Kathleen Riley

The Ancient Dancer in the Modern World

Edited by Fiona Macintosh

The Ancient Dancer in the Modern World: Responses to Greek and Roman Dance

Oxford University Press
Published 2010
ISBN: 9780199548101

When the eighteenth-century choreographer Jean-Georges Noverre sought to develop what is now known as modern ballet, he turned to ancient pantomime as his source of inspiration; and when Isadora Duncan and her contemporaries looked for alternatives to the strictures of classical ballet, they looked to ancient Greek vases for models for what they termed ‘natural’ movement. This is the first book to examine systematically the long history of the impact of ideas about ancient Greek and Roman dance on modern theatrical and choreographic practices. With contributions from eminent classical scholars, dance historians, theatre specialists, modern literary critics, and art historians, as well as from contemporary practitioners, it offers a very wide conspectus on an under-explored but central aspect of classical reception, dance and theatre history, and the history of ideas.

ancientdancer1Kathleen is one of twenty-three contributors to this volume. Her chapter is entitled ‘A Pylades for the Twentieth Century: Fred Astaire and the Aesthetic of Bodily Eloquence’.


  • ‘Classical reception is much indebted to this much anticipated collection of critical dance history in theatre.’ – Zachary Dubar, New Theatre Quarterly

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