Jane Austen’s dance scenes are often among the most familiar to students and casual readers of the novels due, in part, to their lavish treatment in feature films such as Sense and Sensibility (1995), Emma (1996), and Pride and Prejudice (2005). As critics have noted, however, dance does more than just provide social entertainment in Austen’s novels—it is also a site of courtship, conversation, and the regulation of social and physical mobility.1 As Celia Easton explains, dance and literature share certain elements: “We might appreciate the coincidental sensibility of both arts: both dance and narrative need to balance multiple actions at one time with multiple players, finally settling every dancer/heroine with a suitable partner and a close of the figure. English country dance certainly is narrative, telling a story of relationships” (3).
Dance can be an effective tool for teaching close reading and cultural studies, and using dance enables students in the undergraduate classroom to become more fully immersed in Austen’s social world. Having students dance in the classroom not only promotes experiential learning but also reveals aspects of Austen’s novels that would have been familiar to her contemporary readers—themselves immersed in the culture of dance—and thereby brings cultural studies and historical literacies into the classroom. Using Henry Tilney’s speech about marriage as a country dance as a starting point, I explore several components of nineteenth-century social dance as depicted in Austen’s novels—including the function of the dance manual, the relationship between dance and social hierarchy, and the role of dance in courtship—and then share specific strategies for incorporating dance into the classroom.
Historical and critical scholarship in the fields of dance studies, history, and literature can provide useful contexts for classroom discussions of dance. P. J. S. Richardson’s The Social Dances of the Nineteenth Century in England (1960) remains a comprehensive overview, and Elizabeth Aldrich’s From the Ballroom to Hell: Grace and Folly in Nineteenth-Century Social Dance (1991) provides a transatlantic account of ballroom practices and includes a range of interesting excerpts from nineteenth-century dance manuals. Melusine Wood’s Some Historical Dances (1952) and Advanced Historical Dances (1960) offer specific instructions for re-creating the dances of the period that have been incorporated into several of the annotated Anchor Press editions of Austen’s novels. More recent historical and literary critical works, including Molly Engelhardt’s Dancing Out of Line: Ballrooms, Ballets, and Mobility in Victorian Fiction and Culture (2009); Theresa Jill Buckland’s Society Dancing: Fashionable Bodies in England 1870-1920 (2011); Alexandra Carter’s Dance and Dancers in the Victorian and Edwardian Music Hall Ballet (2005); and my own Literature and Dance in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Jane Austen to the New Woman (2009) also offer discussions of nineteenth-century ballroom practices and analyze the social and cultural implications of those practices. In addition, these critical works draw on a range of primary source materials that can be placed in conversation with Austen’s novels. Many of those materials, such as dance manuals, have been digitized and are available through Google Books or the American Memory Collections at the Library of Congress, while others have been reprinted in facsimile editions by presses such as Dance Books (The English Dancing Master), Applewood (The Fashionable Dancer’s Casket), and Dover (The Art of Dancing).
Sharing primary texts, such as nineteenth-century dance manuals, with students can help them to gain a more embodied, material understanding of the culture of dance. The various illustrations, instructions, and etiquette lessons included in these manuals remind students that ballroom interactions were codified and policed and that the ballroom was often a site of tension between sexually-charged dances and carefully monitored courtship rituals. For instance, many dance manuals employed an extremely pedantic tone and micromanaged every aspect of the event, such as women’s dress and appearance. Some of the advice offered to women in the etiquette sections of the dance manuals includes harsh judgments on female appearance. For instance, in The Correct Thing in Good Society (1888), Florence Marion Hall discusses ballroom dress and announces, “It is not the correct thing for women with ugly, scraggy necks and shoulders, and arms, to display them in a way that is painful to the beholders” (qtd. in Aldrich 70). Similarly, in Every-Day Etiquette (1890), Louise Fiske Bryson advises, “Beware of ‘making up’ in hot weather. An eyebrow gently trickling down the cheek, veins on the forehead that run, lips that gradually expand into laughable proportions, present a sorry spectacle” (qtd. in Aldrich 87). Although these examples come from later in the century, they nonetheless help students see the ways in which the dancing body, particularly the female body, was a site of attention and control in the ballroom where spectacle and spectatorship dominated social interaction. Moreover, the specific discussions of fashion and makeup also enable students to make connections between twenty-first-century fashion and lifestyle magazines, which employ similar (if somewhat less colorful) rhetoric in dispensing advice about prom dresses and cosmetics.
The second half of the dance manual, which offered instruction for the dances themselves, included detailed descriptions concerning the minutiae of physical movement. Pierre Rameau’s The Dancing-Master was one of the most prominent of these texts: first published in 1725, it went through multiple editions throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Rameau includes the following advice to gentlemen on the method of removing the hat in the ballroom:
The Arm must be raised to the Height of the Shoulder, as this first Figure (1) represents, having the Hand open (2); then bend the Elbow to take off the Hat, which makes a half Circle. . . . The Elbow being bent, as you see by the second Figure, and the Hand open, as in the first Figure, it must be carried to the Head, which should not move; then place the Thumb against the Forehead, and the Fingers on the Brim of the Hat cock’d up, and closing the Thumb and the four Fingers, hold it so. (14)
Rameau’s text, popular with dancing masters throughout the period, is filled with similar instructions and accompanying illustrations, treating even the smallest movement as a complex event represented both visually and verbally within the text. Studying dance manuals or performing historical dances themselves, then, helps students to understand that before even entering the ballroom, nineteenth-century dancers were highly aware of their physical abilities (or lack thereof) and the importance of dance floor performances.
Jane Austen, too, understood the ballroom to be a space in which individual bodies were on display, and her dance scenes reflect the various social and cultural anxieties that were raised by such performances. The dance as courtship metaphor is, perhaps, the most familiar and straightforward use of dance in Austen’s novels. As Henry Tilney proclaims in Northanger Abbey:
“I consider a country-dance as an emblem of marriage. Fidelity and complaisance are the principal duties of both; and those men who do not chuse to dance or marry themselves, have no business with the partners or wives of their neighbours.
. . . [I]n both, it is an engagement between man and woman, formed for the advantage of each; and . . . when once entered into, they belong exclusively to each other till the moment of its dissolution; . . . it is their duty, each to endeavour to give the other no cause for wishing that he or she had bestowed themselves elsewhere.” (76-77)
Henry’s equation is expressed in a fairly clear and direct manner, yet further investigations of nineteenth-century social dance practices reveal the broader implications of this claim with regard to social order and compatibility.
For instance, country dances are usually organized in a manner that replicates social hierarchies, with those dancers at the top of the social order placed at the top of the room and the others arranged in order of descending importance. Such social distinctions were quite important; as one etiquette manual explains: “At some public balls a cord is drawn across the ball-room to render the upper end unassailable” (Manners 124). Similarly, in A Memoir of Jane Austen (1870), Austen’s nephew, James Edward Austen-Leigh discusses his aunt’s enjoyment of dancing and mentions the importance of one’s standing in the country dance: “Much heart-burning and discontent sometimes arose as to who should stand above whom, and especially as to who was entitled to the high privilege of calling and leading off the first dance: and no little indignation was felt at the lower end of the room when any of the leading couples retired prematurely from their duties, and did not condescend to dance up and down the whole set” (34). Regardless of one’s position in the hierarchy of the dance lines, all dancers were expected to commit to the performance of the entire country dance, which could last up to thirty minutes if the set contained a large number of couples.
Austen’s awareness of the dance’s hierarchy is clear in two of her best-known dance scenes: the ball at the Crown Inn in Emma and the ball at Mansfield Park. Understanding the implications of one’s placement in the dance underscores the honor, and insult, that Austen conveys in these scenes. The ball at the Crown Inn in Emma is a ball that Emma had thought of quite proprietarily as “peculiarly for her,” yet it is Mrs. Elton, the new arrival in Highbury and recent bride, who is given the honor of opening the ball while “Emma must submit to stand second”—a scenario that “was almost enough to make her think of marrying” (325). This scene reflects the battle for the social leadership of Highbury that emerges between Emma, the acknowledged “first” lady, and Mrs. Elton, the newcomer. As Laura Mooneyham White explains, the class distinctions within Highbury do not always translate for students: “Projecting the myth of class permeability onto Austen’s canvas, students expect a world in which the substantial social barriers between Emma and Harriet, for example, can be overcome with a little goodwill and tolerance” (35). The concept of social hierarchy is quite important to Emma—each character, from the descending Mrs. and Miss Bates to the rising Cole family, occupies a specific place, and slight movements can create reverberating tremors.
Understanding the implications of the ballroom exchange, then, can help students to visualize the world of the novel as a carefully organized dance line that embodies the social order of the village. Within this context, Emma’s elevation of Harriet Smith through both her own friendship and her attempted matchmaking is revealed to be particularly inappropriate because Emma is literally pushing Harriet up to the front of the dance set where she does not belong. With regard to the contest between Emma and Mrs. Elton, however, Austen does resolve the matter in Emma’s favor. Although Mrs. Elton is placed above Emma in the dance lines, this elevation is only temporary, and Austen provides a neat counterpart to Emma’s reflections during the ball when Mrs. Elton reflects on Emma’s impending marriage to Mr. Knightley: “‘No more exploring parties to Donwell made for her. Oh! no; there would be a Mrs. Knightley to throw cold water on every thing.—Extremely disagreeable!’” (469). Although by marrying first, Mrs. Elton does secure the honor of opening one ball, Emma ultimately trumps Mrs. Elton’s claim to the top of the social order and dance set through her own marriage, firmly and permanently securing the social leadership of Highbury.
The ball in Mansfield Park engages similar questions of social order and precedence. This ball is held specifically for the honor of Fanny and William Price—the daughters of the house, Maria and Julia Bertram, are absent. Fanny is pre-engaged to dance with Henry Crawford, and Sir Thomas informs her “that she was to lead the way and open the ball; an idea that had never occurred to her before” (275). Opening the ball included the privilege of standing at the top of the dance set as well as deciding which dance would begin the evening’s festivities. As Lilly Grove explains in her historical survey, Dancing (1895), this practice was held over from court dances in which the honor was reserved for the highest-ranking royal couple (233). For instance, the author of The Manners and Tone of Good Society (1879) explains, “If a member of the Royal Family, or a foreign Prince, were expected, dancing would not commence until the arrival of the Royal guest; and if the guest were a lady, the host would open the ball with her, having his wife or daughter as vis-à-vis” (129). Fanny Price initially experiences “horror” at her Uncle’s announcement, “and she found herself the next moment conducted by Mr. Crawford to the top of the room, and standing there to be joined by the rest of the dancers, couple after couple as they were formed” (275). As Fanny reflects on her situation, she becomes aware of the honor bestowed upon her: “To be placed above so many elegant young women! The distinction was too great. It was treating her like her cousins!” (275). Although the performative aspects of the dance continue to cause Fanny anxiety, her partner and placement in the set establish her social position.
This scene does not merely honor Fanny, however; it also broadcasts Fanny’s elevated social position and her suitability to be Henry Crawford’s partner—and potential bride—a suitability that is embodied in her position at the top of the dance set. This performance, Austen’s narrator reminds readers, has been carefully engineered by Sir Thomas in an act that foreshadows his support of Henry Crawford’s suit. By arranging for Fanny to open the ball, Sir Thomas is effectively announcing his intentions to support and elevate Fanny socially and financially and to make her an acceptable wife for Henry. Indeed, Sir Thomas “was pleased with himself for having supplied every thing [besides her personal beauty];—education and manners she owed to him” (276). As the scene closes, readers learn that promoting the match between Henry and Fanny has played a significant role in motivating Sir Thomas to host the ball. Sir Thomas invites Henry to breakfast the next morning, “and the readiness with which his invitation was accepted, convinced him that the suspicions whence, he must confess to himself, this very ball had in great measure sprung, were well founded. Mr. Crawford was in love with Fanny” (280). Understanding the social order, then, not only helps students understand the degree to which Fanny is elevated in the moment of opening the ball but also reveals Sir Thomas’s role in promoting the courtship of Fanny and Henry and publicly declaring his approval of the match as well as his promotion of Fanny—through his patronage and support—to a social position in which she would be an appropriate bride for Henry.
In Northanger Abbey, Henry Tilney does not explicitly state the connection between country dance and social order, yet when read in the context of historical country dance practices and alongside examples from Austen’s other novels, his analogy between country dance and marriage does appear to suggest that he advocates marrying within one’s own social sphere and finding a partner who shares his position in the dance set. Applying the connection between dance and social order to the resolution of the novel reveals how Henry’s priorities have shifted by the end of the text. The country dance-as-marriage speech demonstrates that Henry may initially have shared his father’s assumptions that, as a younger son, he needed to marry someone of his own social position (or preferably higher). His continued pursuit of Catherine at the end of the novel, even after learning that she cannot bring a large dowry to the marriage, however, establishes that he is willing to challenge the strict social boundaries of his father’s world. While most readers of Northanger Abbey focus on Henry’s education of Catherine, reading through the lens of dance history can help students see how Catherine educates Henry as well by helping him rethink some of his ingrained assumptions about class and marriage.
In addition to its implications for affirming and challenging social hierarchies, country dance also provides opportunities for individuals to test potential marriage partnerships. One of the ways in which these partnerships were tested was through the conversation that was made possible by dancing together. In Northanger Abbey, Henry Tilney defends the importance of such dance floor conversation when he objects to the way in which John Thorpe repeatedly tries to talk with Catherine while they are dancing: “‘That gentleman would have put me out of patience, had he staid with you half a minute longer. He has no business to withdraw the attention of my partner from me’” (76). In a country dance, partners would move together and then apart as they danced through a series of figures, which provided structured, if brief, opportunities for conversation. For instance, The Royal Ball-Room Guide (1877) describes one figure, denoting the movement of dancers together and apart as well as the change of partners: “Four advance and retire, and turn the opposite lady, advance, retire, and half-right and left, pousette” (88). The physical movement of the bodies regulates speech. After Henry completes his description of marriage and country dance, Austen’s narrator steps in: “Here their conversation closed; the demands of the dance becoming now too importunate for a divided attention” (80). Where the dance was less demanding, however, conversation with one’s partner was expected, as one etiquette manual notes in giving advice to young men: “It is, to a certain extent, incumbent on them to do something more than dance when they invite a lady to join in a quadrille. If it be only upon the news of the day, a gentleman should be able to offer at least three or four observations to his partner in the course of a long half-hour” (Mixing in Society 165).
In Pride and Prejudice, Austen reminds readers of the ways in which such conversational recommendations are shaped by the movement of the dancers. Elizabeth chides Darcy for not following the dictates of convention and keeping up a polite exchange as they dance together, prompting Darcy to ask, “‘Do you talk by rule then, while you are dancing?’” (91). Darcy’s comment refers to the social rule suggesting that partners should maintain a steady stream of polite conversation while dancing. The question also, however, reflects the spatial relations and need to fit the verbal exchange into the movement of the dance. Asking students to dance in the classroom helps them to see that the “rule” is both a social prescription and also a physical measure. Dancers in a country dance must “talk by rule” because advancing, retiring, and changing partners imposes structure upon the dialogue, forcing dancers to adapt their conversation to the movements of their bodies and writers, such as Austen, to do the same.
Dancing together and engaging in conversation provide an opportunity for partners to determine if they really “belong to each other”—in Henry Tilney’s words—and are compatible. Austen suggests that physical connection and attraction are central to compatibility, and, as the above discussion of dance manuals demonstrates, physicality is highlighted in the ballroom through both personal attraction and dance performance. Catherine Morland is pleased with Henry’s dancing, praising him to Eleanor—“‘How well your brother dances!’” (72)—and readers familiar with nineteenth-century social dance would understand that Catherine is attracted to Henry, for as a good dance partner, Henry will also make a good husband.
This equation is, perhaps, thrown into better relief in considering one of the most glaring examples of bad partnership in Austen’s works: Elizabeth Bennet’s dance with Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice. Austen’s narrator relates the scene in a somewhat drawn out and ponderous manner that surely evokes the spirit of Mr. Collins’s dancing: “The two first dances, however, brought a return of distress; they were dances of mortification. Mr. Collins, awkward and solemn, apologising instead of attending, and often moving wrong without being aware of it, gave her all the shame and misery which a disagreeable partner for a couple of dances can give. The moment of her release from him was exstacy” (90). Here, we see that the “awkward” and “solemn” dancing of Mr. Collins would translate into a similarly awkward and solemn marriage partnership that would be both physically and emotionally unsatisfying. Closely reading and discussing this encounter with students is one of the best ways to begin to incorporate the practical elements of dancing into the classroom because it facilitates a discussion of the way in which Austen both uses dance as a signal of character and connects dance and courtship.
The dance between Elizabeth and Mr. Collins also reveals the pressure of performance and sense of spectacle associated with dance to which all participants were subject. This element of performance, Gail Turley Houston notes, is already part of the classroom space and can be foregrounded through attention to social and cultural contexts. She writes about how asking students to create tableaux of scenes from nineteenth-century novels highlights the social and interpersonal relationships in the text: “Performance and classroom teaching are based upon the assumption that knowledge is created, transferred, shared, and analyzed in social interchanges and that the body is a complex instrument that interrelates with the social, physical, and cultural spheres” (27). For Elizabeth Bennet, her sense of agony not only comes from having to endure Mr. Collins’s company but also from the public performance of their partnership.
The public announcement of potential partnerships and exploration of compatibility can also have broader implications for an individual’s reputation. Dancing repeatedly with the same partner was not acceptable, as The Fashionable Dancer’s Casket advises, “Favoritism is only suitable for private life. . . . A gentleman should not dance frequently with one lady” (17-18). Nonetheless, Austen herself did break this particular social rule. In 1796, twenty-year-old Jane wrote to her sister Cassandra about a ball: “I am almost afraid to tell you how my Irish friend and I behaved. Imagine to yourself everything most profligate and shocking in the way of dancing and sitting down together” (9 January). Austen directly echoes her own letter in a fictional critique of the behavior of Marianne and Willoughby, whose ill-starred relationship is signaled, in part, by its inappropriate intimacy: “If dancing formed the amusement of the night, they were partners for half the time; and when obliged to separate for a couple of dances, were careful to stand together and scarcely spoke a word to any body else. Such conduct made them of course most exceedingly laughed at; but ridicule could not shame, and seemed hardly to provoke them” (54)—“everything most profligate and shocking” indeed! Although in the small social world of Barton Park, Marianne and Willoughby’s disregard for ballroom etiquette is a source of humor and mockery, rather than a serious compromise to their reputations, it does effectively embody the inappropriateness of their intimacy and foreshadow greater and more problematic blunders, such as their unchaperoned trip to Allenham and exchange of letters. The 1995 Ang Lee film adaptation of Sense and Sensibility also picks up on the publicity of ballroom behavior and the significance of Marianne and Willoughby’s transgression by setting the first London encounter between the lovers at a ball—a scene that both heightens the drama of the moment when Marianne calls out to Willoughby across the room and highlights the role of the ballroom in public displays of courtship and rejection.
Discussing primary texts, such as dance manuals, and analyzing the social implications of dance are useful ways to bring this most bodily of amusements into the classroom. Inviting students to participate in a country dance can also be an effective tool for experiential learning that helps them connect to the historical moment. In the Appendix below, I have included some basic country dance figures that can work in a classroom setting (or in a convenient courtyard or empty hallway). As I take the students through the basic steps of the dance, I encourage them to focus on the social interactions and opportunities provided in the moment. I remind them that the ballroom was an optimal site for gossip and flirtation and that they should take advantage of the surrounding company. Some students pick up quickly, assuming characters and becoming leaders within the group, while others have trouble distinguishing right from left and create considerable chaos; by the end of the session, however, we can usually perform the dance quite smoothly. The entire process of teaching the dance takes about thirty minutes, and I leave some time for conversation at the end of the class. After we sit down, I ask the students to reflect on their experiences and how it felt to learn and perform the dance. Most students appreciate the activity, and many are impressed by the multitasking required of nineteenth-century dancers who had to simultaneously remember the steps, maintain ballroom etiquette, and promote their social agendas. We then reconsider some of Austen’s dance scenes, and I ask students to think and write about how their understanding of characters, courtship, and social relations has changed as a result of participating in the dance.
Student response to the activities and discussions around the dance varies. Some students appreciate the novelty and focus on the pedagogical approach, expressing their appreciation for the opportunity to be physically active within the classroom. Many students are drawn to the questions of etiquette and courtship, applying the “rules” of the ballroom to other social situations depicted in our readings. Lydia and Wickham’s elopement, for instance, becomes additionally scandalous when read within a context where merely dancing repeatedly with the same partner might be cause for alarm. One of the most productive conversations to emerge from the incorporation of dance into the study of Jane Austen occurred in a course on women’s literature when we were reading Wuthering Heights. Having discussed dance and the spectacle of bodies in the ballroom earlier in the semester, students quickly picked up on the physicality of the characters in Wuthering Heights and the violence done to and by bodies. In doing so, they made explicit connections to our earlier discussions of dance in which we considered the various ways authors could make physical bodies present within the text. Students applied this understanding to the ending of Wuthering Heights, in particular, granting more gravitas to Heathcliff’s desire to remove all physical boundaries between himself and Catherine in their side-by-side burial. It is perhaps an oddly twisted road that leads from the Assembly Rooms of Bath to the moors of Yorkshire, but it is one that my students uncovered for themselves by studying dance.
One of the pleasures of reading, re-reading, and teaching Jane Austen is the myriad new topics and ideas that emerge with each textual encounter. Nineteenth-century social dance is one of many historical contexts that is both relevant for students and, more important, provides them with a physical, material means of access to the texts. Dancing with Jane Austen is an example of experiential, embodied learning that can bring students closer to Austen and her contemporary readers, who would have brought their own knowledge of social dance to bear on the novels. Whether obeying the dictates of etiquette or “‘setting propriety at naught’” (SS 56), students can enter the nineteenth-century ballroom alongside Austen’s characters to experience new ways of reading, knowing, and understanding the novels.
The dance begins and ends with a bow to your partner. Gentlemen extend the right leg and bow from the waist. Ladies extend the right leg and bend both knees, keeping the back straight but dropping the gaze.
Figure 1: Hands Around
Couples form small circles of four by joining with the couple next to them (one couple is number 1, the other couple is number 2). This will be their sub-group as they move through the dance. The four dancers join hands and circle to the left for 16 counts, ending where they began.
Figure 2: Crossing Turns with Partner and Corner
Each couple 1 (every other couple down the line) comes together, joins both hands, circles to the left for 8 counts, and returns to where they started. Each couple 2 then does the same movement. Next, the couples repeat the turn again, but this time they take hands with their “corner,” or the person on their diagonal (the gentleman from couple 1 turns with the lady from couple 2). The remaining dancers then repeat the same turn (the gentleman from couple 2 turns with the lady from couple 1).
Figure 3: Right Hand Star/Left Hand Star
All four dancers join right hands in the center of their group and circle around for 16 counts. Repeat with left hands.
Figure 4: Lead Down the Middle
The couple at the top end of the room (those of highest social standing) face one another, join both hands, and skip or slide down the middle of the two dance lines, ending at the bottom. All other dancers step closer to the top of the room and prepare to repeat the dance with new numbers (couple 1 has become couple 2 and vice versa down the line) and new sub-groups of 4 (this can be a bit confusing so we usually pause to re-number the couples and re-set the groups). The dance ends when each couple has had the chance to lead down the middle and the original top couple is back where they started. (Note: depending on the size of the class, this process can take a very long time; I have found that time usually allows for three to four cycles through the figures.)
Reverence to finish
1. Recent work on Austen and dance includes essays by Nora Foster Stovel, Allison Thompson, Nancy Lee-Riffe, Molly Engelhardt, and Cheryl A. Wilson as well as Susannah Fullerton’s A Dance with Jane Austen.
2. Adapted from Thomas Wilson’s An Analysis of Country Dancing. Useful recordings of nineteenth-century dance music include Lady Caroline’s Regency Romp (Lexington Historical Dance Society), English Country Dances (HMF Classical), and The Victorian Dance (Brassworks Band).
Aldrich, Elizabeth. From the Ballroom to Hell: Grace and Folly in Nineteenth-Century Dance. Evanston: Northwestern UP, 1991.
Austen, Jane. The Novels of Jane Austen. Ed. R. W. Chapman. 3rd ed. Oxford: OUP, 1933-69.
_____. Jane Austen’s Letters. Ed. Deirdre Le Faye. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 1997.
Austen-Leigh, James Edward. A Memoir of Jane Austen. New York: Oxford UP, 2002.
Blasis, Carlo. The Art of Dancing. New York: Dover, 1954.
Buckland, Theresa Jill. Society Dancing: Fashionable Bodies in England 1870-1920. New York: Palgrave, 2011.
Carter, Alexandra. Dance and Dancers in the Victorian And Edwardian Music Hall Ballet. Burlington: Ashgate, 2005.
Durang, Charles. The Fashionable Dancer’s Casket. Philadelphia: Fisher, 1856.
Easton, Celia A. “Dancing through Austen’s Plots: A Pedagogy of the Body.” Persuasions 28 (2006): 251-54.
Engelhardt, Molly. Dancing Out of Line: Ballrooms, Ballets, and Mobility in Victorian Fiction and Culture. Athens: Ohio UP, 2009.
_____. “The Manner of Reading: Jane Austen and the Semiotics of Dance.” Persuasions 26 (2004): 237-48.
Fullerton, Susannah. A Dance with Jane Austen: How a Novelist and Her Characters Went to the Ball. London: Lincoln, 2012.
Grove, Lilly. Dancing. London: Longmans, 1895.
Houston, Gail Turley. “Using Performance in the Classroom.” Victorian Review 34.2 (Fall 2008): 27-32.
Lee-Riffe, Nancy. “The Role of Country Dance in the Fiction of Jane Austen.” Women’s Writing 5.1 (1998): 103-12.
Manners and Tone of Good Society. London: Warne, ca. 1879.
Mixing in Society. London: Routledge, 1860.
Playford, John. The English Dancing Master. New York: Dance Books, 2005.
Radestock, Rudolph. The Royal Ball-Room Guide. London: Otley, 1877.
Rameau, Pierre. The Dancing-Master. Trans. J. Essex. London: Brotherton, 1728.
Richardson, Phillip J. S. The Social Dances of the Nineteenth Century in England. London: Jenkins, 1960.
Stovel, Nora Foster. “An Invitation to the Dance and a Proposal of Marriage: Jane Austen’s Emma and Two Film Adaptations.” Persuasions On-Line 28.1 (Win. 2007).
Thompson, Allison. “Dancing at St. James’s.” Persuasions On-Line 33.1 (Win. 2012).
_____. “The Felicities of Rapid Motion: Jane Austen in the Ballroom.” Persuasions On-Line 21.1 (Win. 2000).
White, Laura Mooneyham. “The Experience of Class, Emma, and the American College Student.” Approaches to Teaching Austen’s Emma. Ed. Marcia McClintock Folsom. New York: MLA, 2004. 34-46.
Wilson, Cheryl A. “Dance, Physicality, and Social Mobility in Jane Austen’s Persuasion.” Persuasions 25 (2003): 55-75.
_____. Literature and Dance in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Jane Austen to the New Woman. New York: Cambridge UP, 2009.
Wilson, Thomas. An Analysis of Country Dancing. London: Calvert, 1808.
Wood, Melusine. Advanced Historical Dances. London: Beaumont, 1960.
_____. Historical Dances. London: Dance Books, 1952.