Monday, February 16, 2009

Ye Need Not Many To Make Merry

The George Washington Ball approaches! So please allow me regale you this week with some more examples of my dearest diversion -- historic dance, that is.

Could one enjoy a stately caper without benefit of a grand ballroom? Does my hat have three corners? Of course! Watch as two couples demonstrate a simple colonial dance in the parlor of a historic home in Berks County, PA.

Dearest readers, note the simple, symmetrical patterns: circle right, circle left, right-hand star, left-hand star, "1" couple leads down and back and then casts off behind the "2" couple, and begin again with the "2" couple now the "1" couple. Ordinarily, this is a dance one would see in a long set with many more couples. The "1" couples would progress down the set until reaching the end, and the "2" couples would move up towards the musicians. Yet it scales wonderfully to a simple dance among friends at an informal gathering.

I make example of this, my friends, for this is exactly the kind of dance I would teach to a newcomer learning the graceful arts of the ballroom. One much encourage the aspiring dancer with the beauty of uncomplicated movement before advancing to the fancy figures. As our Shaker friends say, "'Tis a gift to be simple!"

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