Anti-Dance Treatises

A collection of historical anti-dance treatises,
with many available as free downloads.

(115 total, 64 downloadable)

Curated by Nick Enge

In addition, the Library of Dance
maintains a separate list of downloadable
Vintage Dance Manuals.

If you know of another anti-dance treatise that is not yet listed here,
or want to contribute a digital copy of a source that is not yet available here, .


» Bold entries denote sources that can be downloaded from this website. Other entries are known to exist, but are currently unavailable for download.

» (Parentheses) denote links to downloadable digital copies, in .pdf, .djvu, and .txt format. For .djvu files, you'll need a djvu reader (free).

» {Curly brackets} denote links to additional information, including the original sources of the digital downloads, or additional analysis.

» [Square brackets] denote hard copy sources, including my library [Enge], Richard Powers' library [Powers], and other libraries around the world [WorldCat].

Anti-Dance Treatises (Chronological)

Jacob Ratz. (1545). Vom Tanzenn, Obs Gott Verspotten Hab, Obs Sünd Sen, Und Von Andern Erlaupten Kurzweilen Der Christen, Als Spielen, Singen, Trincten, Jagenze. Neuwenstat am Koch. (pdf) {BSB}

John Northbrooke, Minister. (©1577/1843). A Treatise Against Dicing, Dancing, Plays And Interludes. London. (pdf) (pdf) {google} {BSB} [Powers]

[Anonymous]. (1581). A Treatise of Daunses, Wherin It Is Shewed, That They Are As It Were Accessories and Dependants (or Thinges Annexed) to Whoredome: Where Also By The Way Is Touched and Proued, That Playes Are Ioyned and Knit Togeather in a Rancke or Rowe with Them. (pdf) {Godfreys}

Jean Boiseul. (1606). Traitté Contre Les Danses. La Rochelle. (pdf1) (pdf2) (djvu) (txt) {BNF) {congress} {archive}

Charles Borromée. (1664). Traitté Contre Les Danses Et Les Comédies. (pdf) {Toulouse}

Increase Mather. (1686). An Arrow Against the Profane and Promiscuous Dancing, Drawn Out of the Quiver of the Scripture. Boston. (pdf)

Cotton Mather. (c. 1700). A Cloud of Witnesses: Darting Out Light Upon A Case, Too Unseasonably Made Seasonable To Be Discoursed On. Boston. (pdf)

Carl Heinrich Bogatzky. (1750). Schriftsmässige Beantwortung Der Frage: Was Von Dem Weltüblichen Tanzen Und Spielen Zu Halten Sey Und Ob Es Nicht Mit Zur Christlichen Freyheit Gehöre? (pdf) (djvu) {congress} {archive}

[Anonymous]. (1761). An Address to Persons of Fashion, Containing Some Particulars Relating to Balls. London.

Taunton, Massachusetts. (1773). Summons To Appear In Court, For Dancing On New Year's Eve, 1772. Taunton, MA. [Powers]

Abbé François Gauthier. (1785). Traité Contre Les Danses, Et Les Mauvaises Chansons. Paris. (pdf) {google} [Powers]

Mark Davis. (1791). Thoughts on Dancing: Occasioned by Some Late Transactions Among the People Called Methodists. London.

Thomas Olivers. (1792). An Answer to Thoughts on Dancing to Which Are Added Serious Considerations to Dissuade Christian-Parents from Teaching Their Children to Dance. London.

John Phillips. (1798). Familiar Dialogues On Dancing, Between A Minister And A Dancer. New York. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {congress} {archive} [Powers]

Jacob Ide. (1818). The Nature And Tendency Of Balls: Seriously And Candidly Considered, In 2 Sermons. Dedham. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {congress} {archive} [Powers]

Jacob Ide. (1821). Instruction sur la Danse, Extraite des Saintes Exricuts, des Saint Pères, du Daist Conciles, et des Théologiens les Plus Recommandeble par leur Piété et leur Science. Charlesville. (hathi)

Methodist Episcopal Church. (1830). A Solemn Warning To Dancers. New York. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {congress} {archive} [Powers]

Anonymous. (1830). Observations Sur Les Sanses. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {congress} {archive}

Nathan Lewis Rice, D.D. (1847). A Discourse On Dancing. Cincinnati. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {congress} {archive} {archive2} [Powers]

Harvey Newcomb. (1848). "Dancing." Anecdotes For Girls. Boston. (pdf) {google} [Powers]

J. Townley Crane. (1849). An Essay On Dancing (Nelson & Philips Edition). Cincinnati. (pdf) (djvu) {congress} {archive}

J. Townley Crane. (1849). An Essay On Dancing (Carlton & Porter Edition). New York. (pdf) {google}

Benjamin M. (Morgan) Palmer. (1849). Social Dancing Inconsistent With A Christian Profession And Baptismal Vows. Columbia, SC. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {congress} {archive} [Powers]

J. Townley Crane. (1852). An Essay On Dancing (Lane & Scott Edition). New York. [Powers] [WorldCat]

W. A. Miller. (1857). Balls And The Ball Room, A Sermon. Montpelier. [Powers] [WorldCat]

A Young Man (tr.), Abbé Hulot. (1857). Balls And Dancing Parties, Condemned By The Scriptures, translated from Traité Sur La Danse (Fourth Edition). Boston. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {google} {archive} [Powers]

P. (Philip) Anderson, Alias "Honestus". (1857). An Answer To Certain Queries On The Subject Of Dancing. Richmond, VA. (pdf) {google} [Powers]

Rev. S. (Seth) Reed. (1858). A Discourse on the Impropriety of Christians Dancing. Port Huron, MI. (pdf) {google}

Jacob Ide. (1858). Balls and Their Consequences, Considered in Two Sermons. Holliston, MA. [Powers]

Vicomte de Brieux Saint-Laurent. (1863). Quelques Mots Sur Les Danses Modernes. Paris. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {congress} {archive} [Powers]

Rev. John G. Jones. (1867). An Appeal To All Christians, Against The Practice Of Social Dancing. Saint Louis. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {congress} {archive} [Powers]

Jas. H. Brookes. (1869). May Christians Dance? St. Louis. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {congress} {archive} [Powers]

William Cleaver Wilkinson. (1869). The Dance Of Modern Society (Oakley, Mason & Co.). New York. (pdf1) (pdf2) (djvu) (txt) {google} {congress} {archive} [Powers]

American Tract Society. (1870). Dancing As A Social Amusement. New York. [Powers]

Rev. T. (Thomas) De Witt Talmage. (1872). The Abominations Of Modern Society. New York. (pdf) {google} [Powers]

Thomas W. Knox. (1874). Underground, Or Life Below The Surface. Hartford. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {google} {archive} [Powers]

Rev. J. W. Bonham. (1877). The Temple Of Pleasure. New York. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {google} {archive} [Powers]

William Herman (Rulofson?) (psued.) (Ambrose Bierce & Thomas A. Harcourt?). (1877). The Dance Of Death (Third Edition). San Francisco. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {google} {archive} [Powers]

Rev. J. B. Gross. (1879). The Parson On Dancing. Philadelphia. [Powers] [WorldCat]

Rev. George C. Heckman, D.D. (1879). Dancing As A Christian Amusement. Philadelphia. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {congress} {archive} [Powers]

J. (Jonathan) Townley Crane. (1880). An Essay On Dancing (Philips & Hunt Edition). Cincinnati. [Powers]

Mason Long. (1880). Save The Girls. Ft. Wayne, IN. (djvu) (txt) {archive}

Heber Donaldson. (1881). Dancing, Is It A Sin? Trial And Suspension. Oil City, PA. [Powers] [WorldCat]

Mason Long. (1882). Save The Girls. Ft. Wayne, IN. (pdf) {indiana} [Powers]

Rev. S. M. Vernon, D.D. (1882). Amusements, In The Light Of Reason, History And Revelation. Cincinnati &New York. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {google} {archive} [Powers]

Rev. S. M. Hammond. (1883). The History And Mystery Of The Dance. New Haven CT. [Powers] [WorldCat]

T. A. Faulkner. (1884). From The Ball-Room To Hell. Grand Rapids, MI. [Powers]

W. E. Penn. (1884). There Is No Harm In Dancing. St. Louis, MO. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {congress} {archive} [Powers]

Rev. L. (Lachlan) C. (Cumming) Vass. (1884). Amusements And The Christian Life. Philadelphia. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {google} {archive} [Powers]

William Cleaver Wilkinson. (1884). The Dance Of Modern Society (Funk & Wagnalls). New York. (djvu) (txt) {archive} [Powers]

Alfred Trumble, Richard K. Fox (pub.). (1886). Mabille Unmasked, Or The Wickedest Place In The World. New York. [Powers] [WorldCat]

William Cleaver Wilkinson. (1887/©1884). The Dance Of Modern Society (Funk & Wagnalls). New York. (hathi) [Powers]

J. (James) W. (William) Lowber, A.M. (1888). The Devil In Modern Society. Cincinnati. [Powers] [WorldCat]

Rev. T. J. Bailey. (1889). The Modern Dance. Meridian, MS. [Powers]

Rev. C. G. Shutt. (1890). Dancing. A Treatise On The Evils Of The Modern Dance. Northwest Texas. [Powers]

E. L. Powell. (1891). "Perils Of The Dance." Perils of the Church in the World To-Day. Louisville, KY. (djvu) (txt) {archive} [Powers]

J. H. Vincent. (1891/©1888). Better Not: A Discussion Of Certain Social Customs. New York. (pdf) {google} [Powers]

T. (Thomas) A. Faulkner. (1892). From The Ball-Room To Hell. Grand Rapids, MI. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {congress} {archive} [Powers]

Rev. William W. Gardner, D.D. (1893). Modern Dancing: In The Light Of Scripture And Facts. Louisville, KY. (pdf1) (pdf2) (djvu) (txt) {google} {congress} {archive} [Powers]

T. A. Faulkner. (1894). From The Ball-Room To Hell. [Powers] [Enge] [WorldCat]

James H. Brookes. (1895). The Modern Dance. Chicago. [Powers]

William Cleaver Wilkinson. (1895/©1884). The Dance Of Modern Society (Funk & Wagnalls Edition). New York. (pdf) {google}

T. A. Faulkner. (1896). Gates Of Hell -Or- Eastern Ball Room Unmasked. Columbus, OH. [Powers] [WorldCat]

Rev. W. K. Red. (1896). The Devil's Parlor - Or - The Ball Room Unmasked. St. Paris, OH. [Powers] [WorldCat]

Rev. Perry Wayland Sinks. (1896). Popular Amusements And The Christian Life. Chicago. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {google} {archive} [Powers]

M. (Milan) B. (Bertrand) Williams. (1896). Where Satan Sows His Seed. Chicago. [Powers] [WorldCat]

James H. Brookes. (1898). The Modern Dance, An Argument And A Warning Against This Social Peril. Chicago. [Powers]

Jennie C. (Carpenter) Rutty. (1898). Letters Of Love And Counsel For Our Girls. Moundsville, WV. (pdf) {google} [Powers]

Rev. George Davis. (1899). An Account Of The Trial Of Social Dance. Rondout, NY: Kingston Freeman Printing House. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {congress} {archive} [Powers]

Pastor J. (James) M. (Monroe) Hubbert. (1901). Dancers And Dancing; A Calm And Rational View Of The Dancing Question. Nashville, Tenn. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {congress} {archive} [Powers]

George J. Pfefferkorn. (1901). Ist Tanzen Sünde? Chippewa Falls, WI. (pdf) (djvu) {congress} {archive} [Powers]

J. Townley Crane. (1902). An Essay On Dancing (Jennings & Pye Reprint of 1848). Cincinnati. (See 1849). [Powers]

Col. Dick Maple. (1902). Palaces Of Sin, Or The Devil In Society. St. Louis. [Powers] [WorldCat]

Anonymous. (1904). Immorality of Modern Dances. New York. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {congress} {archive}

Rt. Rev. Mgr. Don Luigi Satori. (1910). Modern Dances. Collegeville, IN. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {congress} {archive} [Powers]

Rt. Rev. Mgr. Don Luigi Satori. (1910). Die Modernen Tänze. Collegeville, IN. (pdf) (djvu) {congress} {archive} [Powers]

William Edward Biederwolf. (1911). The Christian Amusements. Is Dancing Sinful? Fort Wayne, IN. [Powers] [WorldCat]

The Vice Committee of Chicago. (1911). The Social Evil In Chicago. Chicago. (djvu) (txt) {archive} [Powers]

Rev. M. V. Williams. (1911). The Dance Hall: The Recruiting Station Of The White Slave Traffic. Athens, PA. [Powers]

H.W. Lytle &J. Dillon. (1912). From Dance Hall To White Slavery. Chicago. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {google} {archive} [Powers]

Henry W. Stough, D.D. (1912). Across The Dead Line Of Amusements. Chapter: The Dance Of Death. Toronto. (djvu) (txt) {archive} [Powers]

Thomas Dixon. (1914). The Root Of Evil. New York. (txt) {archive} [Powers]

T. A. Faulkner. (1916). The Lure Of The Dance With Christ At The Ball. Chicago. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {congress} {archive} [Powers]

M. (Mordecai) F. (Fowler) Ham. (1916). Light On The Dance - The Modern Dance; A Historical And Analytical Treatment. San Antonio. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {congress} [Powers]

Louise de Koven Bowen. (1917). The Public Dance Halls Of Chicago. Chicago. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {congress} {archive} [Powers]

Secundus. (1918). Letters To A Young Minister. Parkersburg, WV. [Powers] [WorldCat]

T. A. Faulkner. (1919). The Lure Of The Dance With Christ At The Ball. LaCrosse, WI. (pdf) {google} [Powers]

John Elward Brown. (1920). Slime Pits. Siloam Springs, Arkans. [Powers] [WorldCat]

Rev. C. Fenwick Reed. (1920). Plain Truths About Dancing. Greencastle, IN. [Powers] [WorldCat]

Dr. R. A. Adams. (1921). The Social Dance. Kansas City. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {congress} {archive} [Powers]

Rev. Melvin C. Drumm. (1921). The Modern Dance And What Shall Take Its Place. Centre Hall, PA. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {congress} {archive} [Powers]

M. (Mordecai) F. Ham, Evangelist. (1921). Light on the Dance - The Modern Dance: Where It Came From, What It Is, What It Does: A Painstaking Analysis And A Pitiless Exposé Of The Most Powerful Social Evil Of The Times. Anchorage, KY. [Powers] [WorldCat]

T. A. Faulkner. (1922). From The Ball Room To Hell And The Lure Of The Dance. Marietta, OH. [Powers] [WorldCat]

Evangelist Guy Lamphear. (1922). The Modern Dance, A Fearless Discussion Of A Social Menace. Evanston, IL. (nypl) [Powers]

J. W. Porter. (1922). Dangers Of The Dance. Louisville, KY. [Powers] [WorldCat]

Evangelist Harry W. Vom Bruch. (1922). The Carnival Of Death. New York. [Powers] [WorldCat]

The Copyright Line

Manuals above this line are in the public domain in the United States, and free downloads are provided whenever available. Below this line, manuals may still be under copyright, and downloads are provided only when their copyright is known to have lapsed, or where such a download is believed to be fair use.

John S. Hamilton. (1923). A Christian And The Dance. Cards And The Theater. Cleveland. [Powers]

C. H. Jack Linn. (1923). Flirting With The Devil Part 2: The Dance - The Devil's Hugging Match. Oregon, Wisconsin. [Powers] [WorldCat]

Rev. Philip Yarrow. (1923). Fighting The Debauchery Of Our Girls And Boys. Chicago. [Powers] [WorldCat]

Rev. Frank Rector. (1925). Why Sinners Dance And Saints Should Not. Providence, RI. [Powers]

J. Harvey DeHoney. (1929). From The Ball Room And Dance Halls To Hell. Portland, OR. [Powers] [WorldCat]

Ella Gardner. (1929). Public Dance Halls, Their Regulation And Place In The Recreation Of Adolescents. Washington, DC. (pdf) (djvu) (txt) {congress} {archive} [Powers]

Church of the B . (1934). Why I Do Not Dance And Why I Do Not Play Cards. Elgin, IL. [Powers]

John R. Rice. (1935). What's Wrong With The Dance? Grand Rapids, MI. [Enge] [Powers] [WorldCat]

John R. Rice. (1935). The Dance: Child of the Brothel, Sister of Drunkenness, Lewdness, and Divorce, the Mother of Lust, a Road to Hell. Dallas, TX. [Powers] [WorldCat]

John L. Bray. (1938). Is It Wrong To Dance? Spartanburg, SC. [Powers] [WorldCat]

Johnson Smith (pub.). (1938). The Confessions Of A Taxi-Dancer. Detroit. {archive} [Powers]

📖 John R. Rice. (c. 1940). What's Wrong with the Dance?

Albert G. Johnson, DD. (1943). The Christian And The Amusement Question. Portland, OR. [Powers] [WorldCat]

John Dillon. (1943). From Dance Hall To White Slavery. Chicago. (See 1912 Edition.) [Powers] [WorldCat]

J. M. Gaskin, Pastor. (1945). The Modern Dance On Trial. Shawnee, OK. [Powers] [WorldCat]

Dan Gilbert, LLD. (1946). The Heritage Of Hell. The Modern Dance. Grand Rapids, MI. [Powers] [WorldCat]

Cecil N. Wright. (1946). Is Dancing Compatible with Christianity? Temple City, CA. [Powers] [WorldCat]

U. E. Harding. (1950). After The Ball. University Park, IA. [Powers] [WorldCat]

James R. McMorrow. (1950). From The Dance Floor To Hell. Ottumwa, IA. [Powers] [WorldCat]

Homer Martinez. (1954). The Case On Dancing. Handsboro, MS. [Powers] [WorldCat]

Vernon A. Schutz, Pastor. (1958). Dangers In Dancing. Wayne, NJ. [Powers]

John L. Bray. (1965). Is It Wrong To Dance? Plant City, FL. [Powers] [WorldCat]

📖 Robert Gee Witty. (c. 1970). Should A Christian Dance?

📖 John R. Rice. (1980). What's Wrong with the Dance?

Dance Laws (Chronological)

Jacobs, Andrew. (2015, March 23). "China Puts a Hitch in the Step of 'Dancing Grannies'." The New York Times. (link)

Matt Sheehan. (2015, March 25). "Wrath of Dancing Grandmothers Forces Chinese Government to Backtrack." The Huffington Post. (link)

Secondary Sources

Ann Louise Wagner. (1997). Adversaries of Dance: From the Puritans to the Present. Urbana, IL. [WorldCat]

Ralph G. Giordano. (2008). Satan in the Dance Hall: Rev. John Roach Straton, Social Dancing, and Morality in 1920s New York City. Lanham. [WorldCat]

Mark Knowles. (2009). The Wicked Waltz and Other Scandalous Dances: Outrage at Couple Dancing in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries. Jefferson, NC. [WorldCat]

For more dance descriptions, see our three books on dancing:
The Book of Mixers: 100 Easy-Teach Dances for Getting Acquainted (2022) by Richard Powers and Nick & Melissa Enge,
Cross-Step Waltz: A Dancer's Guide (2019) by Richard Powers and Nick & Melissa Enge, and
Waltzing: A Manual for Dancing and Living (2013) by Richard Powers and Nick Enge.

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