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From the Ballroom to Hell: Grace and Folly in Nineteenth-Century Dance
"Dancing and etiquette are inseparable," wrote one 19th-century dancing master quoted in this scholarly glimpse into ballrooms past. Newly moneyed Americans of that era craved guidance on how to comport themselves, and publishers responded with scores of manuals on etiquette, fashion, and dance instruction. As dance historian Aldrich demonstrates through...
"Dancing and etiquette are inseparable," wrote one 19th-century dancing master quoted in this scholarly glimpse into ballrooms past. Newly moneyed Americans of that era craved guidance on how to comport themselves, and publishers responded with scores of manuals on etiquette, fashion, and dance instruction. As dance historian Aldrich demonstrates through more than 100 excerpts from these guides, balls and dance offer a key to understanding the social aspirations of the period. These volumes gave unflinching advice, from injunctions against nose-picking to the proper way to lead a partner through the quadrilles. In a brief historical essay, Aldrich dissolves the veneer of naivete from these admonitions, placing them in the context of a society in which woman's role had become centered on domestic affairs and in which the ballroom was the showcase for one's social accomplishments. Illustrated.
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