The Music of James Scott Skinner
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Further Reading

The Ball-Room Guide or Dancing Taught without a Master, Aberdeen (1879)

The Collection's Dance Entries · Changing fashions · Francis Peacock
The Ball-Room Guide · ‘A Guide to Fashionable Dancing’
‘The People’s Ball Room Guide’ · Illustrated Guide to the National Dances of Scotland
‘Highland Dancing in the Olden Times’ · Dance Video Clips


Image of the Title taken from the Ball-Room Guide (JSS0428))This pocket guide was intended as an aide-memoir for men: the section on etiquette is clearly aimed at them. The Guide includes many of the dances discussed in Skinner’s Ballroom guide, but the descriptions are often different. It was intended for experienced dancers who might not remember particular dances. The dance descriptions use French dance terms: JSS0433 points out that the dancers need to ‘chassé across’, but the word ‘chassé’ is not described. There are also many little errors: JSS0437 mentions ‘four gettes’ in the Schottische. This should read ‘four jettes’.

Some dance descriptions are so reduced that the dancer would have to know the dance in order to understand the instructions!

  • JSS0439, describes the dance ‘John Of Paris’ as: ‘Right and left, down the middle, up again and pousette’. This is only useful if the dancer is familiar with country dances and their terms.

In common with all ballroom guides, this little manual has a section on ballroom etiquette (JSS0456-JSS0459). Dancers would do well to note these warnings!

Pat Ballantyne


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