Dance in Musical Theatre : a History of the Body in Movement

Dance in Musical Theatre : a History of the Body in Movement

Publication Date



"From Oklahoma! and West Side Story, to Spring Awakening and Hamilton, dance remains one of the most important and key factors in musical theatre.

Dance in Musical Theatre offers guidelines in how to read this movement by analyzing it in terms of composition and movement vocabulary whilst simultaneously situating it both historically and critically. This collection provides the tools, terms, history, and movement theory for reading, interpreting, and centralizing a discussion of dance in musical theatre, importantly, with added emphasis on women and artists of color.

Bringing together musical theatre and dance scholars, choreographers and practitioners, this edited collection highlights musical theatre case studies that employ dance in a dramaturgically essential manner, tracking the emergence of the dancer as a key figure in the genre, and connecting the contributions to past and present choreographers. This collection foregrounds the work of the ensemble, incorporating firsthand and autoethnographic accounts that intersect with historical and cultural contexts.

Through a selection of essays, this volume conceptualizes the function of dance in musical: how it functions diegetically as a part of the story or non-diegetically as an amplification of emotion, as well as how the dancing body works to reveal character psychology by expressing an unspoken aspect of the libretto, embodying emotions or ideas through metaphor or abstraction.

Dance in Musical Theatre makes dance language accessible for instructors, students, and musical theatre enthusiasts, providing the tools to critically engage with the work of important choreographers and dancers from the beginning of the 20th century to today." -- back cover




Dance, Musical, Theatre, Body, Movement, History


Dance | Other Theatre and Performance Studies | Performance Studies | Theatre History


Methuen Drama


New York, NY


Theatre & Dance


Dustyn Martincich, editor ; Bucknell University

Phoebe Rumsey, editor ; University of Portsmouth, UK

Musical Theatre Dance Training: Approaches in the United States and China. Authors: Mijiang He and Dustyn Martincich ; p. 51-68

Movement Direction in Musical Theatre: Physical Actions and Gestural Storytelling. Authors: Michael D. Jablonski and Dustyn Martincich ; p. 257-276

Everybody Cancan: Contemporary Musical Theatre Dance. Authors: Dustyn Martincich and Alexandra Joye Warren ; p. 277-297


Dance in Musical Theatre : a History of the Body in Movement