Greco-Roman Pantomime

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

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Pantomime in Greco-Roman Antiquity

Ancient pantomime performances centred on elaborate dancing movements performed by a solo male (or, more rarely, female) dancer accompanied by musicians and singers. The dancer skilfully mimed characters and stories with their entire body, which made for a stunning visual spectacle. Performances of this kind became popular from the beginning of the Imperial period. The plot of the story was sung by the chorus or the solo singer who accompanied the dancer, and it is likely that each performance was built from a succession of small scenes, often inspired by tragedies or mythological episodes. Pantomime performances were not constrained by the usual conventions of the tragic genre, and erotic scenes were not rare on stage. Death could also be represented.

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Citation: Paillard, Elodie. "Greco-Roman Pantomime". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 September 2020 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=19596, accessed 12 June 2024.]

19596 Greco-Roman Pantomime 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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