Lord Chesterfield, in his letters to his son, says:
"Dancing is, in itself, a very trifling and silly thing: but it is
one of those established follies to which people of sense are sometimes
obliged to conform; and then they should be able to do it well. And though
I would not have you a dancer, yet, when you do dance, I would have you
dance well, as I would have you do everything you do well." In
another letter, he writes: "Do you mind your dancing while your
dancing master is with you? As you will be often under the necessity of
dancing a minuet, I would have you dance it very well. Remember that the
graceful motion of the arms, the giving of your hand, and the putting off
and putting on of your hat genteelly, are the material parts of a
gentleman's dancing. But the greatest advantage of dancing well is, that
it necessarily teaches you to present yourself, to sit, stand, and walk
genteelly; all of which are of real importance to a man of fashion."
Culture and Dress
of the Best American Society.
By Richard A. Wells, A.M.
King, Richardson &: Co.,
Springfield, Mass.; Cincinnati; Sacramento; Dallas, Texas.
Etiquette for the Ball Room
A lady or
gentleman should finish their toilet before entering the room for dancing,
as it is indecorous in either to be drawing on their gloves, or brushing
their hair. Finish your toilet in the dressing rooms.
Always recognize the lady or gentleman, or the director
of ceremonies with becoming politeness: a salute or bow is sufficient.
A lady should always have an easy, becoming and graceful
movement while engaged in a quadrille or promenade. It is more pleasing to
A lady should never engage herself for more than the
following set, unless by the consent of the gentleman who accompanies her.
It is very impolite and insulting in either lady or gentleman while
dancing in quadrille, to mar the pleasure of others by galloping around or
inside the next set.
If a gentleman, without proper introduction, should ask
a lady with whom he is not acquainted to dance or promenade, the lady
should positively refuse.
Recollect, the desire of imparting pleasure, especially
to the ladies, is one of the essential qualifications of a gentleman.
Ladies should not be too hasty in filling their program
on their entrance to the ball room, as they may have cause for regret
should a friend happen to enter.
An introduction in a public ball room must be understood
by the gentleman to be for that evening only, after which the
acquaintanceship ceases, unless the lady chooses to recognize it at any
further time or place.
A lady should not attend a public ball without an
escort, nor should she promenade the ball room alone; in fact, no lady
should be left unattended.
[from the Universal Dancing Master
by Lucien O. Carpenter, 1880]