In the late18th century, during Joséphine’s childhood, the French contredanse and the minuet were at their peak of popularity.
After Thermidor (1794), dance will become fashionable in society. A diversified society formed of the newly rich, government officials, and the nobility, found common satisfaction and a need to revenge austerity and fright.
Different populations, separated by knowledge and education, could rival talents in the same dance. With the Consulate, private balls would multiply and salons would be open, such as that of Madame de Récamier.
Napoléon, according to the memoirs by Constant, had an aversion for masked balls, but he wished that the attendees find pleasure at court as well as in the capital and in fact, all of the Empire.
Dance therefore became a means of shining in salons and of advancing in society. Everyone wanted to learn to dance … contredanse, allemande, galop, and even the first attempts at the waltz…