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Suzie Partridge

MA work

The rise and fall of the Waltz in English Society, 1810-1840s

My thesis explores and problematises the notion of the waltz as the most popular early nineteenth-century dance. By investigating through dance manuals the complex relationship of the waltz in relation to other ballroom dances, the study examines historic dance traditions containing motifs later found in the waltz, along with the evolution and varied manifestations of the waltz in the early nineteenth century, and the incorporation and amalgamation of waltz steps into other ballroom dances between 1810 and 1840.

My thesis also considers in detail the restrictive effect of early nineteenth-century ballroom dress, comparing how the changing silhouette in both male and female dress could be seen as mirroring changes in the fashionable dance of the time. My study also looks at the function of the social dance, looking at ideas of etiquette and morality as conveyed through the body, whilst considering theories of embodiment and social construction as a means of understanding the importance of social dance as a cultural practice.


  • MA Degree


    School of Humanities


    MA History of Design, 2017

  • As a nineteenth century dance and design research specialist my dissertation topic of the Waltz in English society encompasses the story of Regency and early Victorian social dance in the ballroom setting, focusing on the waltz and material culture as agents of modernity and change. My first year essays also focused on the nineteenth century, examining Art Needlework in the context of feminism and the Arts and Crafts movement, and object focused research around a ring in the Victoria & Albert Museum collection examining the role of collectors and adaptation in Neo-Classical jewellery trend.
  • Degrees

  • BA Hons, History and Philosophy of Art, The University of Kent, 2008