The reception of foreign dances in Spanish musical theatre during the reign of Philip V: study and documents

This communication is intended to show the influence of foreign dances on Spanish musical theatre in the first half of the 18th century during the reign of Philip V, grandson of Louis XIV and first monarch of the Spanish Bourbon Dynasty. Of the two most important dances in the French Court repertoire, Minuet and Contredance, fortunately we have extensive information consisting of choreographic, musical, theatrical and iconographic sources, unequivocal reflection of its wide acceptance in the Spanish society of that time. Indeed, theatre performers dance “a la francesa” in comedias, zarzuelas and other dramatic works. However, what remains of the Spanish tradition? Does it disappear completely or coexists with this fashionable repertoire? Can we speak of a new hybrid style, the result of cultural interaction between the two countries? And what about the other two strongest influences? On the one hand the Italian style imported by Commedia dell’Arte companies, especially “Los Trufaldines”, on the other the exciting afroamerican dance repertory? To shed some light on these questions, this paper makes an introductory study from the perspective of a reduced number of dramatic works. Dance treatises and other materials - not strictly choreographic - are necessary for a more complete view of the topic. Therefore musical and iconographic documents were consulted. Finally, the study of primary sources is complemented with works on the subject by researchers of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Pilar Montoya
Symposium Title: 
Dancing in the theatre of Europe in the long 18th century 2012
Author affiliation: 
Conservatorio Superior de Salamanca