Here Comes Trouble: Solo Dance in Greek and Roman Comedy

Marleigh Anderson; PhD in Classics, Washington University in St. Louis, 2023

My dissertataion answers two driving questions: where does solo dance (broadly defined as dance by an actor, as opposed to the chorus) occur in extant Greek and Roman comedy, and how does such dancing contribute to the plays? The full study moves from what can be known with certainty (i.e., definite solo dance scenes and references to dance) to what requires more speculation (i.e., likely dance scenes).

In this talk, I pull from a few chapters of my dissertataion to focus on the gender and status of characters who dance alone in Greek and Roman comedy. Where do we see male solo dancing, and where do we see female solo dancing, and what does that mean for our understanding of comic dance? The evidence promises to entertain while also inviting us all to think more about this understudied aspect of Greek and Roman theater.


Sponsored by the Department of Classics.

Co-sponsored by the Performing Arts Department.