Guillaume-Louis Pécourt


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(b Paris 10 Aug. 1653; d Paris, 12 Apr. 1729)

French dancer, choreographer, and dance master. He studied in Paris with Beauchamps and made his debut as a dancer at the Court Theatre, Tuileries, in 1671. His official debut at the Paris Opera was in 1674, probably in the opera Cadmus et Hermione. He became a leading dancer in the Paris Opera, while also performing frequently for the court at Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Chantilly. He created many roles in works by Lully (who composed) and Beauchamps (who choreographed), including Le Triomphe de l'amour (1681), Le Temple de la paix (1685), and Armide (1686). He was also dancing master to the King's pages from 1680 to 1692. In 1687 he succeeded Beauchamps as official ‘composer’ of the King's ballets at L'Académie Royale de Musique (as the Paris Opera was called), and continued to create new ballets until his death. He retired from dancing in 1703. He choreographed ballets in many operas, including those of Campra, Colasse or Collasse, Desmaret or Desmarets, Destouches, Bertin, and Lully. He choreographed Campra's first opéra-ballet, L'Europe galante (1697), his Le Carnaval de Venise (1699), Hésione (1700), Tancrède (1702), and Les Fêtes vénitiennes (1710). Several of his dances survive in Feuillet's 1700 book about notation, Chorégraphie, and his 1704 Recueil de danses; they are the most important examples of the baroque dance style. He also choreographed ballroom dances and was a leading teacher.

Subjects: Dance.

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