Dancing is hard. Even country dancing needs practice if it is to be enjoyed by dancers and onlookers. Baroque ballroom and stage dances require training, as well as a great deal of practice and rehearsal.
How can we recognise bad dancing?
Poor technique, unstylish and unmusical performances, dancers who ignore each other and are unmindful of their audience, dancers who simply don’t enjoy dancing – any one of these can make for bad dancing. More than one almost certainly does. Dancers of 18th and early 19th-century choreographies come from a variety of dance backgrounds. Some have no dance background at all. Just like dancers in other genres, they need to be aware of their level of skill and be prepared to work to improve it.
I am not going to draw attention to particular performances that I think are bad. I would much rather concentrate on those I think are good and try to analyse what makes them so. However, I do want to foster greater awareness of the different levels of skill and the constructive criticism that will raise standards among performers of these dances from history.
Dances from the 18th and early 19th centuries are worth the best performances we can give them. That is how we can share and enjoy them, among ourselves and with the wider world.