Dancing London, 1900–1914
This chapter details American efforts to visit England in search of folk dance roots. These people encountered an exciting movement, but they were sometimes unwittingly the subject of disputes and sometimes appeared deliberately to aggravate the conflict. The most profound and earliest dispute involved the two people who took the lead in the revival in England, Mary Neal and Cecil Sharp. The English folk dance revival may properly be said to have begun with Mary Neal, a woman every bit as imposing and outspoken as Sharp. It was Neal's success with folk dance that reawakened his interest in dance in 1905. However, Neal's and Sharp's differences had a bearing on the history of the dance movement, most especially in the style and spirit of the dance. In both cases, Sharp would eventually proceed as the dance patriarch.
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