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Early American Dance

These dances are suitable for all ages and skill levels. They are nothing more than fast walking in patterns. Each dance is taught by walking through the figures, then dancing them to traditional music. A list of the appropriate dance terms, the figures of the dance, a calling card, and a CD of the music can be made available upon request to schools and communities that wish to continue passing on the dances.

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Dancing has always been part of American culture. The colonists brought their favorite dances and tunes with them, and dance gatherings were eagerly anticipated. While some dances like the minuet eventually went out of fashion, other dances like Sir Roger de Coverly stayed in vogue until the War of 1812, when all things British went out of favor. However, Sir Roger was such a popular dance that the name was changed, and it survived on in the various forms of the Virginia Reel. The original form of Sir Roger de Coverly will be taught for this part of the workshop, providing participants with a firsthand experience of Colonial dance.

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Though the North and South were divided on many issues, dancing was not one of them. The same dances were enjoyed on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line. The most popular dance called for at any gathering was the Virginia Reel. This part of the workshop will teach the Virginia Reel in the form most commonly danced by both sides of the Civil War, showing how dance was a uniting factor for the North and South.

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