This is the winner of The Society of Dance History Scholars De la Torre Bueno Prize. The Compleat Dancing Master is a translation of the Rechtschaffener Tantzmeister (1717), by Gottfried Taubert, a monumental and encyclopedic treatise on the universe of dance during the musical High Baroque and the dawn of the Beauchamps-Feuillet dance notation system. Taubert (1679-1746) worked in Danzig (now Gdansk) and later in Leipzig at the same time as Johann Sebastian Bach. His work is in three parts, covering the history, morality, and social utility of dance; the theory and practice of dance; and the metier of the dancing master, the teacherstudent relationship, and the occasions and customs connected with social dance. Due to its sheer vastness and linguistic difficulties, the Rechtschaffener Tantzmeister has been largely ignored until recently, even by those who read German.
Volume I of The Compleat Dancing Master provides an overview of Taubert's magnum opus and a master key to some of his most important themes and ideas - in short, a mode of entry into Taubert's world - and includes a biographical sketch and essays on specific topics whose wider significance is discussed in the order of their presentation by Taubert. Volume II is an English translation of Taubert's entire, 1231-page text, including front and back matter - the first complete translation of this book in any language. The Compleat Dancing Master is addressed to dance historians, historical dancers, choreographers, musicologists, students of German eighteenth-century culture, and dix-huitiemistes of all types.
Tilden Russell, Professor emeritus of Music at Southern Connecticut State University, is co-author, with Dominique Bourassa, of The Menuet de la cour (2007). Best known for his work on the minuet and scherzo, and on Gottfried Taubert, he has written and lectured also on the comic in music, history of the violoncello, musical iconography, and Beethoven, with articles published in The Journal of Musicology, Journal of the American Musicological Society, Musical Quarterly, Acta musicologica, Imago musicae, Beethoven Forum, Dance Research, and elsewhere, including The New Grove, second edition. The Compleat Dancing Master, his translation of Taubert's Rechtschaffener Tantzmeister, has been over a dozen years in the making.