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It’s Easy to Dismiss Debutante Balls, But Their History Can Help Us Understand Women’s Lives

by Kristen Richardson

The debutante ritual flourished roughly from 1780 to 1914—beginning with the first debutante ball in London and ending with the outbreak of World War I. During these years, Great Britain became the dominant power in the West, and its culture spread outward from the fashionable capital of London to provincial cities in Britain and eventually to its far-flung colonies.

His Majesty’s British subjects, and later Americans, too, waited on coral atolls and in bustling port cities for ships that brought newspapers filled with word of fashionable music, dance and conversation. Daughters had their seamstresses copy dresses they saw, adapting them to climates with Spanish moss and pink sand or icy winters and salty air. Even the daughters of an innkeeper at a ferry on the Shenandoah walked for seven miles three times a week to attend the lessons with a French dancing master who taught them to trace the same quadrilles danced by aristocrats in distant, foreign courts.  CLICK TO CONTINUE

Icon credit: amysmartgirls.com

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SheVille Team

We are a one-of-a-kind magazine that provides local, regional, national and international information about women’s lives and education, performing and visual arts and writing, the environment, green living and sustainability and regional Western North Carolina business, people and events. “Villages preserve culture: dress, food and dance are a few examples. As villages grow in population and turn into towns, local cafes make way for large American chains. Handmade leather sandals are discarded for a pair of Western sneakers. Due to its small size, a village fosters a tight-knit sense of community. Justpeace.org explains the meaning of the African proverb, “It takes a village,” by stating that a sense of community is critical to maintaining a healthy society. Village members hold a wealth of information regarding their heritage: they know about the ancient traditions, methods of production and the resources of the land. When villages become dispersed or exterminated in times of war, this anthropological knowledge disappears. Large cities are not as conducive to growing and producing foods such as fruits and vegetables. Villages, on the other hand, usually have ample amounts of land and other resources necessary for growing conditions.” The Importance of Villages by Catherine Capozzi Our Mission SheVille.org provides readers with information important to women’s lives and well-being. We focus primarily on the areas of education & health, business & finance, the arts & the environment. We are particularly interested in local & regional resources, organizations & events.
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