Early American Dance

Dancing has always been part of American culture. The colonists brought their favorite dances and tunes with them, and dance gatherings were eagerly anticipated. While some dances like the minuet eventually went out of fashion, other dances like Sir Roger de Coverly stayed in vogue until the War of 1812, when all things British went out of favor. However, Sir Roger was such a popular dance that the name was changed, and it survived on in the various forms of the Virginia Reel. The original form of Sir Roger de Coverly will be taught for this part of the workshop, providing participants a firsthand experience of Colonial dance.

Though the North and South were divided on many issues, dancing was not one of them. The same dances were enjoyed on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line. The most popular dance called for at any gathering was the Virginia Reel. This part of the workshop will teach the Virginia Reel in the form most commonly danced by both sides of the Civil War, showing how dance was a uniting factor for the North and South.
These dances are suitable for all ages and skill levels. They are nothing more then fast walking in patterns. Each dance is taught by walking through the figures, then dancing them to traditional music. A list of the appropriate dance terms, the figures of the dance, a calling card, and a CD of the music can be made available upon request to schools and communities that wish to continue passing on the dances.

Tames has had a passion for dance most of her life. She has trained and performed in a variety of dance styles all over the West Coast. Throughout her performing career, she danced with the Oregon State Ballet, Newcastle English Country Dancers, the Veil of Isis Dancers (Middle Eastern with an emphasis on modern Egyptian), Elliott Bay Morris Dancers, and the Ballard Locks Long Sword Team. She is an avid contra dancer and enjoys waltzing and swing dancing with her husband.

Tames studied theater and history at Willamette University in Oregon, and theater at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and Dell Arte School in California. More recently, she has been a speaker for the Washington State Commission for the Humanities in their Inquiring Minds series.