“Then I offer my waiting self to the One who’s never stopped believing in me, and the dance begins.” – Joyce Rupp
When most people think of “dance,” they usually think of A) people (typically young women) presenting athletic, skilled awesomeness to music on a stage, or B) raucous parties packed with bodies jumping joyfully to a DJ driven beat so loud it is felt.
But there’s another option out there, one with its foundation in the mists of time and refined in the ballrooms of the 19th century: English Country Dances and Contra dancing. Picture a dance scene from Jane Austen, or the Fezziwig dance in “A Christmas Carol” – that’s what I’m talking about. Believe it or not, these dances still happen in quiet communities across the United States.
Many years ago, jaded by the inflated, insecure egos of concert dance (see “A” above) and too weary for “B,” I’d essentially given up on dance, until I experienced “Contra dancing.” It was an unexpected evening of joy, invigorated by a sense of community. For a few hours, I danced without fear of judgement or expectation. I went home with a face weary from smiling and feet weary from moving, having re-discovered why I loved to dance. Friends, music, rhythm and pattern – the dances may feel weirdly “old-timey,” but that truth lends to them a nostalgic calm and ease that is surprisingly charming and fun.
Because of their historical significance, and for the last 34 years, English Country Dance/ Contra dance “Balles” have been incorporated in the Historical Social Dance class. This year, with my retirement, the last Balle offered under my purview happens this week.
THIS FRIDAY, YOU HAVE THE CHANCE TO TRY THESE DANCES AT
THE SPRING BALLE
Friday March 29, 2019, Maas Auditorium, 7-10pm
OPEN TO THE HOPE COMMUNITY
Glen Morningstar calling, Mark Schrock and friends providing live music
NO EXPERIENCE IS NECESSARY: All you need to bring is a willing heart and an open mind
DANCES ARE TAUGHT: Experienced dancers will help you, if you wish.
Costumes encouraged, but not required
For more information call: 616-395-7700