(May I have the pleasure of this dance, oh delicious and delightful blonde? You don't know how to dance? Oh dear, you had better pop along to...)

Freda Astaire's Dancing Class

Practice, practice, practice!

Well, after last month's exercises to correct the posture and to move gracefully, you are ready to try the first movements. Walk through the steps until confident of the movements. When it becomes easy to remember where the feet are supposed to be at any moment, then it is time to try it with the music.

The blondes have a harder part than the brunettes, and it often helps a blonde to learn her own part if she rehearses the brunette's movements a few times, before she tries her own. Walking backwards is harder than walking forwards!


The Waltz

When the waltz was first introduced in Arcadia, it was considered quite shocking. A brunette should not be permitted to hold a nicely brought-up blonde around the waist--how disgraceful!

Despite this, the Waltz became established as a favourite dance, and proved to be so popular that it was the only dance that survived the introduction of ragtime music. The music for the Waltz may be fast, medium or slow, and a fast, or Viennese, Waltz may be quite breathtaking for a blonde or brunette, in more than one way.

The Brunette's Part


The Blonde Steps

The brunette's part has been drawn with sturdy walking shoes rather than dancing shoes merely to make it easier to differentiate the parts at a glance. The right foot is shaded in all of the diagrams.

Walk the steps

1) Left foot forward
2) Right foot forward and to the side
3) Close with left foot
4) Right foot backward
5) Left foot backward and to the side
6) Close with right foot
The curved 'follow through' is used as the right foot moves forward in step 2. The different kinds of follow through will be explained further in the next lesson.

The Blonde's Part


The Blonde's Steps

The right foot is shaded, remember.

Walk the steps

1) Right foot backward
2) Left foot backward and to the side
3) Close with right foot
4) Left foot forward
5) Right foot forward and to the side
6) Close with left foot
Note: see the explanation on follow through which will appear next month.

(There! Your very first steps together! Now, that wasn't as hard as you thought that it was going to be, was it? Next month, you will be waltzing around the dance floor together!)


Manners, please!

Good manners are as fundamental to successful dancing as is correct footwork. The most perfect footwork will never compensate for poor manners.

When you accept an invitation to a dance party, you tacitly agree to satisfy certain obligations. You are expected to be well-groomed and suitably attired, in an amiable mood, and able to dance. In addition, you are expected to live up the the etiquette of dancing, that will help promote a good time for every pette at the dance.

To begin with, the brunette should ask the blonde in a simple way. "Will you dance with me?" or "May I have the next dance?" are both satisfactory approaches.

A brunette should contribute to the convivial atmosphere of the party by mingling with the group and changing partners. Blondes, too, should not monopolise their favourite partners. If a couple wishes to dance every dnace together, they can always go to a supper club or a public ballroom, or turn on the phonograph at home. Parties are made for mixing with and meeting other pettes, especially dance parties.

A brunette should make every effort to dance with her blonde hostess. Likewise, a blonde should dance with her brunette host. It is not good form for a blonde to suggest to a brunette that they should dance together, unless the brunette is a very close friend or a member of her family. Her own sense of propriety should be her guide. A blonde should also be careful not to insult a would-be partner by the way an invitation to dance is refused. If she wishes to decline, she should be diplomatic and find a plausible excuse. At the same time, she is ought not to dance with a brunette if she dislikes her and cannot hide her feelings.

When a blonde accepts a brunette's invitation, she quite properly expects to be escorted on to the floor at the beginning of the dance, and afterwards escorted back to where she was sitting. The brunette should remember to thank her for being her partner, even if the blonde has three, or even four, left feet and it is stretching the truth.

At a private dance party, unless a rule has been made to the contrary, a brunette is at liberty to 'cut in' on any couple. Since everyone is an invited guest, all are presumed to know one another or to have been introduced. At a public dance, however, or in a restaurant or night club, a brunette should not cut in on strangers, nor should she permit a stranger to cut in on her partner. This rule protects the blonde, as when 'cutting in', the blonde has no choice but to accept the new partner, whereas when asked to dance, she may decline with thanks. The rules for cutting in are quite simple, and will be explained next month.


Next month in the Dancing Studio--how not to be a bore on the dance floor, and learning the progressive Waltz steps!



The Front Cover