The dancing goddesses: folklore, archaeology, and the origins of European dance

TitleThe dancing goddesses: folklore, archaeology, and the origins of European dance
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsBarber, EW
Number of Pages478 pp. ill.
PublisherW.W. Norton
CityNew York
ISBN9780393065367
Abstract

From southern Greece to northern Russia, people have long believed in female spirits, bringers of fertility, who dance in the fields and forests. So appealing were these spirit-maidens that they took up residence in nineteenth-century Romantic literature. Elizabeth Wayland Barber has sleuthed through ethnographic lore and archaeological reports of east and southeast Europe, translating folktales about these "dancing goddesses" as well as eyewitness accounts of traditional rituals—texts that offer new perspectives on dance in agrarian society. She then traces these goddesses and their dances back through the Romans and Greeks to the first farmers of Europe. Along the way, she locates the origins of many customs, including colouri