I hadn’t planned originally to attend this event, but I am glad several ladies talked me into it. Bath Minuet (a group of vintage dance enthusiasts) was scheduled to perform several 17th-18th-century dances at the Pavilion across the Avon, followed by a one-hour English Country dance that anyone could join in. Since I had no plans to dance, I didn’t dress up, but the other ladies put on their ballroom finery, which was gorgeous! We asked the front desk to call us a couple of taxis, as no one wanted to walk the full mile down to the Pavilion. We then sat in the parlor for a while, watching for the cab before finally deciding to go out and sit on the front steps. Time marched on, but no taxis arrived. At five ’til seven, we were sure something dire had happened, so someone went back inside to ask the front desk gal what had become of the cabs. With a horrified look, she said that she’d thought we wanted cabs for 6:45 the following morning! Eek! She promptly called to correct her mistake, but it still took the cabs ten minutes to reach us. We arrived at the Pavilion 20 minutes late, missing the first two dances. Boo hoo! The group was just finishing up “Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot” (A&E “Pride & Prejudice” fans know exactly which dance that is!).
During the break, I had a lengthy talk with one of the members of Bath Minuet, who dances with his wife. He said he had never danced a single step until joining the group five years ago. His wife saw the group on television and asked him to go with her to one of their meetings. They are now devotees of historical dance and absolutely love to share it with others. The gent hand-made his entire outfit and says he cherishes an original 18th-century waistcoat that he saves for very special occasions. One thing we noticed was the shocking lack of gentlemen — the group was mostly made up of ladies. This seems to be fairly common in the US as well and is such a shame. The gentleman with whom I spoke mentioned how they have tried to get young people hooked on historical dance and how much they love it once they try it. But many are afraid to try. Our group wasn’t! Of course, we had Aylwen with us, who is a historical dance expert and loves to help others join in. And many of our ladies had either tried English country dancing before or were eager to learn, so we had a very willing group! Here are photos from our delightful evening (all taken by yours truly, so pardon the lack of expertise!):
I wish I’d managed to get a group shot of everyone. It was really hard to grab pictures of people moving in and out of sets and lines during the hour-long dance. And by the time we all made it outside to head back to the B&B, it was pitch dark. Sorry about that! I hope these at least give you a little glimpse into a lovely evening!
One more post left to go: Our stop in Lacock Village on the way back to Heathrow.