Thoinot Arbeau


Thoinot Arbeau is the anagrammatic pen name of Jehan Tabourot (March 17, 1519, Dijon - July 23, 1595, Langres). He was a Catholic priest, a canon of Langres, and a theoretician and historian of the dance.

A dance manuscript written by Tabourot was published in 1588, and reprinted in 1589 and 1596. This manual contains detailed instructions for numerous styles of dance (branle, galliard, pavane, tourdion), as well as short sections about military music, drumming, and marching, and a few details about dance forms such as the Morisco (whence the English Morris dance), the Canary (reputed to be from the Canary Islands), the Allemande, Courante, and Basse danse.

This manual, Orchésographie (Orchesography), is a major source of information about Renaissance Dance. It is available online in facsimile and in plain text, and there is an English translation by Mary Stewart Evans, edited by Julia Sutton, in print with Dover Publications. It contains numerous woodcuts of dancing and musicians, and also includes many dance tabulations in which extensive instructions for the steps are lined up next to the musical notes (though this is misrepresented in some modern editions), a significant innovation in dance notation at that time

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