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Going to the PalaisA Social And Cultural History of Dancing and Dance Halls in Britain, 1918–1960$
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James Nott

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199605194

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199605194.001.0001

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Romance and Intimacy in the Dance Hall

Romance and Intimacy in the Dance Hall

(p.183) Chapter 7 Romance and Intimacy in the Dance Hall
Going to the Palais

James Nott

Oxford University Press

Chapter 7 examines the dance hall’s social function as a venue for romance and intimacy. This chapter investigates its role in interaction between the sexes, exploring the extent to which it was an arena for sexual activity. How much sexual activity was there in dance halls? Was there more than cuddling and smooching and did dancing lead to pre-marital sex? It also considers dancing as a courting ritual. How did people pick up in dance halls? Who took the initiative? What advantages did the dance hall have over other venues? The dance hall became central to courtship in twentieth-century Britain, allowing men and women a prescribed set of conventions for meeting, a romantic venue, and increased the opportunities for intimate and sexualized encounters. It thus aided greatly the institution of heterosexual marriage, acting as an informal marriage bureau, and encouraged a new focus on love and romance in working-class life.

Keywords:   pre-marital sex, courting ritual, marriage bureau, smooching, cuddling

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