Review Of "Ballroom: A People's History Of Dancing" By H. French

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French (emer., Bath Spa Univ., UK; former head of the School of Architecture and Design at the Royal College of Art) has published several books on 20th-century urban housing. Her point of view in this volume is that of an amateur British ballroom dancer. Her overview of the history of social and competitive ballroom dance is centered in the UK, but she does give some attention to crosscurrents from the US, other European countries, and Australia. French’s chronicle begins in the early 20th century, when the creation of public ballrooms in Britain opened ballroom dancing access to a range of social classes. The author traces ballroom dance development and examines the ten standard dances. She considers influences of the architecture of ballrooms, clothing worn, music composed for the dances, and various individuals and organizations supporting and regulating British ballroom dance. Useful discussion of distinctions and dialogues between social and competition approaches to the form is included. Also covered, briefly, are the influences of television dance shows in the late 20th century and current practices. Numerous photos, illustrations, and charts enhance the text. Summing Up: Recommended. With reservations. Graduate students, researchers, faculty, professionals.


This work is freely available courtesy of Choice Reviews. The review has been reproduced in full in the abstract field.

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