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Time to Play

Dance and Performance inspired by Shakespeare

Shakespeare inspired performance and dance


About the Item

Theatre in Shakespeare's time nearly always included some kind of dance. Shakespeare’s audiences would always expect a ‘jig’ at the end of the play. This was a comic performance that included dance and popular songs. If you see a play at The Globe Theatre in London, the actors will still perform a jig when the play finishes. 

Many of Shakespeare’s most well known plays also include scenes in the drama where the characters dance. Romeo and Juliet, for example, features a masquerade ball where Romeo and Juliet first meet. 

This vase was inspired by a scene from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. In the scene, the magician Prospero’s daughter, Miranda, has just married Prince Ferdinand. To celebrate their wedding, Prospero summons nymphs to perform a Masque. The designer, John Hutton, has engraved the nymphs dancing on this vase.

Just like John Hutton, many artists, dancers and performers today are inspired by Shakespeare’s plays. Bollywood directors and ballet companies, for example, still create new films and performances that tell Shakespeare’s stories through dance.


Try this!

Click here to learn how to dance Tudor style with this activity that teaches you a Tudor circle dance.


Reproduced by kind permission of Marigold Hutton