The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0726  Thursday, 18 March 2004

From:           Al Magary <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 17 Mar 2004 16:44:26 -0800
Subject:        Dancing in Shakespeare a bad idea?

A student reviewer at MIT had this comment about the Shakespeare
Ensemble's production of Much Ado About Nothing:

"Another thing that left me confused was the dancing. Dancing is a great
way to pick up people at parties, but I hardly think it works in
Shakespeare. It's like brain surgery: excessive wiggling can have
disastrous results. At the end of the first act, I was left thinking,
'Now what in the world was that ten minute dance scene about?' I hardly
think that a two and a half hour play needs a dance sequence, especially
when the time spent practicing the dances could have been spent
practicing some other important things."


Now, this is an impatient comment by an amateur who probably needed to
get back to the dorm to do problem sets.  Nonetheless she found the
dancing superfluous.

I recall a rule for opera composers and producers in the 19th century:
an opera--especially a French opera--had to have a ballet.  It would
seem as if pickup Shakespeare companies might be putting in dancing to
try to gild the lily.

Al Magary

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