Heritage Science on Air

Archaeological Approaches to Dance Performance: Methods and Perspectives

1th and 2nd December, 2021 | h 9.00-13.00 CET

Webinar CNR ISPC on Air


Although over the last decade various scholarly disciplines have devoted increasing attention to ancient dance, they have done so by focusing on textual sources. However, in reconstructing features of dance performances, the evidence offered by material culture within its archaeological contexts should play a critical role. Considering dance performances in the ancient world, this webinar aims to explore material evidences of dance and highlight the contribution of such evidences to a deeper understanding of the cultural and social meanings and functions of dance and ritualised movements within activities of ritual and everyday life, reconstructing the many different ways and contexts in which they were experienced.

This webinar aims to enhance our knowledge of dancing activities which took place in sacred spaces, in private homes and in spaces belonging to public and religious life by exploring and discussing where ancient peoples experience physical movement events outdoors, and which musical instruments and sound tools accompanied them.

Although reconstructions cannot tell us unequivocally how ancient users and audiences perceived the sounds of these instruments, they offer the chance to break through the time barrier by reviving sound emissions. By combining optical metrology with computational analysis, some of the subjective observations on ancient instruments can be substituted by measurable parameters, opening up new perspectives for the study of sounds and the artisan production process of ancient instruments.

Accordingly, the contributions of the webinar will explore how physical movements act as a dynamic opportunity for exchange and interaction among different communities, and how performative spaces enhance our knowledge of the ways dancers interact with their audiences in those structures. Moreover, it will be analysed how the development of new technologies and tools can enhance the preservation of dance as intangible cultural heritage.

The AgendaRegister