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(1) A term originally used for the art of notating dances. The first attempts to record dances were made in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, but it was not until the late 17th and early 18th centuries that French choreographers and dance teachers, such as P. Beauchamp, R.-A. Feuillet, and P. Rameau, devised a system of dance notation, which later became widespread. The term “choreography” was introduced by the choreographer Feuillet, author of Chorégraphie ou l’arte de décrire la danse (1700). In Russia, two systems of dance notation were devised in the late 18th century: the system of F. A. Zorn (in Russian, A. Ia. Tsorn; 1889), used mainly by teachers of ballroom dances, and the system of V. I. Stepanov (1891). Stepanov’s system was used to record 27 ballets from the repertoire of the Mariinskii Theater in St. Petersburg.
(2) The art of composing dances and ballets. In this sense, the term has been used since the mid-19th century. Authors of the steps and dances in a ballet are called choreographers.
(3) The art of the dance as a whole. It is one of the oldest forms of art, whose means of expression are movements of the human body to music (seeDANCE).