The popular show “Dancing with the Stars” is without a doubt one of the most successful television shows ever, both here and abroad. That is why, with the help of our screens and our imagination, we’ve all recently been not only dancing along with the stars, but also cooking with them. But try to master your own kitchen in real life and prepare roast beef that is neither too rare or overdone, like the masters in front of the camera. Or glide gracefully on the dance floor and perform a snappy tango brilliantly, twist your hips to the samba, or match your cha-cha steps with the trained stars on the screen. For many of us these feats can pose a bit of a problem.
Unfortunately, these lines will not help you better yourself in either of these arts, but I can give you a few useful tips on how to enchant your partner, even if it’s not your best dancing day. So, this blog will be about sophisticated behavior at a ball. Dancing is precisely one of those activities where you simply cannot do without solid knowledge of social etiquette.
I would start by saying that whether you are going to a ball at the opera or a hunting ball somewhere in the Bohemian Highlands, make sure your breath is cool and fresh, like your witty comments. For me there is nothing worse than when, to avoid getting lost during the polka, you press your body against your partner, make eye contact, and he exhales a cloud of goat cheese and dinner salad, or chokes you with breath full of smoke from the cigar he had during the intermission. Therefore, always carry gum, breath mints or breath spray with you to avoid shocking your partner with your breath, but rather stunning them with something much more pleasant.
If you’re one of those who feel it’s too feminine to use perfumes or deodorants, in the physically tense situation of a ball, your efforts in this direction will be greatly appreciated. An alluring fragrance is part of every dancer’s irresistible charm. And I’m sure this is something that works both ways. Moreover, it has been scientifically proven that smell supports libido. That’s why the Romans were obsessed with fragrances. A powerful Roman aphrodisiac, for example, was a mattress stuffed with rose petals. Another amazing fact is that a healthy human nose recognizes up to 10,000 different scents!
Appropriate Attire and Comfortable Shoes
Here, let me just briefly state that it is always necessary to read the invitation and the prescribed dress code and adhere to it strictly. It is often better to be overdressed and leave something in the dressing room than the other way around. We’ll go over terms like black tie, white tie and many others in the next blog, so I won’t waste your time here. Just make sure you have clean and comfortable shoes. You will be on your feet most of the time, and it would certainly be disagreeable to have to search for some complicated excuses as to why you can’t get on the dance floor, and lose out on passionate dancing moments with your partner because of inappropriate footwear.
Dance Direction and Movement on the Dance Floor
I’m not sure whether you remember this or not from your ballroom dancing lesson days, but just in case, let me remind you – the dancing at most balls takes place in a counter-clockwise direction. If any of the dancers accidentally forget this or run into you unintentionally, accept their apology with a smile. Likewise, if your partner accidentally steps on your foot. It is usually recommended for slower dancers to dance in the middle, while the outer edges of the floor are appropriate for more advanced couples.
An Invitation to Dance
With continued emancipation, it is no longer the prerogative of men to ask a woman to dance. Today it is perfectly acceptable for a woman to ask a man to dance. A ball must be enjoyed. And just because you came together doesn’t mean you can’t dance with anyone else. According to contemporary social etiquette for a ball, the lady comes accompanied by her partner. He also devotes his first dance to her, and after this, they can both start dancing with other partners. If a man asks a woman for a dance that came with another partner, the man must ask him for permission first. Etiquette recommends going to dance with anyone who asks for the dance, unless you have a serious medical or other reason to refuse it, or if you have not already promised the dance to someone else. If you ever face rejection, accept it with a smile and words like “Thank you. Maybe later then.” The fact that you’ve been rejected once should not make you afraid to ask again, but remember, more than in any other situation, if you’ve been rejected twice that is the final word. And men, never leave your partner alone – especially on the dance floor!
The Dance is at an End
After finishing the dance, mutually thank each other. The man always accompanies the lady back to her original place, that is, unless sparks have flown and you don’t head out somewhere else entirely! Compliment each other on perfectly executed turns, well-times steps or complicated dance moves.
Now you know almost all the essentials, and are ready to head out to the classiest balls in the world. The closest to us are Vienna’s Le Grand Ball or the Concordia Ball or to the Saint Valentine’s Grand Masquerade Ball in Venice, and if you’re up for a longer journey, I highly recommend the Met Gala in New York. You easily make that one on May 4th. Enjoy yourselves and keep in mind that dancing is one of the most natural ways of getting to know someone. It is also a special way of communicating, and, moreover, it is said that people who understand each other when dancing together, will understand each other in other ways as well.