The Electronic British Library Journal (1995)
In 1700 Raoul Auger Feuillet published in Paris Choregraphie ou Part de de’crire la dance, and revolutionized the art of dancing. His treatise made available, for the first time, a system of notation whereby dances could be recorded in symbols – allowing them to be recreated at other times and in other places by reference to a written page alone. Dance, the most ephemeral of the arts, had at last achieved a permanence equivalent to that of its sister art music.
Feuillet’s work did not appear by chance, nor was his system the product of a single stroke of genius. Rather, it was the culmination of a long series of developments in the art of dancing throughout the seventeenth century, inspired in part by the interest of Louis XIII of France and his son Louis XIV in court ballets. These lavish and extremely costly entertainments had a political as well as an artistic purpose: they were meant to enhance the prestige of the monarch at home, and to demonstrate the political and cultural hegemony of France abroad.