Who is the Egyptian Dancer
Any attempt to define the notion of ‘dance’ or ‘dancer’ is fraught with difficulties; this is the case even today, when we come to examine dance that we can witness or execute. This renders the study of dance in ancient Egypt all the more problematic, since the only documentation we have about dance in ancient Egypt is only that of plastic representations; as such, defining notions of ‘dance’ or ‘dancer’ is largely a matter of speculation and interpretation. This is further complicated by the fact that ancient Egyptian documentation of dance and dancers was not intended to record realistic information. Rather, it had to submit to clear rules of representation, presenting sufficient information for viewers to identify and recognise events known to them. This paper will attempt to formulate a definition of dance, while describing the principles of ancient Egyptian representation of the body and movement; using these tools, I will try to provide an analysis of dance scenes in ancient Egyptian art.