is there something called the "American quarter of an hour" meaning that it's a specific part of the evening at a club when it is the ladies who invite the men to dance? I am translating from French where they call it quart d'heure americain, i.e. the American quarter of an hour, but not sure if that will be understood in English?

  • What an interesting turn of phrase! No, I don’t think that’s used anywhere in the Anglosphere (at least I’ve never heard of it, and I doubt English speakers would understand it in general). There is a term for this ‘ladies’ round’ in English as well, but for some reason it’s decided to remain firmly on the tip of my tongue and refuses to emerge any further. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 1 '18 at 11:48
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    Cf. Sadie Hawkins Day (And I wouldn't be surprised if this were somehow related to the French phrase, but I make no claims in that direction.) – Robusto Dec 1 '18 at 13:39
  • Yeah, when I was in school (been a few years!) a dance where the ladies invited the men was usually a "Sadie Hawkins dance". I don't recall a term for just a round of ladies picking their partners at an otherwise "normal" dance, though. Best I can remember (never much of a dancer) it was simply "ladies' choice". – Hot Licks Dec 1 '18 at 13:59

I believe this is called Ladies' choice, but I am having a hard time finding supporting references other than a remark on Wikipedia:

Ladies' choice is a dance term to indicate it is ladies' turn to choose partners.

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  • I was thinking Sadie Hawkins Dance (not always on Leap Day), but from the OP's post "a specific part of the evening", this seems more along the line of what they're asking for. – miltonaut Dec 1 '18 at 15:07
  • Thank you all, very helpful. I will go with ladies' choice for my text. – Helena Fournial Dec 1 '18 at 15:11

A variation on the answer @michael.hor. In Britain this was more popularly known as:

A ladies excuse-me

(There should probably be an apostrophe after ‘ladies’ but I don’t think there ever was.)

As a source for this, I cite a section from a BBC page ‘WW2 People’s War' :

BUT now and again the MC (our vicar rubbing his bony hands with fiendish glee) would announce a “Ladies choice” or a “Ladies excuse-me” dance.

Obviously a little dated.

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