‘Rules for Design’: Beauty and Grace in Caroso's Choreographies

Mark Franko

in Dance Research

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780748635849
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671120 | DOI:
‘Rules for Design’: Beauty and Grace in Caroso's Choreographies

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This article examines the changes Fabritio Caroso made to his choreographies from his first treatise Il ballarino (1581) to those from his second, Nobiltà di dame (1600), as well as the terms Caroso used to refer to these changes and the significance that these terms had for him. While modern scholars have discussed these changes as evincing an increased interest in symmetry by Caroso, the dance master did not employ this term in his treatises at all. The terms he did use were closer to the earlier concepts of Vitruvius’s symmetria and of Leon Battista Alberti’s concinnitas. The analysis of his choreographic changes demonstrate that Caroso was not particularly focused on symmetry in the modern sense, that is, in increasing the number of mirror or rotational symmetrical spatial patterns in his revised choreographies. What we do see in Caroso’s revised choreographies is an increased interest in balance and repetition, the arrangement and number of elements, and a concern to provide a theory or rules for designing choreographies that were articulated and written down, and conformed to the prevailing theory of beauty in the other arts, in order that his choreographies would also be judged to be perfect and to epitomize grace and beauty.

Keywords: Renaissance choreographies; the developing work of Caroso; Symmetry and dance; rules for dancing; beauty; grace

Chapter.  4623 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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