*** Dancing School and Lessons

Dancing School and Lessons

girls dancing lessons
Figure 1.--Many of the girls at dancing class were not very impressed with their partners.

Boys often at mom's urging have participated in various dance programs. For most boys it was for much of the 20th century learing social dancing--the joys of the box step por for the more adventuresome the Fox Trot. By the end of the 20th century this had become less common. Other boys participated in more formal fine arts or ethnic dancing programs. Relatively few boys have attended dancing school to learn classical dance, but many boys have attended dancing school to lear social dancing.

Social Dancing

Many American boys somewhere between 10 and 13 take dancing lessons. For some it was an escrutingately painful experience requiring that he dress up in his best suit. Many boys can remember the awkward experience of learning to dance with the equally dressed up, but considerably more enthusiastic young ladies.

Lord Chesterfield, in his letters to his son, says: "Dancing is, in itself, a very trifling and silly thing: but it is one of those established follies to which people of sense are sometimes obliged to conform; and then they should be able to do it well. And though I would not have you a dancer, yet, when you do dance, I would have you dance well, as I would have you do everything you do well." In another letter, he writes: "Do you mind your dancing while your dancing master is with you? As you will be often under the necessity of dancing a minuet, I would have you dance it very well. Remember that the graceful motion of the arms, the giving of your hand, and the putting off and putting on of your hat genteelly, are the material parts of a gentleman's dancing. But the greatest advantage of dancing well is, that it necessarily teaches you to present yourself, to sit, stand, and walk genteelly; all of which are of real importance to a man of fashion."

Country Trends

HBC has begun to collect information on dancing schools in different countries to assess the different fashiions worn. Normally a boy would wear his best suit. Thus available images, photographs and drawings provide useful views of dress clothing. We have, however, very limited information at this time.

Literary Treatment

Boys excperiencs at dancing school have been dealt with by many authors. I have uploaded Perrod Schofield's experiences, but there are manu more.

Fine Arts and Ethnic Dancing

The atmosphere at any school should be that in which students are encouraged to develop their own individual talents as well as learn to work well with others. This can best be accomplished when the student and teacher share a common goal: to learn as much as possible from each other and to have fun while doing so. A wide variety of different dance forms can be pursued from classical ballet to Irish step dancing.


Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main social dance page]
[Return to the Main dancing instruction page]
[Return to the Main dance page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Bibliographies] [Biographies] [Chronologies] [Countries] [Style Index]
[Contributions] [Frequently Asked Questions] [Glossaries]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web chronological pages:
[The 1880s] [The 1890s] [The 1900s] [The 1910s] [The 1920s] [The 1930s]
[The 1940s] [The 1950s] [The 1960s] [The 1970s]

Created: March 10, 1998
Last updated: October 20, 2001