Dancing Shakespeare international conference

deadline for submissions: 
February 28, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Sorbonne Université

International Conference: “Dancing Shakespeare”, Sorbonne Université, November 9-10, 2023, Paris, France


Research on Shakespeare and Dance is taking a more prominent place in the academic landscape[1]. Indeed, dance (in the form of court dances, metaphor or popular tradition) appears often in Shakespeare’s plays, especially in the comedies and tragicomedies, either through direct mention in the text, stage directions, or in the characters’ discourse. The aim of this conference is to bring together scholars across the disciplines (English literature, culture and history of the Early Modern era, other literatures, performance studies, comparative literature, musicology, …) to interrogate the place of dance in Shakespeare’s works and the interactions between Shakespeare and dance and subsequent productions featuring dance – in films, pantomimes, ballets, operas, musicals, and other forms of performance. 

We invite participants to consider the ways dance, as a silent art where only the body speaks, can take over from verbal speech in Shakespeare’s plays, and / or in productions which reconstruct Early Modern dances on contemporary stages, and what type of discourse this historical choreographic rendition consequently entails. Conversely, the question of theatre performances which integrate contemporary dance or Tanztheater can also be raised.

Participants are also encouraged to consider how Shakespeare can be danced, from a technical point of view: beyond the question of the narrative transposition of a theatre play to a ballet stage, it would be interesting to wonder how exactly the intermedial translation from a written text to dance occurs, through questions like how does one dance an iambic pentameter? How can Shakespearean prosody be embodied in dance? What about metaphors and puns? If many ballet adaptations have become canonical in the classical repertory, what about productions involving other dance styles, like Tanztheater, circus dance, or performances which sometimes feature extremely abstract movement?

Contributors are invited to propose papers from various academic perspectives, such as the sociology of dance, intermediality, dance history and history of Shakespearean adaptations, connections between text and dance, music and dance, opera and dance, pantomime, history of the theatre and/or opera, medical humanities and the relation to the body in Shakespeare’s plays and in their dance adaptations (for example, through representations of the madness of Ophelia, Hamlet’s melancholy, or King Lear). We also invite contributors to consider submitting non-traditional academic papers and performance-based research (video, performance, performed and/or danced papers, …)

Please send abstracts (up to 300 words) and a short bio (150-200 words) to both Adeline Chevrier-Bosseau (adeline.chevrier-bosseau@sorbonne-universite.fr ) and Gaëlle Loisel (gaelle.loisel@uca.fr ) by February 28, 2023.

Notifications of acceptance will be sent by March 17, 2023.

[1] See for example recent publications like Lynsey McCulloch and Brandon Shaw (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare and Dance, Oxford, Oxford UP, 2019; Elizabeth Klett, Choreographing Shakespeare: Dance Adaptations of the Plays and Poems. New York, Routledge, 2019; Adeline Chevrier-Bosseau (ed.), Dancing Shakespeare in Europe: Silent eloquence, the body and the Space(s) of play, Cahiers Élisabéthains: A Journal of English Renaissance Studies, vol.102, no 1, 2020.