Shall We Dance? Dance Manuals from The Library of Congress


This week, we focus on an interesting and entertaining collection that your students might enjoy: An American Ballroom Companion

offers over  two hundred social dance manuals including such titles as Ella Gardner's 1929 Public dance halls, their regulation and place in the recreation of adolescents.


Along with dance instruction manuals, this online source also includes of anti-dance publications, histories, treatises on etiquette, etc.  Whether viewed through an historical, social or recreational lens, all illuminate the manner in which people have joyfully expressed themselves as they dance for and with one another.  Also featured are 75 Video Clips, brief samplings of dances performed in costume in the Library’s Great Hall, with music provided by a band using period instruments.  Here’s a late-nineteenth century example that we like:  The Washington Post Dance (28 seconds long: I used the MPEG viewer, but there are several video playback options).