Rehearsing Weaver’s Gestures

This is the first time our cast and our director have encountered Weaver’s gestures. His descriptions seem clear, up to a point, but how should the gestures be performed?

Venus and Vulcan study Weaver’s explanations.

Venus (Chiara) and Vulcan (Michael) read Weaver’s scenario

Vulcan and our dance historian (Moira Goff) talk over the best approach.

Moira and Michael discuss baroque gesture

Vulcan tries out ‘Indignation’. Weaver links this to ‘Anguish’ (a stronger emotion) and says it can be expressed ‘by stepping back the right Foot, leaning the Body quite backward, the arms extended, Palms clos’d, and hands thrown quite back; the Head cast back, and Eyes fix’d upwards’.

Michael experiments with ‘Indignation’

Venus shows ‘Distaste’. According to Weaver this is shown by the ‘left Hand thrust forth with the Palm turn’d backward; the left shoulder rais’d, and the Head bearing towards the Right’.

Chiara and Moira experiment with ‘Distaste’

How literally can we take Weaver’s instructions, how should we fill in the gaps, and how much license do we have to vary what we do within the ‘Dance … of the Pantomimic kind’ that we are trying to create?


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