Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Remember When . . . The Dance Was Forbidden (Guest Post!)

Today a good friend of mine, Dina Sleiman, is celebrating the release of her latest novel, the debut title for Zondervan's new Zondervan First digital line. She wrote this fabulous guest post for us over at the Colonial Quill, and I thought it would be a treat for you guys too. =) As one may be able to tell from the title, Love in Three-Quarter Time, a certain dance is featured in Dina's novel. And she's here to tell us a little bit about it. I'll tease you here (mwa ha ha ha) and then direct you to the CQ for the rest of it. Take it away, Dina!


The Forbidden Dance

No, I’m not talking about the tango. In the late 1700s and early 1800s the waltz was considered quite a scandalous dance. It gained popularity on the European continent by around 1780, but was still scorned in respectable circles in England and the United States. It wasn’t until the Prince Regent introduced the waltz at a ball in 1816 that it was accepted in England. As for the newly formed US, all we can say for certain is that it was a standard dance by 1830. 
For my new novel, Love in Three-Quarter Time, I assumed that as in all things fashionable, Americans would have followed close on the heels of their British cousins. I showed the waltz being introduced to Charlottesville, Virginia, by a trend-setting plantation matron in 1817. But the waltz of the Regency (or in this case late Federalist) era was quite different than the waltz we know today. It was closely related to the cotillion, and it incorporated a variety of handholds that could, in fact, turn a bit risqué in the wrong company.

Here are just a few lines from a very lengthy poem called “The Waltz,” written by Lord Byron in 1813.
Endearing Waltz! -- to thy more melting tune
Bow Irish jig and ancient rigadoon.
Scotch reels, avaunt! and country-dance, forego
Your future claims to each fantastic toe!
Waltz -- Waltz alone -- both legs and arms demands,
Liberal of feet, and lavish of her hands;
Hands which may freely range in public sight
Where ne'er before --- but --- pray "put out the light."
Methinks the glare of yonder chandelier
Shines much too far --- or I am much too near;
And true, though strange --- Waltz whispers this remark,
"My slippery steps are safest in the dark!"
To read the rest, go to Colonial Quills!

In the style of Deeanne Gist, Dina Sleiman explores the world of 1817 Virginia in her novel Love in Three-Quarter Time. When the belle of the ball falls into genteel poverty, the fiery Constance Cavendish must teach the dances she once loved in order to help her family survive. The opportunity of a lifetime might await her in the frontier town of Charlottesville, but the position will require her to instruct the sisters of the plantation owner who jilted her when she needed him most. As Robert Montgomery and Constance make discoveries about one another, will their renewed faith in God help them to face their past and the guilt that threatens to destroy them in time to waltz to a fresh start?


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