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Post Info TOPIC: Dancing in Poldark


Student

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Date: Dec 10 3:08 PM, 2018
RE: Dancing in Poldark
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I agree totally with all of you who were upset about the portrayals of Ross in this series, season three in particular. I hate the reason why they did this to Ross. I have only read up to Miller's Dance  and I am starting The Loving cup. It does seem Ross has mellowed a bit with his evolving status in life and his age. I think in his middle age he is enjoying life more and seems to be more comfortable with his  marriage and circumstances in life.



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Date: Dec 9 9:55 PM, 2018
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Ross Poldark wrote:

Can't remember anything specifically but I would have thought that WG would have included Cornish village dancing of some sort, for example during the Solstices such as the annual Maypole celebrations....

 


Ross, thanks for sharing the video! I think it gives a feel for how events might have been experienced during Ross's time. I don't know if the following count as Cornish village dancing sessions but they are scenes that WG describes so vividly that one might be a bystander.

(1) The Midsummer's Eve celebration in TSFTS. Caroline Enys assumed the role of the Lady of the Flowers, then villagers danced around a huge bonfire.

(2) In the MD, after the Truro races, a tipsy Music Thomas led a lively dance/procession around the race track. It soon got out of hand. 

(There was a lot of dancing going on in The Miller's Dance.) 

  



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Date: Dec 9 9:11 PM, 2018
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Little Henry wrote:

I take GREAT exception to that scene in the series where Demelza says Ross is hiding so he doesn't have to dance, so much so that I wrote to DH about it telling her that she deprived her audience of seeing Ross and Demelza dancing, which is what happened in the book and which is what people would have wanted to see.  She is showing Ross to be an insensitive boor as compared to the poetic, artistic Hugh so that Demelza cannot be blamed so much for her infidelity.  She also shows Ross not wanting Demelza to get dressed up and in the books I believe he wanted Demelza to look nice and encouraged her to have new dresses.  I see no references in the books that Ross didn't like dancing or wouldn't dance when asked.  He didn't even need much persuasion to dance with Harriet the first time at Demelza's urging.  This was the worst part of the series for me as it did not show Ross as he was in the books.


 I agree with you Little Henry. Ross did enjoy a dance with Demelza and on one occasion with Harriet. I applaud you for writing to DH about this. Throughout series 3 Ross was portrayed very badly and inaccurately. Now that the series have all but ended there will, I hope, be less confusion between the books and the personal creations of DH. 



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Date: Dec 9 6:51 PM, 2018
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Can't remember anything specifically but I would have thought that WG would have included Cornish village dancing of some sort, for example during the Solstices such as the annual Maypole celebrations....

 



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"Perfection is a full stop .... Ever the climbing but never the attaining Of the mountain top." W.G.

 

 



Student

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Date: Dec 9 5:46 PM, 2018
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Dave wrote:

 

I use that term for Hugh Armitage to differ him from "Horrible Hairy Horny Brodrugan" or HHHHB. It has a nice alliterative sound to it don't you think?


 

Dave, I like the comparison and lump these two lechers together as well. They are twins under the skin, and I don't think it's a coincidence that they share the same name. Sir Hugh was lewd, crude, and direct; Lt. Hugh was smooth, sneaky, and a consummate backstabber. But they differ only specifically in their efforts to bed Ross's wife. Sir Hugh wooed through gossip and pigs; Lt. Hugh through puerile poetry and smoldering glances. At least Sir Hugh's approach was honest. Regrettably, Demelza was not equally repulsed by both.

Even their dances with Demelza were aimed at sexual conquest. True to type, Sir Hugh made no bones about this at his party in Warleggan. HA used his dancing with her inTFS to continue his scheming, backstabbing, seduction campaign. Unfortunately (despite all my sideline shouting no), Demelza's romantic haze prevented her from seeing that Hugh-the-Seducer was in fact Sir Hugh, in princely disguise.

 

 



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Date: Dec 8 3:26 PM, 2018
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Hollyhock wrote

Since we hear his thoughts, we also know that Ross enjoyed dancing with his wife in TFS. We don't hear her thoughts about their dance; only her thoughts about "Hugh the Seducer" (an apt term Dave).

I use that term for Hugh Armitage to differ him from "Horrible Hairy Horny Brodrugan" or HHHHB. It has a nice alliterative sound to it don't you think?



-- Edited by Dave on Saturday 8th of December 2018 04:03:54 PM

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Student

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Date: Nov 27 4:06 AM, 2018
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Interesting perspectives Dave and Blackleburr, but I'm not sure Ross had any reluctance about dancing. He probably was reluctant to dance with silly women, but would have found it pleasant to dance with women he liked. We know that in Bella he danced quite a bit and enjoyed it immensely, especially with Harriet and Demelza. But I'm sure they were not his only partners.

I too think that Ross would have been an excellent dancer. He had forced himself to ignore the pain in his ankle and no longer limped, so that would not have been an impediment. I think many women would have wanted him as a partner; I can imagine the banter between Caroline and him as they glided around the dance floor.

Blackleburr, as you suggest, the scene of Ross dancing with Elizabeth was a tv invention. At the Truro ball, he bolted as soon as Elizabeth and party made their unexpected entry. I don't believe he ever danced with her in the books, so he wouldn't have that memory as a reason to not dance with Demelza.

Since we hear his thoughts, we also know that Ross enjoyed dancing with his wife in TFS. We don't hear her thoughts about their dance; only her thoughts about "Hugh the Seducer" (an apt term Dave).

So, for me, the question is not if Ross was reluctant to dance with Demelza. Rather, it's who did Demelza enjoy dancing with more, her husband or Hugh-the-Seducer?

 



-- Edited by Hollyhock on Tuesday 27th of November 2018 04:26:10 AM

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Date: Nov 27 2:51 AM, 2018
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I take GREAT exception to that scene in the series where Demelza says Ross is hiding so he doesn't have to dance, so much so that I wrote to DH about it telling her that she deprived her audience of seeing Ross and Demelza dancing, which is what happened in the book and which is what people would have wanted to see.  She is showing Ross to be an insensitive boor as compared to the poetic, artistic Hugh so that Demelza cannot be blamed so much for her infidelity.  She also shows Ross not wanting Demelza to get dressed up and in the books I believe he wanted Demelza to look nice and encouraged her to have new dresses.  I see no references in the books that Ross didn't like dancing or wouldn't dance when asked.  He didn't even need much persuasion to dance with Harriet the first time at Demelza's urging.  This was the worst part of the series for me as it did not show Ross as he was in the books.



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Date: Nov 26 10:42 PM, 2018
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You're not alone in it, Dave. I was also thinking recently about Ross's reluctance to dance, but my reasoning went in a different direction: It seems to me that Ross was in fact quite good at dancing - when he chose to do so (a bit like with his manners - as Demelza noted at Julia's christening party, Ross could be absolutely charming, if only he wanted to) - as evidenced in his early dances with Ruth Teague and with Elizabeth* at the Easter Charity Ball, as well as in his later dances with Lady Harriet.

Could the cause for his apparent reluctance to dance with Demelza, then, be that he associated dancing with his first love for Elizabeth? It would make a lot of sense - to me - that he tried to avoid repeating with his wife stuff that he'd done before with his ex.

Quite possibly, though, I got this idea from the TV series rather than from the books, as on screen there were several lovey-happy scenes of Ross dancing with Elizabeth, but hardly any of him dancing with Demelza (not a formal dance, in any case). Across the books I think the balance is more in favour of dances with Demelza - but please correct me if I'm wrong.

*Correction: It is only in the TV series that Ross danced with Elizabeth at that ball. In the book, he danced with Ruth and with Verity. Thanks Hollyhock for pointing this out!



-- Edited by Blackleburr on Tuesday 27th of November 2018 09:32:11 AM

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Date: Nov 26 9:18 PM, 2018
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I often find it amusing that I am often in sync with what other Poldark members are thinking in regards to these books. As I have read through them I often wondered about Ross and dancing. He as we all know seems reluctant to join in with the dancing.  Now I am differentiating between impromptu boisterous dancing that went on at Julia's christening and the Miller's Dance at Valentine's party in George's house in Cardew.  I am thinking of the formal dancing at the Ball and Warleggan's home. In the films Elizabeth and Hugh the Seducer comment on Ross's lack of attention to Demelza during dancing sessions.  I believe Ross's lack of participating was due to two reasons.

1. His war injury to his leg makes it difficult at times to dance properly.

2. This I believe is more important, critical even,  he never learned how to do the formal dance under a dance master as many young men of this class would have done. When he was younger, a teenager, he would, of course, disdain that activity as a class privilege that his rebellious nature rejected. Then the war intervenes for 5 years which prevented him from participating in dancing. By the time he was mustered out of service he had other things to occupy him and dancing was not one of them.

 

Now you might think, well what about Demelza? My answer would be Demelza was musically inclined, she knew how to count, keep rhythm, and was a quick learner. Watching others dance she would quickly catch on. Lastly, there is always Verity working with her, I imagine the two of them had a great time and much laughter practicing the steps. 



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Date: Nov 24 1:37 PM, 2018
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At her reception party in Bella, Senora de Bertendona, Amadora's mother, thought the guests might be oafish (she was charmed by Ross of course). But I wonder what she thought of the Trenwith dances. During the waltz someone fell, and the dance continued around the fallen party. I wonder if this sent the Senora upstairs, out of the fray.

The Floral Dance was lively but, according to George, the Miller's Dance had been wild.

As he spitefully remembers it:

"Indeed after the disgraceful scenes that took place at Cardew on the night of The Miller's Dance, when Valentine had scarred the top of one of his best tables with his boots, George would have put the house in quarantine for the rest of the holidays: the whole evening had been quite outrageous and should have been brought to an abrupt close before it got out of hand: unfortunately, more than ever this holiday, Valentine had found a firm ally in Harriet." TMD, 372. 

He was thinking this while plotting Valentine's marriage. He was an awful marriage broker, as his earlier disastrous match for Morwenna proved. I like that the Miller's Dance became a force, in his own house, that he could not control. Rather like his wife and son, whose marriage he also could not control.

 

 

 



-- Edited by Hollyhock on Sunday 25th of November 2018 01:23:25 PM

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Date: Nov 23 7:59 PM, 2018
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I love how the Miller's Dance brings Clowance to the very depth of her feelings for Stephen "as if the music had been communicating something to her which had been taken in by her psychic self" and she knows the inevitability that she and Stephen will be reunited.  It's interesting that Aidan Turner used to be a ballroom dancer.  If I were Debbie Horsfield I would create a wonderful dance scene for Ross and Demelza in those gap years.



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Date: Nov 23 7:21 PM, 2018
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The very first dance Ross and Demelza have, the non-dance, as Blackleburr calls it, is very like the first dance Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy have.  You can feel that each of them is very much on guard but at the same time they are also a good match for their partner.  You know something good is going to develop.

Ross and Demelza are married by this time of course, but life is stormy and difficult through those early years.  The fact that each of them care desperately shows they have something worth battling for, she trying to get through to Ross who has such a strange mood upon him.  

With Lizzie and Darcy I feel the interest sparks between them from that point although it still has a long way to run.

I also like the dance Clowance attends at Cardew when Tom Guildford is there.  He is so friendly and unassuming after all her heartache and worry about Demelza.  When the news comes from her father, she feels elated and the Miller's dance is a lovely bit of frivolity for her to rejoice in.  Then she is brought up short by reminders of Stephen.  So many emotions in so few minutes.



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Date: Nov 21 1:08 AM, 2018
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Yes, it was the valse a deux temps that I had in mind, but the Floral dance is equally illustrative. Similar to Little Henry, what delighted me more than the dancing was Ross's happiness. After so much pain and suffering, he was finally able to let go for a little while. In his exuberance he kissed almost every woman in sight, which got him in trouble.  

When Demelza gets him home, she fondly scolds him, and their playful back and forth is wonderful. At one point, to get back in her good graces, Ross asks her to sing the song she first sang at Trenwith, "I d'pluck a fair rose for my love." She tells him, "tomorrow Ross, do you think you can get round me so easy?"  "Yes," he tells her.

The song reference is a nice touch, taking their relationship full circle. This is some of the best dialog in the saga.



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Date: Nov 21 12:26 AM, 2018
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Ross and Demelza also dance at Mrs. Tracy's reception in London in TAT.  Thankfully, Monk Adderley only danced with her once.

When Hollyhock mentioned "Bella" I thought of Ross and Harriet dancing a "valse a deux temps".  Ross is feeling bold and reckless.  "He slid and hopped and swirled" and we're taken into the way a dance can be exhilarating and take you to another place.  I imagine them dancing quite wildly and fast and then he hears Bella's soaring voice which at last he hears as "clear pure tones".  He forgot his lameness and he forgot his grieving and knew himself to be happy.  It had to be someone other than Demelza to do this.  Thankfully, they did dance the Floral Dance together and I'm glad it was long and also exhilarating.  I love their conversation later about the evening, Demelza not angry with his "lecherous prancing" as she calls it but not entirely easy on him either as he had kissed just too many women.  This episode reminded me of the time Harriet taught Ross how to waltz at Geoffrey-Charles' party at Trenwith and I was shocked when Ross mentions it was 6 years ago.  It's in "The Loving Cup" and was a delightful passage also.  Thankfully, it was Demelza who suggested he dance with her.  I'm sure Ross and Demelza had a few dances here too.



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Date: Nov 20 8:05 PM, 2018
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I've always been enthralled by the "non-dance" that Ross and Demelza had while arguing on the dance floor at the Assembly Ball in Demelza - you could feel the sparks flying! And the annoyance of the other dancers - priceless  

Also, isn't it a bit of a shame that we only get to see Ross and Demelza dancing together so rarely in the books? Apart from the Assembly Ball, the only other two occasions I can think of are the Floral Dance in Bella Poldark (is this the one that's your favourite, Hollyhock?), and a dance at Lord Falmouth's in The Four Swans (and there we only get to hear that they have danced, not witness it firsthand). I would definitely be up for more!


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Date: Nov 20 5:20 PM, 2018
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While chasing a reference about dance in another series, it occurred to me that WG includes dance scenes in all the books. He even named his 9th book for the popular Miller's Dance.

In RP, at the Truro ball, Ruth Teague is forever smitten when Ross chooses her for his dance partner. He actually finds himself having a good time until Elizabeth shows up and reminds him that he is heartbroken. It is also at that ball that Verity realizes Blamey is the love of her life. (pp. 82- )

Scenes in various books include both ballroom and folkdances. The gavotte might be the dance most mentioned, but the English 'country' dances seem to be the best loved. For those of us unfamiliar with these country dances, WG lists colorful ones throughout the saga.

In Demelza, when the miners and their families attend Julia's second christening party, their country dances include "An Old Man's a Bedful of Bones," "Cuckolds All Awry," and "All in a Garden Green." In the "Cushion Dance" (more of a game really), WG again shows his wonderful comedic talent. Aunt Betsy Triggs brings the house down when she manages to kiss a wildly protesting Jud Paynter. (Even the image of someone kissing Jud does not detract from the hilarity.) Chpt. 5, pp. 60- (Would love to see a performance of An Old Man...)

There are many more dance scenes throughout the books. While most are happy, one or two are very sad. My favorite occurs in Bella. I'll wait to see if anyone else likes that particular one or has other memorable episodes.



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