Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Five Requisites for Dancers - 1890

Every so often, I read a dance manual where the writer's personality shines through. Other times, a manual shows just a glimpse of frustration.

The following list is asking for a lot. It's not trivial to agree to be alert, prompt, silent, obedient  and willing to sacrifice. On the other hand, everyone in the room needs to contribute to make a dance go smoothly, and these five things are exactly the things that are needed.

They are also the things that a dance caller needs to ask for. Repeatedly.

Frustration? Maybe a little...




1. Alertness —each dancer being at all times awake to the duties required of him or her.
2. Promptness in taking places for the execution of a figure.
3. Silence and attention during figures.
4. Obedience at all times to the conductor during the management of a dance.
5. Willingness to sacrifice momentary personal pleasure for the good of others.

(Kopp, E. H.,The American prompter and guide to etiquette. Cincinnati : The J. Church Co., 1896 p. 14.)

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