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An Invitation to Dance: A History of Social Dance in America

This online exhibit from the American Antiquarian Society (AAS) traces the history and culture of social dance in the United States. For early Americans, as the introduction explains, social dance was a form of communication, an acknowledgement of rank and class, and a means of cultural expression. Dances came to 18th and 19th century America from France, England, Scotland, and Ireland, then mixed with one another to create new forms. In addition to the thorough introduction, readers may like to explore sections dedicated to Origins, Language, Types, Fashion, Opposition, and Etiquette, as well as a Bibliography for those interested in browsing the primary and secondary sources behind the exhibit. The Opposition section may be of special interest, as it features diatribes by founding Puritans such as Increase and Cotton Mather, George Whitefield, and others who objected to the spectacle of men and women engaging in the sins of carnality that were implied by "mixed" dances.
Archived Scout Publication URL
Scout Publication
Date of Scout Publication
May 20th, 2016
Date Of Record Creation
May 19th, 2016 at 12:53pm
Date Of Record Release
May 19th, 2016 at 1:27pm
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