The Significance of Dance in Dancing at Lughnasa
Brian Freil uses a variety of dance techniques to convey the significance of dance as a projection of universal and primal desires to which everyone is submissive. Each outburst or description of dance involving the characters gives the audience an insight to not only their true personality but also the strain of their current situations. The significance of dance and its effect on the audience is echoed throughout the play through many different circumstances, the positioning of each routine is also very important as it connects with true meaning of the dance, therefore intensifying atmosphere on which it brings. Pages 20 to 23 highlight this greatly as we see all of the sisters dance in unity.
Page 20 sees Maggie’s monologue, here the audience become aware of how dance can be beautiful however misunderstood; “they were just so beautiful together... they should have won” Explained as Maggie is describing the pure splendor of Brian and Bernie’s military two-step at a dance competition from when they were young. Although this directly does not link directly in the significance throughout the play it strengthens the aspect of a spirited connection between two people through the means of dance. This point is also enhanced with the connection between Chris and Gerry as the audience only become apparent of the sentimental emotions these characters share when she submissively begins to ballroom dance with him, at which point and further in the play all characters especially Chris soften to Gerry giving implication of the true and raw feeling they have for each other represented through their dances.
This spiritual characteristic which dance beholds amongst the characters also has connotation of a form of communication that predates conversation and emotion, seeping through all cultures. This is a strong feature to Dancing At Lughnasa as the storyline is based around Freil’s use of juxtaposition of