Last Wednesday we visited a little church just minutes away from our flat in order to experience Jane Austen (or Georgian) dancing. The locals were very patient when a group of eight inexperienced Americans descended upon their group. To hasten the learning process, we were encouraged to pair up with more practiced dancers.
The caller would begin by guiding us through each section of the dance as a sort of trial run, before officially starting the music. Women leading as “gentlemen” were designated with orange sashes to help prevent confusion. Indeed, us first-timers had a bit of a learning curve. There were a lot of terms and dance mechanics that had to be picked up. I myself had only experienced this type of dancing once before, back in fourth grade when we were learning the Virginia Reel. My gracefulness left something to be desired, as I had a tendency to gallop across the dance floor. I more closely resembled a knight out of Monty Python and the Holy Grail rather than a refined Georgian dancer. My housemate Bea at one point randomly went from the gentleman role to the role of a lady in the middle of a dance. And my roommate Jennifer had a spot of trouble twirling in the right direction. But none of this detracted from the entertainment. Mastering the patterns and getting to whirl about is a great time. And where else could you experience this form of dancing?
However, Georgian dancing is surprisingly tough on the calves. The caller advised us to stretch beforehand, and my housemates laughed in amusement at my old soccer warm-ups. But perhaps I should have done even more stretching, because my poor calves were sore for days later. But I believe we’ll be attending these fun sessions regularly from now on, so my calves will have no choice but to shape up.