The nineteenth century was dedicated to the waltz, which had developed as a bourgeois activity in Europe and America. In May I Have the Pleasure?, Belinda Quirey argues that in the wake of political, romantic, and industrial revolutions, the waltz was a completely new dance
form that perfectly suited the new conditions of modern life—socially, psychologically, and materially. These nineteenth-century developments in dance were reflected in elaborate dance costumes for lower- and middle-class women, although upper-class ballroom-dance dresses were distinctively splendorous for women. The danse a deux activity reinforced the pleasure of watching other people: how they harmonized and what they wore. Ballroom fashion was therefore an enormously important component of acceptance by polite society.
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