Dance in German Cities and its Influence on the Civil Department

In the 17th and the 18th centuries, dance was an important part of the bourgeois
education, life and business. Dance studios were established at Universities in
Strasbourg, Leipzig or Jena as well as at schools in Zittau, Dresden and
Hamburg. It is known that dance was an equivalent subject to natural science,
languages, history, rhetoric, logic and fencing. On the other side, dance was an
instrument of communication. Businessmen danced in opulent dancing balls
during the trade fairs in Hamburg, Leipzig or Frankfurt in order to come into
contact and for demonstrating their dignity. Ballrooms were built by citizens in
civic towns.

In this paper, the role of dance for the education, the civil lifestyle and
the propagation of the bourgeoisie will be discussed. On what occasions have
the commoners danced? What function has the dance had for economy, culture
and personal advancement? To answer these questions images of the dancing
balls, festivity descriptions, chronicles and framework programmes of trade
fairs will be presented.

Uta Dorothea Sauer
Author affiliation
Technische Universitat Dresden