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Visiting Class of 1932 Fellow in the Humanities Council and the Department of Classics
Visual images and other manufactured goods from the archaic and early Classical period variously combine weaving, cloth-working and the textiles they generate with choruses engaged in song and dance, a connection confirmed by epic, lyric and dramatic poetry as well as by several ritual occasions that feature weavers alongside choral performances. As this heterogeneous body of evidence suggests, choral song-dance (choreia) and the production of fabrics are not just proximate activities performed in the same venues and by the same group of individuals at one and the same life stage; rather, both linguistic usage and the morphology of the choral ensemble, its gestures, steps and accessories, propose a much narrower alignment. My talk seeks to suggest an underlying logic to this juxtaposition, grounding the relations apparent in the sources in actual techniques used by those engaged in ‘pattern weaving’ in ancient Greece and in contemporary traditional societies still today, and identifies some of the central concerns that the confluence of weaving and choreia articulates.