Choreographic approaches to the role of Apollo in the early 18th century

In the first years of the 18th century, Raoul-Anger Feuillet published two ‘Apollo’ choreographies, one by Louis-Guillaume Pécour, ballet master at the Paris Opera, and the other by Feuillet himself. Both are to the same music, the Entrée d’Apollon from Lully’s ballet Le Triomphe de l’Amour (1681). It is uncertain what connection, if any, either of these choreographies has with a staged production of Lully’s work. Pécour’s choreography, published in 1704, bears the annotation ‘non dancée à l’Opéra’, leaving open the possibility that it was performed in a private production at Court; Feuillet’s dance, published in 1700, bears no annotation or other indication that it had ever been performed. The choreography in the original 1681 production, danced by L’Estang, was very likely by Pierre Beauchamps; it is unclear whether vestiges of Beauchamps’s original are to be found in either Pécour’s or Feuillet’s later choreography.

Notwithstanding all the uncertainties about the purpose and context of these choreographies, it seems worthwhile to study and compare them for hints of how French choreographers of the late 17th- and early 18th-centuries might have portrayed the character of Apollo onstage.

Ken Pierce
Symposium Title: 
Roi Soleil and Soleil Dieu – 2003
Author affiliation: 
Longy School of Music, Boston