In dancing, at this period, great emphasis was placed on making your dancing look effortless, smooth and steady.
In his 1822 book Elements of the Art of Dancing the Edinburgh dancing master, Alexander Strathy recommends the follow exercise as a way of mastering this skill.
“PLACE your feet in the fifth position, keep the body upright, rest on the leg that is behind, raise the heel of the foot that is before, and slide the foot on the point slowly to the second position. The knee should be straight, as the foot arrives at the second position; place the heel of the foot which you have moved, keeping it forward; rest the body on it, and at the same time raise the heel of the other foot, which you now slide on the point into the fifth position before, keeping the knees straight, and the heel forward, that you may form the position closely; then do the same thing to the other side. This exercise should be also performed, by entering the foot behind in the fifth position.
Then, in the same manner;' from the fifth to the fourth position forward.-Place the feet in the fifth position, balance the body on the leg that is behind; raise the heel of the foot that is before, slide the foot on the point to the fourth position forward, keeping the knees straight; place the heel, and rest the body on the foremost leg, then slide up the foot that is behind, to the fifth .position behind.
Continue to do this several times forward, then backward. Do the same thing with the other foot before.”