F 1 D 0 - 2004 11 07 at 1530

Victorian Subscription Ball. 

Dance 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.