The Plays

* denotes plays with staged dancing, whether specified in the stage directions or in the surrounding text
** denotes plays where staged dancing is discussed, but it is not clear that it actually occurs

All’s Well That Ends Well
Antony and Cleopatra
** As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors  — no dance references
Henry IV, Part 1
Henry IV, part 2
Henry V
Henry VI, Part 1 — no dance references
Henry VI, part 2
Henry VI, part 3
* Henry VIII
Julius Caesar
King John
King Lear
* Love’s Labor’s Lost
* Macbeth
Measure for Measure
The Merchant of Venice
* The Merry Wives of Windsor
* Midsummer Night’s Dream
* Much Ado About Nothing
* Pericles, Prince of Tyre
Richard II
Richard III
* Romeo and Juliet
The Taming of the Shrew
* The Tempest
* Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus
Troilus and Cressida
* Twelfth Night
Two Gentlemen of Verona
* The Two Noble Kinsmen
* The Winter’s Tale


In addition to the plays themselves, the following sources were consulted in compiling dance-related stage directions and textual references. Text excerpts and their act, scene, and line numbers follow Folger Digital Texts unless otherwise noted.

Brissenden, Alan. Shakespeare and the Dance. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1981, 2001.

Daye, Anne, comp. A Lively Shape of Dauncing: Dances of Shakespeare’s Time. Salisbury, Wiltshire: Dolmetsch Historical Dance Society, 1994.

Dessen, Alan, and Leslie Thomson. A Dictionary of Stage Directions in English Drama, 1580-1642. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Hoskins, Jim. The Dances of Shakespeare. New York: Routledge, 2005.
[Ed. note: The suggested dance types and choreographies are usually dramatically appropriate but not necessarily historically accurate.


Updated May 27, 2022.

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