“The anonymous book here reproduced, L art et instruction de bien dancer, can probably claim to be the first printed book extant which is devoted to the art, or pastime, of dancing. To the best of the present writer’s knowledge, the only evidence of an earlier one is the assertion by an Italian authority of the eighteenth century that the Ballarino Perfetto of one Rinaldo Rigoni was printed at Milan in the year 1487. But this very early date conflicts with the received opinion that printing was not introduced to Milan until 1471, both author and title are unknown to the standard bibliographies and no copy of any such book is forthcoming to-day. The Art et instruction thus holds the field, and it will always remain an interesting and early representation of its species, even if some future lucky find should oust it from pride of first place.” (from Bibliographical Note”)
The text itself is a breakdown and description of how to perform a type of dance known as a basse danse, a slow and dignified processional dance held to be a precursor of the pavane. Facsimile reproductions of the original text are shown across from their English translations. The bulk of the text is made up of the dance written out using a notation system that greatly resembles sheet music.
- Title: L’art et Instruction de bien dancer
- Author: Michel Toulouze
- Transcriber: Richard Rastall
- Translator: E. Lequet
- Publisher: Dance Horizons
- Place: New York
- Year: 1971
- Length: unnumbered; 58pp
- Dimensions: 5” x 8.25” x 0.25’
- Condition: The cover general wear--scratches, some soiling, and fraying around the spine.. No pages are missing. The pages are clean—no folds or tears. One note in ballpoint pen on the title page.