Link to Longy School of Music home page.

Early Dance at Longy

Summer Workshop 2012
Sunday–Saturday, July 22–28

An intensive workshop in early dance, with emphasis on baroque dance but also including a daily late-renaissance dance class. Intended for experienced dancers with a serious interest in early dance, the workshop will include classes in technique, repertoire, and dance notation, with opportunities for independent projects and performance. The early dance workshop will run concurrently with the International Baroque Institute at Longy (IBIL), allowing the possibility of joint performances with IBIL students. Dancers are welcome to attend IBIL lectures and performances as the schedule allows.

To complement this year’s IBIL theme, “Naples, the Conservatory of Europe,” the 2012 workshop will explore step descriptions and other technical details from Giambattista Dufort’s Trattato del Ballo Nobile (Naples, 1728). Dufort’s treatise outlines the noble dance style of Dufort’s native France. Repertory for the workshop will include ballroom and theatre dances by Guillaume-Louis Pécour, notated and published by Michel Gaudrau (ca. 1713).

Schedule Outline (tentative):

The daily schedule is intended to correspond to the IBIL schedule to the extent possible, to allow for interaction between dancers and musicians. Note the different schedule for Saturday.

Sunday, July 22

IBIL lecture.
Warmup and Baroque Dance Technique. Warmup, basic steps, and step sequences; an introduction to the week.

Monday–Friday, July 23–27

9:00–6:00 (lunch break 12:15–1:00).

Warmup and Baroque Dance Technique. Warmup, basic steps, and practice step sequences.
Baroque Dance Technique, continued. Further work on steps and step sequences, in preparation for the afternoon’s sessions.
Lunch break.
Renaissance Dance. Steps and step-sequences from Italian dances of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.
Baroque dance repertory. Ballroom and theatrical dances reconstructed from notation.
Repertory, continued.
Issues in Baroque Dance Choreography and Reconstruction. Topics may include: the relationship between music and dance; the Beauchamp-Feuillet notation system; Dufort’s step descriptions; Gaudrau’s approach to dance notation; theatrical contexts for choreographies; fashions and trends in baroque choreography.

Note: The schedule may be adjusted from day to day to allow time for group rehearsals or independent practice, or to attend IBIL-sponsored events. Depending on IBIL programming, there may also be sessions devoted to learning “historically informed” choreography.

Saturday, July 28

Warmup, Baroque Dance Technique, and Rehearsal as needed.
Lunch break.
Independent Practice and Rehearsal as needed.
IBIL performance.

Workshop Details

This course is for students with a serious interest in early dance, and especially baroque dance. No prior experience with early dance or with dance notation is required, but some dance background is essential. Classes may be split into separate groups to accommodate students’ interests and abilities.

Students will be able to supplement their class work with study in Longy’s Bakalar Library, which houses the Margaret Daniels Girard and the Ingrid Brainard collections of dance materials.

About the Instructor

Ken Pierce trained in ballet and modern dance, studying on scholarship at both the American Ballet Theatre School and the Merce Cunningham studio. He has specialized in early dance—especially, late-Renaissance and Baroque dance—for over twenty-five years, as choreographer, reconstructor, performer, and teacher. Companies he has performed with include the Court Dance Company of New York, the New York Baroque Dance Company, Ris et Danceries (Paris), Danse Baroque Toronto, and the baroque dance trio Hémiole (Paris), of which he was a co-founder. He directs his own company, the Ken Pierce Baroque Dance Company, for which he has choreographed or reconstructed dances for performances with Tafelmusik, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Concerto Copenhagen, The King’s Noyse, Handel & Haydn Society, and the Boston Early Music Festival. Recent choreographies include dances for Les Élémens, Les Festes d’Hébé, Tirsi e Clori, and les Festes de l’Amour et de Bacchus; his choreographic credits also include King Arthur at the Boston Early Music Festival, and such twentieth-century premières as Le Carnavale Mascarade; Les Plaisirs de Versailles, with Ex Machina Baroque Opera Ensemble; the masque Oberon, at Case Western Reserve University; and le Mariage de la Grosse Cathos at the Amherst Early Music Festival. He was assistant choreographer for Quelques pas graves de Baptiste, Francine Lancelot’s baroque-style piece for the Paris Opera Ballet, whose cast included Rudolph Nureyev. Mr. Pierce has taught at summer dance and music workshops in the U.S. and abroad. He directs the early dance program at Longy.


The Longy School of Music is located in Cambridge’s Harvard Square area, a short walk from restaurants, libraries, shops, bookstores, theatres, museums, and parks. Public transportation allows easy access to downtown Boston.


Dormitory housing is available within walking distance of Longy. The approximate cost will be $65–85 per night for a single room. For further information about housing, please contact the Registrar's Office. (Contact information is below.)

Tuition and Registration

Tuition for the workshop is $375. By permission of the instructor, students may register for the baroque portion or the renaissance portion only. To register, or for additional information about registration, please contact:

Registrar’s Office
Longy School of Music
27 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02139


For Further Information

For further information about the Early Dance Workshop, please contact the instructor, Ken Pierce, in care of the Longy School of Music or by e-mail at

Please note that schedules and other program details outlined above are tentative, and subject to modification.