[p5] BOOKS professing to teach certain subjects without the aid of master may be numbered by the hundred. How to learn a modern language, how to play the piano or any other musical instrument, how to learn book-keeping and to become initiated into the mysteries of law and medicine, are dealt with in volumes to be bought at any bookseller's. I have no doubt that a certain knowledge of the above subjects may be thus acquired, but in answer to those responsible for the publications professing to teach dancing without the aid of a master, I maintain it is impossible to become an expert dancer without the aid of a qualified teacher. In offering my book to the public, I wish this to be distinctly understood. I have, however, described the various dances as accurately as possible, and hope my readers may derive some benefit therefrom. During the past few years, several letters have been written to me, principally from the country, for descriptions of various dances, especially the Lancers, a fact which prompted me to publish the present volume. I have given more particulars of the several figures- in the Lancers and Quadrilles than will be found in the average ball-room guide, and have, so far as it is possible, avoided using technical terms, which more often than not leave the novice in a hopeless state of bewilderment.
[p.6] It will be seen at a glance that I do not attempt any thing like a history of the Terpsichorean Art. My so doing would only mean a repetition of what has appeared in several cleverly-written books, in every sense of the word "histories" of a fascinating art, one which requires a goodly-sized volume to do it anything like justice.
I have simply confined myself to describing the movements of the modern dances. I have included hints kindly contributed by Mrs. Catterson Smith, applicable to those who closely participate in the Castle season. I do not think notes similar to these will be found in any other book on dancing, and feel confident the information will be acceptable to a large number of my readers.
In order to enhance the attractiveness of the book, I have included a number of illustrations, the majority of which are reproduced from Messrs. Chancellor's photo graphs of some of my juvenile pupils, who have appeared with such success at the large fêtes held in Dublin during the past few years. The Sketches are from the pencil of my brother.
For the article dealing with Physical Exercise I am indebted to Sergt.-Major Wright, one of the best authorities on the subject.
T. LEGGETT BYRNE.
'Terpsichore - Her Votaries and Fashions' by T. Leggett-Byrne, Dublin, 1898: