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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: March ::
Dancing in Shakespeare a bad idea?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0726  Thursday, 18 March 2004

From:           Al Magary <
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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."

(http://www-tech.mit.edu/V124/N13/13_much_ado.13a.html)

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.

Cheers,
Al Magary

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