Entr’acte dancing in concerts and operas during the reign of Queen Anne
In the early years of the 18th century, highly paid French dancers appeared regularly on the London stage, even during the years when England was at war with France. These dancers were employed to provide high quality entertainment between the acts of plays and in the evening’s finale. Other entr’actes were provided by singers. In the concerts, primarily of vocal music, that took place in theatre and in the new all-sung operas in the Italian style, it would have been inappropriate to have sung entr’actes. On these all-musical evenings in the theatre, it was dancers who provided the entr’actes to separate the acts and to satisfy those patrons who considered performance by star dancers as an attractive part of the evening’s entertainment. This paper looks at the evidence for entr’acte dancing in concerts and operas and at the dancers who were employed for this purpose.