Hop, hop, slide-slide hop!
February 4, 2014 7:27 PM   Subscribe

The English Baroque Festival Orchestra performs Händel's The Water Music with the English Bach Festival Dancers. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)

For the lovers of the French Baroque, Lully's Passacaille d'Armide danced by the great Catherine Turocy and the same piece danced by the bewitching Patricia Beaman. I think it's a fascinating illustration of the way every dancer inhabits the music in her own way, even in such a structured composition.

An essay about Baroque dance manuals with links on the fabulous Library of Congress dance manual collection website.

One of the things that does not come across in any of the videos is how loud it can be - those shoes clacking down all at once makes a ferocious thumping which is a nice addition to the music. If you have a chance to see Baroque dance in person, you should go just for the fun of seeing the shoes and hearing how loud they can get!
posted by winna (5 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
I've taken a couple of Baroque dance classes - it's mad fun. It felt like a cocktail of ballet, ballroom, contra, and close-order swanning about.

Then, when I was in a production of Viardot's Cendrillon, we had a proper choreographer come in and teach us a proper Baroque minuet. It's not the little step-touch-point thing you do in first-grade gym class! I remember getting a lot of funny looks running through the steps at the bus stop. But I did as much of them as I could in my Grandma's hospital room and she liked it. Then, half the cast rebelled at dress, the director gave in, and we opened with the first-grade gym class step-touch-point.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:00 PM on February 4, 2014

I've never seen Baroque dance before (as opposed to contra), though I love the music. The two Passacaille d'Armide videos are really fascinating in showing the ways the style depends on the dancers. Great post.
posted by immlass at 9:53 PM on February 4, 2014

There is some breathtaking, historically informed (although I'm not sure whether it's strictly historical) dance by the baroque dance ensemble Compagnie Fêtes Galantes in this sumptuous production of Lully's Atys.

I haven't yet seen Le roi danse because the last time I looked, the complete film had not yet been uploaded to YouTube, and I hadn't gotten around to going to the library to watch the region 2 DVD. Now that the whole film is on YouTube I'll have to watch sometime soon. Unfortunately, the clips I've seen suggest that the cinematic cuts for dramatic effect prevent us from seeing much of the dance reconstructions.
posted by Orinda at 10:07 PM on February 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

This is so great! I saw the videos and wondered if there was a formal notation to decribe the dances, but it was all taken care of by the "more inside". Thanks, Winna!
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:38 PM on February 4, 2014

Dammit I love when things are placed in context like this.
posted by The Whelk at 7:42 AM on February 5, 2014

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