Mademoiselle Subligny in London

For a dancer who spent such a short time in London (a few weeks in the winter of 1701/2), the Paris Opéra dancer Marie-Thérèse de Subligny made a remarkable impact. She virtually bankrupted Betterton's theatre at Lincolns Inn Fields, was accused of wrecking the opening run of Farquhar's The Inconstant at Drury Lane by attracting the audience to her own entr'acte appearances at Lincoln's Inn Fields, and was described in A Comparison between the Two Stages as ‘a new wonder’ whose feet one critic longed to ogle. Yet despite this extraordinary level of attention, it is difficult to know what she danced while in London that made her so memorable, and whether it bore much resemblance to what she danced while in Paris. This paper looks at the extant dances created by Pecour for Subligny to dance ‘en Angleterre’ and at some of the other dances in early eighteenth-century London which were connected with her name, and briefly explores their relationship with her repertoire at the Paris Opéra.

Jennifer Thorp
Symposium Title: 
Dancers Abroad – 2006
Author affiliation: 
New College, Oxford