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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: December ::
Dancing Masters/Choreographers?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2411  Thursday, 12 December 2002

From:           E. Winerock <
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Date:           Wednesday, 11 Dec 2002 21:30:14 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        Dancing Masters/Choreographers?

I'm looking for more information on dancing masters in Shakespeare's
time or others who might have choreographed dances for the plays. I've
heard that music composers were often the dance choreographers/teachers
and would welcome suggestions as to resources to investigate this
possibility.

For example, there's a Thomas Giles mentioned as a dancing master by
Chambers in 'The Elizabethan Stage' and recorded as getting paid for
making dances for masques in Hertford & Simpson's 'Ben Jonson [Works]'.
Chambers suggests that this may be the same Thomas Giles who was almoner
of St. Paul's and involved with the boy players. Have there been any
more recent findings?

Chambers also mentions Thomas Cardell and Jerome Heron as dancing
masters involved in courtly entertainments and a dancing school kept by
Richard Frith who rented a Blackfriars property in 1561, but I haven't
found any more information about these gentlemen.

Similarly, I have Naylor's 'Shakespeare and Music', which has a nice
section on music and dance, but it was written in 1896. Is it outdated?

On a side note, there's a painting that's commonly referred to as Queen
Elizabeth dancing La Volta with the Earl of Leicester or sometimes
Essex. (http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Portal/6975/volta.jpg) Is it
indeed Elizabeth? I've heard rumors that this was has been contested,
but can't find confirmation.

Thank you and happy holidays,
Emily Winerock

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