All posts by Laughing Cat

Learn Your Dance Floor Etiquette

Cause no harm and, conversely, protect yourself. If you are being maimed during a song, stop dancing and head for the sidelines — even if it’s the middle of a song. Say something along the lines of, “Gee, I think I just got hurt. I should sit down” if you are timid, or, if you are more straightforward, “Excuse me, but you’ve hurt my arm. I’m going to stop now.” And then walk off the floor — it’s not a discussion; it’s not a negotiation; and you do not need permission or approval from the maimer to stop dancing with him/her.

Offer condolences in case of accidents. If your partner accidentally falls, apologize no matter who’s fault you believe it to be and offer your hand to help them up. Or if you bump into another couple or accidentally step on someone else’s foot, immediately look them in the eye tell them you are sorry.

No aerials on the dance floor. Yes, they do it in the movies, but aerial are for performance only. You can hurt yourself and/or other people on the floor. As well, don’t kick behind yourself. You can’t see who’s back there that you are just about to deliver a mighty mule kick to.

Dance one song with someone, then change partners. Maybe two in a row, but not more than that. You can always ask them to dance again later in the evening, but it is impolite to occupy one person song after song while ignoring everyone else in the room.

Pay attention to the person you are dancing with. If you are looking all around the room as you dance, you send your partner a message that you are already looking to move on. It’s rather like constantly looking at your watch or phone while in a conversation with someone, you are letting them know you have better things to do. Songs last 3 or so minutes, be in the moment enjoy the dance you are having and smile!

Thank every person you dance with without fail. When the song is over, thank your partner as you leave the floor together.

Dance with partners of all skill levels. Overcome your shyness and do it. It’s good for you. And it helps everyone to be a better dancer sooner, which means more fun the next time out. This goes with making new-comers feel welcome and helps to grow the dance scene.

Never refuse a mint.

Austin Swing Dance Syndicate offers this comprehensive article on dance etiquette. It’s a long read, but makes many well informed points.

 

Vintage Style

Although period costume is not mandatory, guests at the Jazz Age Sunday Social are encouraged to wear vintage style to the event. It adds to the experience – nothing contributes to getting into the spirit quite like the proper garb! Here are a few tips and local dealers to help you look your best – and keep in mind that you don’t need to wear authentic 1920s clothing to accomplish the look. All great styles come full circle, and there are often fantastic pieces from the 1960s, 1980s and the present day that can work quite well.

Vintage Martini – This local shop offers period pieces (great for inspiration), as well as modern options to capture the look. All eras from the early 1800s to this year’s runway couture are represented, so finding a sleek, Art Deco silhouette should be a breeze.

Dolly Python – Specializing in all sorts of fascinating ephemera, this shop also boasts a great vintage clothing section. This is a great source for men’s clothing, too – and have a look around the remainder of the shop for all sorts of fun accessories.

Curiosities – One of the most eclectic collections of antiques and treasures you’ll find in Dallas. While Curiosities does carry some vintage clothing, you’ll find a wealth of vintage and costume jewelry and accessories to complete your fabulous look.

 

Get crafty. Follow steps on AmericanDuchess.blogspot.com to create a swank pair of your own dance shoes true to Twenties style.

Shoe Customizing Tutorial

While American Duchess suggests a particular brand of shoe, this technique can be used with any brand of leather shoes, old or new. White satin shoes can be tea stained or painted with thinned down acrylic paint without any kind of preparation.

Some other great resources specifically for retro looking dance shoes are DanceStore.com and Capezio.

Last word, if you intend to dance, you want slide and plenty of it. If you purchase shoes with rubber, crepe or gripping soles you will have a very difficult time on the dance floor and may possibly even twist an ankle or torque a knee. Look for hard leather, suede or a synthetic sole with glide OR plan to get those sticky things resoled at the cobbler!

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Learn Your Picnic Etiquette

“Correct Behavior on a Picnic”

by Donald Ogden Stewart

Excerpt from the 1920s etiquette book, Perfect Behavior, A Guide for Ladies and Gentlemen in All Social Crises. Found on Victoriana.com
Dorothy Sebastian and Joan CrawfordThere often comes a time in the life of the members of “society” when they grow a little weary of the ceaseless round of teas, balls and dinners, and for such I would not hesitate to recommend a “picnic.”

A day spent in the “open,” with the blue sky over one’s head, is indeed a splendid tonic for jaded nerves.  But one should not make the mistake of thinking that because he (or she) is “roughing it” for a day, he (or she) can therefore leave behind his (or her) “manners,” for such is not the case. There is a distinct etiquette for picnics, and anyone who disregards this fact is apt to find to his (or her) sorrow that the “shoe” in this case is decidedly “on the other foot.” read more

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