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From the Ballroom to Hell: Grace and Folly in Nineteenth-Century Danceby Elizabeth Aldrich
Synopses & Reviews
During the 1800s, dance and etiquette manuals provided ordinary men and women with the keys to becoming gentlemen and ladies--and thus advancing in society. Why dance? To the insecure and status-oriented upper middle class, the ballroom embodied the perfect setting in which to demonstrate one's fitness for membership in genteel society.
From the Ballroom to Hell collects over 100 little-known excerpts from dance, etiquette, beauty, and fashion manuals from the nineteenth century. Included are instructions for performing various dances, as well as musical scores, costume patterns, and the proper way to hold one's posture, fork, gloves, and fan. While of particular interest to dancers, dance historians, and choreographers, anyone fascinated by the ways and mores of the period will find From the Ballroom to Hell an endearing and informative glimpse of America's past.
Book News Annotation:
In this entertaining glimpse into the manners and mores of a bygone era, Aldrich collects some 100 little-known excerpts from dance, etiquette, beauty, and fashion manuals from roughly 1800-1890. Included are step-by-step instructions for performing the various quadrilles, minuets, and waltzes, as well as musical scores, costume patterns, and the proper way to hold one's posture, fork, gloves, and fan. An excellent introduction provides the context. With b&w illustrations.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
'From The Ballroom To Hell' collects over one hundred little-known excerpts from dance, etiquette, beauty, and fashion manuals from roughly 1800-1890. It will be of great interest to dancers and dance historians, choreographers, and dramatists interested in accurately reproducing nineteenth-century dance scenes and the surrounding social mechanisms.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 193-197) and index.
About the Author
Elizabeth Aldrich is director of the International Early Dance Institute and is president of the Society of Dance History Scholars. Co-founder of the Historical Dance Foundation, she is a consultant to the Smithsonian Institute and has choreographed for the American Ballroom Theatre, the New York Baroque dance Company, and the Court Dance Company of New York. Ms. Aldrich has provided reconstructions and choreography for several major feature films, including Mr. and Mrs. Bridge starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.
Mina Mulvey, who wrote the forward to this volume is Executive Editor of Good Housekeeping.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
List of Musical Examples
Introduction: The Ballroom as a Mirror of a Changing Society in Nineteenth-Century America
I. Dancing, the Most Enchanting of Human Amusements
II. Thoughts on Society
IV. The Body: Detractions from and Compliments Thereto
V. The Body: Composed and Harmonious
VI. Grace and Folly in the Ballroom
VII. Music and Musicians
VIII. Dances and Part Games
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