Opening the Ball
Posted by Captain Everett on July 10, 1998 at 09:06:49:
In response to How are balls opened?, written by Spring on July 09, 1998 at 14:16:02
] So how exactly does one open a ball? I read that it is opened at the head of the set by the one throwing the ball (?) or the one the ball is thrown for(?) or the highest ranking person there (?)or all three (?). [snip]
I don't have my notes on dancing immediately on hand, and will be departing for the weekend, so I'll give a quick reply off the top of my head.
I do know that each dance is initiated by the couple at the "top" of the set. However, what I do recall is that the ball itself is opened differently. It was fairly common to open it with some sort of promenade, the couples parading around the dance floor, largely to "see and be seen." I think here there would be some sort of precedence placed upon one's place in the promenade.
It was common to initiate the dancing with something like the minuet. This would be done as a couples (as opposed to longways, ie drawn up in lines) dance. Here again, the most "senior" couple would begin, joined by others according to how they ranked. What I'm not certain of (offhand), is whether this practice was still common by JA's time. But something stately or elegant would be the choice.
It might be that the ball had already been "opened," but Elizabeth and Mr. Collins wound up as the head of the set for that particular dance. Once the dancing started there was a fair bit of changing of partners and who got to be the "lead couple."
I'll check my sources after the weekend and see if I have anything else to add.
I remain, etc.
- Thank you. :) nfm Spring 10:13:19 7/10/98 (0)
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