Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Double Cut Ball with pictures

Anna, one the hostess, with her dress that Elizabeth created
Elizabeth with the Martster in her self-designed dress
Scottish formal is apparently acceptable

Folks were asking about "Double Cut"and subcription Balls, so here are all your answers!

Double Cut: Refers to one couple cutting in on another and switching partners.

Dancing: The Ward Marston Band will play an array of toe-tapping music from the era of the classic dance bands. These familiar tunes will lead your feet in the right direction – be it a lively two-step, an airy waltz, or a barreling polka. Fear not if you feel that your dancing feet need a brush-up. The music will make it easy. Local dance workshops (see below) will help you polish your steps.

Attire: Ladies are asked to wear a floor length evening gown. Long white gloves are encouraged. Gentlemen are asked to wear a black suit with a white dress shirt and a black or white tie. “White Tie” and “Black Tie” dress are optional. White gloves are encouraged.

Dance Classes: To help you brush up your dance steps, we will host two ballroom dance classes in West Philadelphia the weekend prior to the ball. The first class will be on Saturday, November 14th, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm and the second class will be on Sunday, November 15th, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. Both classes will take place at the Community Education Center (CEC), located at 3500 Lancaster Avenue, and will cost $5 per person. Please email tomplank@gmail.com if you plan to attend.

Subscription: We are pleased to arrange a festive evening for our friends which harks back to the subscription balls of years past (see below). The Double Cut Ball is intended to be a “break-even” occasion, not a benefit event, and the subscription charge merely enables us to meet the expenses of the evening.

A note on subscription balls, from Household Companion: The Home Book Of Etiquette
by Alice A. Johnson, Mrs. Janet McKenzie Hill, and Dr. Henry Hartshorne, 1909:

Subscription Dances

In most of the large cities several series of dances are arranged by certain leaders in the social world to which people are invited to subscribe. Each subscriber is usually entitled to a number of invitations for distribution, though in some instances the price of the subscription is small, and only permits one person to take advantage of each.

The subscription balls take place in some public ball-room, as a rule. In New York, for instance, at Delmonico’s.

Several ladies are selected to form the reception committee, and they stand in one of the outer rooms, bowing to the guests as they enter. On such occasions, no one shakes hands; the ladies curtsy, and the gentlemen bow.

No unmarried lady should go to one of these balls, or to any large party, without a chaperon, and invitations should be sent to an elder member of her family, in order that she need not look outside for proper attendance.

In the West and South it is customary for gentlemen to take unmarried ladies to evening entertainments, but in the East, and in the best city society generally, such a thing would be considered the greatest breach of decorum. At a small dance in a private house a young lady may dispense with the services of a chaperon, if desired, but she should be escorted to and from the house by a servant or relative.

A good floor is essential to the enjoyment of dancing; when the carpet is taken up, care should be used that no roughness of surface is presented. Some ladies have their dancing-floors carefully polished with beeswax and a brush. A crumb-cloth or linen diaper, thoroughly well stretched over a carpet, is the next best thing to a polished floor.

The question of music is important. If it is a large ball, four musicians is the least number that should be engaged piano, cornet or flute, violin, and violoncello. In small assemblies the violin and piano are sufficient, or, on occasion, the piano alone. In such a case a chance pianist should not be depended upon, but a professional one be engaged.

The orchestra should occupy what is considered the top of the room. In cases where it is not convenient to adhere to this rule, the end farthest from the door is usually chosen. The position of the orchestra needs to be considered by the dancers, so that, in quadrilles, their movements may be regulated thereby.