A Dance Through Time:Images of Western Social Dancing from the Middle Ages to Modern Times

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A knees-up at the county fair. A duo of dancing ogres. A celebratory circle dance at London's Piccadilly Circus. All of these lively scenarios feature in this enchanting survey of dance illustration throughout the centuries. But what can these vibrant--and often irreverent--images reveal to us about the history of dance and our changing attitudes toward it over time? Drawing on a range of materials from the Bodleian Library, including manuscripts, visual art, dance cards, and invitations to balls, A Dance Through Time explores the imaginative ways in which artists and illustrators have responded to the challenge of creating a sense of movement. Social dancing reveals a dynamic tension between decorum and disregard, and for centuries artists have conveyed this in a highly stylized manner that makes use of curved forms to mimic gracious gestures and angular lines to represent those deemed showy or uncouth. Here, each illustration is carefully analyzed for what it shows us about the behavioral expectations of the time.Lavishly illustrated, this book takes readers on a captivating journey through the changing fashions in European dance--from the waltz to the cha cha to the unbridled energy of rock and roll--providing ample insight into its history and colorful imagery.
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