The City of Prague Museum

Asking for a Dance – Dance Cards and Fans from the Second Half of the 19th Century

Asking for a Dance – Dance Cards and Fans from the Second Half of the 19th Century

Place:
Main Building

Date:
7. 1. 2019 – 1. 4. 2019

Subtle dance cards and ingenious fans give evidence of the unparalleled boom of balls, dance parties, and social life of Prague inhabitants during the second half of the 19th century.

At the same time, they bear witness to the highly developed rules of contemporary etiquette. Dance cards, published by ball organisers, generally came with ball tickets. They were subtle booklets or diaries embellished with a printed date and ball venue. They were equipped with small metal hooks to fasten them onto a dress or handbag and an essential miniature pencil used by ladies and gentlemen to write the name of the dancer on the line of the particular dance.

Dance cards came in different versions, from lapidary concertina books with an embossed envelope over more pompous notebooks resembling miniature velvet book bindings to sophisticated original artistic compositions combining paper, metal, textile, tassels, and feathers whose form many times referred to the ball organiser.

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