The other day I read some information about Regency dancing. Some of it was rather fascinating. I love the names of some of the dances. And there is a bit more to it than I realized: etiquette, dress, 40 million different dances, and practical considerations such as men leaving their swords at the door. hehehe
I had wondered about part of the dress because in a couple of P&P variations I read that Darcy wore boots to dance in. My thoughts were no, no, no. Almack’s was one that had strict rules about boots. Wear boots and you would not be admitted. Boots marred the floors and hurt the toes of young women. And, I imagine, that they were hard to dance in as well. That’s why the men wore dance slippers: lighter weight, easier movement, and less damage to any toes that were accidentally stepped on. Almack’s also barred canes for the same reasons: floor and toes.
I also had read that the women apparently wore bonnets on occasions. Of course, when the turbans were in fashion, there were probably quite a few that indulged in them. But I gather that the men were always bare headed.
Dresses would be fashionable for the area where the balls or assemblies took place and be from the simple to the fancy and after a time, very low decolletages. However, I can see that being a hazard with a very vigorous dance. But I don’t recall reading about any accidents.
One had better adhere to the rules of whatever establishment was attended because violation of them could cause fines or dismissal. Evidently, they took their rules very seriously.
In Pride and Prejudice, Sir William Lucas served as Master of Ceremonies and had certain duties as such and complete control of the ballroom or assembly room. These would include introductions, instructing of the musicians, maintaining order, and determining the selection of dances. With some balls, there might be a hostess with these responsibilities or a caller of the dances.
The names of the dances are surprising, and I wonder how some of them came about.
A Fig for Bonaparte
Bloom of the Pea
Boil’d Goose with Snuff Sauce
Haunch of Venison
Long Live the Prince Regent
Make a Bustle
Strawberries and Cream
And here is Strawberries and Cream.
There are probably several hundred dances in the list that I looked at though I’m not sure they were all around the Regency time period. How on earth could a person learn that many dances? Hopefully, there were certain ones that were common so a man or a young lady would know at least a few of them.
I do miss dancing and wonder if I really would have liked the type of dancing back then. I think I would, especially the first dance featured in Pride and Prejudice 2005. That looked like great fun. 🙂