Popular dance culture in the Southern Netherlands and Central Europe (1795-1830). An intertwined history

Start - End 
2010 - 2020 (completed)
Department of Art, music and theatre sciences
Department of History
Research Focus 



Until the end of the 18de century dancing remained a rather elitist and generally private matter. Between 1795 up to 1830 we see the context within which bals are organised, shift dramatically over a surprisingly short stretch of time. From then on dancing develops into a highly popular form of recreation and becomes available to more diverse social layers of the population in the Soutern Netherlands. This evolution has occurred everywhere in North West Europe simultaneously, following a remarkably similar course. Transnational cultural transfers triggered by the migration of musicians and dancers, play a decisive role in the different processes concurring to this end, as do military operations and the military presence of foreing troops during the Napoleonic wars in most parts of Europe. My research aims to understand and interprete the process of the distribution and incubation of new dancing repertoires and their music components under divergent social groups. Greenblatt's concept of cultural mobility is central for my approach. Special attention will be given to the role of cultural mediators and musical sociability and the role of the military as a carrier of culture.



Phd Student(s)