- First dance
The first dance is an element in a number of traditions, being an opening of a certain
dancefunction: ball, prom, etc.
In the context of balls, the term "first dance" has two meanings.
At various formal balls the first dance was usually performed by a couple which included a person of highest social position in a given context: the
Emperoror King, a prince, etc. Their dance was the opening of the ball. Private balls were traditionally opened by the host or hostess.
Since these times the phrase "to open the ball" has become a
figure of speechfor initiating an activity which will be subsequently continued by others. Quite often the term has been used in descriptions of battle scenes. [From Rudyard Kipling's "The Drums Of The Fore And Aft": "Over that pock-marked ground the Regiment had to pass, and it opened the ball with a general and profound courtesy to the piping pickets; ducking in perfect time, as though it had been brazed on a rod. "]
France, Minuet, "the Queen of Dances", was the first dance.
Victorian eraof Great Britain the first dance was a quadrille. [Thomas E. Hill, "Essential Handbook of Victorian Etiquette" (1994) ISBN 0-912517-12-3 (paperback)]
In 19th century
Russian Empireballs were opened with Polonaise.
Another meaning is the first occurrence of a young lady in a social gathering. It could have happened either during a usual ball or during a specially arranged
debutante ballor cotillion.
The "first dance" of a
brideand groomis an important component of the weddingceremony in modern European and American traditions.
Traditionally, the first wedding dance has been
Waltz. In modern times ballroom dancingis no longer a widespread skill, and rehearsing the "first dance" has become a lucrative business for dance studios and independent dance instructors. Today more popular dances include the foxtrot, merengue, and swing. Alternatively, many couples just do a " slow dance".
* At "
Studniówka", a kind of promin Poland, the first dance is usually a polonaise, which students usually have to practice before the ball.
*The first dance of
Cinderellawas the "first dance" in two senses: it was her first dance, and she was asked to open the ball by the prince
* [http://www.uk-disco.co.uk/articles-public/29_08_2006Top-10-First-Dance-Wedding-Songs.asp Top 10 First Dance Wedding Songs] , based on a poll of 1,300 DJs by uk-disco.co.uk
* [http://sheknows.com/about/look/5394.htm First dance trends] , by
Sharon Naylor, an author of about 30 wedding books
* [http://www.wedalert.com/content/articles/surviving_dance.asp Surviving the First Dance - Ten Tips]
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