The Function of Dance – The Waltz

The Function of Dance – The Waltz

Functions of the Waltz “The Waltz was regarded as too sexually-dangerous for “respectable’ women in Europe and North America when it was first introduced in the nineteenth century. The combination of intoxicating fast whirling and a “close’ embrace was thought to be enough to make women take leave of their senses. Some advice books for women even claimed waltzing could lead to prostitution (Carter ed.: 1988:156).” This passage refers to the criticisms behind the Waltz during the early 19th century, when the dance’s popularity rose and spread throughout Europe and North America. It describes the dance as being socially unacceptable for women of distinguished classes to participate in. This was because the compression of the opposite sexes’ bodies against each other led to criticisms that the social dance was an unsophisticated and improper display (Video: Sex and Social Dance). Ironically, since the shocking introduction of the Waltz to distinguished society, opinions on the Waltz have gradually revolutionised to become almost the opposite. Today, the dance is even used as an example for young people, as to what behaviours modern-day society expects of them (Internet: Sex and Social Dance). Today, when the word “Waltz’ is mentioned, the image of a love-struck couple whirling across a ballroom floor, wrapped in a romantic embrace, usually comes to mind. The dance is generally associated with romance and the opportunity for someone to be “swept off their feet’. The key function of the Waltz was a social one. The dance was originally created for the purpose of meeting new people. The use of simple movements, face-to-face with a partner was thought to encourage conversation (Video: Sex and Social Dance). However, long since the early 19th century, the Waltz has come to serve a variety of different functions. An example of this is the Wedding Waltz. It is a social dance that’s function is ritual. It is perfo…


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