Balter: To dance without particular skill or grace, but with extreme joy.


Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

In the above advertisement, dating from the late 1800s, English dancer Lottie Collins sings her renowned vaudeville hit “Ta-Ra-Ra Boom-De-Ay!” after being healed by Bromo-Seltzer.

While Lottie doesn’t look particularly graceful in the ad, she was actually a beautiful woman who was known for her high-spirited and uninhibited skirt dance with high kicks that exposed stockings held up by sparkling garters.


Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

For the rest of us, who may not be able to kick up to our ears, there’s always baltering.


  1. To balter, oh yes, that would be me!! My mother was a trained ballerina and wanted me to be the next Pavlova, but alas I was a chubby and ungainly child. But I did dance with much joy ! I was always dancing around and never got any better but never stopped. I still dance – badly- and I don’t care. Like the line in the song says: ” dance like no one is watching …”

  2. Sharon D. says:

    I believe I fall into the Baltering category myself, and that is why my name is not Grace 🙂

  3. Karlyne says:

    She was beautiful! But in the ad she looks demented; some of those Victorians had the weirdest taste…

  4. Mary - Old Mother Rupert says:

    What a delightful word! I believe that boisterous baltering is what I do when I dance with our three grandsons, who leap into wild dance whenever we play some festive fiddling. They dance gracefully and with abandon – not quite so with me – but all of us with extreme joy. A fun word to share with them…perhaps in a game of Scrabble… (And I think Gram needs a pair of sparkling garters…)

  5. Kathy says:

    Aaahhhh…baltering! What I do on every occasion that has a band/dj! In fact I balter so well, my oldest daughter sent me a message with this definition. You know, the silly e-cards you get on facebook? Yeah, she sent me one and gently suggested that it ‘is totally you, mom!’ I told her heck yeah! It is me and if she has a hard time watching me, well…Piffle!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *