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041107 victorian subscription ballDance Report for 2004 11 06.
I was reticent about going to this dance.
For one thing, car pooling was required, and I didn't have any firm arrangements. Michael is one of the guys in my group, and he was planning on renting a car, but hadn't any success.
I didn't really know where the dance was. Oh yes, I could find the church, but the other places were still question marks. By Saturday morning, I did have all of the addresses of the event's pieces, but I was still insecure about the whole thing! I wasn't sure about the caller, about the music, about the kind of dance that was going on.
Michael lives rather close to a car rental firm, but they are closed sundays, and he was sure he wasn't going to rent from someone who would charge an extra day's rental because of their own policies.
But then, around 230am on Friday, it was Jeff, my own room mate, who came to the rescue. Earlier on Friday, he was talking about taking transit to do some things, maybe doing some visiting in town. But he wasn't sure. I wasn't going to press him on this. But when I talked to him late friday night, well, he was out, his car was here. I called him and he confirmed his permission to use it. YAY for Jeff!
So I called around, even though it was quite late. I had to make sure nobody spent big bucks renting a car, as we'd have to share the expense of that. I don't have that kind of money, but would have shared it anyway.
Remember I said I was reticent about the dance? Well, for the kind of dance events I attend, I found it costly. $60.00 gets you the whole weekend at the Dance Flurry in Saratoga Springs, NY. $50.00 gets you NEFFA, I recall.
So a dance costing 25.00 for a single night of 7-11pm seems high.
I stopped attending the Scottish monthly dances because they went up from $15.00 to $20.00; I doubt I'll go regularily. They just seem to be priced wrong.
I was happy at the end of the Victorian dance. Happy enough to check with Catherine, the hostess for the evening, the one who paid for all of the expenses, and tell her something like what I'm telling you: I thought it was a lot of money, but was pleasantly surprised at the end. We didn't get enough participants to cover costs. I was sad about that.
Our dance mistress was Cathy Stephens. While she lives in London ON, she does most of her teaching across the border. She calls herself a Dance Historian, rather than a teacher of dance. She was true to that last night. She knew which steps were used during the period, and which hadn't started yet.
She described our event as historically sound: As a Victorian Subscription Ball. Perhaps ten or twenty couples would buy tickets to cover the expenses of having musicians and using a dance hall.
We danced in square sets, but not square dances.
We did Quadrilles, such as The Lancers, and one done to Old Folks At Home. We did a couple of long ways dances, but not specifically Irish, Scottish or English. The evening was broken up by polkas and free waltzing. And a few strange dances designed to make fun of the participants. It was a lovely program, actually.
I should have spent more time and effort dressing up, but I wasn't bad either. Jennie, one of the dancers present, had a scrap of black lace. Not very much, but it went around my neck, and I could make a grannie knot. It was most satisfactory. That and the grey suit jacket was fine.
My feet truly hurt after the dance. It wasn't that the dancing was so very strenuous, or that I'm so very weak. The hall had some issues. Linoleum protected a concrete floor. This is okay for some things, but not the kind of activity we dancers do. I love fluorescent lighting, but I don't like it for dancing.
Before and after the dance, we had lots of activities.
Our host for this dance was Ian Coones, a maker of fine wooden things and a luthier. He invited us early to hear his band play a bit. He's very much into hammered dulcimers.
I don't ever waste an opportunity to play these things. I don't own one, but when I'm near to one, I practice and try to remember all of the things I'd done before. Ian is hosting a song circle for SODA, the Southern Ontario Dulcimer Association.
They hope for so many people to come, there will be dancers in the workshop! Contact me if you want to participate in the December SODA fest. I'll pass your messages on.
We had a short workshop, where we practiced some of the things we would do later at the dance. We did as much as you could do in an hour. This was fine.
During the dinner break, we met again with Ian, and had something of a potluck there.
After the dance we hung out at his home again, and it was pleasant just lying around after the dance. Sometimes I'm very awkward after a good dance, and worry about the things I utter. I felt right at home for some reason. It was a good after party.
In fact, it was a lovely Victorian Subscription Ball.
Watch for invites to it next year around this time.
That's all I know.
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