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Dancing through the Ages Book 1: Orientation and Overview


The latest edition of Dancing through the Ages will be available to order in late August 2020. 

By all means peruse the covers and contents shown below and on the other related Books & CDs menu webpages, but please hold off ordering till the final proof of the work is o.k.ed, the information on the publisher's site is updated and this sign disappears— all due to happen in mid-August.

To receive advice of a launch special  email us


Dancing through the Ages is work consisting of 31 books.  Each book consists of between 300 and 460 (average 350) double-sided A4 pages. The 10,800 pages of the work offer background on, reconstruction of, and chorded music for nearly 1,000 dances from between from 1400 to 1900, as well as extensive notes analysing links between these dances, the evolution of dance forms, movement ideas and notation systems through this 500 period, and the changing nature of ball culture and dance sources in countries across the old and new word.  The whole is supported by thousands of quotations, diagrams and illustrations from original sources.

Here below is the front cover and contents to Book 1: Orientation and Overview that includes full acknowledgments, a consolidated contents, bibliography of secondary scholarship, a history of dance leading up to 1400, and sections on the purpose of dance and scope of this work, on story-lines and ideas that have persisted through 500 years of dance, and on continuities and changes in the nature of balls and dance forms. 

For the covers and contents of the next 30 volumes see the subpages that follow under this menu. 

To order any or all of the books in this 31-book series go to (PUBLISHER's WEBSITE ORDER PAGE LINK TO APPEAR HERE MID AUGUST 2020 when grand work is finally available!).  The cost per book will be AUD$35 (about USD$25) - plus postage, which will diminish with the more books in your order. As your books will be sent from the nearest Lulu printer on your continent, you will not be paying for overseas shipping and will not be waiting long for the books to arrive. Orders are normally filled at local postage rates within a week.  

N.B. I recommend that in addition to ordering the books pertaining to the period you first think of, you also order books from the adjacent period collections plus the invaluable Book 1: 'Orientation and Overview'.  Indeed, because of the interconnectivity of dance over the 500 years covered by this series (and the cross-referencing between books in the series), I highly recommend the full set!

If you are able to collect from our home in Canberra Australia, I may be able to offer you a special no-postage price on a full-set. Phone 62811098 or email us

PART A: Introduction to the series 10

Plea and acknowledgements ~ 11

Plea ~ 11

Acknowledgements ~ 12

Notes on need ~ 14

The need to compensate for relative neglect ~ 14

The need to bridge the scholarly/practical divide ~ 15

The need to better understand and preserve our dance heritage ~ 15

The need to better value source material ~ 16

The need to better involve young people ~ 17

Approaches and limitations ~ 19

A ‘Natural History’ of dance ~ 19

Approach to the subject ~ 19

Approach to sources ~ 19

Approach to presentation ~ 20

Note on limitations ~ 20

Structure, formatting and language ~ 22

Structure ~ 22

Formating ~ 23

Transcriptions ~ 23

Translations ~ 24

Abbreviations ~ 24

Orientations ~ 25

On reconstructing dances ~ 27

Understanding our purpose ~ 27

Understanding the written and notated source ~ 29

Understanding the pictorial sources ~ 31

Understanding the music ~ 34

Understanding persistent dance traditions ~ 35

Understanding wider historic and artistic influences ~ 35

 

PART B: The path to the ballroom 37

Earliest Times ~ 39

Origins ~ 39

Egyptian dance ~ 40

Phoenician dance ~ 40

Minoan dance ~ 43

Mycenaean dance ~ 46

Classical Greek times ~ 49

Dance in Greek mythology and the development of Greek poetry ~ 49

Pythagorean concept of celestial harmony ~ 50

The dance according to Plato ~ 51

The dance according to Aristotle ~ 53

Ritual and ceremonial dance ~ 55

The dance of the maidens ~ 55

 The maenads ~ 57

The Pyrrhic ~ 59

Theatrical dance—the high-brow Emmeleia, and low-brow Kordax and Sikinnis ~ 61

Private dance ~ 64

Competitive dance ~ 67

Processional dance and song dance ~ 68

Partnered dance ~ 69

The Hormos / Geranos dance ~ 71

Etruscan times ~ 77

Roman times ~ 81

A mixed heritage ~ 81

Combat-related dance— echoes of the Pyrrhic ~ 82

Ribald dance—echoes of the Sicinnis ~ 85

The Pantomime ~ 86

The remembering of Homer’s Hormos ~ 88

Dancing at private parties ~ 89

Plutarch’s Ammonius on dance theory ~ 91

Lucian’s Lykinos on dance history93

Plotinus on God and celestial dance ~ 96

Victorinus on Theseus imitating both the labyrinth and celestial dance ~ 99

Dance at the beginnings of Christianity ~ 100

The Dark Ages ~ 102

Dance under the early church ~ 102

The dance of northern Europe ~ 103

The dance of Carolingians ~ 105

Early Medieval times ~ 106

11th-12th centuries ~ 106

13th century ~ 107

Late Medieval times ~ 110

Changing words for dance ~ 110

The solo woman’s dance ~ 111

Women’s group dance ~ 112

Mixed group dancing ~ 113

Dance in Dante’s Divine comedy ~ 114

Dance in literary works such as those by Boccaccio and Chaucer ~ 116

Dance and Romance ~ 119

Dance in illustrations ~ 120

Dance as allegory ~ 125

Mummery ~ 126

Dance and music ~ 129

 



 


 





PART C: The persistence of forms 132

Persistence of imperatives ~ 134

1&2—The man having the woman on the right and sense of leading her ~ 134

3&4—Fitting the space and accommodating the numbers ~ 134

5&6—Courteous behaviour within politic parameters ~ 135

7&8—Enjoyment of the other and of the new ~ 136

9&10—Partnering and the enjoyment of life ~ 137

Change and continuity ~ 139

Ways dance forms change ~ 139

Dances not tabulated in the sections that follow ~ 141

1) The follow-the-leader or circle dance ~ 142

From carol to branle to gavotte and farandole ~ 142

Sections relevant to follow-the-leader / circle dances ~ 144

2) The processional couple’s (& trio) dance ~ 146

From basse dance to pavan to Almain, late courante and Polonaise ~ 146

Sections relevant to the processional dance ~ 149

3) The facing couple’s dance ~ 151

From balli and cascarde to minuet to cut-in jig ~ 151

Sections relevant to the facing couple’s (or trio) dance ~ 153

Galliard sequences in balli ~ 154

4) The playful dance ~ 159

From competition dances, early courante, relay mixer to cotillon dance games ~ 159

Sections relevant to the playful dances 160

The new cotillon ~ 162

Cotillon medley (1)—early 1820s ~ 163

Cotillon medley (2)—late 1820s-1840s ~ 164

Cotillon medley (3)—late 1840s ~ 165

Cotillon medley (4)—late 19th century ~ 166

5) The whole-set longways finishing dance ~ 168

The whole-set longways finishing dance ~ 168

Sections relevant to the whole-set longways finishing dance ~ 169

The whole-set longways finishing dance by ideas ~ 171

The whole-set longways finishing dance by Volume, entry and changes ~ 172

6) Progressive or fancy longways dance ~ 174

From country dance to contredanse Anglaise and Écossaise ~ 174

Sections relevant to the longways dance ~ 177

Corner stealing / La Triumph ~ 182

7) The square set dance ~ 183

Origins and early small squares ~ 183

From cotillon/contredanse française to potpourri, douze, quadrille and early cancan ~ 183

Sections relevant to the square set dance ~ 186

The Quadrille Français ~ 188

The Lancers ~ 189

Mazurka Quadrilles ~ 190

8) The turning dances 192

Origins ~ 192

The Allemande ~ 192

The waltz ~ 193

The mazurka ~ 193

The galop and polka ~ 194

The hybridising of couple’s dances ~ 195

Sections relevant to the turning couple’s dances ~ 196

Mazurka couples dance ~ 198

9) The hybrid sets ~ 200

Hybrids of longways dances with quadrilles and couples dances ~ 200

Sections relevant to post-1750 hybrid sets ~ 202

La Tempête / The Tempest ~ 203

The Waltz Country Dance and Spanish Waltz ~ 203

The Galopade Country Dance ~ 205

The persistence of ball format ~ 207

The persistence of dance order within balls ~ 207

Persistence of particular types of balls ~ 210

The most popular dances ~ 211

When might a dance be judged to have been popular ~ 211

Some early often-described country dances ~ 216

 

PART D: The persistence of ideas 222

Persistence of literary topoi ~ 224

Persistence of propensities ~ 228

Appreciating the curve and counter curve ~ 228

Providing an opportunity for one sex to regard the other ~ 229

Taking figures from one formation or ‘genre’ or rhythm to another ~ 229

Having some figures overlapped or ‘canonised’ ~ 229

Transforming the shape of the set ~ 230

Reusing patterns for larger formats ~ 230

Reusing patterns in different formats ~ 231

Reusing patterns in different formats ~ 231

Taking dances from one milieu into another ~ 232

Expecting improvisation ~ 232

Making long sequences ~ 233

Reusing common step patterns ~ 233

Persistence of devices ~ 235

Promenading up and back, or in an oval ~ 235

Codifying then repeating figures ~ 235

Taking turn leading a figure ~ 236

Making suites that progress from simple to more flashy figures, steps or holds ~ 236

Randomly changing partners or cutting-in ~ 237

Slipping away from a set ~ 237

‘Snowballing’ a two-person dance sequence ~ 237

Visiting ~ 237

 Having a leader choose those to participate ~ 237

Following a graceful step-sparse group-oriented ‘low’ processional dance with an exuberant step-busy couples-oriented ‘high’ dance ~ 238

Taking a turn leading a dance ~ 238

Starting a multi-part couples dance side-by-side, with symmetrical figures move toward presence, separate, reunite and return to starting point ~ 238

Having the man go up toward the present, woman go down 238

Having the 1s start improper in a longways set ~ 239

Claps, stamps, jumps, kisses and gestures ~ 239

Persistence of figures ~ 241

Following the leader into and out of knots ~ 241

Having a follow-the-leader line bend back on itself ~ 241

‘Stripping’ a set or ‘bootlacing’ 241

Making a reverse ‘S’ ~ 241

Chasing the opposite sex ~ 242

Partner’s backing or chasing each other ~ 243

Chaining / weaving / ‘dip&diving’ down a longways set 243

Teasing the opposite gender ~ 243

Turning back on opposite gender then facing them again ~ 244

Stealing corners ~ 244

Taking another man’s partner and advancing 3-a-breast on the one left alone ~ 245

Miming a joust ~ 245

Weaving one line through another ~ 245

The cross-over hey and contra-corners ~ 246

Going from column or square to one horizontal or vertical line ~ 247

Competing men ending in exchanged places with woman in between ~ 247

Persistence of figure orders within dances ~ 248

Starting with introductions ~ 248

Promenading, then cross then set then cross back then set ~ 248

Promenading then gypsy, single hand turns and/or two hand turns ~ 249

Promenading then reverse S then left, right and two hand turn ~ 249

Set then turn single ~ 249

Set then turn by hand250

Feigning then the full ~ 251

Finishing with weavings or heys ~ 251

Finishing with most promiscuous all-involving and quickest mixing ~ 252

Persistence of musical ideas ~ 253

The persistence of tunes ~ 253

The persistence of scores ~ 255

The persistence of arrangements ~ 257


PART E: Storyline in dance 260

The appreciation of storylines in dance ~ 261

By dancing masters ~ 261

By non-dance writers ~ 262

By visual artists ~ 262

Ways in which a storyline is suggested ~ 264

By the combination of title and figures ~ 264

By figures and/or formation without the assistance of title ~ 266

By the order of figures within dance ~ 267

By the order of dances within suites or medleys ~ 269

By music ~ 270

The allusive storyline ~ 271

Storyline themes ~ 272

The factal nature of dance and the real business of a ball ~ 272

To find a wife ~ 273

To look after a wife ~ 273

To look after someone else’s wife ~ 274

Exceptions that tend to prove the rule ~ 274

Storyline through the century ~ 275

15th century ~ 275

16th century ~ 275

Late 17th and early 18th century ~ 275

Late 18th and early 19th century ~ 276

Mid and late 19th century ~ 276

The importance of understanding storyline ~ 277

Storyline and dance reconstruction ~ 277

Storyline and dance performance ~ 277

Storyline transformation and loss ~ 278

Beyond storyline ~ 278

 

PART F: The ball beyond 1900 280

New developments and continuing heritages ~ 282

New developments ~ 282

Publications facilitating continuity ~ 283

Nostalgia and the persistence of ball dances into the 20th century ~ 284

The continued interest in inventing dances in 19th century forms ~ 290

New dance genres facilitating continuity ~ 290

Le Bridge ~ 293

Lulu Fado ~ 308

 

PART G: Consolidated contents ~ 319

Volume I: 1400-1550 ~ 320

Volume II: 1550-1600 ~ 322

Volume III: 1600-1650 ~ 324

Volume IV: 1650-1700 ~ 326

Volume V: 1700-1750 ~ 328

Volume VI: 1750-1800 ~ 331

Volume VII: 1800-1825 ~ 334

Volume VIII: 1825-1850 ~ 337

Volume IX: 1850-1875 ~ 338

Volume X: 1875-1900 ~ 340

 

PART H: Series bibliography 343

Primary sources ~ 344

Table showing certain primary sources in context ~ 344

Post-1900 secondary sources ~ 349

Electronic resources ~ 349

Anonymous writer, editor or translator ~ 349

Pseudonym used by author ~ 350

Personal name of author, editor or translator ~ 351

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