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The Edinburgh Companion to Shakespeare and the Arts$
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Mark Thornton Burnett and Adrian Streete

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780748635238

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748635238.001.0001

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Shakespeare, Ballet and Dance

Shakespeare, Ballet and Dance

(p.200) 11 Shakespeare, Ballet and Dance
The Edinburgh Companion to Shakespeare and the Arts

Rodney Stenning Edgecombe

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter focuses on the balletic conversions of A Midsummer Night's Dream. This play is the only work in the canon in which the well-being of the cosmos, and of the society that subsists within it, is predicated on the dance. It is also unique among the comedies in having the fairies usurp the matrimonial dance that elsewhere is reserved for the triumphal partnerings. The most influential versions of Romeo and Juliet are Cranko's (Stuttgart), which was to some extent the progenitor of Macmillan's ballet in London. Ballet, of all the theatrical arts, comes closest to Pater's claim that ‘art aspires towards the condition of music. For while in all other kinds of art it is possible to distinguish the matter from the form, and the understanding can always make this distinction, yet it is the constant effort of art to obliterate it’.

Keywords:   ballet, dance, Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, music, art

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