21 JANUARY 2009

In other men a first dance in the glare of the national spotlight, serenaded by Beyonce, might have brought on a case of nerves.

Yet as the solemnity and high pomp of Barack Obama's historic inauguration day gave way to a series of glittering parties, the American leader showed once again how he's earned a reputation as the coolest of politicians and a devoted husband.

After an introduction from Denzel Washington at the first of the ten balls they attended in the course of the evening, a smiling Mr Obama escorted his wife Michelle on to the stage and pulled her close, one hand clasped around her back.

The president could be seen whispering softly to her, perhaps reiterating the thought he'd just shared with the crowd, asking: "How good-looking is my wife?".

The First Lady did indeed look lovely in a romantic one-shoulder dress, adorned with floral details and sequins. Made by little known designer Jason Wu, who began working in fashion just three years ago, its mini-train swept the floor as they twirled round the room to the strains of Beyonce performing her version of Etta James song At Last.

Completing the song with tears in her eyes the diva then made way for performances by Stevie Wonder, Sting and Mariah Carey.

Photo: Getty Images
She's been first lady of his heart for over 16 years, and as Michelle joined him on the dancefloor, having assumed that title for real, the devoted husband couldn't have looked prouder
Photo: Getty Images
Later Mr Obama let loose with a full-on boogy, prompting Jamie Foxx to compliment his dance skills. "You can tell that's a black president," he joked
Photo: Getty Images
Stevie Wonder and Sting also entertained the crowd at the ball
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