The Grotesque Dancer on the Eighteenth-Century Stage: Gennaro Magri and His World

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    Italian ballet in the eighteenth century was dominated by dancers trained in the style known as "grotesque"—a virtuoso style that combined French ballet technique with a vigorous athleticism that made Italian dancers in demand all over Europe. Gennaro Magri’s Trattato teorico-prattico di ballo, the only work from the eighteenth century that explains the practices of midcentury Italian theatrical dancing, is a starting point for investigating this influential type of ballet and its connections to the operatic and theatrical genres of its day.
    The Grotesque Dancer on the Eighteenth-Century Stage examines the theatrical world of the ballerino grottesco, Magri’s own career as a dancer in Italy and Vienna, the genre of pantomime ballet as it was practiced by Magri and his colleagues across Europe, the relationships between dance and pantomime in this type of work, the music used to accompany pantomime ballets, and the movement vocabulary of the grotesque dancer.  Appendices contain scenarios from eighteenth-century pantomime ballets, including several of Magri’s own devising; an index to the step-vocabulary discussed in Magri’s book; and an index of dancers in Italy known to have performed as grotteschi.  Illustrations, music examples, and dance notations also supplement the text.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The essays contained in this volume are fresh, both in feel and in scholarly content . . . a ‘must have’ for anyone working in opera, theatre, and dance in the eighteenth century."—Michael Burden, New College, University of Oxford

"This book is exceptionally important for its description of the grotesque style of dance which is virtually never discussed in other contemporary dance manuals."—Elizabeth Aldrich, director of the Dance Heritage Coalition

"This is an excellent book that promises to be indispensable to the dance historian and practitioner of early dance, and also of great interest to musicologists and anyone interested in theater history."—Marian Smith, University of Oregon

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299203542
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/2004
  • Series: Studies in Dance History Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Rebecca Harris-Warrick is professor of music at Cornell University.
Bruce Alan Brown is professor of music history at the University of Southern California.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
1 Eighteenth-century Italian theatrical ballet : the triumph of the Grotteschi 15
2 Gennaro Magri : a grotesque dancer on the European stage 33
With "chronology of Magri's career" 47
3 Magri in Vienna : the apprenticeship of a choreographer 62
4 Magri in Naples : defending the Italian dance tradition 91
5 International elements of dance training in the late eighteenth century 109
6 Magri's Grotteschi 151
7 The French connection 173
8 Steps, gestures, and expressive dancing : Magri, Ferrere, and John Weaver 199
9 Putting together a pantomime ballet 231
App. 1 Grotteschi in Italy, 1750-1800 : a preliminary tabulation 279
App. 2 Scenarios of selected ballets performed in Northern Italian theaters 294
App. 3 Gumpenhuber's descriptions of ballets performed in the Karntnertortheater during 1759 312
App. 4 Scenarios of selected ballets performed at the Teatro San Carlo, Naples 320
App. 5 Selected ballet scenarios from three theaters in Paris 337
App. 6 Table of contents of Magri's Trattato 343
App. 7 Steps, other dance terms, and people in Magri's Trattato, part I 347
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