Dances With Soldiers in the Civil War

Susan Wiesner speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

On March 20, 2014, Susan Wiesner presented the second lecture in a new five part CPN Thursday series entitled The Civil War Through Different Lenses (2014).

In Western cultures social dance has been an important component in defining society and class structure since the Renaissance. According to Wiesner, strict rules applied to both male and female dancers of the time, although following the commencement of the Civil War soldiers were permitted to bring their swords into the ballroom. For some soldiers, dance was a form of therapy.

In this podcast, Wiesner talks about the popular dances of the time including the well known Virginia Reel and their place in the context of the Civil War.

Susan Wiesner obtained her undergraduate degree at Goucher College in Kentucky, and her Masters and PhD in England. She is a former dance and drama instructor at the University of Virginia. She now has a studio at the McGuffey Art Center and does research on the intersection of language and movement.

The lecture series was organized by award-winning historian and Charlottesville-based author, lecturer, and cartographer Rick Britton in conjunction with the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

Click here to listen to all five parts of this series.