Performing Antiquity: Ancient Greek Music and Dance from Paris to Delphi, 1890-1930

Samuel N. Dorf, University of Dayton

A chapter will be made available for download in compliance with the publisher's policy on self-archiving upon expiration of the required embargo. To read the full volume, visit an academic library or see the publisher's website. Permission documentation is on file.


Book investigates collaborations between French and American scholars of Greek antiquity (archaeologists, philologists, classicists, and musicologists), and the performing artists (dancers, composers, choreographers and musicians) who brought their research to life at the birth of Modernism. The book tells the story of performances taking place at academic conferences, the Paris Opéra, ancient amphitheaters in Delphi, and private homes. These musical and dance collaborations are built on reciprocity: the performers gain new insight into their craft while learning new techniques or repertoire and the scholars gain an opportunity to bring theory into experimental practice, that is, they have a chance see/hear/experience what they have studied and imagined. The performers receive the imprimatur of scholarship, the stamp of authenticity, and validation for their creative activities.

Drawing from methods and theory from musicology, dance studies, performance studies, queer studies, archaeology, classics and art history the book shows how new scholarly methods and technologies altered the performance, and, ultimately, the reception of music and dance of the past. Acknowledging and critically examining the complex relationships performers and scholars had with the pasts they studied does not undermine their work. Rather, understanding our own limits, biases, dreams, obsessions, desires, loves, and fears enriches the ways we perform the past.