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Textiles in Motion (Hardback)

Dress for Dance in the Ancient World

P&S History > Archaeology > Archaeological Method & Theory

Edited by Audrey Gouy
Imprint: Oxbow Books
Series: Ancient Textiles
Pages: 224
Illustrations: B/w and colour
ISBN: 9781789257984
Published: 15th April 2023
Casemate UK Academic



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Dress is at the core of dance. It adorns dancers, defines various roles and forms symbolic expressions that, for example, either bind people together or opposes them. It is a communicative tool that gives crucial information for understanding the dance as well as the culture and the sociological effects of a group of people. As such, dress transcends how it is seen visually to address what is being communicated. Nonetheless, studies in ancient dance have rarely taken clothing into consideration.


This volume provides new perspectives and insights on ancient dances and their ancient textiles. Comprehension of ancient dance benefits from investigations undertaken through the lens of dress, and research on ancient dress is understood through its relation to body movement and performative rituals, thus reinforcing the progressive integration of an anthropological and sociological dimension into historical analysis of ancient textiles. For the first time, the two-way transfer of knowledge between dance studies and costume studies is connected via an innovative approach. Among the issues that are specifically addressed are the movement design of dress for dance, its sensory experience, gender and identity, re-enactment and reception.


The chronological range of the book is focused on the ancient world (3rd-millennium BC to 5th-century AD), with a broad geographical definition in order to promote a comparative, interdisciplinary approach and cross-cultural dialogue.

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About Audrey Gouy

Audrey Gouy is Marie Skłodowska-Curie researcher at the Centre for Textile Research, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. She completed her PhD in 2017 at the École pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, and the University Ca’ Foscari, Venice, with a thesis on Etruscan dance. Her main research interests are iconography, performative rituals, textiles and identity in pre-Roman Italy.

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