What Carter is doing in the Prologue of her book is trying to restore the atmosphere of the dancing culture of the bygone centuries. However hard humankind could try to push the past behind and dive into the future full of new experience, the past still stands aside, looking closely at the people. The past, and the past culture, are something that cannot be thrown out.
Alexandra Carter understands that perfectly well. She recollects the trifles that make the vision of the past with such preciseness that it seems she is a part of this past as well.
She picks the most unusual way to restore the past. At the beginning of the book, she starts enumerating the dancing styles that the dancing hall has witnessed so far during all the epochs that have gone by.
The effect is stunning. One might even see the shadowed shapes of people dancing in the old-fashioned and solemn style. Those shapes are soaring in the air; they are floating together with the wind current and disappear as you are trying to focus your eyes on them.
The names of the dances sound like the names of exotic dishes served once to dukes and princes. The author goes back to the Victorian and Edwardian times to remind of the pomposity and chick of the bygone times. She is trying to convey the idea that these dances are not only a history to read and forget about, but the part of the people living there now, and dancing the modern dances on this very stage.
She illustrates the question of naming dances in the most unusual way. Carter emphasizes that dance has been neglected as a part of the culture for quite a long, and she insists that this injustice should be corrected.
“Dance writers have preferred to overlook what was described as a “lamentable fall” in the artistic standards of the period,” Baker claims.
The names that sound together with the epoch are of rather a peculiar origin. They possess the treats of their creators, for people have always been trying to leave the mark of ownership on their inventions. The ways they did it were peculiar and, at times, not quite successful. Legitimizing a dance has always been hard work, since the people who dance do not much care of who the inventor of this or that pas was, and the origin of the dance is often obscure not only for the mere mortals who dance just for pleasure but also for the people who take up dances as a serious passion of theirs.
The names of dances speak for themselves. And these are not music experts who give them their names. A name that can stay for good, glued to the dance and its history, is the one born at the spot by the person who has just danced it. However, these are the inventors of the dance who have all reasons to give names to their creations, and they do. But those names given by the “mere mortals” live longer and will surely be remembered by future generations.
Choreographers decide that the dances should be studied on specific curriculums. They draw plans for studying dances, create programs that help people to develop their dancing skills and then present those skills to the public. However, it still remains a mystery if one could be taught to dance, for dancing, as every kind of art, can be mastered only by a talent of a man, not an average person. Also considered as a perspective of health, it makes one’s life complete.
The name of the dance is the history of dance in several letters. People seldom think of what they are exactly dancing and what origins the dance has. Its roots, hidden beyond the reach of people’s imagination, can tell a history of a country in brief.
The name of dance can depict its meaning like a picture does. The sounds might be just as meaningful and understandable as a painting or a word typed. The soft sound of the word “ballet” makes people think of something exquisite and elegant, something French that moves with the grace of a butterfly.
The name of the dance can sometimes tell the stories of the other countries that seem so far as if they existed on the other planet.
Yet, so much of the history of that dance has gone unrecorded. Dance historians, concerned with sustaining the respectability of the art, have tended to focus on its heritage from Imperial Russia and France; writers on theatre and popular entertainment perhaps have not felt equipped to tackle such a seemingly specialist activity as dance.
This is the kingdom where the dances can create an empire much more powerful than those existing in the world. However, there is nothing much to talk about since that dance has already created a kingdom of its own, with the amazing names that sound like a flute, or violin, or trombone, or tuba, or guitar. They mix into a strange shape that reminds of the haze rising at dawn and going away as the sun peaks. They make the cultures twist in a dancing pas and intertwine into a bright pattern. Such are dances, like every other kind of arts.