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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Choreographer's Voyage Within Dante's Inferno

  • Author(s): Reach, Vivian Lee
  • Advisor(s): Lynch, Molly
  • et al.

This thesis fuses literature and dance with a focus on Dante’s Inferno. It presents the connections between the world of literature and dance, Dante Alighieri’s personal background, the theme of Inferno, my choreographic process, and various authors’ opinions on the “misery [darkness]” and “happiness [light]” found within the tercets of Inferno.

My choreographic voyage within Inferno allows me to demonstrate through movement my intellectual understanding of the events portrayed in Dante’s pilgrimage through the Nine Spheres of Hell and the Light that surpasses all darkness and evil. Even when Dante the Pilgrim reached the lowest and darkest section of Hell, there was still truth and equanimity to be found.

Dante’s first Canticle illustrates that the Divine Love (God) helped Dante through the heavy darkness and sinful shadows of Hell. For He “gives light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet to the way of peace” (King James Version, Luke 1.79). Overall, the purpose of this research is to effectively combine literature and dance with an emphasis on Dante’s Inferno and to artistically show the truth and the Light through “A Choreographer’s Voyage Within Dante’s Inferno.”

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