The Characters of the Dance with Catherine Turocy

The Characters of the Dance with Catherine Turocy
January 18 - 20
Full Workshop Fee: $200
Drop-in Fee: $25.00 (available for Friday evening, and selected classes on Saturday and Sunday
Single Day Fee: $100.00 (available for a full day, Saturday or Sunday)
Observer Fee: $50 Per day (Saturday or Sundays) For Friday, please refer to Drop-in Fee

Les Caractères de la Danse (1715 premiere),

Exploring early ballet through the eyes of a female ballet choreographer/dancer 

What did it mean to be a cutting-edge female choreographer in the Baroque period? This dance requires the soloist to portray 11 characters of different ages, sexes and social class in 10 minutes without missing a beat! This dance can be performed by any gender, any age, any social class, and any ethnicity. 

Although the choreography was never published, descriptions of this dance have come down to us through the Mercure de France. Currently thought to be a parody portrayal of the work, this description is nonetheless a link to the past and describes each section of the dance as being a unique portrayal of the 11 faces of humankind where the soloist is asked to change sexes, social class, and ages while explaining the complexities of love. 

The music was composed by Jean Fery Rebel for Françoise Prevost, a soloist in the Paris Opera and also the teacher of Camargo and Sallé. In today’s world when gender, social class, and age are topics of political discussions and where the ballet world is bemoaning the lack of women choreographers, why not look into our dancestry for inspiration? 

Catherine Turocy, Artistic Director and co-founder of The New York Baroque Dance Company, has been invited to teach this weekend workshop. Using her first solo choreography to this music as the basis for the workshop, she will teach the panoply of court dances found in this music as well as period expression and acting techniques. 

The dance level needed would be the equivalent of an intermediate ballet level. It is not required to have previous Baroque dance instruction. This workshop will also be a unique opportunity to study the expressive dance style of early ballet with this master performer/teacher. Over the past four decades, Turocy has not only performed the work internationally, she has choreographed over 7 different versions of the work, at times a solo, at times a duet, and with or without a mask. 

Dance forms included in the work are courante, minuet, bouree, chaconne, sarabande, gigue, rigaudon, passepied, gavotte, loure and musette. Each section is quite short, but long enough for the student to gain an understanding of the character of each form.

Photo: Amitava Sarkar


  • Friday, January 18

    7:30-9:30 PM

    An introduction to the work by Catherine Turocy. A 20-minute Power Point presentation followed by a class in listening and moving to the music in a general way to begin to hear and feel the themes in the music.

    *$25 Drop-in Fee Available.

  • Saturday, January 19

    *$100 Single Day fee Available:

    12:00-3:00 PM- Stage*
    Catherine Turocy, Sarah Edgar, and Jennifer Meller team teach Catherine’s choreography for the solo version of Les Caractères de la Danse based on a period description of the dance beginning with the Prelude, Courante, and Minuet, Bouree

    *$25 Drop-in Fee Available.

    3:15-5:30 PM - Studio B
    Continue with Chaconne, Sarabande, Gigue

    5:30-6:45 PM - Studio B*
    Catherine gives a period acting class, going through the first 7 roles in Les Caractères de la Danse teaching postures and gesture.

    *$25 Drop-in Fee Available.

    6:45-7:45 PM- Break

    7:45-9:45 PM- Studio B
    Review dances of the day processing what was learned about character more deeply into the performance.

  • Sunday, January 20

    *$100 Single Day fee Available:

    11:15-12 PM - Fisher Studio
    Optional review class with Jennifer Meller

    12 - 1 PM- Break

    1 - 2:30 PM - Feintech Studio
    Jen and CT team teach Catherine’s choreography for the solo version of Les Caractères de la Danse based on a period description of the dance continuing with the Rigaudon, Passepied, and Gavotte.

    3 - 5:30 PM - Argyle Studio
    Sonate Pantomime, Loure, and Musette

    5:30-6:30 - Break

    6:30-7:30 - Studio B
    Review and learn the final Sonate and then run the dance many times.

    8 - 10 PM- Studio B


    *Open to the public ($15 Suggested Donation at the door)