Monday, February 15, 2016

Kaiser's New Dance Etiquette

The city palace in Berlin was the Prussian royal palace

Emperor Wilhelm's New Dance Rules

At the court ball in Berlin lately the Kaiser brought in two innovations —first, that the court quadrille is to return as much as possible to the old French quadrille, instead of the modernized dance which has lately taken its place; also that the Kaiser's new ruling as to etiquette in round dance is an improvement.

The Kaiser gave out that in future at court balls, what is known as visiting will be given up.

"Visiting," to explain to those who do not know what it means, is a German practice of one man, having several partners in the same dance. This is an easy way for a man to get through a deal of formal civility, but is a death blow to sociability, and the ladies are pleased.

The visiting card of Kaiser Wilhelm. The German text reads, "Wilhelm, Deutscher Kaiser u. König von Preußen" (translation: "William, German Emperor and King of Prussia"). — Visiting or calling cards, were small paper cards with one's name printed on them, and often bearing an artistic design. In 18th C. Europe, the footmen of aristocrats and royalty would deliver these first European visiting cards to the servants of their prospective hosts solemnly introducing the arrival of their owners. They were the forerunners of today's business cards.

The scene around the throne was brilliant. The ball opened with the valse "La Gitanella," by Morena, the band of the Fusilier guards playing. The dancing card was a very pretty thing in old French style, with Watteau figures and the imperial arms on top. The dancing took place in front of the throne. Count Baudessen of the Life guards was leader of the ball, opening it with the chief lady of the court Countess Stolberg Werigerode.

Next came Count Bernstoff, with Countess Irma Kanitz. In a lovely toilet of white with silver embroidery. One of the toilettes much remarked on was that of Countess Stolberg. It was a ball dress of white satin, with pink roses, very simple but beautifully made.

A feature of the evening was the favorite dance of the Kaiser's, a dance which he has sought very hard to popularize, and what is known as "The Queen's Minuet." Six pairs were in each. set. In the set nearest the throne were Count Bernstoff. Countess Stolberg, Count Baudessen and Countess Kanitz. 

The partners of the ladies were solely officers of the guard regiments. Princess Frederick Karli looked well in chamois satin. Princess- Adolph Schaumburg-Lippe wore light blue, many pearls and much lovely lace; Countess von Wedel, one of the best dressed ladies at court, wore salmon satin; Frau von Bulow, yellow silk, trimmed with fur; Countess Schaffgotsch and Baroness Engelbert Furstenburg, pale pink; Baroness von Kreselbeck wore a very beautiful toilet over a white and gold embroidered skirt (she had a brilliant red broad train of dark red roses about her figure); Countess von Groben wore a silver embroidered toilet.—Berlin Letter, 1899

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

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