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In: Fiction on the Fringe: Novelistic Writing in the Post-Classical Age
In: Brill's Companion to the Study of Greek Comedy


Setting out from the first chapter of Aristotle’s Poetics, where dance is recognised as an independent art form capable of mimesis (1447a26–28), this chapter turns to Aristophanic comedy in order to trace dance scenes in ancient Greek drama at the end of the 5th and the beginning of the 4th centuries. Aristophanes’ comedies contain instructions for the staging (didaskaliai) written into the text, which disclose a wealth of information on the place of dance in these dramas. Two types of scenes are identified that typically feature dancing, namely search scenes as well as cult songs and dances—incidentally, elements of the dramatic plot that comedy shares with tragedy and satyr plays. Drawing on a fourfold typology of didaskaliai as well as metrical analysis, which helps to understand the character and pace of the dance scenes, the chapter discusses passages from Wasps, Acharnians, Thesmophoriazusae, Peace, Birds, and Wealth. It examines in particular the relationship between the dances and the comic plot, which becomes looser over time, and argues that dances, by their performative nature which they share with rituals, build a bridge between the dramatic plot and the world inhabited by the audience.

In: Choreonarratives
In: Brill's Companion to Sophocles
In: Die Verwaltung der Stadt Rom in der Hohen Kaiserzeit