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D'Egville, James Harvey

The Oxford Dictionary of Dance

Debra Craine,

Judith Mackrell

D'Egville, James Harvey (b c.1770; d c.1836) 

British dancer and choreographer. He was the son of Pierre D'Egville (ballet master at Drury Lane and Sadler's Wells Theatres), and as a child danced at the King's Theatre (1783). Between 1784 and 1785 he performed at the Paris Opera and was much admired by Dauberval. After 1793 he was back in London, working with Noverre, and between 1799 and 1809 he was choreographer at the King's Theatre, creating such works as Achille et Déidamie (1804). He composed the music for many of his ballets and also founded an academy of dance—responding to the non-availability of foreign dancers during the Napoleonic Wars and the need to train English replacements. After the war ended, however, the demand for English dancers decreased, and interest in developing English talent waned.