Hillary Burlock, Dance Workshop - Dancing Into Power: Gender Politics and Late Georgian Election Balls

This presentation will consist of two parts.  The first will be a talk, which discusses election balls.  Eighteenth-century elections, rife with ritual and corruption, were not only responsible for electing MPs, but for developing civic identity. Juxtaposed with the boisterous, bustling streets of electoral politics, election balls served as a conduit for issues of patronage and networking to be negotiated within an alternate, refined setting.  The ballroom was a political arena in which candidates needed to demonstrate their prowess through minuets and country dances, wooing the constituency. 

The second part of the presentation is the workshop.  It is designed for dancers who have basic experience in English Country Dancing. We will be exploring the figures and footwork, including skip changes, jeté assemblés and sissonne ballottés,  from Nathaniel Gow’s 1817 quadrilles. These dances were recreated by Stuart Marsden and Talitha MacKenzie in 2017 for the 200th anniversary of the publication and performance of these quadrilles at Edinburgh’s glittering Assembly Rooms.

Hillary Burlock completed her Masters degree in British and European History at Oxford University in 2017, writing her dissertation on the intersection of social dance and the electoral process in Georgian Britain. She is currently working as an Education Interpreter at Black Creek Pioneer Village and as a research assistant for Dr. John Allison. In her spare time, Hillary is in the process of creating a Georgian cookbook and dances with the York Regency Dancers at Fort York.