‘Not Dancing in Jane Austen’

As a young woman, Jane Austen loved dancing, once writing to her sister of a ball: ‘there were twenty Dances & I danced them all, & without any fatigue’. Dancing was, of course, an important part of the social life of her class and time and this is reflected everywhere in her novels. In this paper we will look at the characters who did not dance, at the provision made for those who were not interested in dancing, and more importantly at the various occasions, often at key points of character or plot development, when someone refuses to dance or is denied the opportunity of doing so.

Thelma Wilson