2014, Mrs Elford: stage dancer and teacher in London (1700-1730)

New information has emerged about the career of the dancer Mrs Elford. Hitherto she has been known best as the dancing-partner of Anthony L’Abbé in the opening years of the eighteenth century, and the partner of Hester Santlow in L’Abbé’s duet for two women, the Passacaille of Armide, thought to have been performed in c. 1706 and many years later later notated for publication by F. Le Roussau. We now know a little more about her, that she maintained her contacts with Anthony L’Abbé after retiring from the stage, and became a respected teacher – one of the few female teachers in early Hanoverian London to be documented – until at least 1729. This paper explores her career, her relationship with Anthony L’Abbé, and her work for one of the most important aristocratic families of the day.

Jennifer Thorp