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Beau Nash

Stage Name

Birth Name

Beau Nash Richard Beau Nash
   
   Beau Nash, Dance master of Court was one of the most interesting dance figures of the eighteenth century. He was the son of a Welsh country gentleman, he entered the Army while still in his teens, but after a short period of magnificent riotousness resigned his commission because "he did not care to be trammeled by the narrowness of a military life." Even at this time he was one of the acknowledged leaders of the day, and his horses, clothes, and dinners, had begun to set their mark on the "beau monde."
   Living, as he did, upon no apparent income whatever,
It is little wonder that at times his companions suspected him of being a highwayman. Probably he won large sums by gambling, and he would also have been merely following the custom of the day in owing his tradesmen for everything. In whatever way his income was derived, he certainly stands out as one of the greatest "chevaliers d'industrie" in an age when this was almost one of the fashionable professions.    Moving with certain other society leaders to Bath ( SW England,) his wonderful organizing powers soon found scope for themselves here also, and he started those famous evening functions and balls with which his name will always be connected. It was he who engaged the band of musicians, who at a sign from him at the close of the evening instantly stopped playing, thus causing all dancing to end; and so much was his name feared, that no one would have dared to go against his wishes. He was appointed by his own desire, "Master of the Ceremonies," around 1704 and once being elected he ruled the assemblies with an iron hand. The well-known "Code of Etiquette at Bath" was drawn up by him, and was posted in the dancing rooms, and woe betide any hapless person who broke its rules.

   He himself started all the balls by taking a lady out to dance the Minuet, the rest of the evening being always carried out on the lines of a fixed precedent. At eleven o'clock to the minute, he held up his finger, and the music stopped, and after a short interval for final refreshment, all the guests left the building. Brewer describes him in three words as a "notorious diner-out," but so great was the wonderful personality of the man, that I have no doubt, had he chosen to devote his fine organizing powers to the services of the country instead of to the fads of society, he would have become one of the leading statesmen of the time.

--However, his name, as Beau Nash, Master of the Ceremonies of Bath, has been handed down to us in a perhaps more permanent manner than it would have been had he been a statesman only, and will probably last longer. As a dramatic contrast to this life of almost regal magnificence, he ultimately died, destitute, friendless, and in rags. ( St. Jackson)

Birth Place

Birth Date

Spouse

Offspring

Swansea, SC Wales 1674 - 1762 n/a n/a
               

Dance Types

Dance Partners

Music Titles

Minuet n/a n/a
Quadrilles            
Pavane            
Court Dances            
Ballet            
Allemande            
Courant            

Night Clubs

Theaters

Stage

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