original name Jehan Tabourot (born March 17, 1520, Dijon,
Fr.—died July 23, 1595, Langres), theoretician and historian
of the dance, whose Orchésographie (1588) contains carefully
detailed, step-by-step descriptions of 16th-century and
earlier dance forms.
Ordained a priest in 1530, he became a canon at Langres
(1547), where he was encouraged to pursue his studies by the
Jesuits, who considered dance to be educationally important.
Orchésographie is written in the form of a dialogue
between the author and a student. Such dances as the pavane,
gavotte, and allemande are not only exactly described but
also usually illustrated and directly associated with their
musical forms. The book also outlines principles that, more
than a century later, formed the basis of the five
fundamental positions of the feet in classical ballet. In
addition to its wealth of technical information, it is an
interesting account of social behaviour and manners.