The Early Dance Lecture 2013

Katherine Duncan-Jones

Senior Research Fellow of Somerville College, Oxford.

“When Kemp did dance alone-a”:

The active career of William Kemp

The title quotation comes from a madrigal by Thomas Weelkes published in his Ayres or Phantasticke Spirites for three voices (1608) This celebrates William Kemp’s virtuosic dancing and travelling, in a style often described as that of the ‘morris’ , but not necessarily involving group or formation dancing. Early records of Kemp’s performances, in the Netherlands in 1585, evoke spectacular ‘leaps’, which continued to be a feature of his performances up to and including his 1599 Nine daies wonder, in which he danced from London to Norwich. His roles in plays by Shakespeare and others will also be discussed, as well as the likely extent of his career post 1600.




Katherine Duncan-Jones has written biographies of Sir Philip Sidney and William Shakespeare. She has edited some of the works of Sir Philip Sidney; Shakespeare’s Sonnets for the Arden Shakespeare, and (jointly with Professor H.R.Woudhuysen) Shakespeare’s Poems. Her most recent book, Upstart Crow to Sweet Swan (2011) is a study of Shakespeare’s reputation in his own life time. She is currently working on Elizabethan fools and foolery.




15th February 2013

7.15 p.m.

The Hall at the Art Workers Guild

6 Queen Square



For further information, please contact

Sharon Butler (020 8699 8519) or  Barbara Segal (020 7700 4293)