What? No Waltz!

One of the challenging aspects of writing a novel set during the late 1700s is that the Waltz was little known in America at that time. Although its origins date back to country dances originating in Vienna in the 1500s, it took awhile for the upper echelons of European Society to accept a dance where the partners stayed in constant and close contact throughout.

It’s too bad, because a Waltz is a convenient way to bring two people into close quarters in a romance novel. Plus, the dance can be sensual and a more sophosticated way to bring lovers together without all the groping scenes that are the usual preludes to more intimate contact. After all, in many cultures and in many ways, dance is just a more acceptable form of sexual expression.

 (By the way, don't get me wrong. I'm not dissing the groping!)

I can't tell you how many times I wanted to include a Waltz in my stories. Let’s face it, a minuet just isn’t as titillating. I've gone back to the reference books (and wikipedia) time after time just to be sure they weren't waltzing in America at the start of the Revolution. No such luck!
Regency writers have it a little easier, as Waltzing became far more common during the period. However, the Waltz was still considered somewhat indecent until the 1820s. Many writers clearly understand this, slipping in things like a matron who won’t allow a Waltz during her ball.  But that just makes the Waltz an even more scintillating tool for novelists of the period.

For those of us who write during an earlier time, we’ll just have to find others ways to bring our lovers together.


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