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Research & How To > Leisure & Pastimes > Dancing

Popular Dance in the Mid 19th Century:

Hey, I think I've danced with that guy!
(From period sheet music,
"The Hippotamus Polka")

Key Off-Site Links:


Articles / Resources On Other Sites,
By Topic:

  • Library of Congress: An American Ballroom Companion (database of texts of dance manuals)
  • Victorian Dance Ensemble (Gettysburg / Harrisburg based)
  • Sue & Jim Mohring's 2nd Delaware Civilians Website contains most of the links they used to have on their 19th century dance website: schedule of events, links to dance groups' websites, lists of period bands, dance masters, etc.
  • Vintage Dance Links from VintageVictorian.com
  • The Dance Card Museum (mostly post-our Era but still interesting)
  • Commonwealth Vintage Dancers (Massachussetts based) Their "Ball in a Box" -- period dance music CD and accompanying dance manual, explains several dances and also gives figures for most. Very useful website.
  • "What Shall I Wear To the Ball?" -- article on Kay Gnagey's website about clothing worn for balls, dances and other evening entertainment (lots of primary source documentation). See also her article in the June 2003 Citizens' Companion.
  • Society of Dance Links Page for 18th and 19th centuries


  • Victorian Dance Ensemble Period Dance Instruction Video: (shows most of the most commonly performed figure dances)
  • Dancetime Publications video, "How to Dance Through Time": The Romance of Mid 19th Century Couple Dances. (there's also a QuickTime video clip on the site). Shows the waltz, polka, etc., nice complement to the Victorian Dance Ensemble video which shows reels, quadrilles, the Schottish, Spanish Dance, etc.
  • From the Ballroom To Hell, Grace and Folly in 19th Century Dance
  • Hillgrove's Ballroom Companion (reprinted by Sullivan Press)
  • Beadle's Dime Guide (reprinted by Sullivan Press)
  • The Fashionable Dancer's Casket (Glenna Jo Christen carries this)