Symposium Special: La Forlana

Our Symposium Special:

La Forlana

Ballroom Scenes
of the late 18th century


a seminar for advanced dancers with Alan Jones, Paris

By the second half of the 18th century, the forlana had long been out of fashion in Parisian ballrooms. Astonishingly, toward 1780, the dancing master Malpied chose to publish an updated version of Pécour’s danse à deux La Forlana, to music from Campra’s opéra-ballet L’Europe galante of 1697. It would have been performed by young dancers in pauses between contredanses in public ballrooms and private dancing assemblies.

Malpied dedicated his dance to Maximilien Gardel, ballet master of the Paris Opera, and Gardel seems to have been fond of it, as he incorporated the melody and perhaps even the choreography into the ballroom scene of his ballet Mirza et Lindor in 1781. As late as 1815, the theoretician Jean-Etienne Despréaux, a former soloist of the Opera, further adapted this dance, using it as an example of his newly invented dance notation system, Terpsichorégraphie.

This workshop will focus on the Malpied choreography, comparing it with Pécour’s original and other forlana choreographies. To highlight changes introduced by Despréaux, the participants will receive a rare intro-duction to Terpsichorégraphie making use of his Danse Cosaque and a couplet of Folies d’Espagne. In a second focus we will take a fresh look at contredanse technique of the late 18th century, relying on Malpied’s notated steps, and put them to use in the contredanse La Perle, which distantly evokes forlanas.


Alan Jones, formerly of New York, studied Baroque dance with Wendy Hilton, but soon evolved a personal approach, acquiring a special interest for the 1780s and 1790s. His choreography in the United States includes El Sarao de Venus and Charpentier’s Les Arts florissants (New York Baroque Dance Company), El Bayle de los reyes and Stradella’s Cantata per il santissimo Natale (Artek, New York), and the Peruvian opera Venid, venid, deidades (Ex Machina, Minneapolis). Presently based in Paris, he is working on a history of American ballets and pantomimes and their European sources in the period 1782-1812. (Photo: S. Witherspoon)


Prerequisites: The seminar is intended for dancers with a good knowledge of Baroque dance. Teaching language is English.

The seminar is an excellent complement to the International Historical Dance Symposium, 15 - 19 June.
For more detailed information about the conference see:

Burg Rothenfels

97851 Rothenfels


Choreographer and dance researcher Alan Jones goes beyond "la belle danse " and reveals unknown aspects of the performing arts of the 17th and 18th centuries.... read more
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Mühlfelder Str. 18b
82211 Herrsching