Come “Waltz” With Me. A History of the Supreme Dance of Romance.

Sharon Lathan

Sharon Lathan is the best-selling author of The Darcy Saga, a ten-volume sequel series to Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.

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Cara has studied the dance extensively and her interpretation agrees with most of the dance experts.. Thomas Wilson . the Dance instructor for the Opera and owner of a dance school, published a book with music on dances with several waltzes.– country type dances where one did go to the head of the group. The scandalous waltz he calls e the German or French of Belgium waltzes and published a book about them around 1816..
I don’t fault you for thinking Emma and Frank were dancing the scandalous waltz because it is mentioned as such in several Austen studies. However, various other sources are quite clear that that was a dance in waltz time, called a waltz but was still more a country dance. I tend to go with Wilson.
This is a lovely blog.
Lady Caroline Lamb said that Byron forbade her to dance the waltz but one can’t believe what she said. He did write a satirical poem The Waltz pretending to be a country gentleman who was scandalized by the dance. Many take the poem at face value but I don’t think he cared whether prole danced the waltz or not. There were letters in the newspapers and magazine about the scandalous waltz around 1812.


people not prole .. how did that word get in there?

Cara King

Hi, Sharon! What an enjoyable essay, and what delightful illustrations. Such a lot of good information there! But for what it’s worth, I’d like to point out that the passage from “Emma” refers not to the dance known as the waltz, but to a country dance done in waltz time; that’s why it mentions that Mrs Weston was “capital” in her country dances, and that’s why Frank leads Emma to “the top” — as the highest-ranking lady, she would have started at the top of any country dance. (In waltzing, there was no “top”). Though I do love imagining her spinning in Frank’s arms, and Mr Knightley watching them…. — Cara

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