AN ENGLISH COUNTRY DANCE TOUR OF NEW ENGLAND
3rd-14th OCTOBER 2002
Click here to see pictures from the trip.
The genesis of the trip was odd and wonderful. We run a trip for Americans who want to dance in England: "Yanks Meet Limeys". We thought we might like to run a trip for Limeys who want to dance with Yanks but we really didnt know where to advertise, how to begin the process or whether it was even feasible.
In the sixth issue of a new and terrific little magazine on dance, Set & Turn Single, published & edited by Chris Turner, Robert Moir wrote about a wonderful recent trip by American dancers to England. Then he said, Perhaps its time we returned the favour. Is there anyone out there interested?
That was an opening line that was too good to ignore. In the seventh issue of Set & Turn Single my letter to the editor was published: My wife Jacqui and I are seriously considering leading a dance tour of the USA for Brits. Like Robert we are wondering if there is interest in such a tour. The rest, as they say, is history.
Here is a day by day outline of our trip:
THURSDAY OCTOBER 3rd. The trip began with an English Country Dance in Westchester, about 30 miles north of New York City. Fried DeMetz Herman was the caller. The dancers in Westchester were enormously welcoming - as were the dancers everywhere we went .
FRIDAY OCTOBER 4th. No sightseeing was planned for the day on the assumption that everyone would need the time to recover from jet lag. In the early afternoon we traveled (by 17-seater mini-van) 60 miles north of Westchester to "Weekend Whirligig" at Circle Lodge for a full weekend of dancing. The weekend began with dinner on Friday night and ended at 4pm Sunday afternoon. Food, lodging and dances were all provided for on site. The musicians were Bare Necessities and the Flying Romanos. The callers were Gene Murrow, Beverly Francis, Colin Hume and our own Robert Moir.
It was a wonderful, magical, weekend. The setting is stunning; the accomodations excellent; the music & calling wonderful. The food was some of the best I have ever eaten at a dance camp. And the dancers were so welcoming. They kept saying that the weekend was improved by our presence. If we ever do another trip for dancers to the U.S., we plan to include this weekend
SUNDAY OCTOBER 6th. After the afternoon dance, we went by mini-van from Circle Lodge to lodgings in Amherst, Massachusetts. On the way to Amherst we ate at a restaurant owned by one of the dancers who attended Weekend Whirligig: Judy Grunberg. She invited us, treated us to a bottle of wine. The food was terrific & resonably priced.
MONDAY OCTOBER 7th. Daytime: Fall Colour tour of the Amherst area with a stop for lunch in Shelburne. Amongst the photos you can see pictures of the lovely Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne. At night we danced with the Amherst group. Robin Hayden was the caller, and Gary Roodman, the famous writer of English Country dances, was among the dancers present.
TUESDAY OCTOBER 8th. We traveled to the Milner Hotel in downtown Boston, Massachusetts: We stayed in this hotel for four nights: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday. Tuesday night we attended the Gender Free English Country Dance in Jamaica Plain, Boston. For a description of the evening you can read my Gender Free essay on this web site. It was one of the best nights of dancing on our tour.
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 9th. At 10 a.m. a trolley came to the hotel to pick everyone up for a two hour trolley tour of Boston. The ticket for the tour included a boat harbor tour which could be taken that day or the next. At night we went to the English Country Dance in Arlington, Boston. Helene Cornelius & Robin Hayden were the callers.
THURSDAY OCTOBER 10th. Some people went on the harbor boat tour, others toured Boston on their own. In the evening we attended one of the most famous Contra Dance venus in Boston: the VFW Hall in Cambridge. Steve Zakon Anderson was the caller. A good time was had by all and some even fell in love with this form.
FRIDAY OCTOBER 11th. By popular vote, we all went to Salem and took a trolley tour there too. The museums and open house are fascinating, giving a view of life much like that in Britain 100 years ago. In the evening the group was offered a choice of a Contra Dance sixty miles north of Boston in Concord, Massachusetts or an ECD dance for beginners in Cambridge. The group chose the beginners dance. After the dance we were asked to join the group in an informal get together at an ice cream parlor. Of course we joined them for ice cream.
SATURDAY OCTOBER 12th. We packed our bags & traveled to the Hudson Valley in upstate New York. In the afternoon we went to an alternate school fair - open house; animals, food, good company. In the evening we joined the local group for an English Country Dance, our last dance of the tour. Robert Moir was asked to call half of the evenings dance.
SUNDAY OCTOBER 13th. During the day we went on the Hudson Arts Walk (see below). In the evening we were invited for a buffet-dinner at Margherita Davis house. It was a wonderful social evening.
MONDAY OCTOBER 14th. I drove some members of the group to New York City to catch flights back to England. Some opted to stay longer in the U.S.
Hudson Arts Walk The annual ArtsWalk, slated for Columbus Day Weekend,
showcases the work of Columbia Countys visual artists. ArtsWalk attracts
over 3000 visitors to Hudson who come to see over 120 art exhibits and
demonstrations, as well as concerts, dance performances, poetry readings,
lectures, and related happenings.