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By Katarzyna Ojrzynska

This publication deals a accomplished research 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 by way of the neighborhood tradition. the writer methods this factor from a cultural materialist point of view, demonstrating that dance in twentieth-century eire was once rather at risk of ideological appropriation and that, therefore, its use in modern drama frequently serves to speak severe and revisionist methods to the social, monetary and political matters addressed in those performs. The booklet makes a worthy contribution to present debates concerning the nature of Irish theatre, investigating fresh alterations to its conventional, text-based personality. those are tested inside of vital contexts: first of all, changes within the conception of the human physique in Irish tradition and, secondly, alterations within the angle of the Irish in the direction of their earlier and their cultural background.

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Extra resources for ’Dancing As If Language No Longer Existed’: Dance in Contemporary Irish Drama

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Yet in Ireland, the prejudice against this form of kinetic activity was particularly long-lasting and severe, which had a decisive influence on the shape of Irish step dance. The above-mentioned values and contradictions inscribed onto the body of the Irish dancer find a direct reflection in the treatment of the motif of dance in the plays discussed in the subsequent chapters. This is evident not only in Kate Mundy’s kinetic performance of a reel in the central dance scene in Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa, but also in a number of choreographies found in the other analysed texts.

It can also tell us about the social value of the body within a particular culture” (5). Hence, the most probable explanation of the unique posture of the Irish dancer is not so much connected with Irish rebelliousness as with the sense of inferiority instilled in the Irish people by the colonizers, and later reinforced by the Irish Catholic Church, obsessed with sin and an unattainable model of moral perfection. Hence, both in colonial and post-colonial times, Irish step dance could be seen as a means of physical training and as a way to Irish Dance and its Transformations in the Twentieth Century 23 shape one’s character in order to contain unruly sinful instincts, which in some respects intersects with the above-mentioned notion of reinforcing the negative stereotype of the nation through adopting the imposed values perceived as belonging to a superior culture.

Her thighs, fuller and soft-hued as ivory, were bared almost to the hips, where the white fringes of her drawers were like feathering of soft white down. Her slate-blue skirts were kilted boldly about her waist and dovetailed behind her. Her bosom was as a bird’s, soft and slight, slight and soft as the breast of some dark-plumaged dove. (Portrait 185) Importantly, this image of lightness and gentleness is associated not so much with womanhood as with girlishness and innocence, for the gaze of the beauty’s eyes is “without shame or wantonness” ( Joyce, Portrait 186).

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