Like any aspiring young man and woman in Viennese society I went to dancing school at the age of 15. In those days there actually only was one option and that was Elmayer. Recently the young Mr. E. has fallen a bit from grace due to his modernistic escapades but then it was the only school that with its main instructor, Mr. H., oversaw the Viennese Opera Ball whose debutants it trained; and it was the only one that held its annual ball at the Hofburg. Furthermore, it described itself as an institution that would teach not only dancing but also the higher forms of etiquette.
So two of my friends from school and I donned our navy blue suits, (mostly ugly) ties, white shirts and black Italian shoes, took with us our white cotton gloves that were compulsory, too and went off. Apart from commiting the slight faux-pas of playing with my dancing-partners' bra at the back of her dress the first night (not out of sexual desire but because I was concentrating so much on getting the steps right and absentmindedly fingered around there) all went well for the first couple of times.
We more or less learned the few standard dances and how to correctly hand-kiss but none of us went on to become a great dancer. I believe this was conditioned by the fact that we- after 4 weeks of our three-month course- instead of further attending class, chose to frequent certain unwholesome drinking-dens and night clubs.
Jeeves at his garden
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