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One of the most important events in the life of the Russian nobility was balls. The main element of the ball was dancing. In the eighteenth century, balls traditionally opened with a minuet. By the early nineteenth century, the first dance was the polonaise, followed by the waltz. The waltz was a fashionable dance for young people, only permitted at balls as a tribute to the changing times. The centre and culmination of the ball was the mazurka. One of the concluding dances was the cotillion, which was a precursor of the quadrille.