Fretful dancer Obama navigates inaugural balls

Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:56am EST
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By Deborah Charles

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In the end, the inaugural balls went off a little more smoothly than the oath of office.

President Barack Obama, who fretted beforehand about the caliber of his dancing, avoided stepping on his wife's toes but he kept running into trouble with the train of her very long white gown through the evening's 10 balls.

Obama, dressed in a tuxedo with white tie, and first lady Michelle Obama, in a one-shouldered full-length white gown with flowing skirt and little train by designer Jason Wu, headed out on the town after a day of ceremony and pageantry.

The day got off to a wobbly start when Obama and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts stepped on each other's lines during the administration of the presidential oath of office.

By comparison, the first couple were a picture of gracefulness at the balls. Sort of.

Obama confided to USA Today before the balls that he was a bit worried about the dancing.

"Michelle keeps knocking my dancing in public in ways that have hurt my feelings, so I probably should practice just 'cause she'll tease me mercilessly if I step on her toes," said Obama.

The toes he managed to avoid as he slowly danced and twirled the first lady for their solo dance at each of the 10 official balls. It was the train that was a problem.   Continued...

<p>President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle dance at the Biden Home States Inaugural Ball in Washington January 20, 2009. REUTERS/Jim Young</p>