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Pre-Booking (was Cribs)

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  • ...

    Lee Fuell Oct. 8, 2001, 10:33 p.m. (Message 27790)

    My limited observations of pre-booking have mostly involved older 
    dancers.  Was this once common and considered proper ballroom 
    etiquette?  I agree that in today's culture, this appears elitist and 
    exclusive, but are we just dealing with a generation gap?  If so, it 
    will die out (no morbid pun intended...) on its own.
    
    Patty and I have taken to pre-booking some dances with each 
    other (never more than a very limited number on a program, 
    though!).  We were originally taught that the accepted practice was 
    to dance the first and last dance of a program with one's  
    spouse/significant other/date, and all other dances with others.  On 
    this list, I have seen this modified to first, last, and one "special" 
    dance.  However, we are finding that the first dance of a program is 
    often an "easy opener" that is not as interesting as later dances, 
    so we often don't dance this one together.  We prefer instead to 
    pick a more interesting dance later in the program that we wish to 
    share with each other.  Finishers are usually good, but sometimes 
    we'll trade this one off for another if there's a second dance 
    somewhere else on the program we wish to do together.
    
    One practice that complicates this approach that I wish masters of 
    ceremonies would not do is have a grand march lead right into the 
    first dance of the program.  This locks everyone into dancing the 
    first dance with their grand march partner, usually one's significant 
    other.  I much prefer a grand march that ends with applause for the 
    musicians, a clearing of the floor, then a call to form sets for the 
    first dance.
    
    So, is this form of limited pre-booking also socially frowned upon, 
    or within the accepted envelope of ballroom etiquette?
    
    Lee
    
    Send reply to:  	xxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx
    Date sent:      	Mon, 08 Oct 2001 13:51:12 -0400
    From:           	Lara Friedman-Shedlov <xxxxxx@xx.xxxxx.xxx>
    To:             	<xxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx>
    Subject:        	Re: Cribs
  • ...

    Lara D. Friedman~Shedlov Oct. 8, 2001, 11:01 p.m. (Message 27793, in reply to message 27790)

    Quoting "Donald Lee Fuell, Jr." <xxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx>:
    
    > So, is this form of limited pre-booking also socially frowned upon,
    > or within the accepted envelope of ballroom etiquette?
    >
    > Lee
    >
    
    I think this may be the traditional practice for regular ballroom 
    dancing, but I was taught early on that for SCD it is frowned upon.
    I only started doing SCD about 12 years ago, so maybe this is a more 
    recent convention.
    
    --Lara Friedman-Shedlov
    Minneapolis, MN  USA
    
    *******************************
    Lara Friedman-Shedlov     
    xxxx@xxxxxxx.xxx
    *******************************
  • ...

    ron.mackey Oct. 9, 2001, 1:59 a.m. (Message 27797, in reply to message 27790)

    > One practice that complicates this approach that I wish masters of 
    > ceremonies would not do is have a grand march lead right into the 
    > first dance of the program.  This locks everyone into dancing the 
    > first dance with their grand march partner, usually one's significant 
    > other.  I much prefer a grand march that ends with applause for the 
    > musicians, a clearing of the floor, then a call to form sets for the 
    > first dance.
    
    	Hi, 
    		When I started, a Grand March could start either the first or/and 
    the second half of the programme.  It always led into squares for The 
    Eightsome Reel.  That's why we came up for the last time in eights so 
    that although one could choose a partner you couldn't dance as a 
    regular group but had to take pot luck.  This meant that, if you were 
    first man one danced a quiet and modest highland step in the middle.  
    If anything too flashy was tried the odds were you would find the 
    next man was a competition winner!! Result, one red face.
    Happy Dancing
    Cheers  :)
    
    Ron
    Ron Mackey.  London Branch
  • ...

    Adam Hughes Oct. 9, 2001, 2:13 p.m. (Message 27812, in reply to message 27797)

    I'm glad this question has paid off.
    
    So, it sounds like a consensus that some pre-booking is normal (and I'll 
    freely admit that when my girlfriend is at a dance, we'll usually do the 
    first, the last and one in the middle that looks good, just as Lara 
    said) but that most people prefer not to book up dances, except maybe 
    with students or other people you want to be careful to remember not to 
    snub at their first ball.
    
    <the rest of this is just musings, and requests for advice>
    
    I often end up booking dances in the sense of "would you like to dance", 
    "sorry I have a partner, but how about the next one?"
    
    I went to the Oxford and Cambridge Highland Ball last year, and was 
    surprised to see most of the people there going around with sharpened 
    pencils, in the half hour before the dance started, filling their cards, 
    ignoring all the people they didn't know.  This year, since I am 
    supposed to be organising the ball, I have been asked by several people 
    to put something in the programme or say something at the start, asking 
    people not to book up dances like that.  There is a suspicion the 
    academics might need occasional updates on the social mores of the 
    outside world.
    
    They also asked me to make an announcement along the lines of "Please 
    try and hide your shock when a woman asks you to dance" since a couple 
    of the older men were sufficiently unsure of themselves to reply a 
    little abruptly when a young American asked them to dance.  Of course 
    they'd booked all their dances, so they couldn't take advantage of the 
    offer.  She was not at all impressed.
    
    I've experienced the flipside (at other events), getting on the end of 
    "have you a partner?  Are you going to ask me to dance then?" 
    invitations to dance, which I find rather unflattering...
    
    On a slightly difference tack, I like grand marches, and was planning to 
    have one at the ball, but it had never occurred to me to march, applaud, 
    and then find another partner.  I kind of like the idea that the grand 
    march mixed up the couples so at least at the start cliquey sets don't 
    form.  But I might try it, or possibly start with a few times through a 
    couple dance instead of a set dance.  The SUSCDF grand march led into a 
    three-facing-three around the room dance last year, which was a nice 
    idea I thought...  Is it expect to do the grand march with your 
    "significant other"?  I've never noticed any black looks when I've done 
    a grand march with someone else's wife.  Maybe we should try a grand 
    march of individuals, so you get a random partner, as well as a random 
    set.  But I suppose some people might get confused if the room was full 
    of men dancing with men and women dancing as men with men dancing as women.
    
    Another suggestion from someone here was that people might like to chose 
    partners from the set they just danced with - which assuming there were 
    no cliquey sets to start with, might prevent their formation, but if 
    there were cliquey sets, then they'd just perpetuate, so I'm not 
    convinced by that one.
    
    Adam
  • ...

    Alan Paterson Oct. 9, 2001, 3:57 p.m. (Message 27815, in reply to message 27812)

    Adam Hughes wrote:
    > 
    > On a slightly difference tack, I like grand marches, and was planning to
    > have one at the ball, but it had never occurred to me to march, applaud,
    > and then find another partner.  I kind of like the idea that the grand
    > march mixed up the couples so at least at the start cliquey sets don't
    > form. 
    
    But that isn't the case?
    
    The first 4 couples who lead off the march will end up together. AS will the
    next 4 and the next 4...
    
    Not too difficult to arrange your set then before the march starts.
    
    Alan
    
    (or is there another version of this which I don't know about?)
  • ...

    Lara D. Friedman~Shedlov Oct. 9, 2001, 4:07 p.m. (Message 27817, in reply to message 27815)

    Quoting Alan Paterson <xxxxx@xxxxxxx.xx>:
    
    > The first 4 couples who lead off the march will end up together. AS
    > will the
    > next 4 and the next 4...
    >
    > Not too difficult to arrange your set then before the march starts.
    >
    > Alan
    >
    > (or is there another version of this which I don't know about?)
    
    Actually, we've done some pretty creative grand marches here in the 
    Twin Cities with arches and long spiral lines weaving between each 
    other, etc.  It is definitely possible to come up with something that 
    will yeild a more unpredictable set.
    
    --Lara Friedman-Shedlov
    Minneapolis, MN  USA
    
    
    
    *******************************
    Lara Friedman-Shedlov     
    xxxx@xxxxxxx.xxx
    *******************************
  • ...

    Fyreladdie Oct. 9, 2001, 1:53 a.m. (Message 27801, in reply to message 27790)

    In a message dated 10/8/01 1:34:43 PM, xxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx writes:
    
    << 
    My limited observations of pre-booking have mostly involved older 
    dancers.  Was this once common and considered proper ballroom 
    etiquette?  I agree that in today's culture, this appears elitist and 
    exclusive, but are we just dealing with a generation gap?  If so, it 
    will die out (no morbid pun intended...) on its own. >>
    
    Geofry Selling wrote an interesting article for TAC about the various types 
    of country dancing and their rules of engagement. I believe hearing something 
    about organized sets and partners in one of the traditions. I think it might 
    have been the "reelers". According to this, the set dance together all the 
    time and only changed partners within the set. No on was allowed to dance in 
    the set unless one of the original 8 wanted to sit out. I would check it out 
    with TAC. I'm sure they still have the article.
    
    Bob Mc Murtry
    Felton, Calif
  • ...

    res009k3 Oct. 9, 2001, 2:50 a.m. (Message 27809, in reply to message 27790)

    Another way to get a good early mix sans significant other is to end
    the grand march with a progressive Gay Gordans or other such "Barn
    Dance" type. In that way, it would take a "turn accountant" to
    calculate the odds of any one getting a particular partner for the
    first dance.
  • ...

    res009k3 Oct. 9, 2001, 2:55 a.m. (Message 27810, in reply to message 27790)

    I have my parents dance programs going back to university in the 20's,
    but at least they had a choice.
    
    If you read about the dancing about the time of the founding of the
    Edinburgh Assemble, the hostess or the dancing master often issued
    tickets to the dancers which indicated both a set and ones place
    therein. Your partner was your calculated opposite (bribery,
    matchmaking, etc. were part of the game).
    
    It was considered a grave sin to trade your ticket with another just
    to dance with a particular partner.
    
    Goss
    xxxxxxx.x.xxxx@xxx.xxx
  • ...

    rabrown Oct. 9, 2001, 11:12 p.m. (Message 27825, in reply to message 27790)

    A couple of years ago I was the one male who accompanied 3 or 4 local
    dance lady friends to a far out of town tea dance, so it was somewhat
    expected that I would at least dance with each of them in the afternoon,
    and during intermission we arranged for that.  Alas, that ended up booking
    the last 4 dances of the day.  Imagine my emrbarrassment when a lovely
    young lady with the hosting group asked me to dance toward the end of the
    program, and I had to decline for all the remaining dances of the day.  She
    was rightfully miffed.
    
         So now I have a new policy which I share with anyone I book a dance
    with (other than the first and last for my favorite lady of course):  Yes
    let's book a dance, and yes let's look for each other during the prior
    dance, and yes let's try to get over to one another for the dance, BUT.. if
    anyone stops us in between and asks for a dance before we can hook up, then
    we accept, and thus avoid appearing rude or hurting someone's feelings.
    Everyone I've used this caveat with has accepted it and thought it made
    sense.  My significant other and I also use this approach for mid program
    dances we have hoped to do together; we feel this especially important as
    there are usually more women than men present, and she does not want to say
    no to and potentially alienate a male requester who probably has many more
    opportunities available to dance with the opposite sex than she.
    
         And yes I admit to having been seen at times scurrying across the
    dance floor determinedly with my head down and eyes averted.
    
    Richard Brown
    Conklin, NY
  • ...

    Rudge, Janet Oct. 10, 2001, 2:50 p.m. (Message 27839, in reply to message 27790)

    Richard wrote
     << I have a new policy which I share with anyone I book a dance
    with (other than the first and last for my favorite lady of course):  Yes
    let's book a dance, and yes let's look for each other during the prior
    dance, and yes let's try to get over to one another for the dance, BUT.. if
    anyone stops us in between and asks for a dance before we can hook up, then
    we accept, and thus avoid appearing rude or hurting someone's feelings.>>
    
    If I had pre-arranged a dance with someone, I think I would be a bit miffed 
    if, when I went to find them, I found them making up a set with someone 
    else instead!  Especially if that then left me unable to find a partner.
    
    Richard also wrote
     <<  And yes I admit to having been seen at times scurrying across the
    dance floor determinedly with my head down and eyes averted.>>
    
    If one has to hurry to find one's next partner before someone else asks
    them to dance, this means having to dump one's last partner straight after
    the bow and curtsey and dash off.  I think it's nice to be able to amble 
    off the floor having a chat with the person you've just shared a dance 
    with, without the pressure of having to start looking for a partner for 
    the next one.
    
    Having said that, at the dances I go to, there are only a very small 
    number of people who feel they need to book their partners early on for 
    most of the dances on the programme.  Most of us use a relaxed approach of 
    "Are you free for this dance?  No?  Well, let's do XXXXXX instead."  
    This only results in having 4 or 5 dances at the most prebooked during an 
    evening (and those are usually only arranged 2 or 3 dances ahead of time), 
    but once they're booked, they're booked.
    
    Jan Rudge
    
    Beaconsfield, UK
    RSCDS London Branch
  • ...

    Fyreladdie Oct. 10, 2001, 4:22 p.m. (Message 27840, in reply to message 27790)

    In a message dated 10/10/01 5:52:16 AM, xxxxxx@xxx.xxx writes:
    
    << If one has to hurry to find one's next partner before someone else asks
    
    them to dance, this means having to dump one's last partner straight after
    
    the bow and curtsey and dash off.  I think it's nice to be able to amble 
    
    off the floor having a chat with the person you've just shared a dance 
    
    with, without the pressure of having to start looking for a partner for 
    
    the next one. >>
    
    Jan,
        You have hit upon one of my favorite subjects. Ballroom etiquette 
    dictates that the gentleman escorts his partner on and off the floor. I teach 
    this in my classes as the proper thing to do and a nice touch. The lady may 
    choose to exempt you from that responsibility if her next partner is near by 
    and wishes to remain on the floor. I fear in my efforts to be a gentleman, I 
    have lost opportunities to gain a new partner of choice, due to pre-booking 
    and eagerness of others to secure partners before leaving the floor. But I 
    believe that respect for my present partner is far more important. It often 
    gives me an opportunity to dance with ladies who are not always asked. It can 
    be delighful and surprising.
    
    Bob Mc Murtry
    Felton, Calif

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