Marie Sallé and the Development of the <i>Ballet en action</i>


  • Sarah McCleave



This article identifies the role played by acclaimed dancer and choreographer Marie Sallé (1707-56) in the development of the ballet en action. This is done by making a lexicographical study of key terms (particularly action, character, and intrigue) found in the writings of contemporaries who praised the dancer, such as revolutionary choreographer Jean-Georges Noverre and critic Louis de Cahusac. This lexicographical study is then applied to some of Sallé’s important creative works of the mid-1730s, including Handel’s Terpsichore (London, 1734), a revival of André Campra’s L’Europe galante (Paris, 1736), the ‘Ballet des Fleurs’ from Rameau’s Les Indes galantes (Paris, 1735) as well as Bacchus and Ariadne (London, 1734).

Author Biography

Sarah McCleave

Canadian Sarah McCleave completed her PhD at King’s College, London, in 1993 (Dance in Handel’s Italian Operas: The Collaboration with Marie Sallé). She joined Queen’s University Belfast as a lecturer in September 1998. As a founding member of the QUB Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies, she is developing research resources for the Gibson-Massie Thomas Moore collection at Queen’s. A regular reviewer for Eighteenth-Century Music, McCleave is also a New Grove contributor and has been published in Dance Research, Music and Letters, Göttinger Händel-Beiträge and Consort. Her AHRB-funded monograph, Dance in Opera: Handel on the London Stage, is currently under review. During 2007, she has had works on Sallé appear in Women’s Work in Early Dance (University of Wisconsin Press); Die Beziehung von Musik und Choregraphie im Ballett (Vormerk) and Dancing Times (June and July issues).




How to Cite

McCleave, S. (2007). Marie Sallé and the Development of the <i>Ballet en action</i>. Journal of the Society for Musicology in Ireland, 3, 1–23.