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Dancing

Dancing is popular, and the numerous large and opulent-looking public dance-halls are an important element in the folklore and courtship procedures of all but the upper and middle classes. They mostly charge low entrance fees, between three and six shillings for each person, have no licence to sell alcoholic drinks,* and close about 11 p. m. They are strictly places for dancing, with good floors and good bands, but often no tables for people to sit at when they are not actually dancing, only rows of chairs round the walls. They are visited mainly by young unmarried people. Girls tend to go in groups of two or three, friends from the same street or the same office, relying much on each other's support as they go in; the young men sometimes go in groups too, but often alone. All the girls tend to congregate together between dances, and the young men similarly; at the beginning of each dance a man chooses a girl from the mass, and will ask the same girl to dance with him again if he found her company agreeable; or the girl may refuse. Most of the dancers go home as they came - but not quite all. If a couple like one another the young man may offer an invitation to go to a cinema on some future night, and this invitation may be succeeded by others. After several pre-arranged meetings a couple may regard themselves as "going steady" together, though for a long time they will meet only in public places, and an invitation home implies great admiration.

* (Sometimes alcoholic drinks are sold.)

(Life in Modern Britain by P. Bromhead)

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