Dance with History 1600 to 1800

1603 Elizabeth I

"Queen Elizabeth herself was... an eager dancer who still performed the vigorous galliard at the age of seventy."

Source Thompson

Queen Elizabeth I dancing La Volta

Woodcut taken from an oil painting hanging in Penshurst Palace depicting the Earl of Leicester dancingLa Volta with Queen Elizabeth I.

Source Wainwright

1651 The English Dancing Master

by John Playford

"[Dance] This Art, Anciently commended as Excellent for Recreation, after more serious Studies, making the body active and strong, graceful in deportment, and a quality very much beseeming a Gentleman"

Source Thompson

1657 Oliver Cromwell dances till dawn

"During the Commonwealth (1649-1660) ... private dancing was consider an acceptable activity, as illustrated by the fact that the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell himself danced till dawn at a ball to celebrate his daughter's wedding."

Source Thompson

"The wedding feast [for Cromwell's daughter] scaled new heights of magnificence, not only were there forty-eight violins and fifty trumpets, but also "mixt dancing" until five o'clock in the morning"

Antonia Fraser "Cromwell - our chief of men" (1973)

1774 The Pleasure of Dancing

"If this passion for dancing is a fault, I will gladly confess I know of nothing I value more. And if there is something on my mind, I pound out a quadrille and everything immediately is all right again."

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe "The Suffering of Young Werther"
Source Thompson


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