

  Vanka (Cossak dance), 140.

  Van Staden (Colonel), 179.

  Vaudoyer, J. L., 229.

  Vaughan, Kate (ballet dancer), 193.

  _Veie de Noue_ (in _Lou Gue_), 80.

  Veils (used in Greek dancing), 66, 70.

  Venera (Indian goddess), 24.

  [_La_] _Ventana_ (ballet), 166.

  Venus of Cailipyge, 76f.

  _Verbunkes_ (Hungarian folk-dance), 126.

  [_La_] _Vestale_ (ballet), 153.

  Vestris brothers, 91, 101, 148, 151, 162.

  Viennese court, 90.

  Viennese School, 151.

  Villiani, Mme. (ballet dancer), 22, 193.

  Vingakersdans (Swedish folk-dance), 134.

  Violin (in 15th-cent. Italian ballet), 82;
    (in Spanish folk-dance), 107.

  Vision of Salome (ballet), 201.

  Vocal ballets, 177f.

  Vocal music (dependence of dancing upon), 8;
    (in Greek dances), 58.

  Voisins, Comte Gilbert des, 154.

  Volga, 140.

  Volinin (Russian ballet dancer), 185, 187, 248.

  Volkhonsky, Prince Serge (quoted), 197f, 212f, 215ff, 232, 249.

  Voltaire (cited), 99.

  _Volte_ (French folk-dance), 131.

  Vuillier (quoted on Spanish temple dancing), 79f.

  Vulcan, 53.

  Vulture Dance (Greek), 69.


  Wagnerian operas, 63.

  Waldteufel, 132.

  Waltz, 131f.

  Walzer, 131.

  War-dances (primitive), 5f;
    (Pyrrhic), 60;
    (Roman), 73;
    (Hungarian), 126.

  Warsaw (opera house), 175.

  Weber, Carl Maria von, 91, 103, 229.

  Weber, Louise, 192.

  Weiss, Mme., 159.

  Wellman, Christian, 180.

  Whistles (in American Indian dances), 41;
    (in Morris dance), 115.

  Whitehall (masques performed at), 83.

  Wiesenthal, Elsa and Grete, 202f, 212.

  Wilhelm II, 130.

  Wilkinson, Sir Gardner, on Egypt (cited), 18f;
    (quoted), 20f.

  Women (earliest appearance of, in ballet), 87.

  Wood-wind instruments (Indian), 27.

  Wsevoloshky, 183.

  Würtemberg (folk-dancing), 130.


  Xenophon (quoted), 55f.

  Xeres, iv.


  Yorkshire (English sword dance of), 116.

  Yu-Wang (Chinese emperor), 33.


  Zarzuela (Spanish comic opera), 63f, 106.

  Zeus, 59.

  Zorongo (Spanish folk-dance), 111.

  Zulus (war dances of), 5.

  Zunfttänze, 129.

  Zwölfmonatstanz (Würtemberg), 130.

Transcriber’s Notes

Punctuation, hyphenation, and spelling were made consistent when a
predominant preference was found in the original book; otherwise they
were not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; unbalanced quotation
marks were remedied when the change was obvious, and otherwise left

The index was not checked for proper alphabetization or correct page
references, with this exception: all references to pages iii–vi should
be to pages vii–x. In versions of this eBook that support hyperlinks,
the links have been corrected, but the displayed page numbers have not
been changed in any version of this eBook.

Page 110: “Albacetex” was printed that way; probably is a misprint for

Page 131: “3/4 rhythm” was printed as “3-4 rhythm” but changed here to
conform with the predominant form of notation throughout the original

Page 275: “English Cathedrals” reference to page viii was printed as
“iii-f”; changed here.

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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.