The use of a biblical motif as a basic for an original dance production



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



It was the purpose of this study to choreograph and present an extended dance work, which dealt with a biblical motif. In addition, a written report in the present thesis form describing those factors which, were most influential in conceiving, and executing the choreography, was prepared. The investigator read plays and surveyed literature concerned with balletic and modern choreography based on biblical themes. Each play read was evaluated for thematic material according to certain criteria: (1) Does the idea have meaning for modern man? (2) Does the theme suggest action, which would motivate movement? (3) Are the characters delineated and motivated so that they are readily communicable in terms of movement? (4) Does the idea stimulate the desire within the choreographer to create dance? The investigator summarized the information on balletic and modern choreography. A more extensive treatment was made of those most relevant to this study. Pertinent information concerning the creation of the dance production was also included in the written report. The present study was concerned with twentieth century drama and dance based on biblical themes. The written substantiation was limited to the following subjects. (1) Dramas based on biblical themes and (2) ballet and modern choreography based on biblical motifs. The written description of the present dance work covered the following points. (1) Creating the dramatic motivation for choreography (2) selecting the music (3) choreographing the dance (4) designing the costumes (5) staging and lighting the dance. J.B. by Archibald MacLeish was influential in the selection of Job as the motif for the present dance choreography. This particular play was selected subjectively by the choreographer because it stimulated the desire to choreograph a dance. J.B. was found a suitable source for a theme because it had appeal for modern man, inherent possibilities for movement, and definite delineation of characters. The primary thesis for the dance, based upon the play J.B and the Book of Job in the Old Testament is that man suffers so that he may come to a deeper understanding of himself, his fellowman, and his god. The choreographer chose to present it as a dramatic narrative based on the situations, events, and characters found in the play.



Choreography., Dance--Production and direction.