Washingtonians at Play
Unchanging pastimes in a changing dc
Fifth Grand Ball
Dance styles come and go, but the same impulse to dust up a dance floor afflicted Washingtonians then as now. This dance card for an 1884 ball hosted by a young men’s social club features a dedication – or shout-out, as it were – for each dance, including one “To our Lady Friends.” The men’s lady friends would have used this dance card to plan up to 30 dance partners for the night. Dance # 25 is aptly designated: “Wake Up.”
Invitation to United Nations Girls' Dance
The romantic subtext to dancing was never more palpable than during World War II, when servicemen mingled with young women at dances before shipping out to war. This dance invitation entices servicemen with the promise of “United Nations Girls” and their unique claim to fame.
Dancing at Friendship House
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with dancing solo. Or with maracas. This guest makes her own fun at a 1943 party thrown at the Georgetown mansion of Evalyn Walsh McLean, the wealthy divorcée of Washington Post publisher Ned McLean. One of Mrs. McLean’s favorite party games was to let guests play dress-up with her infamous trifle, the Hope Diamond. Although dancing with 45.52 carats swinging from the neck adds a whole new degree of difficulty.