'The Great Choreographer': Embodying Space in Fuenteovejuna

  • Laura L. Vidler West Point
Keywords: space, dance, Bourdieu, Lope de Vega, Spain, comedia, Fuenteovejuna, choreography, body,


Social dances embody and perform kinesthetic structures of courtesy and courtship. The relative positions of dancers, their gestures, eye contact and posture, and manipulation of personal accoutrements (hats, gloves, fans, etc.), communicate at once both social hierarchies and personal desire. The Spanish comedia appropriates culturally-embedded notions of space and movement to create dramatic meaning. Lope’s Fuenteovejuna structures dramatic space by dislocating the habitus of early modern dance. This essay addresses the means by which dance and kinesthetic movement structure and communicate the 'dislocated habitus' of Lope’s early modern corral stage. Although attempts to reconstruct a complete dance, or even an individual dance step, will never be completely accurate, supporting evidence reveals culturally-laden structures of body carriage, body interactions, and treatments of space that can inform interpretations of Spain’s classical theater.

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