Monday, August 1, 2016

Russian Dance Master on Etiquette

Vestoff is quoted as saying that the American gentleman "clasps his partner in his arms like a life preserver and then drops her in a heap in the middle of the floor to dance with some one else."


Ballroom Etiquette of America in Primitive State, Declares Russian Master

Los Angeles knights of the ballroom rally to a man in a sweeping denunciation of the statement made in San Francisco by Veronine Vestoff, a Master of the Imperial School of Dancing in Moscow, that American men do not know how to conduct themselves. 


“Idiotic,” “absurd,” “childish,” “the essence of ignorance” are a few of the most delicate replies to the statement. Vestoff is quoted as saying that the American gentleman clasps his partner in his arms like a life preserver and then drops her in a heap in the middle of the floor to dance with some one else."

"Primitive," he says... 

“Ballroom etiquette,” continued Vestoff, “in America is in a primitive state.” “Let me state that what I feel like saying in reply to Vestoff’s statement certainly would not be suitable for a ballroom function,” said Leo Youngworth today. “He knows absolutely nothing of what he is talking about. American etiquette, while not so superfluous and over-done as the European custom, is nothing that Americans should be ashamed of. 

“In America we have been brought up with the idea of utmost respect for women and, although we do not bow and scrape in jewel-bedecked uniforms, we are gentlemen to the core.” “Tell our friend to put his vest back on again,” said W. K. Crawford, “his statements are utterly absurd. I think he is going a little too far when he tells us how to hold hands.” 



Not Stiff and Cold 

“The American people are themselves at a social function not stiff, cold figures bound by trifling rules of conventionality. Such an attitude does not prove a man is a gentleman.”  “I have had the pleasure to attend quite a number of ballroom functions in my time,” said G. H. Ennis, “but never have I witnessed any of the actions that Vestoff says occur in America. “I cannot imagine where he got the idea of the dancing. When he says the gentleman drops his partner to waltz off with another, he probably refers to the old colonial custom so in vogue now of ‘breaking in,’ which means that when there is so large a number of men they are allowed to select their partners without introduction.— Los Angeles Herald, 1914


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