Stage Combat

Safely selling the fight
What is Stage Combat?
A specialized theater technique
A series of skills that can be learned
Stage combat is a controlled dance
Creating the illusion of physical combat onstage
without causing harm to the performers
Way cool partner work
Stage Combat History
Warrior societies, jousting events, war dances
In Asia stylized stage combat has been a staple feature of
traditional Japanese (Kabuki), Chinese (Beijing Opera) and
Indian performing arts for centuries
Elizabethan drama – the time of Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet (1597) – “They fight”
“Cinematic” fencing in the 1920’s
1970s: the formation of the Society of British Fight
Directors and the Society of American Fight Directors
In 1997 the first “all female” fight society was formed –
Babes with Blades
The number one
concern is for the
safety of the
actors and
Stage fighting is a controlled dance. It is rehearsed very
slowly until perfected, then brought up to speed. Acts
of violence do not occur on stage. Like all special
effects, they only seem to happen. Because the
potential for physical injury is high, the rules for stage
combat must be followed at all times.
There are 10 safety points you need in
your Journal
Stage Combat Terms
Fight Director/Fight Choreographer/Fight Master
Person who designs and instructs the sequence for the
The series of stage combat moves that, when strung
together, tell a story
Fighting Distance
The distance between you and your partner that allows
for safety, but gives the illusion of combat
Unit Assessment
Stage Combat Safety and notes in journal
Video observations on Alex Cordano
Questions on the reading “Fights Like a Girl”
Proper technique
Stage Combat sequence performance
Performance reflection

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