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Regency Era Picnic and Dance

I had the privilege of attending a Regency Era Picnic and Dance. It was held in a neighborhood field in Atlanta, and the event was hosted by Atlanta Baroque Dance. The people who participated in this event were members of the community who love history, including members of Atlanta Baroque Dance. The purpose of this event was for historical enthusiasts to gather for fellowship and share in the joy of historic dance. 14324376_10210704797600914_6445500849806090325_oThe first dances we did were “Childsgrove” and “Hole in the Wall”. Both of these were dances for beginners. The movements were very simple with a lot of walking forwards, backwards, and through the lines of men and women. We then moved on to more advanced dances such as “Duke of Kent’s Waltz”, “Indian Queen”, “Flowers of Edinburgh”, and “Sellenger’s Round”.

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Since we were performing historical dances, historical cultural etiquette and social expectations came into play. Men asked the women to dance, and then escorted them to the dancing space. Before each dance we were to “honor our partner”, the men bowed and the women curtsied to one another. Men and women were separated into different lines. Men made up the left line and women made up the right line. All of these dances except “Sellenger’s Round” were performed in two lines. The person across from you was your partner. The men led and the women followed. You were expected to move with your partner, but you were also to move with your line. You wanted to make sure you and your partner did not get ahead or behind of everyone else

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For the beginners’ dances, we had a “Caller”, a person who called out the instructions during the dance so everyone moved together. The people who participated in the advanced dances were expected to know what they were doing and there was no “Caller”. I participated in most of the dances. There was only one dance where I sat out and observed.
Live music was played during the dances. A violinist played a selection of historical songs that went with the historical dances. On some songs she was accompanied by a man playing what looked to be an old fashioned guitar. Each dance had a certain song that was played to go along with it. The members of Atlanta Baroque Dance could identify what dance they would be doing next by the first eight counts.
I love dancing and history. This was a great way to combine my loves. Participants were encouraged to dress up in Regency style clothes, so I made a dress for the occasion. I love sewing as well. Everyone looked so beautiful! Adding the historical clothes really helped me feel the part, and it also changed the way I moved. When you are wearing a long full dress it changes the way you move your feet, suddenly you are very aware of making sure you do not step or trip on your hem. Also when you are wearing long fitted sleeves you can’t raise your arms as high. The clothes restricted my movement, but also helped me understand why the dances were done the way they were.

 

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