Noverre, Jean Georges

1727-1810

 

Authority on dancing and reformer of the French ballet; born in Paris; was a pupil of the celebrated dancer, Dupre. He was well received in Berlin and London, where some of his ballets met with success, but failed for many years to gain the position in Paris for  which he hoped. He filled a position at the theatre of Lyons, producing three ballets, found a patron in the Duke of Wurtemberg, and then was called to Vienna by Empress Maria Theresa as director of Court festivities and dancing-master of the Imperial family. At last, in 1775, he gained the long sought for position, that of chief-master of the ballet at the Academy in Paris, through the influence of Marie Antoinette, then Queen of France, who had once been his pupil. He composed many ballets, and wrote a number of books on the subject of the ballet, and through them he influenced the costume of dances, compelled composers to conform their music to the situations in the drama, and made pantomime appeal to the intellect as well as the eye by introducing dramatic action. Perhaps the most important of his publications is An Analysis of the Imitative Arts in General and of the Dance in Particular; others are Lettres sur la Danse and Les Ballets et Les Arts.