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date: 01 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Through the themes of literacy and polysemanticism, materiality and signification, this chapter investigates the creative and rehearsal processes of the choreography for David Nixon’s ballet Hamlet (2008) for Northern Ballet, United Kingdom. The chapter investigates the planning process, research and development sessions, choreographic approaches, dramaturgical guidance, and scenographic choices in this work. Questions are raised about the semiotic, aesthetic, and creative approaches of the choreographer and devising team. In Hamlet the ballet, the sociology of the original play and change of location—i.e. dominance of Nazism, ideology, historical conflict—influenced the creative process and the spectator’s reception of the work. But in what other ways can a non-text-based medium communicate the essence of the play?

Keywords: ballet, choreography, Hamlet, Nazism, signification, polysemanticism

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