Rare books

The library houses a number of rare and antiquarian dance books, many of which were bequeathed to the RAD by Philip Richardson following his death in 1963.

The earliest title is Caroso’s Il Ballarino dating from 1581 and other significant texts include Menestrier’s Des Ballets anciens et modernes…(1682); Feuillet’s Choregraphie ou l’art de decrier la dance…(1701); Weaver’s Essay towards an history of dancing (1712); Dufort’s Trattato del ballo nobile…(1728) and Noverre’s Lettres sur la danse et sur les ballets (1760).

Other volumes of note include several works by Bournonville including first editions of his memoirs – Mit Theaterliv – published in three volumes (1848, 1865 & 1877) and his renowned technical manual, Etudes Chorégraphiques (1861). In 1977, the RAD translated and published a rare pamphlet which was written by Bournonville in 1828, when he was just 23 years old. A limited edition at the time, the New Year’s Gift for Dance Lovers reveals much about Bournonville’s ideals, beliefs and technical knowledge.