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the greatest ease of expertness and dexterity, constitute the merit of this kind of Dancing. The soul itself should be seen in every motion of the body, and express something naturally noble, and even heroic. Every step should have its beauty.
“ The painter draws, or ought to draw his copy, the actor his action, and the statuary his model, all from the truth of nature. They are all respectively professors of imitative arts, and the Dancer may well presume to take rank among them, Ance the imitation of nature is not less his duty than theirs ; with this difference, that they have some advantages of which the Dancer is destitute. The painter has time to settle and correct his attitudes, but the Dancer must be exactly bound to the time of the music. The actor has the affiftance of speech, and the statuary has all the time requisite to model his work. The Dancer's effect is not only that of a moment, but he must every moment represent a succession of motions and attitudes, adapted to his character, whether his subject be heroic or paftoral, or in whatever kind of Dancing he exhibits himself. He is, by the expressiveness of his dumb thew, to supplement the want of speech, and that with clearness; that whatever he aims at representing may be instantaneously apprehended by the spectator, who must not be perplexed with hammering out to himself the meaning of one Hep, while the Dancer Thall have already begun another.
- In the Half-serious style we obferve vigor, lightness, agility, brilliant springs, with a steadiness and command of the body. It is the best kind of Dancing for expressing the more general theatrical subjects. It also pleases more generally.
“ The grand pathetic of the serious style of Dancing is not what every one enters into. But all are pleased with a brilliant execution, in a quick motion of the legs, and the high springs of the body. A Pastoral Dance, reprefented in all the pantomime art, will be commonly preferred to the more ferious style, though this last requires, doubtless, the greatest excellence, but it is an excellence of which few but the connoisseurs are judges, who are rarely numerous enough to encourage the composer of Dances to form them entirely in. that style. All that he can do is to take a great part of his attitudes from the serious style, but to give them another turn and air in the compofition, that he may avoid confounding the two different styles of Serious and Half serious. For this laft it is imposible to have too much agility and briskness.
" The Comic Dancer is not tied up to the same rules and observations, which are necessary to the Serious and Halfserious styles. He is not so much obliged to study what may be called nature in high life. The rural sports and exercises; the gestures of various mechanics or artificers will supply him with ideas for the execution of characters in this branch. The more his motions, steps, and attitudes are taken from nature, the more they will be sure to please.
“ The Comic Dance has for its object the exciting mirth; whereas, on the contrary, the Serious style aims more at soothing and captivating by the harmony and justness of its movements ; by the grace and dignity of its steps ; by the pathos of the execution.
“ The Comic style, however its aim may be laughter, requires taste, delicacy, and invention; and that the mirth it creates Thould not even be without wit. This depends not only upon the execution, but on the choice of the subject. It is not enough to value one's self upon a close imitation of nature, if the subject chosen for imitation is not worth imitating, or improper to represent; that is to say, either trivial, indifferent, consequently uninteresting, or disguftful and unpleasing. The one tires, the other Thocks. Even in the lowest classes of life, the composer must seize only what is the fittest to give satisfaction, and omit whatever can excite disagreeable
ideas. It is from the animal joy of mechanics or peasants in their cessations from labour, or from their celebration of festivals, that the artist will select his matter of composition; not from any circumstances of unjoyous poverty, or loathsome distress. He must cull the Aowers of life, not present the roots with the soil and dirt sticking to them.
“ Even contrasting characters, which are so seldom attempted on the stage in theatrical Dances, might not have a bad effect; whereas most of the figures in them are symmetrically coupled. Of the first I once saw in Germany a striking instance; an instance that served to confirm that affinity between the arts which renders them so serviceable to one another.
“ Palfing through the Electorate of Cologne, I observed a number of persons of all ages, assembled on a convenient spot, and disposed, in couples, in order for dancing; but so odly paired, that the most ugly old man had for his partner the most beautiful and youngest girl in the company: while,
on the contrary, the most decrepid, deformed old woman, was led by the most handsome and vigorous youth. Inquiring the reason of so strange a group of figures, I was told that it was the humour of an eininent painter, who was preparing a picture for the gallery at Dusseldorp, the subject of which was to be this contrast; and that in order to take his draught from nature, he had given a treat to this rustic company, in the design of exhibiting at one view, the foridness of youth contrasted to the weakness and infirmities of old age, in a moral light, of exposing the impropriety of those matches, in which the objection of a disparity of years fhould not be duly respected.
66. I have mentioned this purely to point out a new resource of invention, that may throw a pleasing variety into the compositi of Dances, and save them from too conftant a fummetry, or uniformity, either of dress or figure, in the pairing the Dancers; by which I am as far from meaning that that fymmetry fhould be always neglected, as that it should be always observed.
“ The Comic Dance having then the diversion of the spectator, in the way of laughing, for its object, should preserve a moderately buffoon fimplicity, and the Dancer aided by a natural genius, but especially by throwing as much nature as possible into his execution, may promise himself to amuse and please the spectator ; even though he should not be very deep in the grounds of his art, provided he has a good ear, and some pretty or brilliant steps to vary the Dance. The spectators require no more.
" As to the Grotesque style of Dance, the effect of it ehiefly depends on the leaps and height of the springs. There is more of bodily strength required in it than even of agility and Night. It is more calculated to surprize the eye than to entertain it. It has something of the Tumbler's or WireDancer's merit of difficulty and danger, rather than of art. But the worst of it is that this vigour and agility lasts no longer than the season of youth, or rather decrease in
proportion as age advances; and, by this means, leave those, who trusted solely to that vigour and agility, deprived of their essential merit: whereas such as fhall have joined to that vigour and agility a proper study of the principles of their art, that talent will still remain as a resource for them. Commonly those Dancers who have, from nature, eminently those gifts which enable them to shine in the grotesque branch,
do not chuse to give themselves the trouble of going to the bottom of their art, and acquiring its perfection. Content with their bodily powers, and with the applause their performances actually do receive from the public, they look no further, and remain in ignorance of the rest of their duty. Against this dissipation then, which keeps them always superficial, they cannot be too much, for their own advantage, admonished. They will not otherwise get at the truth of their art, like him who qualifies himself for making a figure in the Serious and Half-serious styles, which also contribute to diffuse a grace over every other kind of Dancing, however different from them.
“But though the Grotesque may be a caricature of nature, it is never to lose sight of it. It must ever bear a due relation to the objects of which it attempts to exhibit the imitation, however exaggerated. But in this it is for genius to direct the artist. And it is very certain that this kind of Dancing, well executed, affords to the public great entertainment in the way of what may be called broad mirth, especially where the figure of the Grotesque Dancer, his gestures, dress, and the decorations, all contribute to the creation of the laugh. He must also avoid any thing studied or affected in his action. Every thing must appear as natural as poffible, even amidst the grimaces, contortions, and extravagancies of the character.”
From these accounts of the different styles of Dancing we suppose our Readers will form no unfavourable opinion of Mr. Gallini's abilities in his art. He appears to have studied it with great attention, and in all the parts of it he very judiciously refers to nature, as the fountain of the graces. He frequently exhorts the artist in particular not to content himfelf with mediocrity, but to labour for such an excellence in his art as may both distinguish him from the croud, and afford him a lefs precarious dependence. This admonition he enforces by the following story:
" A celebrated female Dancer in Italy, designing to perform at a certain capital, wrote to her correspondent there to provide her an apartment suitable to the genteel figure she had always made in life. On her arrival, her acquaintance.feeing she had brought nothing with her, but her own person and two fervants, asked her when she expected her baggage? She answered, with a smile, · If you will come to-morrow • morning and breakfast with me, you, and whoever you will
bring with you, shall see it; and I promise you it is worth
your seeing, being a sort of merchandize that is very much • in fashion.'
Curiosity carried a number early to the rendezvous, where, after an elegant breakfast, the danced before them in a most furprizingly charming manner.
« Thefe, said she, (pointing to her legs) are all the baggage
I have left; the Alps have swallowed up all the rest.' The truth was, she had been really robbed of her baggage in her journey, and the merchandize on which she now depended, was her talent at Dancing. Nor was the deceived, for her inimitable performance, joined to the vivacity with which she bore her misfortunes, in the spirit of the old Philosopher, who valued himself upon carrying his all about him, made her many friends, whose generous compassion foon enabled her to appear in her former state.”
In treating of Pantomimes, our Author has greatly availed himself of a French Dissertation.on the art of Dancing, by M. Cahusac. Of the expressive powers of the antient Pantomimes, he gives us the following extraordinary account: “ It may appcar incredible_(says he) that on the theatre of Athens, the Dance of the Eumenides, or Furies, had fo expressive a character as to strike the spectators with irresistible terror. The Areopagus itself shuddered with horror and affright; men grown old in the profeflion of arms, trembled; the multitude ran out; women with child miscarried; people imagined they saw in earnest those barbarous Deities, commissioned with the vengeance of Heaven, pursue and punisa the crimes of the earth.
“ This passage of History is furnished by the fame Authors, who tell us, that Sophocles was a genius; that nothing could withstand the eloquence of Demosthenes; that Themistocles was a hero; that Socrates was the wiselt of men ; and it was in the time of the most famous of the Greeks, that even upon those highly-privileged souls, in fight of irreproachable witneffes, the Art of Dancing produced such great effeéts.
“ At Rome, in the best days of this art, all the sentiments which the Dancers expressed, had each a character of truth, so great a power, such pathetic energy, that the multitude was more than once seen hurried away by the illusion, and mechanically to take part in the different emotions prefented to them by the animated pidure with which they were struck.