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Shakespeare and the Dance – Alan Brissenden


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Dancing was an essential part of life in Shakespeare’s England. Town and country folk danced at weddings, Maydays and other festivities. Queen Elizabeth prided herself on her skill (and danced galliards in the morning to keep fit), and dancing was the soul of the extravagant masques which so delighted King James. Puritans might furiously denounce it but it was part of the ceremonial of the Inns of Court and a necessary accomplishment for a gentleman. At the same time, as Alan Brissenden shows in this book, the dance was an accepted symbol of harmony, and it was in this way that Shakespeare used it to express one of his major themes: the attempt to achieve order in a discordant world. He included it in at least a dozen of his plays and referred to it in thirty. A valuable source for …


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