From the Ballroom to Hell

Trade Paper – $24.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-0913-1
Publication Date
December 1991
Page Count
225 pages
Trim Size
8 1/2 x 11

From the Ballroom to Hell

Grace and Folly in Nineteenth-Century Dance
Elizabeth Aldrich

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.

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.