New book – ‘Dancing As If Language No Longer Existed’: Dance in Contemporary Irish Drama

By Katarzyna Ojrzyńska

Oxford: Peter Lang

310 pp. | ISBN 978-3-0343-1813-6 | £42.00

This book offers a comprehensive study of the role of dance in a wide range of contemporary Irish plays and argues that dance can be perceived as exemplifying the re-embracement of bodily expression by the local culture. The author approaches this issue from a cultural materialist perspective, demonstrating that dance in twentieth-century Ireland was particularly prone to ideological appropriation and that, consequently, its use in contemporary drama often serves to communicate critical and revisionist approaches to the social, economic and political concerns addressed in these plays. The book makes a valuable contribution to current debates about the nature of Irish theatre, investigating recent changes to its traditional, text-based character. These are examined within two important contexts: firstly, transformations in the perception of the human body in Irish culture and, secondly, changes in the attitude of the Irish towards their past and their cultural heritage.

Contents: Investigating Dance in Irish Drama – Irish Dance and its Transformations in the Twentieth Century – Dance in Pre-Nationalist Times – Dance in Nationalist Times – Dance in Post-Nationalist Times – The Changing Dynamics of Irish Drama and Tradition.

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