This chapter introduces some of the major threads that weave together to provide the complex fabric that is the history of English Country Dance (ECD) in the twentieth century. After a review of the material conditions in the industrial city at the end of the nineteenth century, in which calls for revival echoed, the chapter moves between themes that interweave at different stages in the history, and often to different effect. The discussion moves from discourses on the body to histories of reform to the folk revival, but one theme is never far from another. Concerns voiced by Progressive reformers over dangers from and to gendered bodies cross with interests in social control and cultural amelioration. And the romantic views of peasants and the folk mix with Anglo-Saxon and white imperial ambitions to revitalize the “race.”
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