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Dance Looks to Art for Inspiration

Part 3: Researching 'Troy'

Recently however, I was invited to choreograph some of the dance scenes for Troy: a new movie based on the story of the Trojan War. Although Homer has given us a truly remarkable account of the events of this time, he nonetheless lived a good five hundred years after the war was supposed to have taken place, and while a tango, a foxtrot and a waltz are all within my grasp, a 12th century B.C. Spartan slave dance is beyond the experience of any choreographer, however ancient the knees are feeling!

Fortunately, the set and costume design team had already consulted Lesley Fitton, an expert on Bronze age Greek antiquities at the British Museum. I set off post haste armed with a blank notebook and plenty of questions. My expectations of meeting an academic were quickly dispelled when Lesley warmly welcomed me to her department - a hive of research activity with 20 archaeologists and art historians all working away in ancient worlds. The atmosphere was far from antiquated and entirely fascinating, though it was as alien to me as a dance rehearsal studio would be to a stockbroker.

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