This article revisits the issue of female choruses in Classical Athens and aims to provide an alternative to the common pessimistic view that emphasizes the restriction of female choreia by the gender ideology of the democracy. We agree that Athens did not have the kind of female choral culture that is documented for Sparta or Argos, but a review of the evidence suggests that women did dance regularly both in the city itself and elsewhere in Attica, although not at the ideologically most marked occasions such as the City Dionysia. The latter part of the article turns from actual choruses to their representation in textual and iconographic sources. An important reason why modern scholarship sometimes underestimates the extent of female choreia in Athens, we suggest, is that Athenian sources are often purposefully elusive in their representation of female choruses.
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