Dance, Song, Music and Sociability 1750-1832

Dance, Song, Music and Sociability 1750 -1832

Notre Dame University, London

5 & 6 March 2022

A two-day international workshop to explore the world of dance, and sociability in the late Georgian period.

The workshop will be held in the Notre Dame London facility next to the National Gallery.

Supporting Organisations: DIGITENS EU Project and the Universities of Warwick, UEA and Notre Dame

Sociability is one of the single most significant ideas to emerge out of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. The societies, clubs and institutions that underpinned intellectual exchange, made possible the scientific developments of the period, the development of "public opinion" through political meetings; and they helped form the entertainment industry through the commercialization of pleasure. Less widely understood, however, are the specific dynamics of sociability -- the ways that both institutions and private gatherings combined serious discussion with entertainment in the form of musical entertainment and dance. This conference will challenge the dominant understandings of Enlightenment sociability by placing music and dance at its core. Rather than thinking of music and dance as a peripheral ornament to the serious business of the Enlightenment, it will understand them as important engines in the development and dissemination of the ideas and practices that mobilised people’s bodies and emotions and shaped their social, emotional and intellectual worlds.

Saturday 5th March

10.00 Introduction

10.15- 12.00

*Hillary Burlock, ‘Dancing Masters and the Social Implications of Grace and Ease’

*Ambre Emory Maier/Valarie Williams,  ‘Clothing the Ballroom and Ballet Body: Hidden Meanings in Movement’

*Moira Goff, ‘Ballroom dances on the stage and stage steps in the ballroom, dancing shared.’

12.00 – 12.20 Coffee

12.20 – 1.20

*Kimberley Page Jones and Véronique Léonard-Roques 'French fetes and festivals in British travel writing (1790-1815)'

*Sabrina Juillet Garzon, ‘Music and dances in Edinburgh polite society in the light of the journals and letters of Jenny Harden Agnes Witts and Lord Cockburn, 1793-1804.’

 1.15 -2.00 Lunch


*Matthew McCormack, ‘Dancing Feet’

*Alena Shmakova, ‘Edinburgh Assembly and Scottish Enlightenment’

3.00  Tea

3.20 – 6.00 Practical Dance class (participants are encouraged to wear/bring smooth/leather-soled shoes – since the floor has a carpet and rubber/ridging will impede movement).

7.0 Dinner at the Brasserie Blanc on Chancery Lane


Sunday 6th March

9.30 – 11.00

*Natalie Hanley Smith,  ‘Dance Flirtation and Affairs 1780-1830’

*Ian Newman, ‘Hopping in London – Pierce Egan and the dirty underbelly of Austen’s balls.’

*Lynn Matluck Brooks, ‘The Black Ballroom in early nineteenth-century  Philadelphia’

11.00-11.30  Coffee

11.30 – 12.30/1.00

*Catherine Mayes, ‘No Room at the Inn: Class, Gender, and Vernacular Music in Enlightenment Vienna’

*Alice Little, ‘Playing Music Together in late-C18th England’

12.45 – 1.30 or 1.00.00-1.45 Lunch

1.45 – 2.45 closing discussion


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