The following hints on ballroom etiquette may be of use to persons unacquainted with dancing, or who have not been accustomed to attending balls with ladies:

  • It is improper for two gentlemen to dance together when ladies are present.
  • While dancing, a lady should consider herself engaged to her partner, and therefore she is not at liberty to hold a flirtation, between figures, with another gentleman.
  • If you cannot waltz gracefully, do not attempt to waltz at all.
  • In waltzing, a gentleman should exercise the utmost delicacy in touching the waist of his partner.
  • When a young lady declines dancing with a gentleman, it is her duty to give him a reason no matter how frivolous the excuse may be.
  • If a lady refuses to dance with you, bear the refusal with grace; and if you perceive her afterwards dancing with another, seem not to notice it.
  • Loud conversations, profanity, stamping the feet, writing on the wall, smoking tobacco, spitting or throwing anything on the floor, are strictly forbidden.
  • The practice of chewing tobacco and spitting on the floor, is not only nauseous to ladies, but is injurious to their dresses.

Thomas Hillgrove’s A Complete Practical Guide to the Art of Dancing, Dick & Fitzgerald, New York, 1864

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