By A. McGrath

Dance theatre has turn into a website of transformation within the Irish functionality panorama. This ebook conducts a socio-political and cultural studying of dance theatre perform in eire from Yeats' dance performs first and foremost of the 20 th century to Celtic-Tiger-era works of remarkable Beast Dance Theatre and CoisCéim Dance Theatre first and foremost of the twenty first.

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My interest here is focussed solely on Yeats’ experiments with dancing bodies in performance and the first section of this chapter will attempt to chart the impact of the dancers and choreographers Michio Ito and Ninette de Valois on the development of Yeats’ use of the dancing body in his dance play idiom. Yeats is, of course, internationally renowned as a wordsmith and it is often argued that although the image of the dancer is a central theme in his work, he was in fact no great fan of dance performance.

132 Due to the inescapable reality of the physical body’s colonised state, a de-colonised identity could only be imagined through the dematerialised word. Outside of the word-focussed rehabilitation and re-figuring of an ‘Irish’ identity, the body, a separate entity to the mind, had to be disciplined, regulated and kept under control. In The Tremulous Private Body (1995), Francis Barker, discussing the emergence of the modern subject in seventeenth-century literature, examines the individual’s struggle for autonomy against an absolutist state.

Discussing the nationalism of writers such as Yeats, Edward Said points out that the articulation of an ‘expression of Irish identity as it attaches to the land, to its Celtic origins, to a growing body of nationalist experiences and leaders [. 131 Both of these expressive aspects of national identity were to have negative repercussions for theatrical dance in Ireland. Speaking of the importance placed on the word by colonised societies, Kiberd explains that ‘[a] writer in a free state works with the easy assurance that literature is but one of the social institutions to project the values which the nation admires [.

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