Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2023

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



In the first full-length study focusing exclusively on comic solo dance, I argue for the presence and significance of solo dance in both Greek and Roman comedy. My dissertation aims to answer two driving questions: where does solo dance (broadly defined as dance by actors) occur in extant Greek and Roman comedy, and how does such dancing contribute to the plays? The introduction lays out my methodology for approaching these questions. My study then moves from what can be known with certainty (definite solo dance scenes and references to dance) to what requires more speculation (likely dance scenes). Chapter one, “Definite Solo Dance: Showcasing the Individual” analyzes twelve definite solo dance scenes, culminating in a comparison of traits found in these scenes. Chapter two, “Dance References: Movement, Metaphor, and Mockery,” tracks the metaphorical use of dance language, showing that characters typically use such language to poke fun at an opponent. Chapter three, “Likely Solo Dance: Choreographic Potential” develops and applies criteria for identifying scenes that very likely featured solo dance by actors. The conclusion discusses five main functions of comic solo dance: transgression, characterization, communication of emotions, virtuosity, and entertainment. My study as a whole contributes to our understanding of comic solo dance by revealing how playwrights and actors used non-choral dance to create meaning in comic plays.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Timothy Moore

Committee Members

Robert Henke, Thomas Keeline, Sarah Olsen, Zoe Stamatopoulou,