DANCE IN ANCIENT ROME

Reenactment aims at recreating daily life, habits, rituals in peace and war in ancient Rome. The Group of Research and Study of Ancient Dances arose from the Archaeological Group of Villadose. An important source of inspiration is the music played by Synaulia Group, that uses typical Roman instruments (tubas, crotala, cymbala, flutes, drums). Dance, under the influence of Greece and Syria, has always had an important role in social, religious and family events.

Often influenced by the Greeks, dance in Roman times was performed in propitiatory rituals and during important festivities in honour of a god, such as the Dionysian rites and Saturnalia. Dances could be comic, tragic, satirical or pantomimic. Uninhibited and promiscuous mass dances relieved the crowds of the weight of poverty and of a hard life. During these festivities great importance was given to the body, to movement and therefore to dance. According to depictions in frescoes and bas-reliefs, dance in ancient Rome was characterised by hopping movements; sometimes dancers used veils or followed the rhythm of cymbala and tambourines. The music of the choreographies is made by period instruments and costumes are faithfully reproduced.


Belly Dance

Although experts have contrasting views about its presence in Rome, another deep-rooted dance proposed by Gruppo Danza Antica is the belly dance, considered to be the origin of all kinds of dance. Being sacred, it was performed by priestesses during rituals in honour of Ishtar, the Great Goddess, symbol of fertility and love. Dancing and moving their body, priestesses established a deep connection with Nature, commemorating crucial events such as birth, sowing time, harvest and marriage.