Nouvelle librairie de la danse

La danse ancienne et moderne ou traité historique de la danse

Edition established, presented and annotated by Nathalie Lecomte, Laura Naudeix and Jean-Noël Laurenti

This new annotated edition of La Danse ancienne et moderne ou Traité historique de la danse, written by Louis de Cahusac in 1754, allows us to rediscover the theoretical thinking of an author who was committed to refreshing the concept of ballet and lyrical performance.

Cahusac was simultaneously a librettist for Jean-Philippe Rameau and one of the writers of Diderot’s Encyclopaedia, in charge of articles dedicated to opera, public celebrations and obviously, dance. His writings are a significant input to the notion of show at a critical time: Cahusac was the first theorist in France to defend the idea that dance can become a performance as eloquent as a text or a painting, and he endorsed the views of his contemporaries, e.g. Diderot on theatrical art and Rousseau on the meaning of entertainment.

His works provide the modern reader with a perspective on subsequent writings, particularly those, better known, of Noverre.