Thursday, March 18th, 2010...2:14 pm

Ward Collection gets a Second Life

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Leslie Weston poses at the Whitehorn Library in Second LifeTo Move in Measure
Jack & Elaine Whitehorn Memorial Library, Caledon Victoria City, Second Life

Ward cataloger Andrea Cawelti provides a glimpse into the social dance world of the 19th century, under her Second Life nom de plume Leslie Weston. Using primary sources from the John Milton and Ruth Neils Ward Collection at Houghton Library, she illustrates the period of immense change in the ballrooms of Europe and America. Dance orchestras were no longer the prerogative of royal courts, and dance became a vital social pastime of all classes. Complicated choreographed group dances gave way to intimate couple dances like the waltz, and courting was never the same. The exhibit comes down on March 31, but in the meantime interested Second Life residents can visit the Whitehorn Library in Second Life by following this SURL.


  • Rosalie Oldrich
    March 18th, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    This is an incredible exhibit and has been visited by many people. The images cover two floors of the Whitehorn Library, with in some cases sets of photographs illustrating how dances can be done. The exhibit also has a selection of videotapes demonstrating many of the dances being performed. Worth seeing.

  • Enjoyed seeing the evolution of the dances, especially the waltz. Now if I could only dance like those demos…

  • Rosalie Oldrich
    March 18th, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    I’m thinking that between the illustrated instructions and the videos, you should become the Fred Astaire of the 19th century!

  • I agree. I have tried out the dances there, and find that it really brings the material to life and makes for a memorable experience. I suppose I could try dancing through real life archives, but somehow suspect the effect would not be the same.