An Unedited Source for Spanish Baroque Dance: The Nicolas Rodrigo Noveli Manuscript (Madrid, 1708)

This paper is based on the source entitled: Choregraphia figurativa y demostrativa del Arte de Danzar, en la forma española. Compuesto por Don Nicolas Rodrigo Noveli, dedicado al prior del Consulado de S.n Sebastián que fuere electo el año tercero del próximo siglo. En Madrid año de 1708.   The first part of the manuscript details the principal movements of the dance: positions of the body, feet and arms. Although at first sight it seems to be a mere translation of the treatise of Feuillet, it is actually an exposition of the principal Spanish dance steps written in that notation, and given that other sources of Spanish dance use only verbal descriptions, these are therefore of fundamental importance. The second part of the manuscript is a demonstration of the space in the habitual choreographical repertory, valuable information for the reconstruction of theatrical dances. The manuscript ends with the music and choreography for the entrance of the Pabana, followed by verbal descriptions of the other emblematic dances in the Spanish repertory.  The study of Noveli’s manuscript, together with the comparative analysis of other known sources in Spain, France, and Italy will help to establish links that will allow us to draw conclusions about the always-difficult task of recreating the choreographic heritage of this period.   

Pilar Montoya is a multifaceted artist born in Zaragoza (Spain). She commenced her studies of Early Music with J.L. González Uriol achieving the Higher Certificate of Harpsichord and Organ with Honours. She furthered her studies in the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis where she studied Thorough Bass and Chamber Music (J. Christensen), Singing (R. Jacobs and R. Levitt), Conducting (H. Martin Linde), Historical Dance (E: Schneiter) and Baroque Gesture (S. Weller). At the same time she studied Harpsichord and Clavichord with I. Wjuniski in Paris, completing her studies with the First Prize in Harpsichord.      Pilar Montoya combines her profession in music with her other facet as historical dancer of the main styles from the Italian Renaissance (B. Sparti and L. Baert), Spanish Baroque (Mª José Ruiz), French Baroque (A. Yepes, B. del Valle, B. Gertsch, S. T’Hooft, J. Schrape, J. Voss, F. Denieau, C. Gracio Moura and B. Massin) up to the Bolera school of the end of the 18th century (G. Schwabl y M. León). She has collaborated with the professional companies of early dance, Corpo Barocco and Esquivel directed by S. T’Hooft and Mª José Ruiz including Il Ballo delle Ingrate (C. Monteverdi), Il Pastor Fido (C. Monteverdi and B. Marini) in the theatre of Basel under the musical direction of A. Rooley, Cierta y Galana in the courtyard of the Monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial in the commemoration of Felipe II. She is now working on her Doctoral Thesis “La Danza en la Corte de Felipe V” under the direction of Begoña Lolo. (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid). She also founded the historical dance company “Los Comediantes del Arte” with whom it has offered six shows and has been invited to give courses and lectures on Early Music and Dance in Conservatories, Universities and other Institutions. At present she is Professor of Harpsichord and Early Dance at Conservatorio Superior de Salamanca, President of the Spanish Association of Early Music and Dance (AEMDA) and Member of the International Dance Council CID-UNESCO.  

Pilar Montoya
Symposium Title: 
Teaching Dance 2016
Author affiliation: 
Conservatorio Superior de Castilla y León. COSCYL
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. UAM