The Power of Dance: The Viennese Ballroom and European Monarchy after the French Revolution
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Today’s ballroom dance culture has its origins in Vienna in the decades around 1800, when the ballrooms of the aristocracy were opened to the public. For the first time, members of all social classes could waltz together in the city’s glittering ballrooms, and composers like Beethoven and Mozart provided music for the latest fashionable dances. The world of the public ball ostensibly removed the rigid hierarchy associated with courtly dancing before the upheavals of the French Revolution, where dance was used primarily as an opportunity to display aristocratic manners. Yet as European monarchies sought to retain their relevance in nineteenth-century society, they found ways of reinventing their public image in ways that harnessed the new dance culture — ways which have left their trace in the dance and music of the period.
Date of Event
Ballroom dance, Beethoven, Vienna, Masked balls, Waltz
Dance | Ethnomusicology | European History | Social History
Buurman, Erica, "The Power of Dance: The Viennese Ballroom and European Monarchy after the French Revolution" (2023). University Scholar Series. 53.
1 streaming video file (51 min.) : digital, sound, color. Closed-captioned for the hearing impaired.