Monday, September 14, 2009

The end of dancing?

A prediction from 1897:

'Lady Ancaster's moan over the decay of dancing in London has called forth numerous letters on the subject, deploring the decay of the art. Such laments, unfortunately, are not likely to bring forth any satisfactory result. Gradually dancing has died out among the peasantry, whose recreation no longer consists in the merry mazes of the country-dance and the Maypole. Young sprigs of nobility have ceased to study intricate steps, graceful bows, exits and entrances, all which formerly constituted the integral part of the education of a gentleman.

Only in France and Italy do men still press their feet together and bow humbly and courteously over a lady's hand. A romp is the ideal of the British lad, and while the schoolboy disdains the tedium of the dancing lesson, when he is grown up he is seized with that false shame, sometimes miscalled indolence, which prevents him essaying dancing in the ballroom. By degrees it is probably that dancing will die out altogether, and that balls may become, like the ridollos and masquerades of our forefathers, a thing of the past. The natural charm of carriage and poetry ofmovement is, after all, a gift bestowed only on the few'.

Lady Violet Greville, Place aux Dames, The Graphic (London), July 31 1897, Issue 1444

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