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Medieval dancing in modern movies
2018 (English)In: The Middle Ages in the Modern World, 2018, p. 12-12Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

For much medieval dancing, we must rely on images and the occasional, not detailed description. However, starting in the 15th century, we get dance choreographies written down. The dances manifest power, dignity, and courtly behaviour; despite the vigourously athletic steps in many dances, the dancer had to maintain decorum. The dances are largely egalitarian, in that men and women have the same steps and often take turns leading, and low on touch, with generally no more physical contact than hands being held. There are both set choreographies and those that allow for improvisation, but all are intended to showcase the social and cultural capital of the dancers. In modern TV series and movies depicting the Middle Ages and Renaissance, this function of dancing is in most cases entirely abandoned, in favour of some of the social functions of traditional styles of dancing today: physical contact and distinct gender roles. Medieval dance is presented as involving physical contact, with more explicitly sexual connotations, and with a leading male partner and a passively led, but often overtly seductive, female partner. Some of this is undoubtedly due to choreographers with no training in dance history beyond early ballet in the 18th century, but as there are choreographers and dancers specialising in early dance, who are not consulted, there is clearly also a choice involved. In this paper, I would like to trace the effects of that choice, and how it comes to portray medieval cultural acts such as dancing as more gendered and more heavily sexualised than they were.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. p. 12-12
Keywords [en]
dance, The Tudors, The Borgias, medievalism
National Category
Performing Art Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-38513OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-38513DiVA, id: diva2:1268828
Conference
The Middle Ages in the Modern World, 21-24 November, 2018, Rome, Italy
Available from: 2018-12-06 Created: 2018-12-06 Last updated: 2018-12-17Bibliographically approved

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Hildebrand, Kristina

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf