0227 Spectacula turpitudinum

Christian Schemata of the Dancing Body

  • Donatella Tronca (Author)

    Donatella Tronca, PhD, is a researcher in the History of Christianity and Latin Palaeography. She is currently affiliated to the Department of Cultures and Civilization at the University of Verona, where she is working on a project concerning the manuscripts of the Cathedral Library. In addition, she coordinates the activities of Eurythmia – International Research Network on the Cultural History of Dance at the Department of Cultural Heritage at the University of Bologna. Her research interests include late antique and medieval Christian texts, which she approaches from a historical and anthropological perspective, as well as from a material angle involving the history of manuscripts and libraries.

Identifiers (Article)


The aim of this paper is to offer an analysis of the Christian intellectual perspective of choreutic gesture, putting forward the hypothesis that by regulating dancing, late antique bishops became spokesmen for an anthropology of gesture which on the one hand demonised all forms of performative dancing and on the other hand encouraged men to become perfect imitators of an angelic choreia in the Platonic framework. This choreia was supposed to guide the behavioural movement and schemata of men’s bodies. However, it was more than just a characteristic of a presumed Ideal City; it also had to be realised in life on earth, the anticipatory mirror image of the heavenly city.


Body, choreia, dancing, harmony, Plato, Fathers of the Church, schemata