The Revival of the Waltz
The waltz seems to be in fashion again, thanks to Strictly Come Dancing, but the modern version bears little resemblance to the rather formal dance which features in so many historical novels. One of my reference books covering Regency life describes the rules for waltzing as follows:-
'The lady and gentleman before starting should stand exactly opposite to one another, quite upright, and not, as it so common in England, painfully close to one another. If the man's hand be placed where it should be, at the centre of the lady's waist, and not all round it, he will have as firm a hold and not be obliged to stoop or bend to his right ... It is the gentleman's duty to steer, and in crowded rooms nothing is more trying. He must keep his eyes open and turn them in every direction, if he would not risk a collision and the chance of a fall, or what is as bad, the infliction of a wound on his partner's arm. The consequences of violent dancing may be really serious. Not only do delicate girls bring on thereby a violent palpitation of the heart, and their partners appear in the most disagreeable condition of solution, but dangerous falls ensure from it.'
Violent palpitations of the heart, eh? Well, perhaps things haven't changed that much after all because Mark Ramprakash can do that to me, and unfortunately I'm not even dancing with him!