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Chopin and His World$
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Jonathan D. Bellman and Halina Goldberg

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691177755

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691177755.001.0001

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Dance and the Music of Chopin: The Polonaise

Dance and the Music of Chopin: The Polonaise

(p.187) Dance and the Music of Chopin: The Polonaise
Chopin and His World

Eric Mckee

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses how the polonaise served as an emblem of Poland's ruling class or as a template for genteel behavior. It also represented the nation of Poland, its people, customs, and history. Well aware of their shared noble associations, Polish dance commentators often began their discussion of the polonaise by comparing it to the minuet. Their endgame was to show how native Polish elements made the polonaise far superior, in their view, to the more theatrical and artificial minuet. The chapter also explores several of the polonaise's expressive and cultural associations in currency during the last quarter of the eighteenth century and beyond: national identity, otherness, and the Polish nobleman.

Keywords:   polonaise, Poland, ruling class, genteel behavior, minuet, Polish dance, cultural associations, national identity

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