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date: 01 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter addresses Shakespeare’s incorporation of the court masque genre into his plays for the public stage, from the perspective of a dance historian. During Shakespeare’s active work with the company of players, he embraced the Tudor form and the continental mascarade, followed by new developments under the Stuart king, James I, to include the anti-masque. By analyzing the chronological changes in masque and dance entries, it becomes clear that Shakespeare and his company took the lead in an innovation copied by other playwrights. An argument is presented for the role of a choreographer, a dancing master on the court payroll, working as a collaborator with Shakespeare in devising new dances in the expression of character, and the beginnings of a new profession of specialist dancer, separate from that of the player who was competent in elementary social dance forms.

Keywords: anti-masque, choreographer, chronology, collaborator, court, dancer, masque, plot, public stage

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