Call for Contributions: The Ball - Pleasure - Power - Politics - 1400 - 1900

10 - 14 June 2020, Burg Rothenfels am Main, Germany

The ball, an almost universal social phenomenon whether in palaces, assembly halls or private houses, has a multitude of historical facets.
As its name suggests, the ball is dedicated to the pleasure of dancing in various forms and styles. A special, festively
designed form of public engagement, it is also a setting for demonstrations of princely power, staged rituals, painstakingly controlled etiquette and meticulous self-presentation. Last not least, political and social developments, evolutions or revolutions, are reflected in the ballrooms of Europe.
The main theme of the symposium is the phenomenon of the ball across five centuries from 1400 to 1900. The following aspects might serve as an inspiration for lectures, workshops and other contributions.

  • Forms of its organisation, from royal court balls ("bal à la francaise", "bal paré", Viennese court ball, etc.), dance events for a broader public (e.g. ridotti) to house balls: procedure, places (dance halls), times and occasions (wedding balls, charity balls), ball regulations, ceremonies and rituals, etiquette, costumes and masques, ...
  • Participants: dancers, musicians, dance masters, organisers, ...
  • Dance forms and repertoire: collective versus couple dances, evolution of dance forms, dance codes, ...
  • Social and political influences: the ball in the Enlightenment, the revolution of the waltz, the political use of balls, ...
  • The question of identity: national and regional varieties, imitations, fashions and characteristics, ...
  • Its function: visualisation of a social hierarchy, demonstrations of princely power, bourgeois self-presentation, erotic encounters, liberation of everyday live, ...
  • Interactions between ballroom and stage: ball scenes on stage, stage dance in the ballroom, ...
  • The ball and women: the ball as a wedding market, the role of women as objectified beauties or controlling seductresses, ...
  • The ball in theoretical treatises: praise and criticism in contemporary writings, ...
  • The ball mirrored by the arts: ball scenes in literature, in music and painting.

In addition to furthering scholarly debate, the symposium aims to present the state of dance research today to dancers and dance enthusiasts. The symposium will offer a wide range of activities from lectures, workshops, demonstrations, evening dancing and a festive ball with live music, plus an exhibition of books and music.
The organisers welcome contributions not previously published. Papers will be published in proceedings available at the symposium.

 

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