Graduation Year

Fall 2010

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Keri Walsh


Literature uses dance to reveal underlying messages of fantasy through the themes of the central narrative of female characters. Examining the original texts with respect to their varying adaptations for film and stage, performance literature reveals how directors relate a three-dimensional story to an audience from a two-dimensional world. Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Red Shoes” shows an underlying semiotic code where transitioning from the black and white of reality to the red of fantasy is only accomplished through dancing. Oscar Wilde’s Salome displays an eroticization of the exotic solo-improvised dance that provides a semblance of control for the main character. The story of Giselle reveals a meta narrative describing the desire and plight of the professional dancer. Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, in contrast, provides a world in which dance as a fantasy element cannot exist. Examining the physical elements of these works of literature elucidates the use of dance as a lens that lets the performance become speech.