Hundred-year-old Advice for Where to Place Hands When Dancing

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Monday, January 12, 1914: Pretty cold today.

I don't think people wore fancy clothes like this at dances in rural Pennsylvania, but it nicely illustrates the post. ( Photo source: Ladies Home Journal: April, 1914)
I don’t think people wore fancy clothes like this at dances in rural Pennsylvania, but it nicely illustrates the post. ( Photo source: Ladies Home Journal: April, 1914)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, my thoughts keep going back to the dance she went to the previous Friday.  .  .

The February, 1914 issue of Ladies Home Journal had some recommendations for where the man should place his hand when dancing:

The Man’s Hand in Dancing

Since the mania for dancing is so prevalent, and all decent people are anxious to check the present indecent tendencies in the dances, may we suggest to parents and to all dancing teachers that the proper place, laid down by all good authorities in the art of dancing, for the man’s right hand is at the woman’s waist-line and not in the middle of her back?

This may seem like a small and incidental point in good dancing, bit it has much to do not only with the morality of the dance, but with its graces as well, to say nothing of his partner’s dress incidental to his perspiring hands. . . .

23 thoughts on “Hundred-year-old Advice for Where to Place Hands When Dancing

    1. I agree… and reckon he’s about to give the other bloke the “tap on the shoulder” and take his place 😉 Looks a bit anxious though, and is he wringing his hands?… mmmhhh

  1. Ooh, that other fellow in the picture looks quite jealous! I wonder if young men nowadays know where to place their hands while dancing;0) I cannot not see myself dancing in such a lovely but tight, long dress without making a spectacle of myself whilst tripping and stumbling;0) Lovely post!

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