Framing Turkish Dances

This article scrutinizes European depictions of “Turkish dancing” found in media such as portraiture and line drawings (including those in Gregorio Lambranzi’s New and Curious School of Theatrical Dancing, for example) and that date from 1700 to about 1780, to analyze some of the aesthetic and historical “frames” for interpreting Turkish culture that they offered. Sustained analysis is given as well to the symbolically notated dance score for Anthony L’Abbé’s Turkish Dance. Published in London circa 1725 by F. Le Roussau, this is the sole extant score from the early 18th century for a complete choreography that references things Turkish in its title. The article plumb insights that the dance offers into the corporeal production of Turkishness, and it situates the stage choreography with respect to debates in English culture of the period regarding the oriental “harem” and Turkish modes of power and governance.

Linda J. Tomko
Symposium Title: 
Dance and Image – 2009
Author affiliation: 
University of California, Riverside