After 7 years of working day and night on it and after months of promising I’d have it ready by April (2010 then 2011 now 2012!), I’m at last in sight of sending off for printing my 10 volume magnum opus entitled Historic Dance. Most receiving this email will already have sensed the wealth of material in these volumes, but if you want to glimpse their covers and contents please go to the Books and CD sub-pages on our web-sitewww.earthlydelights.com.au and to find out a little more about the nature of the work read my note at the end of this message.
What I need to most urgently say now is that there is a 5 day window of opportunity to offer a special deal to all who have been, are or will be (in the week after Easter) dancing with us. The work will soon be going on sale through lulu.com at $85 a volume plus postage. This is excellent value (considering that each volume is about 600 A4 pages, the market is tiny and I have no grant, society or university assisting me). I don’t, however, want you to have a dilemma about which volumes to buy first, and would like you to be able to afford to get everything you need to revisit and lead for yourself that to which I have introduced or will be introducing you. Accordingly, we have created on the shoppage of our web-site and if able to get an order to us by Monday 26 March and able to pick up from us between 10 and 15 April, you can get half or full volumes at close to cost price (my big apology that we can’t do anything similar at this stage for our out-of-range friends receiving this email!). I’ve even suggested one package of the five ‘middle’ volumes that will cover nearly everything we are doing (all 130 plus dance) at our 3 days of English dance between Shakespeare and Austen 10-12 April and/or our Jane Austen Festival Australia 13-15 April (here for tickets). I would encourage all who can, however, to get the full set—you’ll discover linkages between dance through the ages and we’ll not be able to repeat its pricing. You will not be disappointed!
The web-mechanism we have put up will accept credit card or paypal. A phone or in person order using credit card, cheque or cash is also possible. Should you be someone who was promised a discount in lieu of money paid for returned draft notes, a full set order will enjoy that further discount.
For those who want or need to know more about the Volumes, read on. It's hard to know how to describe such a mammoth work. The short way might be to say it's the resource you've always wished someone had written (it is for me, which is why I decided it just had to be done). The longer way might be to say there are 10 chronologically framed volumes each of about 600 A4 pages. Each volume is divided into five parts.
- In Part 1, Dance Context, I consider the social, political and geographic context in which dance was evolving and the continuities and changes in the institution of the ball.
- In Part 2: Dance Forms, I explore the nature and evolution of the period’s main types of dance.
- In Part 3, Dance Technicalities, I offer sections on ‘Style’, ‘Etiquette’, ‘Honours’, ‘Holds’, ‘Formations’, ‘Figures’ and ‘Steps’.
- In Part 4, Dances in Detail—the longest part—I offer my reconstructions of, and music for, dozens of dances and dance variants.
- In Part 5: Dancing Masters, I discuss developments in dance teaching, notation and publication, and offer an annotated bibliography of relevant primary sources. In every part of every volume I have placed an emphasis on original sources and have built my discussions around hundreds of included facsimiles, transcriptions, translations and illustrations.
There are many subjects/sources/dances I’d still like to explore, permissions I’d still like to seek and improvements I’d still like to make, but it’s become apparent to me no-one lives forever, that the work is benefiting no-one while it stays on my computer, that correspondence with people and libraries will be easier when they can see the useful work I’ve been engaged in, and that the work is too big now for me alone to give it all the reading, pondering, playing, dancing and use it needs in order to be of value and be built upon. For all these reasons I’ve ruled a line, have presented the work in the most attractive and useful way my skills allow and am now going to make it available.
Hope you can join me now in pushing this project forward into the stage we’ve all been waiting for—the stage of enjoying and using this work,