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Dancing

Dancing is an art. More than that, it is a healthful art. In its graceful movements, cadenced rhythms, and expressive charms are evident the same beautiful emotions that are so eloquently expressed in music, sculpture, painting. And it is through these expressions of emotion, through this silent poetry of the body that dancing becomes a healthful art, for it imparts to the body--and mind--a poise and strength without which no one can be quite happy.

It is because the vital importance of dancing on the Mind and body has been universally recognized, that it has been added to the curriculum of public schools in almost every country. We find the youngsters revelling in folk-dances, and entering dancing games with a spirit that gives vigor to their bodies, balance and grace to their movements.

Consider, for a moment, the irresistible witchery of music, of rhythmic cadences. We hear the martial note of the drum, and unconsciously our feet beat time. We hear the first deep chords of the orchestra, and involuntarily our fingers mark the time of the measure. With the soft, mellow harmony of triplet melodies we are transported to the solemn vastness of a mountain beside a, gayly rippling stream. With the deep, sonorous bursts of triumphant melody, we are transported to the ocean's edge, where the rumbling of the waves holds us in awed ecstasy. Thoughts of sorrow, of gladness, of joy, of hope surge through us and cry for expression. Dancing is nature's way of expressing these emotions.

Then let us dance, for in dancing we find poise and strength and balance. Let us dance for in dancing we find joy, pleasure, hope. It is the language of the feelings, and nature meant it for the expression of those feelings.

It is only when dancing is confined to hot, crowded rooms where the atmosphere is unwholesome, that it loses its healthful influence on mind and body. But where there is plenty of room and fresh air, plenty of good, soul-inspiring music--we say dance, young and old alike, dance for the keen pleasure and joy of the dance itself, and for the health that follows in its wake!

Dance-Giving No Longer A Luxury

The day of the strictly formal dance, entailing elaborate suppers, pretentious decorations and large orchestras has passed. In its place is the simple, enjoyable, inexpensive dance which is at once the delight of the guests and the pride of the hostess.

Simplicity is the keynote of the modern ball. A piano and two stringed instruments usually comprise the entire orchestra. The charm of the home is no longer spoiled by over-decoration; a vase or two containing the flowers of the season offer the sole touch of festivity. There are, of course, numerous personal innovations that may be instituted; but as the guests are assembled for dancing, space and a good floor and plenty of fresh air are the primary and paramount requisites.

Light refreshments have taken the place of the large suppers of not so long ago. Hostesses no longer feel overburdened with a sense of obligation. The dance has become simple and inexpensive; and because it is also so thoroughly enjoyable and healthful, it has become a favorite sport, especially during the cooler months.

The Debut Dance

Perhaps the most important dance of all is that given in honor of the /debutante/. No matter how large or formal a dance may be, it is never called a "ball" in the invitation. The latter is used only in case of a large public dance or function. The usual "at home" form of invitation is used, and in the lower left-hand corner the word dancing is printed. The name of the young debutante may be included if it is so desired, although it is not essential. But if it is an evening occasion, the name of both host and hostess must appear on the invitation.

Whether the dance is held in her own home or in a hall hired for the occasion, the hostess receives and welcomes each guest. She may be assisted by several of her friends who are well-known in society. Her daughter stands beside her and is introduced to those of her mother's guests whom she has not already met.

The debutante has her first partner selected for her by her mother. She may not dance with one man more than once on the occasion of her introduction to society. But she is expected to dance every dance, returning to receive guests during the intervals. Sometimes the young debutante has several of her chums receiving with her for the first half hour. She offers her hand to every guest who arrives, and introduces in turn the friends who are assisting her.

The father of the debutante may receive with his wife, but his duty is more to see that all the women have partners, and that the chaperons are taken into supper. He also sees that the gentlemen do their duty as dancers instead of remaining in the dressing room to smoke and chat. The hostess does not dance at all, or if she does, it is usually late in the evening. She remains at her post at the door, welcoming guests and seeing that all shy men get partners and all the young girls have a good time. One paramount duty of the hostess is so to arrange her invitations that there will be very many more men than women; this eliminates the chance of there being any unhappy wallflowers. Another consideration is to arrange the chairs in informal little groups instead of close to the walls in a solemn and dreary line.

Costume Balls

The costume ball is conducted very much on the same order as the formal ball. The invitations are issued two or three weeks before the date set for the dance, and as for the debut dance, the word ball does not appear on it. Instead the words "Costumes of the Twelfth Century" or "Shakespearean Costumes" or whatever may be decided upon are printed in the lower left-hand corner of usual "at home" cards.

In selecting a fancy costume, one must be careful to choose only what is /individually/ becoming. It must be in perfect harmony with one's personality. To assume a character that is in every way opposed to one's own character is unwise and ungratifying. A sedate, quiet young miss should not choose a Folly Costume. Nor should a jolly, vivacious young lady elect to emulate Martha Washington, And furthermore, a character must not be merely dressed--it must be lived. The successful costume ball must be realistic;

Subscription Dances

What is the purpose of the subscription dance? The question is a common one. And the answer is simple.

A subscription dance is given for the same reason that any other dance is given--to be surrounded by one's friends, to enjoy music and dancing, and generally to have a "good time" It is conducted very much on the order of the formal dance, except that it is semi-public and is usually held in a public hall. There is no host or hostess, of course; their place is held by an appointed committee or by the patronesses of the dance. They stand at the door of the ballroom to welcome guests, and they may either offer their hands or bow in greeting. It is the duty of the patronesses to introduce those of the guests who are not already acquainted.

Each subscriber to the dance has the privilege of inviting a certain number of friends to the function. Or, if the membership decide to give several periodic dances, he is entitled to invite a certain number of friends to each one of them. The invitations are issued two weeks ahead and require a prompt acceptance or regrets.

Sometimes elaborate suppers are served at the subscription dance, the money for the expenses having been appropriated from the subscription fees for the entertainment. Or simple refreshments, such as dainty sandwiches, salads, ices, cakes and punch, may be served at small, round tables.

In departing, it is not considered necessary to take leave of the patronesses. However, if they are on duty at the door, a cordial word or two of consideration for their efforts may be extended.

The Ballroom

Everything in the ballroom should suggest gayety, light and beauty. The floor, of course, is the most important detail. A polished hardwood floor offers the most pleasing surface for dancing. If the wood seems sticky, paraffine wax adds a smoothness that actually tempts one to dance.

Flowers are always pleasing. Huge ferns may grace unexpected corners and greens may add a festive note, if the hostess so desires. But there must not be an obvious attempt at decoration.

Rather nothing at all, than so very much that it borders on the ostentatious.

In fact, the dance is tending more and more to become a simple and unpretentious function. The elaborate decorations and fashionable conventions that attended the minuet and quadrille of several decades ago have given way to a jolly informality which makes the dance so delightful and popular a way of entertaining.

Music At The Dance

The music, of course, is important; A piano and one or two stringed instruments are sufficient. The musicians should be hidden behind a cluster of palms, or placed in a balcony.

Ordinarily the selections are arranged previously by the hostess. She must also arrange for encores, and should make provision for special selections which the guests may desire.

Dance Programs

The dance program is rarely used now except at college dances, or army and navy dances. It has lost prestige with the passing of the old-fashioned ball. But sometimes there are special occasions when the hostess wishes to have programs, in which case they serve not only as pretty and convenient adjuncts to the occasion, but as appropriate mementos.

Gilt-edged cards attached with a silk cord and provided with a tiny pencil are pretty when an attractive little sketch or a bit of verse
enlivens the front cover. Each dance is entered on the program--and many a delightful memory is kept alive by glancing at these names days after the dance was held. These programs may be filled beforehand or they may be filled at the dance.


Dinner Dances

At the dinner dance, the hostess issues two sets of invitations, one for those whom she wishes to invite for dinner and dance both, and one for those whom she wishes to invite to the dance only. For the former the ordinary dinner invitation may be issued, with the words "Dancing at Nine" added in the left-hand corner. For the latter, the ordinary "at home" invitation with the same words "Dancing at Nine" added also in the left-hand corner is correct form.

Often the hostess has a buffet supper instead of a dinner. All the guests partake of this refreshment. On a long table, decorated with flowers, are salads, sandwiches, ices, jellies and fruits which may be partaken of throughout the entire evening. Sometimes hot bouillon is also served, and very often a midnight supper is given at which hot courses are in order.

If a dance is scheduled to be held in the ballroom of a hotel, the guests who are invited to dinner may be served in the dining-room of that hotel. The small tables are usually decorated with lamps and flowers for the occasion, and the dinner may be ordered by the hostess several days in advance.

Dressing Rooms

Whether the dance be large or small, dressing rooms, or coat rooms, as they are sometimes called, are essential for the convenience of the guests. There must be one for the gentlemen and one for the ladies, each properly furnished.

It is usual to have a maid servant in attendance in the dressing room set apart for the ladies. She helps them relieve themselves of their wraps when they arrive, and to don them again when they are ready to depart. A dressing-table, completely furnished with hand-mirror, powder, perfume and a small lamp, should be provided. A full-size mirror is always appreciated. Sometimes, when a great number of guests are expected, a checking system is devised to simplify matters and aid the maid in identifying the wraps.

The men's dressing room may be provided with a smoking table supplied with all the necessary requisites for smoking, matches, ash-trays, cigar-cutters, etc. Here also a servant is usually on hand to offer the gentleman his service wherever it is needed.

The Dance

There is a lesser formality, a greater gayety in the ballroom of to-day. The dance-card and program are no longer enjoying unrivaled vogue as they did when our grandmothers' danced the waltz and cotillon. The pauses between dances are shorter. Something of the old dignity is gone, but in its place is a new romance that is perhaps more gratifying. It is not a romance of the Mid-Victorian period, or a romance that carries with it the breath of mystery. It is a strangely companionable and levelheaded romance which pervades the ballroom and makes everyone, young and old, man and woman, want to get out on the floor and dance to the tune of the pretty melodies.

But the ballroom of good society, must retain its dignity even while it indulges in the new "romance of the dance." It must observe certain little rules of good conduct without which it loses all the grace and charm which are the pride and inspiration of the dancing couples. There is, for instance, the etiquette of asking a lady to dance, and accepting the invitation in a manner graciously befitting the well-bred young lady of the twentieth century.

When The Lady Is Asked To Dance

Before asking anyone else to dance, the gentleman must request the first dance of the lady he escorted to the ball, Then he takes care that she has a partner for each dance, and that she is never left a wallflower while he dances with some other lady.

At the conclusion of the dance, the gentleman thanks the lady for the dance and goes off to find his nest partner. The lady does not seek her partner for the next dance, if she has promised it to anyone, but waits until he comes to claim her. A man should never leave a woman standing alone on the floor.

"Cutting In"

A modern system of "cutting in" seems to be enjoying a vogue among our young people. While a dance is in progress, a young man may "cut in" and ask the lady to finish the dance with him. If the dance has not been very long in progress, and the young lady wishes to continue it, she may nod and say, "The next time we pass here" The dance continues around the room, and when the couple reach the same place again, the lady leaves her partner and finishes the dance with the young man who has "cut in."

Perhaps this custom of "cutting in" carries with it the merest suggestion of discourtesy, but when we consider the informal gayety of the ballroom, the keen and wholehearted love of dancing, we can understand why the privilege is extended. Like many another privilege, it becomes distasteful when it is abused.

It is not good form for a couple to dance together so many times as to make themselves conspicuous.

Men should not neglect their duty as dancers because they prefer to smoke or simply to act as spectators.


Dancing Positions

Dancing has been revolutionized since the day when the German waltz was first introduced to polite society. And it is safe to say that some of our austere granddames would feel righteously indignant if they were suddenly brought back to the ballroom and forced to witness some of the modern dance innovations!

There seems to be an attempt, on the part of the younger generation (although the older generation is not so very far behind!) to achieve absolute freedom of movement, to go through the dance with a certain unrestrained impulsiveness unknown to the minuet or graceful quadrille. These newer dances and dancing interpretations are charming and entertaining; and yet there is the possibility of their becoming vulgar if proper dancing positions are not taken. The position is especially important in the latest dances.

In guiding a lady across the polished floor to the tune of a simple waltz or a gay fox-trot, the gentleman encircles her waist half way with his right arm, laying the palm of his hand lightly just above the waist line. With his left hand, he holds her right at arm's length in the position most comfortable for both of them, taking special care not to hold it in an awkward or ungainly position. His face is always turned slightly to the left, while hers usually faces front or slightly to the right. The girl should place her left arm on her partner's right arm. She must follow him and not try to lead the dance herself.

When the dance requires certain swaying movements, as almost all modern dances do, the lady inclines her body in harmony with that of her partner, and if the proper care is taken to retain one's poise and dignity, not even a most exacting chaperon can find fault with the new steps.


When The Guest Does Not Dance

Always at a dance, formal or informal, there are guests who do not dance. Usually they are men, for there is rarely a woman who does not know the steps of the latest dances--that is, if she ever does accept invitations at all. But "the guest who does not dance" is one of the unfortunate things the hostess has to put up with at every one of her dances.

And there is rarely ever an excuse for it. Every man who mingles in society at all, who enjoys the company of brilliant women and attractive young ladies, who accepts the invitations of hostesses, is failing in his duty when he offers as an excuse the fact that he doesn't know how to dance for there are sufficient schools of dancing in every city and town where the latest steps can be learned quickly.

If for any reason, a gentleman does not know how to dance, and does not want to learn, he may make up for it by entertaining the chaperons while their charges are dancing--conversing with them, walking about with them and escorting them to the refreshment table, and altogether show by his kind attentiveness that he realizes his deficiency and wishes to make up for it. To lounge in the dressing-room, smoking and chatting with other gentlemen is both unfair to the hostess and essentially rude in the matter of ballroom etiquette. The true gentleman would rather decline an invitation than be unfair to his hostess and her guests in this respect.

Public Dances

Very often public dances are given in honor of some special occasion or a celebrated guest. They are very much like private dances, except that a specially appointed committee fulfills the position and duties of the hostess. At most public balls, the committee is composed of men and women who wear badges to indicate their position, and who stand at the door to receive and welcome each guest. These men and women do not dance the first dance, but wait until later in the evening when they are quite sure that all the guests have arrived; and then they are always back at their duty during the intervals between dances.

Guests arriving at a public dance greet the patronesses with a smile of welcome and a word or two, but rarely offer their hands to be shaken unless the ladies serving as patronesses take the initiative. They may stay for one or two dances, or throughout the whole evening, as they prefer; and when departing, it is not necessary to seek out the patronesses and bid them good-by.

Engraved invitations are usually issued three weeks before the date set for the ball. On these cards the names of the patronesses are also engraved. If the entrance to the ball is by purchased ticket, such as is always the case when the ball is given for some charity, the invitations must be preserved and shown at the entrance.

Sometimes a supper is included in the arrangement of the public ball, and in such case a caterer is engaged to attend to all details, including servants. A buffet supper is always the most pleasing and satisfactory as the guests may partake of the foods when they desire and there is no confusion or interruption to the dance. Hot bouillon, various meats, salads, cakes, ices, fruits and confections are an ideal menu. Coffee or punch is sometimes added.

When a public ball is given in honor of some special person, that person must be met on his arrival and immediately introduced to the women on the reception committee and escorted to the seat reserved for him. He must be attended throughout the evening, introduced to everyone he does not know, and all his wants carefully taken care of. When he departs, he must be escorted to his carriage, and if he is a celebrated personage thanked for his presence--although truly cultured gentlemen prefer not to have this honor paid them.

A public ball is either a tremendous success or a miserable failure. There is no in-between. And the success or failure rests solely on the good judgment and influence of the ladies and gentlemen of the committees, including, of course, those who receive. To mingle freely among the guests, to join in the conversation, to introduce guests to each other and find partners for the "wallflowers" all these little services tend to arouse a spirit of friendliness and harmony that cannot but result in an evening that will be long remembered in the minds of every guest.

A Plea For Dancing

Lately there has been a great deal of unfavorable criticism directed against the modern dances. There have been newspaper articles condemning the "latest dance fads" as immoral and degrading. There have been speeches and lectures against "shaking and twisting of the body into weird, outlandish contortions." There have been vigorous crusades against dance halls. And all because a few ill-bred, fun-loving, carefree young people wrongly interpreted the new dances in their own way and gave to the steps the vulgar abandon appropriate only to the cheap vaudeville stage or the low dance hall.

Dancing, even the shoulder-shaking, oscillating dancing of to-day, is really not intended to be vulgar or immoral at all, despite the crusades of the anti-immorality dancing committees! What is dancing, after all, if not the expression of one's ideals and emotions? It is only the man or woman with a vulgar mind, with base ideals, who will give a vulgar interpretation to a dance of any kind. But the essentially fine girl, the really well-bred man, the people who, by their poise and dignity have earned for America the envied title of "Republic of the Aristocrats"--they dance these latest creations for the sheer joy of the dance itself, reveling in its newness, enjoying the novelty of its "different" steps, seeing nothing in its slow undulations or brisk little steps, but art--a "jazzy" art, to be sure, but still the beautiful art of dancing.

And so we plead--let the younger generation enjoy its giddy waltzes and brisk-paced fox-trots and fancy new dances just as grandmother, when she was young, was allowed to enjoy the minuet and the slow waltz. They are different, yes, and rather hard to accept after the dignified dances of not so long ago. But they are picturesque, to say the least, and artistic. The gracefully-swaying bodies, keeping step in perfect harmony to the tunes of the newer symphony orchestras, are delightful to watch; and in good society, young men and women can always be trusted to deport themselves with utter grace and poise.

The minuet was decidedly graceful. The old German waltz with its dreamy, haunting melody was beautiful as it was enjoyable. But they have been relegated into the days of hoop skirts and powdered wigs. To-day the "jazzy" dances are in vogue, and society in its lowest and highest circles is finding intense pleasure in the whirling, swirling dances decreed by fashion as her favorites. Why complain? Perhaps in another year or two, these giddy-paced dances will be "out of style" and in their stead will be solemn, slow dances more graceful and stately than even the minuet of yore.

The Charm of Dress In Dancing.

Immediately after the Reign of Terror, France was plunged into a reckless round of unrestrained gayety that can come only from love of life and youth and laughter long pent-up. It was as though an avalanche of joy had been released; it was in reality the reaction from the terrors and nightmares of those two years of horror. The people were free, free to do as they pleased without the fear of the guillotine ever present; and all France went mad with rejoicing.

It was then that dancing came into its own. Almost overnight huge dance halls sprang up. The homes of wealthy aristocrats who had been sacrificed to the monster guillotine, were converted into places for dancing. Every available inch of space was utilized for the dance. And the more these freed people danced, the more their spirits soared with the joy of life and living, until they found in the dance itself the interpretation of freedom and all that it means.

A biographer who was an eye-witness of this madcap Paris, wrote in detail about the dance and the dress of these people. He told how they dressed in the brightest clothes they could obtain, for maddened with happiness as they were, they instinctively felt that bright clothes would enliven their spirits. And they did!

"The room was a mass of swirling, twirling figures," the biographer writes, "men, women and children in weird, vivid clothes. It seemed natural that they should be dancing so wildly in their wild costumes; in their sabots and aprons of two months ago they would not have been able to take one step."

It is, then, the spirit of clothes that imparts to one the spirit of the dance. We have mentioned these facts about the Reign of Terror to show what effect clothes do have on the spirit, and incidentally to show what the ballroom owes to dress. For it is undoubtedly the gayly-colored dance frock of the miss of the twentieth century, and the strikingly immaculate dance suit of her partner that gives to the ballroom to-day much of its splendid brilliance.

At The Afternoon Dance

There can be no comparison between the mad dance of freed France and the simple, graceful dance of to-day. Yet we can see the effect of clothes in relation to both.

It is not often that dances are held in the afternoon, but when the occasion does arise, dress is just as gay and colorful as one can wear without being gaudy. The decorous effect of these bright-colored costumes is what brings the "giddy kaleidoscopic whirl of colors and costumes, modes and manners" that the historian speaks of when he mentions the ballroom.

For the afternoon dance, we would suggest that the very young person choose the fluffiest and most becoming style which fashion permits. Trim it gaily, but above all, make it youthful--for youth and dancing are peculiarly allied.

The older woman will want a gown that is more suited to her years. It may be of taffeta, Canton crepe or crepe-de-chine; but satin is one of the materials that is preferred for more formal occasions than the afternoon dance. The colors may be somber, to match one's tastes, but the trimming should have a note of gayety.

Décolleté is never worn at the afternoon dance. Short sleeves may be worn if Fashion favors them at the time, and the neck of the gown is also cut on the lines that agree with the prevalent mode. But it is extremely bad taste, even for a very celebrated guest of honor, to attend the afternoon dance in a sleeveless, décolleté gown.

A late custom seems to favor the wearing of satin slippers to match the gown. It is not by any means bad taste, but patent leather or kid pumps are preferred for the afternoon, reserving the more elaborate satin pumps for evening wear. Long white silk or kid gloves and a light-colored afternoon wrap complete the correct dress for the afternoon dance. The hat, of course, depends on Fashion's whim at the moment.

Gentlemen At The Dance

In summer, the gentleman may wear a complete suit of gray with a white duck waistcoat and light linen to the afternoon dance, completing his costume with black patent leather shoes or oxford ties, light gray gloves, and straw hat with black and white band. But whether it be for summer or winter, the dark suit is always better taste.

It may be of serge, twillet or homespun, preference being given always to the conventional navy blue serge. Double-Breasted models are appropriate for the young man; single-breasted for the older. Light linen and bright ties are in full accordance with the gay colors worn by the women at the dance. The coat may be the ordinary unlined, straight hanging overcoat of thin material in a light color, or it may be an attractive full belted raglan coat of tan or brown fleece. In either case it is worn with the conventional afternoon hat of the season.

Dress For The Ball

When the dance is held in the evening, it often assumes an air of formality.

It is at the ball that such important events as introducing one's daughter to society or celebrating the graduation of one's son from
college, takes place.

Of course, one wears one's most important jewels to the ball, and indulges in a headdress that is a trifle more elaborate than usual. The event is a brilliant one, and if gaudiness and ostentation are conscientiously avoided, one may dress as elaborately as one pleases.

This does not mean, however, that the woman whose purse permits only one evening gown, need feel ill at ease or self-conscious at the ball, for simplicity has a delightful attractiveness all its own, and if the gown is well-made of excellent materials, and in a style and color that is becoming, one will be just as effectively dressed as the much-bejeweled dowager.

Dress of the Debutante

A gown is chosen with much premeditated consideration for so momentous an occasion as being ushered into society. The young lady does well to seek the advice of her friends who are already in society, and of her modiste who knows by long experience just what is correct and becoming. But perhaps we can give some advice here that will be helpful.

A delicately tinted gown, in pastel shades, or one that is pure white is preferred for the happy debutante. Tulle, chiffon, net and silk
georgette are the most popular materials. The style should be youthful and simple, preferably bordering on the bouffant lines rather than on those that are more severely slender. The neck may be cut square, round or heart-shaped, and elbow-length sleeves or full-length lace sleeves are preferred. The sleeveless' gown is rarely worn by the young debutante.

The debutante who wears many jewels displays poor taste. Just a string of softly glowing pearls, or one small diamond brooch, is sufficient. Her hair should be arranged simply in a French coil or youthful coiffure, and should be wholly without ornamentation. Simplicity, in fact, is one of the charms of youth, and the wise young person does not sacrifice it to over-elaboration, even on the day of her debut.

Wraps At The Ball

The woman wears her most elaborate evening wrap to the ball. Soft materials in light shades are suggested, with trimmings of fur for the winter months. A wrap of old blue or old rose velvet with a collar of white fog is becoming and attractive when it is within one's means. But the simple wrap of cloth, untrimmed, is certainly better taste for the woman whose means are limited. However, discrimination should be shown in the selection of lines and colors. A simple wrap, well-cut, and of fine material in a becoming shade, is as appropriate and effective as a wrap completely of fur. For the woman who must dress economically a dark loose coat of black satin is serviceable for many occasions.

Hats are never worn to the ball. A shawl or scarf of fine lace may be thrown over the hair and shoulders. Or a smaller shawl may be tied merely around the head. Satin pumps are worn, usually with buckle trimmings; and long gloves of white silk or kid, or in a color to match the gown, complete the outfit.

Ball Dress For Men

Nothing less strictly formal than the complete full dress suit is worn by the gentleman at the evening ball. His costume strikes a somber, yet smart, note.

Whether it be summer or winter, the gentleman wears the black full dress coat, lapels satin-faced if he so desires, and trousers to match. Full rolled waistcoat, small bow-tie and stiff linen are all immaculately white. Patent leather pumps and black silk socks complete the outfit.

In summer, the gentleman wears over his full dress suit a light unlined coat, preferably black in color. If the lapels of the suit are
satin-faced, the coat lapels may correspond. White kid gloves are worn, and a conventional silk hat. In winter, the coat may be a heavy, dark-colored raglan, although the Chesterfield overcoat more suits his dignified dress. With it he wears white kid gloves and a high silk hat or felt Alpine as he prefers.

For The Simple Country Dance

There can be nothing more picturesque and delightful than some of the pretty little social dances held in the smaller towns. Sometimes they are held in the afternoon; more often in the evening, but always they are a source of keen enjoyment both to the participants and to those who "look on."

We are going to tell you about a dance held recently in the home of a social leader in a typical small town. Everyone of any consequence whatever attended, and the occasion proved one worthy of remembrance in the social annals of the town. There were perhaps one hundred and fifty women and one hundred men. Three rooms in the hostess' home were thrown open into one huge ballroom. The dancing began at eight o'clock in the evening--rather early for the city, but unusually late for this country town.

To a visitor from so gay a metropolis as New York, the simplicity of the women's dress was a pleasing change. They were in evening dress, yes, but a strangely more conservative evening dress than that described previously for the formal ball. There were no sleeveless gowns, no elaborate decolletes. Taffetas, chiffons and silk brocades were developed simply into gowns of dignified charm. One did not notice individual gowns, for no one woman was dressed more elaborately than another. This is what everyone should strive for simplicity with charm and a complete absence of all conspicuousness.

Fashion has been condemned. Women have been ridiculed for their "extreme tastes." As a matter of fact, civilization owes dress a great debt, and women have an inherent good taste. And both these facts are forcibly proved at the country dance, where simplicity and harmony of color combine to give an effect that is wholly delightful and charming.

The lesson we might take from this is that simplicity in dress has more beauty and effect than elaborate "creations."

 


Article Information:
Article Name:  Dancing
Website: http:www.thehistorybox.com |Researcher/Transcriber:    Miriam Medina
Source:    Bibliography: From my collection of Books; Book of Etiquette by Lillian Eichler Volume I and II; Nelson Doubleday, Inc. Oyster Bay, N.Y. 1921
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