Friday, July 12, 2013

The Ball Room

Enjoy this entry regarding the ball room and proper etiquette.

Chesterfield says, “dancing is one of those established follies, to which people of sense are sometimes obliged to conform.”

It is usual, at public balls, to appoint a master of the ceremonies, and stewards to regulate them: if you wish to dance with any lady with whom you are unacquainted, you must apply to the master of ceremonies for an introduction; and if there be no manifest difference of station, he will introduce you.

A few words respecting dress and dancing may not be here irrelevant. In addition to what has been said, you will always where white, or light-colored gloves, at a ball.

Do not dance a quadrille or contre dance unless you have some knowledge of the figure. In dancing, let your steps be few, but well and easily performed, and prefer the elegant to the ostentatious; lead your partner gracefully through the figure, lightly taking her hand. When the dance is concluded, conduct her to a seat, and pay her those attentions which will suggest themselves to ever body but the most uncultivated boor – she may require her shawl, a scarf, refreshment – these you may suggest without being improperly assiduous.

Neither in a ball-room, nor in any other public place, be too ready to take offence at imaginary slights, or even at apparent rudeness. Extreme cases may occur which demand notice; but an intentional insult is rarely given; if such should occur, the presence of ladies should make you notice so slight that none but the aggressor should be aware of it; a contrary line of conduct will not add to your reputation for courage or gallantry. A well-bred woman will not thank you for making her a spectacle in a public room, but will assuredly blame your rashness, unless the case be one of unqualified indecorum; even then, (if it be possible,) a man of true courage will disguise his resentment, and seek a proper time for explanation.

Should a lady decline dancing with you, and afterwards dance with another person, you will not be offended, if you will suffer yourself to reflect on the many reasons which may have induced the apparent rudeness. Personal preference, and the various emotions which may agitate the female, heart will furnish abundant cause for her decision, without her considering you either a fool or a boor, both of which characters she would infallibly attach to you, if, by indecorous conduct on the occasion, you thwarted her wishes; whereas, by a judicious blindness you will probably secure her respect. Recollect, the desire of imparting pleasure, especially to the fair sex, is one of the essential qualifications of a gentleman.

If a lady be engaged when you request her to dance, and you have obtained her promise for the succeeding dance, be sure to be in attendance, and avoid the appearance of neglect. No excuse can be sufficient apology for forgetfulness.

From: Pocket Book of Etiquette Gentleman's - 1840

No comments: