Gentleman or Tradesman, the position of the Dancing Master at the royal courts of Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries
All the royal courts of Europe employed dancing masters to teach their younger members and to choreograph ballets for their entertainment, but what was the position of these men in the court circle? Were they respected and honoured among the gentlemen of the court, or were they looked on as employees selling their wares to the nobility and gentry? This paper hopes to look at references in a variety of sources to assess their standing in court circles.
Madeleine Inglehearn studied early dance under Wendy Hilton, following which she pursued her own research work on the dance treatises and notations of the renaissance and baroque, with particular interest in recreating the dances of 17th and 18th century French and English dancing masters. She was for many years Professor of dance history at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, and has taught at workshops and summer schools in many countries. She is currently the President of the European Association of Dance Historians. Madeleine collaborated with Peggy Forsyth in a translation of Antonio Cornazano’s The Book on the Art of Dancing, 1455 and has edited a reprint of S. J. Gardiner’s book A Definition of Minuet Dancing, 1786. She has published two dance manuals, first 15th Century Dances from Burgundy and Italy, and second Ten Dances from Sixteenth Century Italy. Madeleine obtained a PhD from Queen’s University, Belfast, with a thesis titled: Using the Feet Genteely, Dance in the North-East of England in the Eighteenth Century.