WSC, UK, July-August 2016

 The 10th World Shakespeare Congress. July 31st – August 6th, 2016

“Creating and Re-creating Shakespeare”


Seminar: Shakespeare and Dance
Co-leaders: Dr. Linda McJannet, Bentley University, Waltham, MA, USA
Dr. Amy Rodgers, Mt. Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA, USA

          This seminar seeks to foster a wider understanding of dance as a seminal part of early modern theatrical practice and welcomes papers on dance in (or based on) Shakespeare’s plays using historical, theoretical, and performance-oriented perspectives. Topics of inquiry may include: how can we “read” dance in the plays? What was the sociopolitical role of dance in early modern English culture (in court, city and countryside)? What do we know about early modern dances, and how might this information contribute to a fuller understanding of early modern stage practices? How might dance have fostered class cross-pollination either imaginatively or in terms of cultural capital, particularly via choreography imported from court masque to the public stage? How have seminal stage and film productions handled dance sequences, and how might these archives open new avenues into Shakespearean adaptation studies? Which plays have inspired full-length ballets or modern dances, and what might the study of such works contribute to Shakespeare studies?



Workshop: Re-creating Shakespeare’s Dances

Workshop leaders:

  • Nona Monahin (, Instructor in Renaissance and Baroque Dance, Five College Early Music Program, Mount Holyoke College, USA; Five College Associate (research), Amherst College, USA. PhD in Musicology (focus on dance and music in sixteenth-century Italy), Monash University, Australia, 2014.
  • Emily Winerock (, Visiting Assistant Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh, USA. PhD in History (focus on dance in early modern England), University of Toronto, Canada, 2012.

          Shakespeare’s plays contain numerous references to dance, some of which are usted to create puns, others to illuminate a particular character or dramatic situation. Dancing also occurs as part of the action of many plays, although Shakespeare rarely specifies which dances he may have had in mind. Through a combination of discussion, examination of primary sources, video examples, and physical participation, this workshop will allow participants to become acquainted with a number of dances that are mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays–such as the measures, pavin, French brawl, coranto, canary, galliard, and cinquepace–thereby enhancing participants’ appreciation of Shakespeare’s dance puns and other dance references. Participants will also gain firsthand experience in reconstructing a dance from historical sources. The concluding discussion will include consideration of the practicial and philosophical challenges of staging dance for different types of dramatic productions, including for those set in different eras and for diverse audiences. This workshop does not require prior preparation or dance experience.