A tea dance, or thé dansant (French: literally dancing tea) is a summer or autumn afternoon or early-evening dance from four to seven, sometimes preceded in the English countryside by a garden party.] The function evolved from the concept of the afternoon tea, and J. Pettigrew traces its origin to the French colonization of Morocco. Books on Victorian Era etiquette such as Party-giving on Every Scale, (London, n.d. [1880]) included detailed instructions for hosting such gatherings. By 1880 it was noted "Afternoon dances are seldom given in London, but are a popular form of entertainment in the suburbs, in garrison-towns, watering-places, etc." Tea dances were given by Royal Navy officers aboard ships at various naval stations, the expenses shared by the captain and officers, as they were shared by colonels and officers at barrack dances in mess rooms ashore.

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