Dancing is-the art ofmoving the body, agreeably to certain rales, and adjusted to the measures of music, either sung or played. It is generally the effect or indication of joy among most nations 3 though there are tribes in South' America who dance to shew their sorrow ; and it also formed a part of the funeral solemnities of the ancients.
In the heavy days of autumn and winter, when the atmosphere is loaded with humid particles, when a sedentary life disposes the human body to hypochondriacal af-fections, dancing is an admirable amusement. Independently of the beneficial effects which music and a cheerful company display on a susceptible mind, moderate dances possess every advantage of gentle exercise. But those maniacal turnings and gesticulations, which have lately become fashionable in this country, under the appellation of German Vaults (or ra-ther Walzen, i. e. performing a cir-cular motion, like that of a man on the eve of intoxication), are attended with very different effects. It would be superfluous to enumerate the pernicious consequences resulting from that frantic inclination to distort the human frame : we may confidently assert, that Walzen is at present almost universally exploded in the cultivated circles of society among the Germans, who consider it as a dangerous and vulgar dance. In confirmation of this statement, we meet with a treatise, expressly published, On the Moral and Physical Consequences of Dancing; addressed to the guardians of youth, by Dr. Spo-nitzer (Berlin, 1795) ; an enlightened physician, whose satire and judgment are equally conspi-cuous.
Violent dancing, especially in the heated atmoshpere of a crowded assembly, produces a temporary-fever, even in the bye-standers, who inspire an air exceedingly vitiated by the breath of persons apparently in a semi-delirious trance, and by the suffocating vapour of candles. The blood is unnaturally propelled to the breast and head - hence arise frequent colds, coughs, and periodical head-achs ; perspiration is wantonly checked; the lungs are forcibly expanded, and the foundation is laid for that avenging disease, consumption, which spares neither rank, age, nor sex, and often exterminates whole families.
On the other hand, we do not presume to discourage the shorter and less fatiguing dances, such as minuets and poloigneses, which are not only modest and becoming, but contribute to the graceful form and motion of the body, Every provident parent, who feels the value of sound and healthy children, will readily concur with us in opinion, that so precarious a public amusement ought to be regulated by the State, or at least controlled by the superior sense of the aged ; and not to be absolutely intrusted to the choice or caprice of youth, the gay, and the giddy. See Balls.