Dance Teacher and His Pupils, Paramaribo, Suriname, ca. 1831
Pierre Jacques Benoit, Voyage a Surinam . . . cent dessins pris sur nature par l'auteur (Bruxelles, 1839), fig. 23. (Copy in the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University)
This illustration shows a creole dance master teaching steps to a black slave and a creole woman. The teacher plays a violin and the pupils are being taught to dance on their toes; they are very superior in this excercise, the author writes, to our European dancers (p. 27). Benoit (1782-1854), a Belgian artist, visited Suriname around 1831 and apparently stayed for several months. The 100 lithographs in his book (hand colored in the John Carter Brown copy), accompanied by textual descriptions of varying detail, are derived from drawings he made during his visit, which included time in Paramaribo, the capital, as well as trips into the interior visiting Maroons and Amerindians. Forty of his lithographs, with our translations from the French text, are shown on this website.
Benoit, Pierre Jacques
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