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Cosmopolitan Bodies and choral Anxieties in early twentieth-century Performances of Greek Drama

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Duration: 0:25:49 | Added: 06 Apr 2016
Fiona Macintosh examines the anxieties in pre-WW1 Britain surrounding social and theatrical, and especially Greek-inspired, dance, which becomes increasingly associated with moral decadence and dangerous 'cosmopolitanism'.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the meaning of drama was no longer deemed to reside exclusively in the word but in a ‘rhythm’ that encompassed word, body, set and score. With this new fascination with the moving body in performance spaces came a widespread interest in the singing, dancing chorus of antiquity, and especially the singing, dancing chorus of Greek tragedy. However, this new corporeality in the British theatre became increasingly associated with moral decadence and above all dangerous ‘cosmopolitanism’, once anti-German feeling became endemic as hostilities within Europe became an increasing likelihood.

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