The Ludus pastoralis, a Jesuit school ballet (1734)
Ludus pastoralis (Paris: F-Pn, VM6-14) is a beautifully produced manuscript description of a Jesuit school ballet, dated 1734, containing text, music (both instrumental and vocal), and dance in Beauchamps-Feuillet notation. The students performing the Ludus were expected to demonstrate a comprehensive education in theatre, dance, and music. The six choreographic scores in the Ludus, choreographed for one to eight dancers, represent different dance types. They are representative of the belle danse style in at least one respect: their symmetrical figures. However, in spite of the different types, all six dances employ the same restricted step vocabulary. Furthermore, some of these steps seem unique, and there appears to be some irregularity in the dance-music relation. This work will be examined in two ways: score analysis, and demonstration of one particular section. Its choreographic language can be elucidated from alternative yet complementary perspectives: adaptation to the pedagogic situation; clues to the unknown author; and the relatively late date of production.
Dóra Kiss is Lecturer at the Haute école de musique in Geneva, Switzerland. She danced and taught dance (both contemporary and baroque) for about fifteen years in different contexts. She published researches on 18th century ‘techniques du corps’, on belle dance notation and repertoire, and on experimental approach for humanities. In 2014, she has been honored by the Jacques-Handshin Prize (Swiss Society of Musicology) for her doctoral dissertation. Her book, Saisir le mouvement, écrire et lire les sources de la belle danse (1700-1797) is to be printed in 2016.