Maurice Emmanuel was a French composer and musicologist. He spent his childhood in Burgundy, where the beautiful landscape instilled in him a love of nature and the visual arts, which was encouraged by his mother, a skilled artist. Emmanuel studied at both the Paris Conservatoire and the Sorbonne where he studied classics, poetics, philology and history of art.
In 1896, after a viva voce examination involving dancers from the Opéra and ambitious projections by the chronophotographer Jules Marey, Emmanuel was awarded the doctorat ès lettres for his thesis on ancient Greek dance.
Emmanuel extended this thesis into The Antique Greek Dance, a comprehensive study which stressed the freedom and eurhythmic qualities of the dance: this, its first English translation was published in 1916. It was the first serious study of the subject and was a major influence on many dance works of the twentieth century, most notably Frederick Ashton’s Daphnis and Chloe.