Project News

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APRIL ’19. Elizabeth Cruz-Petersen’s article, “Swordplay Uncloaked: Women as Active Agents in Ana Caro’s Valor, agravio, y mujer and Lope de Vega’s La pobreza estimada,” is now out in Comedia Performance 16 (2019): pp.86-102.

ABSTRACT: This article explores possible dance and swordplay choreography in Felix Lope de Vega’s La pobreza estimada (1597-1603) and Ana Caro’s Valor, agravio, y mujer (1630s-1640s) in hopes of shedding light on the manner in which women as active agents or bodies in transaction contributed to the sociopolitical discourse of the space in theater. The excerpts and images examined from treatises on acting, dance, and swordsmanship, such as Alonso López Pinciano’s Philosophía antigua poética (1596), Juan de Esquivel Navarro’s Discursos sobre el arte del danzado (1642), and Luis Pacheco de Narváez’s Libro de las grandezas de la espada (1600), help the reader envision women wielding swords in early modern Spanish theater.

MARCH ’19. Melinda Gough’s book, Dancing Queen, is now out with University of Toronto Press!

Under glittering lights in the Louvre palace, the French court ballets danced by Queen Marie de Médicis prior to Henri IV’s assassination in 1610 attracted thousands of spectators ranging from pickpockets to ambassadors from across Europe. Drawing on newly discovered primary sources as well as theories and methodologies derived from literary studies, political history, musicology, dance studies, and women’s and gender studies, Dancing Queen traces how Marie’s ballets authorized her incipient political authority through innovative verbal and visual imagery, avant-garde musical developments, and ceremonial arrangements of objects and bodies in space. Making use of women’s “semi-official” status as political agents, Marie’s ballets also manipulated the subtle social and cultural codes of international courtly society in order to more deftly navigate rivalries and alliances both at home and abroad. At times the queen’s productions could challenge Henri IV’s immediate interests, contesting the influence enjoyed by his mistresses or giving space to implied critiques of official foreign policy, for example. Such defenses of Marie’s own position, though, took shape as part of a larger governmental program designed to promote the French consort queen’s political authority not in its own right but as a means of maintaining power for the new Bourbon monarchy in the event of Henri IV’s untimely death.  Click HERE to find out more and purchase.

Dancing Queen is a meticulous, richly textured work of scholarship that makes an important contribution to understandings of early modern queenship and court culture as well as to the history of court ballet. Melinda J. Gough’s discovery and attentive synthesis of previously unknown archival documents are truly meaningful and revise the standard histories of French court ballet.”
Ellen R. Welch, Department of Romance Studies, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill