Seth Stewart Williams (Summer ’16) is a doctoral candidate in English literature at Columbia University and a Summer Graduate Fellow at the Center for Ballet and the Arts. His performance career in dance includes appearances with the Mark Morris Dance Group, The New York Baroque Dance Company, and the Seán Curran Company. His research interests include early modern literature and culture, dance history, performance theory, and textual studies.
Virtual Motion: Dance and Mobility in Early Modern English Literature
At the Center, Williams explored the ways in which sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English literature addresses questions of mobility and migration by drawing upon the practices of theatrical and social dance. He surveyed a range of documents, from plays and lyric poems to travelogues and rhetorical manuals, that dispersed dance between sites of reading and sites of performance, and that left dance genres and even specific choreographies straddling the stage and page. The project touched on the place of dance in several of the period’s major debates, including the circulation of grace between divine and mortal bodies, and the exchange of goods between the Old and New Worlds. Work developed at the Center focused in particular on intersections of French and English theatrical dance during the very moment when ballet began to be named as such.