|The greatest familiarity between persons of opposite sexes, is, a gentleman placing one hand on a lady’s waist, while she rests one hand on his shoulder and holds his disengaged hand in the other.|
Mrs. Swisshelm on Dancing – It is worthy of note, that those churches and people who most strenuously oppose dancing, have already encouraged and practiced it under other names. Like the temperance man who would not drink cider, but had no objection to a glass of apple juice, our opponents of dancing have their children taught the art under the name of Calisthenics, and practice it when it is called Plays. For it is a remarkable fact, that those old time favorites of religious communities, ‘Dear Sister Phoebe,’ ‘Ring Round Rosy,’ ‘All a Marching to Quebec,’ ‘The White Cockade,’ ‘Copenhagen,’ etc., etc., are, every one of them, cotillions and contra dances, performed to vocal and instrumental music.
The difference between the religious dance, is that in the former, every man in the room is compelled, on pain of breach of etiquette, to kiss every woman in the room; and, vice versa, that it is quite in order for married women to sit down on the knees of young gentlemen, put their arms around their necks, bring two pair of lips together with a smack, and do any amount of hugging. While, in a profane dance, even those of most doubtful propriety, the greatest familiarity between persons of opposite sexes, is, a gentleman placing one hand on a lady’s waist, while she rests one hand on his shoulder and holds his disengaged hand in the other. The churches, therefore, who set up rules against dancing, are fairly and squarely committed to the doctrine that promiscuous dancing is all right, and pious, and innocent, provided it is accompanied by promiscuous kissing, with a suitable amount of hugging and general rough and tumble. While, without these refining and elevating additions it is an evil on evil, and that continually.
There is no escaping this conclusion, for the anti-dancing churches and Christians are too openly committed in favor of these vulgar plays for an intelligent man to deny, that either they have acted blindly, or that the kissing and hugging sanctifies the dancing. Now, since all the experience of the past proves that people will dance, even grave and reverend deacons, we are in favor of the dancing without the etceteras. But, apart from all comparisons, we regard dancing as a positive good, as something which requires no apology, but is inherently right in itself, and efficient means of perfecting, refining and cultivating the crowning work of God’s creation, a means appointed and directly approved by the Creator himself! It is liable to abuse, and the object of reformers should be to regulate, not to abolish it. – St. Cloud Democrat, 1860
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