Gentleman’s Hold for the Quickstep, Waltz, and Foxtrot 


Careful attention should be paid to the hold in ballroom dancing. A bad hold will not only give a dancer an appearance of bad style, but will also seriously affect the balance and the guiding.


Stand in an upright position with the feet close together. The body should be braced slightly at the waist, but not at the shoulders, which should remain free and at the normal level.


Although the position of the arms is to some extent a matter of individual style, the following hints, together with the accompanying illustration, will help the dancer to avoid anything that is ungainly.


  1. The LEFT ARM should slope slightly downwards from the shoulder to the elbow, otherwise the shoulder will be lifted. This part of the arm should be kept well back so that the elbow is in a line with the man’s back. A common fault is to allow the elbow to move forward, towards the lady, thus forcing the lady’s Right arm backwards.


  1. The LEFT ARM should bend quite sharply at the elbow, the forearm pointing upwards and slightly forwards from the elbow to the hand. The forearm may be taken slightly inwards from the elbow, so that the hand is nearer the head than the elbow. This must not be exaggerated otherwise the hold will be too compact and breadth lost. The arm should be definitely angled at the elbow. Held in this way it is much smarter and not so likely to annoy other dancers as when allowed to extend outwards.


  1. The PALM of the LEFT HAND should be facing forward in a direction diagonally to the floor. The lady’s Right hand should be held in a comfortable and “unfussy” manner. Most men hold the lady’s fingers between the thumb and first finger, and then close the fingers over the side of her hand.


  1. The LEFT WRIST must not bend. There should be an unbroken line from the elbow to the wrist, with the knuckles of the hand very slightly higher than the wrist. The hand should never bend downwards from the wrist.


  1. The RIGHT ARM should slope downwards from the shoulder to the elbow in as near as possible the same line as the Left arm. This will depend to a great extent upon the height of the partner. The Right elbow will be more forward than the shoulder, owing to the hand being on the lady’s back. It must not go too far forward nor must it be dropped close to the man’s Right side.


  1. The RIGHT HAND should be placed below the lady’s Left shoulder blade. It should not be placed too far round the lady’s back, or the Right shoulder will tend to drop.


  1. The HEAD should be held in an easy upright position, and the man should normally look over the lady’s Right shoulder.


  1. POSITION WITH PARTNER. The man should endeavour to hold the lady in a position in front of him, very slightly to his Right side, but care must be taken not to let this position become too pronounced.


The Hold for the Lady


The hold for the lady must always depend somewhat upon the man, but the following points should be observed:


  1. Stand in an upright position, slightly braced at the waist, without raising the shoulders.


  1. Stand in front of the man, very slightly to his Right side, but do not exaggerate this.


  1. Raise the RIGHT HAND with the fingers together, and allow the man to take it to his normal position. The man generally holds the lady’s fingers between his thumb and first finger. When he has taken his position, the thumb is closed over the thumb of his Left hand.


  1. The RIGHT ARM may slope slightly downwards from the shoulder to the elbow and then upwards from the elbow to meet the man’s hand.


  1. The LEFT ARM should rest lightly on the man’s Right arm and must not bear downwards.


  1. The FINGERS of the LEFT HAND should be grouped neatly on the man’s Right arm between the elbow and the shoulder, but nearer the latter.


The hold for the Tango is described in the Tango Section of this book.