While the rest of nation is watching Kelly Osbourn spin around the dance floor on "Dancing with the Stars," Clermont is giving out free dance instruction for anyone who's decided its time to try this dancing stuff out for themselves. Salmagundi Consort will be here on October 10th with a caller to direct and explain English Country Dancing to the visiting public (1:00-3:00pm).
These experienced musicians are lifelong students of living history and bring flare and fun to historical inquiry. I had the chance to dance with them in January at a Twelfth Night party. It took me only a couple of songs to pick up the basics, and pretty soon I was having a really good time (that's me down below in the green dress with the goofy look on my face). I was so sorry when the night was over that I knew that I just had to have them perform at Clermont as soon as the opportunity arose.
So what on earth is English Country Dancing? To the untrained eye, it loosely resembles Square dancing or contra dancing, and it was popular during the 18th and very early 19th centuries. Good dancing was especially important to the elite of the 18th century Western world. It enabled a person to show off their physical grace (George Washington was a renowned dancer) and gave men and women an opportunity to get "up close and personal" (think of how important dancing was in just about every Jane Austin book or click here to see a video clip).
But is this something that you can learn in two hours? Yes! If you know your left foot from your right one and can count to four, you can do this, and if you get a little lost, someone will be there to point you in the right direction. And any comfortable clothes are welcome. No funny costumes are required!
Clermont to Clermont, featuring English Country Dancing, chidren's activities, hot food, a symposium, and a "Dog Walk & Talk" on the rehabilitated Riverfront Trail, will take place on Saturday, October 10th from 12pm-4pm. The event is free to all.