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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: April ::
Dancing in Shakespeare a good idea
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0811  Friday, 2 April 2004

From:           Stanley Wells <
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Date:           Thursday, 1 Apr 2004 10:35:35 +0100
Subject: 15.0789 Dancing in Shakespeare a good idea
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0789 Dancing in Shakespeare a good idea

I think more work needs to be done on this subject, but evidence is hard
to come by. I have no doubt that various kinds of afterpieces were
performed, maybe by different companies and at different times; they may
have varied according to the nature of the play they followed. Bottom's
proffered Bergomask seems closest to the kinds of entertainment we are
given at the Globe, but of course, he is a member of an amateur, not a
professional company. The graceful dance witnessed by Thomas Platter
after a performance of a play about Julius Caesar in 1599, and performed
by the whole company, is clearly very different; so are the
musical-cum-dramatic 'jigs' performed by Kemp and Tarlton, the 'lewd
jigs' that caused offence at the Fortune in 1612, and the 'nasty bawdy
jig' mentioned by Dekker in 1613  (I take these last two examples from A
J Gurr, The Shakespearean Stage 1574-1642, third edition, 1992, p.175).
My main point is just that we should not assume that boisterous dances
performed by the whole company after the play were a regular feature of
playgoing in Shakespeare's time.

Now I shall shut up for a bit.

Stanley Wells

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