(WYTV) — You may have heard the expression “my dance card is full,” meaning I’m very busy and can’t help you now. What’s a dance card? Should it be full?
In 19th century America, it was a big deal; dance was a big deal. A typical night of dancing in the Victorian era was an evening of strict social behavior and actions. If you were going to a ball or a social dance, there were rules you had to follow. That brings us to the dance card.
The ladies held on to them and would have dances printed on them: a waltz, a tango, a polka, a two-step, and so on. Next to each dance would be a space for a man to pencil in his name, which meant he “claimed” that dance with the young woman.
The women wore these dance cards laced around their wrists. This way she could keep track of who would like to dance with her and it meant she didn’t have to ask a man to dance.
So, when we say that a woman’s dance card was full, we mean she must have been a popular lady who snagged a man for every turn at the ball. She was fully booked.
Some women pretended their dance card was full to get out of dancing with someone they didn’t like.