Tuesday, October 6, 2009

pencil me in

Hey, I hope you are getting your dance cards ready for next week's
big event, here at the manor. Did you know that the dance card,
also known by its German name, Ballspende, or plural Ballspenden,
is used to record the names of those with whom are intended to
dance each successive dance at a formal ball? They appear to have
originated in 18th century, but their use first became widespread in
19th century Vienna.

An actual dance card is typically a booklet with a decorative cover,
listing dance titles, composers, and the person with whom a woman
intended to dance. Typically, it would have a cover indicating the
sponsoring organization of the ball and a decorative cord by which it
could be attached to her wrist or ball gown. From the 19th century
until World War I, dance cards for the elite of Austria-Hungary were
often very elaborate, with some even incorporating precious metal
and jewels.

In modern times the expression "dance card" is often used
metaphorically, as when someone says "pencil me into your dance
card", meaning "find some time to spend with me". When someone's
"dance card is full" it implies they have no time for, or interest in
another person. So, please do pencil me into your bloggy dance
cards for next Tuesday, October 13th. Be there or be square!

info from Wikipedia and photos from google images

53 comments:

  1. Great history on the dance card. And what a fancy one you have.

    Your on my dance card, Willow. Mine looks more like one of those 10 cents a dance cards. Bring on the sailors!

    Did I say that?

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  2. Does this mean that I get to dance with Willow???hahaha!

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  3. Oooh, sounds fun. I might even lose weight for this fete . . . if the Halloween candy wasn't already all over everywhere.

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  4. I've got you penciled in, Otin. :)

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  5. Hey, J.G., in cyberspace, we can loose ten pounds in a heartbeat.

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  6. Willow, I will get my dance card ready but I've been busy losing weight (in a heartbeat) and being fitted for gowns with huge seam allowances! Trying on shoes and looking over jewelry and purses...very excited about the event of the year! I will be posting your invitation so my people will be meeting your people! Will there be single fellows for dance partners...as my date is more lover than dancer?

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  7. Alas, I will graciously have to bow out on this one, Willow( tho' I may get a chance to drop by for a short visit ). I do wish all a good time :)

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  8. Subby, all you have to do is pop in. No need to stay the entire day, dear friend!

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  9. This whole event sounds so intriguing, Willow! I'm really looking forward to the picture you'll post and the stories you'll tell!!

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  10. Your photos of these dance cards are beautiful! I like that they wore them hanging on their wrists. The girl that owned that dance card was lucky...all her dance lines are filled!

    But Subby ~ I wanted to pencil you in for a dance! :)

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  11. Sounds like so much fun and I love the dance card pictures! Will try to drop by though I'm heading out of town the next day. What's more, I'm having trouble finding my long white kid gloves. (They were there in the drawer, under the Merry Widow . . .)

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  12. Ah would I if I could tho'( yes, of course! )

    @Betsy, will have to have a rain-check m'lady( taking Mom in for another operation and not sure how long I'll be at hospital ). Nothing too serious but still...and I'd send my second but not sure he can waltz, heh, heh...

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  13. I have dozens of old dance cards in a scrapbook purchased at a flea market. Some have wonderful designs, others very plain. They all belonged to one man from his college years. They're great fun to look at and I'm planning on repurposing some of the designs into modern cards, tiles, etc.

    Perhaps I'll pick out my favorite and tie it on my wrist with a purple string next week. Unless I wear green. Or maybe blue. Oh decisions decisions. What color to make my dance card string. I'm having enough trouble finding something to wear. Now I need to worry about string too!

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  14. cool history willow. my mum tried to teach me how to ballroom dance when i was a teenager. i didn't really try to learn and i sort of wish i had now but it was pretty awful - for her as much as me!!! i love watching good dancers - the synchroncitity and fluidity are spellbinding. steven

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  15. Liked the history, Willow. I guess I'm kinda still new to all this, so I haven't got the slightest idea what you're talking about, regarding a "blogger ball." But y'all have fun!

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  16. Just pop in anytime October 13. That's it. Easy peasey! You don't have to do anything at all, just enjoy.

    You can, sign up the day before to host a mini dance at your own blog, but only if you like!

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  17. drats! i'll be on vaca in florida without internet. it just figures that i'll miss all the fun!!

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  18. Love the dance cards. I'll be there!

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  19. Don't cry for me Argentina.... I took ballroom dancing when I was a geeky 13 year old and not one boy signed my dance card.

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  20. It's been ages since I heard the term "filling up a dance card", a phrase my grandmother used often.

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  21. Hmm. I can only recall using the phrase "Dance Card" once in real conversation. We were shipping a particularly good looking, very young inmate off to prison.

    "I bet his dance card is going to be full." I quipped, as we chained him up.

    Probably not the best visual for your lovely blog. I am afraid I live in a place far from Willow Manor.

    By contrast, however, your lovely Manor is all the more wonderful. Thank you for sharing bits of beauty. It is a bright spot in the darkness.

    Mike

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  22. Beautiful dance cards! How very romantic...

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  23. I used to have one of my Auntie Annie's dance cards. Now, what on earth happened to it?

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  24. I do not know whether they still give out dance cards here, but the ladies to this day do receive a gift - a "Damenspende" - at the Viennese Opera Ball. This past winter, interestingly, a special bottle of eau-de-vie (!) was presented to the ladies, another year a designer necklace (Johann Strauss jun. composed a "Damenspende" polka fran├žaise, Op.305).

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  25. Interesting post. Heads are being scratched right now because so many imaginations are stuck.

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  26. Once again, my escort will be Herr Mozart. However, I dare say that I will get to dance with him more than once, for being the popular ladies' man that he is, I am quite certain that he will be penciled in on a number of dance cards!

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  27. i will try to pencil you in as well. my hubby might honestly think i've lost my marbles in blogland after this though. :)

    lovely history of the dancecard. i had one cheesy version at my 8th grade dance and i dare say that the only people i danced with with the 3 girlfriends that went with me as a group.

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  28. interesting fact. the dance is gaining in momentum.

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  29. The dressers are dressing, the hatters are hatting and the cobblers are...well whatever cobblers do to make shoes! I'll be there with 'bells on'!

    Willow, what a wonderful event you are planning. Wouldn't miss it for the world. I thought I might bring Alexander the Great, I hear he doesn't get out much anymore. Well, must rush out, the shoes the cobbler completed yesterday pinch, so will need to have them stretched. Can't risk sitting out a dance.

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  30. Lynette, I was hoping Herr Mozart would be accompanying you! He was quite the center of attention last year, if my memory serves me right. :D

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  31. I wouldn;t miss it for the world only I have still got to find something to wear - I rather fancy making a huge impact in a Zandra Rhodes outfit - what do you think? Something reallly outrageous - that is my alter ego speaking.

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  32. Yeah it's the fisrt time I get an invitation to ballet,I won't turn it down!Be there ;)

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  33. Weaver, yes!! The more outrageous, the better. Fun-fun!!!

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  34. Dance cards.
    Adore them.
    And
    I use the term all the time!
    Though I must admit I often get a blank stare .. . . must be showing my age.

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  35. Just imagine how awful it must have been if nobody signed your card and you stood on the sidelines watching everyone else dance.

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  36. Hello Willow,

    I love the scene in 'Meet Me In St. Louis' when Esther ends up having to dance with all the awful boys as penance for trying to foist them on Lon's girlfriend! Who knows, we may see them at the Manor Ball?

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  37. Oh I loved your post. When I was a young girl my town had a Cotillion Club. We held a yearly dance and as you got into the Jr and Sr. classes you got to put the Cotillion on. Of course we had dance cards. Oh I wish I could find some of those old pictures. I just popped over from Linda's site and would love to come to your dance.HH and I have danced all our 50 years together. I will be posting your event.
    QMM

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  38. Great history and illustration as well. I love thinking about how phrases come into common usage in the language.

    I've got you penciled in on my calendar!

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  39. Derrick, you will be surprised at who shows up at the Manor Ball!!

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  40. QMM, welcome! Yes, please do come. The more the merrier, for sure.

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  41. What delightful memorabilia Willow. For some reason my imagination is full of the Duchess of Richmond's Ball, held in Brussels on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo.Goodness gracious me.
    I blame it all on your dance card and my spats....grinning
    A battle notwithstanding, please add my name to your dance card.

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  42. Yes, this was really cool! What a difference to today discos! :-)))

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  43. I've always loved the idea of dance cards, I'm a fan of Jane Austen but I've never seen one...thanks for sharing.

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  44. Michael, consider yourself penciled in...with ink!

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  45. very cool history on the dance card...and nice pics as well...will be dropping by for a quick visit!

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  46. I remember learning about this at a Waltzing seminar I went to at a Summer Program. The organizer of the event started the whole thing off with a lecture on Victorian English mannors when it came to formal events. It is super cool.

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  47. Forty seven comments! I would say that YOUR dance card is full - LOL. Interesting blog. Do you tango? Wish I did. Love those delicious moves. Cheers

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  48. Number 49 here !! great piece of history, really enjoyed this post. I'll be here next week. :)

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  49. I shall come as Groucho Marx this time, Willow.

    Greetings from London.

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  50. When I was seventeen, we had dance cards for our senior prom. I still have my dance card among the keepsakes of my youth in Ohio.

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  51. Speaking of dance cards, and knowing your interest in film, I thought I'd mention one of the great motion pictures of France's golden age: "Un Carnet de Bal": "Dance Card."

    They used just about everyone who was anyone in France in the thirties in this movie: Jouvet, Raimu, Francoise Rosay, Fernandel, among others. For anyone interested in the history of French film, it's a must.

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  52. Back in the early '70s when I was a student at a public high school I often attended dances with friends who went to a Catholic high school. The difference between our school dances and theirs was that they often passed out dance cards. We loved them! There we were in jeans or cords and sweaters concentrating on our dance cards. Thanks for refreshing this memory for me!

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)