Many people seem to shy away from the word “etiquette”. It has an old-fashioned sound. But etiquette, after all, is merely the practical application of good common sense and attractive manners.
Ballroom dancing is a partnership and group activity and so it concerns other people beside yourself. There is never any excuse for faulty manners that might affect or react on others. A popular member of a dancing group is considerate—and shows regard for the comfort and pleasure of partners, a hostess, and the other guests.
Once you have accepted an invitation to a dance, you have automatically agreed to live up to the obligations it implies. You are expected to be suitably dressed, to be pleasant company, and, above all, to be able to dance.
No one would dream of accepting an invitation for tennis or bridge unless they could play. But many will accept dancing dates when they know quite well that their dancing is not good enough for a partner to enjoy. It’s odd, isn’t it?
If you can’t dance with confidence, have the courage to refuse dancing invitations. Wait until you have the ability and can appear in the best light possible. By starting to practice immediately, you’ll be ready and in demand the next time!
A man who accepts an invitation to a dance cannot spend the entire evening with the one partner of his choice. By accepting, he has agreed to add to the festivity of the evening by mingling with the group, by asking several partners to dance, or by changing partners with other couples. Natural courtesy dictates the rule that he must seek out and invite the hostess to dance. If she has daughters or sisters present, they must not be overlooked.
A lady must wait to be asked to dance, but she has her obligations to the party. She cannot, for instance, refuse one partner and then turn around and accept another. Neither should a girl attempt to tie strings to a partner—to hold on to him. She must release him gracefully so that he can get about and dance with others.
When entering or leaving the dance room, the lady always precedes. Men never go first unless they need to do so to give assistance, such as in helping someone out of a car, bus, or so on.
It is no longer considered good taste for a man to take the lady’s arm when they are walking to or from the dance floor. This has been out-of-date for years.