Delsarte, François (fräNswäˈ dĕlsärtˈ) [key], 1811–71, French teacher of acting and singing. He studied singing (1825–29) at the Paris Conservatoire and appeared as a tenor at the Opéra-Comique, but faulty training had damaged his voice. Delsarte formulated certain principles of aesthetics that he applied to the teaching of dramatic expression. He set up rules coordinating the voice with the gestures of all parts of the body. In 1839 he opened his first cours d'esthétique appliqué, and his advice was sought by many famous artists, e.g., Rachel, Henriette Sontag, and W. C. Macready. Steele MacKaye studied with him in Delsarte's last years and brought to the United States the Delsarte system, to which he had added many of his own ideas, including elements of gymnastics. Some of Delsarte's writings are included in the compilation Delsarte System of Oratory (1893).
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Theater: Biographies