April in Paris – April 14th
contributed by Roger Troupe
This month, on our year of "Dancing around the
World", we travel to La Ville Lumière (the City of Light), the
home of la Tour Eiffel (the Eiffel Tower) and Musée du Louvre
(Museum of Louvre) or more commonly ("the Louvre".) This is,
of course Paris, France.
Why is Paris referred to as "the City of
Light?"… because of its leading role during the Age of
Enlightenment, and more literally because Paris was one of the first
European cities to adopt gas street lighting.
The Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 Paris Exposition and was
not intended to be permanent. It was going to be demolished in 1909, but was
saved because it was repurposed as a giant radio antenna. The Louvre
was originally built as a fortress in 1190, but was reconstructed in the 16th
century to serve as a royal palace. It continued expansion over the years.
In 1793, Louis XIV moved the royal residence
to Versailles, and the Louvre became an art museum, exhibiting the royal
collection and artifacts. Now you have enough Paris information to hold your own at the cocktail
At 7:30 PM Lestyn Gilmore will start us off with a Foxtrot lesson.
Then, at 8:00 PM, Lestyn will switch hats and
provide us with three hours of the best of ballroom, Latin, swing, a bit of
country and possibly some dance selections with a French flavour.
So, dress informally and join us
for an enjoyable evening of dancing, socializing and celebrating La Ville Lumière.
We’ll have our usual line dances, ladies choices, two
mixers, dance hosts and maybe a dance hostess to provide dancing opportunities
for everyone. There will be hot coffee,
water for tea and plenty of ice and water and the always impressive snack and
sweets table. Contributions to this
table are appreciated.
Admission is $10.00 for SSD and
USA Dance members, with advance reservation and $12.00 for non-members and
members without advance reservations. As
of this writing, there are plenty of tickets available. For reservations, call Tom at 781-659-4703 or
email us at email@example.com.
A Celtic Gala ... and the End of Winter!
contributed by Roger Troupe
With the evening's turnout, it
was quite obvious that dancers were ready to be done with this New England
winter with its multiple nor'easters and get out and DANCE!Our "trip"
to the land of the Celts began with a very nice Waltz figure, presented by
Audrey Jean with the assistance of her
husband Tony. Was this figure a success? Just ask all of the dancers that incorporated
it into their waltzes throughout the evening.
For the next 3 hours, Lestyn Gilmore kept the dance floor
comfortably full with the best of ballroom, swing, Latin, mixers, and even a
few country music selections. For the first line dance of the evening, Steve
Cavanaugh taught a definitely Celtic
inspired line dance. Well, it started
out as a line dance, but then Steve
threw everyone a "curve" and turned it into a "double circle"
dance. After getting the positioning
correct, everything fell into place and, by the end… well Look Out Riverdance!
Thanks to Audrey Jean and Tony for the waltz lesson;
to Steve for the line dance; to Lestyn for the
music; to all those who attended; to those who contributed to the snack and
sweets table and to the dance hosts and hostess for the evening.
History of the Foxtrot (thanks to Wikipedia)
The dance was premiered in 1914, quickly catching the eye of the husband and wife
duo Vernon and Irene Castle, who lent
the dance its signature grace and style. The exact origin of the name of the
dance is unclear, although one theory is that it took its name from its popularizer,
the vaudeville actor Harry Fox. Two sources credit African American dancers
as the source of the Foxtrot: Vernon
Castle himself, and dance teacher Betty Lee. Castle saw the dance, which had
been danced for some fifteen years at a certain exclusive club.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxtrot#cite_note-2
W.C. Handy ("Father of the Blues") notes in his autobiography that his
"The Memphis Blues" was the inspiration for the Foxtrot. During
breaks from the fast paced Castle Walk and One-step, Vernon and Irene Castle's
music director, James Reese Europe, would slowly play the Memphis Blues. The
Castles were intrigued by the rhythm and Jim asked why they didn't create a
slow dance to go with it. The Castles introduced what they then called the
"Bunny Hug" in a magazine article. Shortly after, they went abroad
and, in mid-ocean, sent a wireless to the magazine to change the name of the
dance from "Bunny Hug" to the "Foxtrot." It was
subsequently standardized by Arthur Murray.
At its inception, the foxtrot was originally danced to ragtime.
From the late teens through the 1940s, the
foxtrot was certainly the most popular fast dance and the vast majority of
records issued during these years were foxtrots. The waltz and tango, while popular, never
overtook the foxtrot. Even the
popularity of the lindy hop in the 1940s did not affect the foxtrot's popularity,
since both could be danced to the same records.
Over time, the foxtrot split into slow and quick versions, referred to as
"foxtrot" and "quickstep" respectively. In the slow
category, further distinctions exist between the International or English style
of the foxtrot and the continuity American style, both built around a
slow-quick-quick rhythm at the slowest tempo, and the social American style
using a slow-slow-quick-quick rhythm at a somewhat faster pace. In the context
of the International Standard category of ballroom dances,
for some time the foxtrot was called "Slow Foxtrot", or "Slowfox".
These names are still in use, to distinguish
from other types of foxtrots.
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