Despite Darcy's reluctance to dance at a non-dancing event, people in Austen's novels are constantly dancing at non-dancing events. Members of small house parties are continually pushing back the rugs, sending someone to the piano, and dancing a few reels. Dancing appears to have been the equivalent of asking, "So, what's on television?" And it would have been far more similar to watching an hour long drama than to jitterbugging for the duration of a single song.
|Harker is second from Ehle after Davis.|
Darcy knows how to dance, of course, but would rather talk. However, these are relative irritations. His famous remark to Sir William Lucas, "Every savage can dance," I propose as a hopeless attempt (on Darcy's part) to stem the tide of dance-related small-talk.
For a definition of the kind of small-talk Darcy loathes, check out Data from Star Trek: TNG.
And for a futuristic Sir William, check out some more Star Trek: TNG. (Commander Hutchinson is a perfect Sir William: he loves company, he will talk about anything, and he is ultimately a kindly man.)