The Sons of the American Revolution, and Ladies' Auxiliary
American Colonial Dance is synonymous with 18th century English Country Dance which has it roots in the Renaissance and the Elizabethan era. The dance spread throughout western Europe to the courts of rulers and manor houses as well as the taverns and fairs where it was danced by aristocrats and common people. A dance or ball was an opportunity to socialize, show off the fashions of the day, and one of the few opportunities for young people to meet an array of matrimonial prospects.
Dance Masters advertisements were seen regularly in 18th and early 19th century in American news papers where they offered services to teach classes in the hall, or to give private lessons at the clients residence. Many times they also offered lessons in fencing to young gentlemen.
Country Dance is the grand daddy of our present day Square Dance whose movements are in many cases quite similar, however the country dance is a bit slower allowing time for a bit of conversation, one liners, or even flirting. The dance remained much the same into the early 19th century with the waltz, polkas, and shottishes being added. Many aristocrats fleeing the French revolution, and arriving in America with no skills with which to make living, became Dance Masters, dancing being the only thing they could offer. Unfortunately the French court style was overly complicated, and with time this influence helped cause a waning of interest in favor of new popular Ball Room styles, and eventually the Country Dance all but died out.
The American resurgence in Country Dance started in 1915 with the help of Englishman Cecil Sharp, a musician who traveled in his own country and in the southern United States collecting folk dances and songs.
Early in 1915, Sharp had written home: "The people (in America are) really most enthusiastic." We still are. As an example, today the Country Dance and Song Society has over 3,300 individual and group members and, through them serve several thousand more in the dance and music community at large.
For further information, the Library of Congress maintains a feature on its website dealing with Dance Instruction Manuals from 1490 to 1920.
George and Martha Washington loved to dance the simple but elegant and happy dances of the 18th century, and you will too! Tired of the hassle of modern daily routine? Would you and your friends like to make new friends? Get a little exercise while gliding through easy to learn figures to fun old time tunes? Dance the dances that will take you back to an age of charm and honest merriment?
Then please join us for a new and fulfilling pastime with 18th century Country dancing and instruction every 2nd Thursday, every month.
7:30, All Saints Episcopal Church Parish Hall,
3847 Terracina Drive ( south of Mission Inn Ave. on Market, where, passing 14th, it becomes Magnolia, then continue to Terracina.) in Riverside
We encourage beginners to join us, so please bring your friends. Dress is casual. $5 donation.
For more information, call Hal at (909) 677-3978, E-Mail: [email protected]
And don't forget to visit our sister website at EnglishCountryDancing.org