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Waltz time on Masterpiece Theatre

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While watching the second installment of the new version of "The Forsyte Saga" last night, I was reminded of the once scandalous reputation of the waltz, and its usefulness as a sexual metaphor. In the first episode, one of several things tipping the viewer to the unhappy future of the marriage of Soames and Irene is the awkwardness with which he dances a waltz with her. In episode two, Irene has to reproach her slimy brother-in-law, who has the treasurable name of Montague Dartie, for holding her too closely during the waltz; it's the Victorian equivalent of copping a feel. Finally, after Irene and Bosinney have acknowledged their feelings for each other in the garden during the same ball, they return to the house, walking raptly by her husband as if passing a decorative blackamoor, and have a rapturous waltz in front of the the shocked assemblage (and to top it all off, she's wearing a red dress).

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