Social Success: Five Pieces of Regency Etiquette (Part Seven)

Following on from our earlier discussions on the subject of Regency etiquette, we shall once again turn our attention to the conduct required of ladies and gentlemen in a ballroom. Having previously addressed our remarks principally to gentlemen in the last installment of this series, the following hints and tips are intended to have a more general appeal and readership. Therefore, we shall now turn our attention to the etiquette of dancing. Acquiring knowledge the correct conduct to which one ought to adhere in the ballroom is, of course, a matter of some concern to ladies and gentlemen desirous to do well in Society.

  1. A dance really should not be called twice during a ball.[1] [2] However, it is acceptable to make an exception to this rule in instances where the assembled company particularly wishes to repeat a dance.[3]
  2. It would be most ill-bred and wrong for a lady or gentleman to leave a set before the conclusion of a dance.[4] [5]
  3. It is generally felt that partners are changed after two dances.[6]
  4. If a lady or gentleman should be in want of a partner, they should ask the Master of Ceremonies to supply one.[7]
  5. If the ballroom should be sadly lacking in gentleman, two ladies may dance together, but only if they have applied for and received the consent of the Master of Ceremonies.[8]

Bibliography

Wilson, T., An Analysis of Country Dancing, Wherein all the Figures used in that Polite Amusement are Rendered Familiar by Engraved Lines: Containing also Directions for Composing almost any Number of Figures to One Tune, With some Entire New Reels: Together with the Complete Etiquette of the Ballroom, 4th Ed., (London: W. Calvert, 1822).

Woakes, W. H., An Essay on the Attitudes Derived from Gesture to be Attended to in Dancing, With Observations on the Art: Also, the Etiquette of the English Ball Room, (Hereford: W.H. and J. Parker, 1825).

Footnotes

[1] Wilson, T., An Analysis of Country Dancing, Wherein all the Figures used in that Polite Amusement are Rendered Familiar by Engraved Lines: Containing also Directions for Composing almost any Number of Figures to One Tune, With some Entire New Reels: Together with the Complete Etiquette of the Ballroom, 4th Ed., (London: W. Calvert, 1822), p. 192.

[2] Woakes, W. H., An Essay on the Attitudes Derived from Gesture to be Attended to in Dancing, With Observations on the Art: Also, the Etiquette of the English Ball Room, (Hereford: W.H. and J. Parker, 1825[?]), p. 36.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Wilson, An Analysis of Country Dancing, p. 191.

[5] Woakes, An Essay on the Attitudes Derived from Gesture to be Attended to in Dancing, p. 35.

[6] Ibid., p. 39.

[7] Wilson, An Analysis of Country Dancing, p. 191.

[8] Ibid., p. 190.

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