Ten Commandments for Balls and Socials (King James version)
These may not have been carried down from Mount Schiehallion on shortbread tablets, but anyway, you will not make a mistake by trying to adhere to them:
Thou shalt not overestimate thyself when asking people to dance, lest thou beest embarrassed if the set breaketh down six times out of eight because of thee.
Thou shalt dance now and then with other people than thy spouse and immediate clan – possibly even with someone from the other table or yon wallflower from the outer reaches of the hall.
Thou shalt not walk on the dance floor too early, neither shalt thou do thus alone, for lo! the MC will announce the dance when it is time, and even in Scotland it taketh at least two to dance.
Thou shalt join a set at the bottom and not in the middle (especially if it hath already been counted), lest thou causest much wailing and gnashing of teeth before the dance hath even started.
Thou shalt count the lines if thou art the top man, for the knowledge of one's station in the set produceth good will in all men (and women!) (If thou art a woman on the men's side and wouldst rather not do the counting, this commandment applieth to the next man down the line. Also if the first couple wanteth to do the counting together, do not hinder them.)
Thou shalt look at thy partner during the dance and not at thy briefing notes or »Pilling«, so that she (or he) may remain friendly towards thee and thou mayest ask her (or him) to dance again.
Thou shalt not hinder thy neighbour's dance by returning from thy Down-the-middle-and-up on bar 9, blocking forever the centre of the set with extra twiddles and hand-clapping during a half diagonal reel of four, or otherwise not acting as a team player acteth.
Thou shalt honour thy musicians, that thy dance may be long into the night and they might even repeat a dance that thou hast liked. But similarly shalt thou help thy MC; clap both loudly and long, but remain on the dance floor if thou wilt do that dance again or clear it speedily if not.
Thou shalt not chide, lest thou be chided – for verily, nobody hath appointed thee (of all people!) judge of thy neighbour's dancing ability or outlook on what is enjoyable. If thou must chide people, become a dance teacher and chide them in thy class; at balls and socials it is an abomination.
Thou shalt enjoy thyself – in spite of these tedious commandments – and help others enjoy themselves, too.
Other dancers will be commented upon on thy way home.