Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dancing through research

I wrote in my post "I do not have a post for today" that I would like to learn more about Edwardian dancing. As much as I love Downton Abbey I feel like it is missing dancing... minus one very important scene in season 2. (If you watch Dowton you know instantly what I am talking about but I love posting pictures of Downton and Dan Stevens.)
Any way after writing that post I remembered a very helpful resource, Edwardian Promenade, I have used it to find great pictures but it is quite insightful on Edwardian life. So I thought I would take a shot and see what it had on dancing. And I found a very interesting article with a few YouTube videos to give examples. For example...

You might recognize "The Grizzly Bear" from Season 1 of Downton Abbey
 as Thomas and Daisy do a bit of it. 

I know not all my readers are as interested in Edwardian dancing as I am, but I think in writing one should be a truthful as possible even if the story is completely made up it is in the details that matter. One of my favorite authors (besides Jane Austen) is Jennifer Donnelly and I feel she must spend so much time doing research to get the details so accurate, I am impressed. I have always loved historical fiction for this reason because the elements have to be precise for them to be believable but yet the writer can sweep you away in to a world and time we can only imagine about. I know that is why I personally am drawn to historical fiction, the indulgence to escape into another life. 

I hope I can write my character a good dance scene... I feel sometimes when watching people dance you can see their true feelings... Just think what Emma would be with out the ball when you finally see Mr. Knightley admits his feelings (at least to the audience). 
Mr. Knightley: Who are you going to dance with?
Emma: You if you should ask me. After all we are not brother and sister.
Mr. Knightley: Brother and sister.... indeed we are not. 
So if you are like me and trying to write some historical fiction, I recommend reading history (rather on a blog or in a book), watching period dramas (from a time period you love), and reading other historical novels. I know it may not be official history but I have fallen in love with this series called the Morland Dynasty by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. It starts in pre-Elizabethian era but goes up to the 1920's as this family evolves through time. I  read The Dream Kingdom going from 1909-1912 and I am reading now The Restless Sea about the Titanic and I look forward to going to reading the books about WWI. While I was reading The Dream Kingdom, I underlined lots of text that described society, to the food they ate, to the dresses they wore. I loved it and have gone back to it in writing my own story. 

Okay this post has gotten longer than I thought, so I will leave you with this last photo... 
Couldn't resist one more Downton Abbey photo. 

Wishing you the best in your writing.

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