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Svarstad, Elizabeth. "Dance and social education in early nineteenth-century Christiania."

Svarstad, Elizabeth. "Dance and social education in early nineteenth-century Christiania." In Performing Arts in Changing Societies: Opera, Dance, and Theatre in European and Nordic Countries around 1800, edited by Randi Margrete Selvik, Svein Gladsø, and Anne Margrete Fiskvik, 145-162. London, New York: Routledge, 2020.

[This chapter focusses] on the importance of dance in social life and military education. Dance repertory in Norway reflects strong connections with European dance culture, especially French, in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Dances were transmitted by travelling dancing masters, some of whom were employed at the military academy of Christiania (Oslo). They also taught dance to young people from the upper-class bourgeoisie. Svarstad describes especially English and French dance traditions with special emphasis on the minuet and country dances, and on changes in ballroom dance towards 1800. The minuet declined as a social dance but was kept in teaching. She emphasises the importance of dance in military education and for learning social etiquette and self-discipline as outlined in historical dance literature, and gives a thorough description of the role and teaching of dance in the curriculum of the academy in Christiania before turning to the dancing masters’ teaching of dance in social life. Analysis of printed dance books of two dancing masters reveal major changes in repertory and show that certain dances and social skills were no longer reserved for the elite but became accessible to other groups in society.

Year of publication: 2020

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