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Allan Thomas

( b 1796; d 1866). Scottish dancing-master . He was the most prominent member of a family of dance teachers in Scotland in the early 19th century, whose descendants numbered more than 20 teachers over five generations and who were active in Scotland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand for some 200 years. With his brothers John, Robert and James, Lowe was influential in establishing Scottish dance in a modern ballroom form. The brothers taught in different parts of Scotland and together wrote Lowes’ Ball-Conductor and Assembly Guide (Edinburgh, c1830), one of the most extensive 19th-century dance manuals. Joseph Lowe also published many arrangements of Scottish dance-tunes for the piano. From 1851 to 1860 he was dance tutor to the family of Queen Victoria, and his journal of these years gives an insight into his teaching at Windsor and Balmoral. His workbook, which contains step descriptions of dances and some entries by his son Joseph Eager Lowe, who taught in New Zealand and Australia, is in the National Library of New Zealand....

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Meredith Ellis Little

(fl early 18th century). French dancing-master and author. He was dancing-master to Elisabetta Farnese (1692–1766), who became Queen of Spain on her marriage to Philip V in 1714. Rameau wrote two important works on French court dance, both published in Paris in 1725. The first, entitled Le maître à danser, is the most authoritative exposition of the early 18th-century French style of dancing, a style which was performed throughout Europe because of its elegance and refinement. The book was read and approved by Louis Pécour, dancing-master for the Paris Opéra, and may thus be taken to represent the central French practice of its day. It gives a clear and detailed account of such matters as the correct way to stand, move and ask a lady to dance, etiquette at court balls and the movements and steps of dances, as well as a complete description of the minuet. It is directed primarily towards the needs of social dancing, and does not discuss virtuoso practices peculiar to ballet. The book, which was several times reprinted, contains many excellent drawings which clarify the verbal descriptions. John Essex translated it into English in ...