May I have this dance?

You’ve heard of the waltz. When a couple dances the waltz the gentleman and lady grasp each other’s hands, while the gentleman places his other hand on the lady’s waist and she places her other hand on his shoulder. From this possition they twirl around in a circle and progress around the room. But, in the Regency period it was considered inappropriate. Instead, the kind of dance you might find at a ball was more like a square dance. Couples lined up, men on one side and women on the other, then waited for their turn to dance a figure (a sequence of movements).

In the following video we can get a glimps of what it must have been like. It is a short clip of one of my all time favorite movies, “Pride & Prejudice” with Keira Knightley. It shows Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett as they dance. Unfortunately, it doesn’t start at the beginning of the dance where you see them lined up, but you will see it at the end of the dance. Please ignore the last 30 seconds, as this video comes from YouTube and it would take a lot of work to get the end taken off.

Did you notice how easy it was for them to carry on a conversation? Certainly, the dance is romantic enough, but not conducive for talking.

There are several things you do not do while dancing. Because everyone in the room is eather dancing or watching the dance, you do what it takes to follow the rules. Here are some examples:

  • When dancing, eather you and/or you partner must be wearing gloves.
  • Don’t dance more than two or three dances with the same person.
  • Don’t stop dancing in the middle of a figure.
  • Never leave your dance partner in the middle of the dance.

Dancing has changed a lot since the early 19th century. Yet, there is a lot that’s the same. Which would you reather dance? A waltz or slow dance? Which one do you think is more romantic?

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