The Aberdeen English Country Dance Ensemble will be demonstrating dances of the 18th Century at the Recreation Park during both days of the Battle of Sunset Lake, June 25 and 26. Their leader is Noel Bash, who will invite those in the audience to join with her ensemble to learn the customs of this era.
There were no “callers” at dances in the 18th century. Dances were taught by a dance master or dance mistress. The more education your family could afford, the more dances you knew. Dance mistresses traveled to where there might be demand, including places like military encampments and outposts. Bash portrays one of these traveling dance mistresses.
“We love to demonstrate popular dances of the Rev War era – everything from the minuet to the lively country dances,” Bash said. “Many people are surprised to see the high energy dances. They assume that dancing was sedate and subdued. These are set dances, where everyone is working together to perform figures or patterns. This is a big contrast to ballroom dancing, where two people are in a face-to-face hold and ignore all the other dancers on the floor.
“Set dances can be for four, six, eight, or as many as will! We also invite visitors to join us in a simple dance if they want to try,” Bash explained.