Viennese Czechs dance the “Czech Beseda” : form and meaning of the dance in the 21st century
The Czech Beseda dance represented an important and frequently chosen piece of salon dances repertoire in the Czech Lands which was often danced from the 1860s, through the era of the First Czechoslovak Republic and the period of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. However, only few dancers are able to dance the Beseda today. Both in the past and present, the Beseda represented an element of Czech culture, which has been frequently evoked, revived and practiced among Czech emigrants and expats abroad. Till the present it is possible to observe dancing of the Czech Beseda at social gatherings and cultural events of the Viennese Czechs. Through a theoretical perspective of ethnomusicology, respectively anthropology of dance, the aim of this study is to reply to following research questions: which form of the Czech Beseda do the contemporary Viennese Czechs dance? Where and in which contexts is it possible to encounter the Beseda dance with? Who is interested in learning and dancing the Beseda in Vienna today and why? Who does teach the Beseda in Vienna and how is it transmitted? Why the Beseda is important for the contemporary Viennese Czechs, which values and meanings are associated with the dance?