Proper Ball Room Conduct
“So many causes for Complaint existing of the miserable state of our Ball Room Dancing, particularly English Country Dancing, our boasted national Dance, and which (if the present plan is pursued, will soon become a disgrace to the country) it is necessary for its Improvement, that its neglected state be shewn, and, where and on whom ought to fall the Blame; and that a remedy be pointed out, not only for the Direction of those who wish to improve, but also to answer the purpose of those who are about to learn.”
I have included here, for your betterment, a sampling of the "Rules of Etiquette" that Mr. Wilson includes in his book, The Ballroom Companion:
"On entering the Ball
Room, each lady intending to dance must be presented by the Master of the
Ceremonies with a ticket on which is inscribed the number of her call,
according to which they afterwards take their places in the dance.
The first Lady is entitled to No. 1; the second to No. 2 and so on.
These numbers should be placed in a conspicuous place, and remain
there till the Dancing is finished to prevent any misunderstanding
respecting situations in the dance; for no one can claim a place, without
displaying their ticket."
"Gentlemen are not
permitted to enter the Ball Room, in boots, spurs, gaiters, trowsers, or
with canes or sticks; nor are loose pantaloons considered proper for a
Fall Dress Ball. (for more information on proper dress, do see my section
entitled Appropriate Dress)"
"The usual honors of
bows & courtesies should be observed at the commencement and
conclusion of each dance."
"When a company is divided into different sets, no person must
attempt to change their set without permission of the Master of the
No couple out to refuse to stand up directly the Dance is called as
it shows great disrespect to the Lady who calls it."
"Ladies or Gentlemen,
being without partners, should apply to the Master of the Ceremonies,
whose place it is, if possible to provide them."
These rules should get you started, but one can never be too knowledgeable about the ways of the Ball Room. I understand the task of all of this research seems daunting, but I assure you, nothing is more delightful than dancing the night away with a pleasant, well-bred partner.