Light fantastic: dance floor courtship in New Zealand is a beautiful and evocative social history of public dance. From the first settlers' socials and Governor's balls to the formality of debutantes and the ritual of 'coming out', through sock hops and disco to dance raves, the story of public dances is arranged thematically and chronologically, the culmination of two years' research. Highly visual, with photos and printed ephemera running throughout, it is based on the successful 2005 First Dance exhibition held at the National Library Gallery in Wellington, curated by the author. Like Thrift to Fantasy, text is organised into themes including invitations, preparation and dance lessons, dancehalls and decorations, codes of conduct (debutantes, proximity), wallflowers and belles of the ball, dance styles, mishaps and broken hearts. Each section will include true life dancehall anecdotes and stories, with extracts from letters, diaries and first person accounts, all lavishly illustrated with period photographs, exquisite dance cards, dance notices and advertisements.
The dance cabarets of the 20s and 30s, tea dances for troops during the wars and the role of the public hall dances in rural society will all be covered in a wide-ranging and informative review of an enduring social tradition.