Dance in the Renaissance


By Margaret M. McGowan

Dance was at the core of Renaissance social activity in France and had important connections with most major issues of the period. This finely illustrated book provides the first full account of the pivotal place and high status of dance in sixteenth-century French culture and society.

Margaret M. McGowan examines the diverse forms of dance in the Renaissance, contemporary attitudes toward dance, and the light this throws on moral, political, and aesthetic concerns of the time. Among the subjects she covers are: expectations of dance; style, costume, music, and social coding; court dance versus social dancing; dance and the Valois dynasty; professional dancers, virtuosos, and choreographers; burlesque; opposition to dance; and dance and the people. Nearly one hundred illustrations, many of them rare, accompany the engrossing text.

  • Chosen as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2009 by Choice Magazine
  • Shortlisted for the 2009 R.H. Gapper Book Prize

Follow these links to preview the Table of Contents and Introduction.

Yale University Press, 2008. Hardback, 330 pages.

‘This third book on dance by McGowan, a distinguished scholar of French Renaissance culture and a pioneer in dance research, examines the French obsession with dance during the 16th century.  . . . Lavishly illustrated and meticulously researched, this is an important contribution to the history of dance. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.’  Choice Magazine