"Everybody is doing the waltz. We shall look like country bumpkins if we do not learn how to do it," Lydia had wailed.
"I know that you will come to like it, Lizzy, if you would just give it a chance," pleaded Kitty.
Elizabeth had steadfastly ignored their pleas. In retrospect, Elizabeth wished she had listened to her younger siblings cajoling. The costume ball at Pemberley was but ten days away and Elizabeth did not know how to do the dance that was so popular.
Darcy watched as Elizabeth bit her lip going over yet another list in preparation for the ball. "What is it, Elizabeth, that worries you?"
"It is nothing really, just thinking about the dances," Elizabeth replied.
"Are you afraid that no one will dance with you, Mrs. Darcy?" he teased. "You need not worry, for I doubt that you will have chance to rest your feet all evening. In fact, I shall request that all the waltzes be mine, for I do think I can bear to see you in the arms of another man."
"That is no problem, Mr. Darcy. However, you will have to sit them out, for I have not learned to waltz.
"I am astonished. I thought all young ladies were eager to waltz. It is not at all difficult to learn. Why, even Georgiana can do it with ease," said Darcy. "I would be delighted to teach you. Shall we say tomorrow at 2 o'clock?"
Elizabeth nodded her head in agreement.
The next day Elizabeth, Darcy and Georgiana (to provide the musical accompaniment) gathered in the drawing. The furniture had been pushed against the wall and the rugs removed.
"So are you ready to waltz with me?" Darcy inquired. Elizabeth nodded the affirmative.
"Georgiana, please play a little of the music. It is important that you be able to distinguish the unique rhythm of the Waltz. Do you hear it?" he asked. Elizabeth was soon humming along to the infectious melody of the music.
"Now that you have an understanding of the music, it is time to learn the basic steps. Stand across from me. You will need to do the opposite of my movements. As I place my left foot back, you place your right foot forward..."
"But I thought you were supposed to take me in your arms? Is that not what the waltz so scandalous?" Elizabeth inquired.
"We will get to that in just a moment. It is best to learn the basic steps first. Now, bring your left foot to the side. Yes, that is correct. The right foot comes together with the left. Now you do the opposite of what you have just done. Place your left foot behind you, your right foot to the side and then bring left foot over to close. " Darcy watched as Elizabeth followed his directions. "Shall we practice this part for a bit? Georgiana, some music, please."
Georgiana began to play, the melody encompassed the dancers. "One-forward, two-side, three -close. One-back, two-side, three-close. One, two, three, one, two, three." Elizabeth continued to practice until she felt she could make all the steps without tripping over her own, or striding upon Darcy's feet.
"That is very well, Elizabeth," Darcy said as Georgiana ceased to play. Darcy pulled Elizabeth into his arms. "It is important to remember to always keep a proper distance from your partner. This, while delightful, is too close. Take a step backwards." The distance of about a foot was now between them.
Darcy shifted his right hand so that it lay just below Elizabeth’s shoulder blade, while, Elizabeth gingerly rested her left arm on the Darcy’s upper arm. "No, move your hand up a little, so that you can place your thumb along the inside of my arm and your fingers can go over my shoulder." Elizabeth moved her hand up and placed it according to Darcy's instruction.
Elizabeth’s right hand rested in the palm of the Darcy’s left hand, between his thumb and forefinger. He raised their joined hands until they were at Elizabeth's eye level.
"The safest place to look when dancing is slightly over your left shoulder. You can keep a conversation going while at the same time keeping an eye out for potential disasters."
"Do you see disaster as imminent?" Elizabeth inquired.
"Not at all," Darcy replied. "Are you ready to begin?"
Elizabeth nodded her. Georgiana began to play. All went well for a moment or two, then Elizabeth stumbled a bit.
"I am sorry, I did not damage your toes?" Elizabeth asked, concerned.
"Not at all. You must not be afraid to count your steps--step forward, two, three, step back, two, three, step forward," Darcy told Elizabeth as they tried again. This attempt was more successful, so they repeated it. After a few minutes they were able to complete the dance successfully.
"Oh, Elizabeth, I think you have learned the dance!" exclaimed a delighted Georgiana.
"Not quite yet, I am afraid. Now that you can do the basic step, we need to learn how to turn. It is easiest to learn just by doing it." Georgiana began to play the music again. "One, two, three, turn," Elizabeth stumbled.
Darcy righted her gently. "Did you feel the change in the way I hold your hand?" Elizabeth nodded, for she had felt a slight push, "Do not allow your arm to become limpid, you have only to give but a little. Your feet will follow the movement of your arm. Again, one, two, three, turn. The turn is very slight. We will do it slowly, so we do not lose control, one, two, three, turn."
Slowly at first, then picking up speed, they waltzed around the room. Elizabeth began the dance counting her steps, but when she caught Darcy smiling at her, she forgot all about the steps. Smiling back at him, she gave into the enjoyment of being in his arms, and listening to the cheerful music. They completed four circuits of the drawing room, before Georgiana finished playing.
"How do you like the waltz?" asked Darcy.
"It is a delightful dance, I can see now why it is so popular."
"And it was not difficult to learn?"
"Fishing for compliments, my dear? You need not, for you are a wonderful dancing master. If we should ever fall upon hard times, I am sure you could make a living giving dance lessons," Elizabeth teased him.
"Hopefully, it will never come to that. Though I am glad you enjoy the dance."
"All it takes is a little bit of rhythm" she nodded her head towards Georgiana, "and much practice," said Elizabeth, as they began to move around the floor again, "so we must do this every day until the ball."
"An excellent notion, my dear." Darcy reflected that there had never been a dance that made him as happy as the one he was now enjoying. "Now that you know how to waltz, will you save the waltzes on you dance card for me?"
"For you and no other," Elizabeth replied somewhat dreamily. Darcy decided to bend the rules and pulled Elizabeth much closer than the dance allowed. This particular practice session did not last much longer.
Notes: This story is based on the song "Locomotion" if you haven't guessed already.
There are dance instruction sites available on the web, if you want to learn how to waltz.
And thanks, Ann, for moving E&D in the right direction. ;-)
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