By Katarzyna Ojrzynska
This booklet deals a complete examine of the position of dance in quite a lot of modern Irish performs and argues that dance may be perceived as exemplifying the re-embracement of physically expression through the neighborhood tradition. the writer ways this factor from a cultural materialist standpoint, demonstrating that dance in twentieth-century eire was once quite liable to ideological appropriation and that, for this reason, its use in modern drama frequently serves to speak serious and revisionist ways to the social, monetary and political matters addressed in those performs. The booklet makes a worthy contribution to present debates in regards to the nature of Irish theatre, investigating fresh alterations to its conventional, text-based personality. those are tested inside of very important contexts: first of all, ameliorations within the belief of the human physique in Irish tradition and, secondly, alterations within the angle of the Irish in the direction of their previous and their cultural historical past.
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Additional resources for ’Dancing As If Language No Longer Existed’: Dance in Contemporary Irish Drama
Irish Dance and its Transformations in the Twentieth Century 27 It is no wonder that nowadays critics often point to the fact that the above-mentioned solutions impoverished, rather than reinforced, local traditions and created an artificial image of Irish dance, most rigorously promoted at competitions, where dancers had to conform to the imposed, narrow canon. As Kavanagh, Keohane and Kuhling maintain, Dance has long been a marker of ethnic/national identity for the Irish [and] the quintessential example of “authentic” Irish traditional culture.
The origins of Catholic opposition to dance in Ireland can be traced back to at least the seventeenth century. A fragment of Párliament Na mBan (The Parliament of Women), a prose work written around 1670 (or ca. 1703, according to some sources) by Domhnall Ó Colmáin, a parish priest from County Cork, is an excellent example of an early attack by a representative of the Church against this form of activity. The text warns: “dancing … is a thing that leads to bad thoughts and evil actions. It is dancing that excites the desires of the body.
In fact, both twentieth-century Irish dance, especially in its competitive form, and ballet can be seen as ideological constructs reinforcing the patriarchal definition of femininity. According to Ann Daly, the “ballerina is not simply an innocuous, isolated theatrical image [but an] icon” (8) impersonating a traditional vision of womanhood. The same can be argued in relation to nationalist Irish dance, which epitomizes the values of the patriarchal body politic to be cherished and followed. In both cases, 6 Although Lady Gregory claimed that she had her share in writing the play, Yeats never officially acknowledged her contribution.