Dancing the “Waterloo Waltz”: Commemorations of the Hundred Days – Parallels in British Social Dance and Song

  • Erica Buurman
  • Oskar Cox Jensen
Part of the War, Culture and Society, 1750-1850 book series (WCS)


Collections of country dance tunes and their accompanying steps, which were churned out each year by early nineteenth-century British music publishers, routinely included dances named after contemporary military figures and events. Although previous scholarship has recognized popular songs of the Napoleonic Wars as being important markers of political sentiments amongst wider British society, commemorative dances have not yet been subject to in-depth investigation. This essay explores parallels between commemorative dances and contemporary popular songs in their commentary on the Napoleonic Wars (particularly Waterloo) and considers how such dances contributed to shaping peoples’ responses, evocations, and memories of war.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Canterbury Christ Church UniversityCanterburyUK
  2. 2.Queen Mary University of LondonLondonUK

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