ONE of the more engaging projects in the Centenary of Canberra’ is “Kick Up Your Heels,” an ongoing series of social dances taking us through Canberra’s decades.
We’re up to the Edwardian era, as event convener ColinTowns has chosen Saviour’s Church Hall in Goulburn for a Ragtime dance this weekend.
Before the 1910s, he tells us, people danced formal “couples dances” – restrained, controlled waltzes, redowas, barn dances and varsoviennes, as well as the set dances still seen at bush dances.
But there was a younger generation who wanted to break free of the constraints of the Victorian era and of high society. From the USA we got the Cakewalk – originating among slaves as a parody of the white society’s formal ballroom dances, with a cake awarded to the best performers. That was later adopted by the very people it parodied.
Towns is sure we all know the Foxtrot and Quickstep. But do we know of the Bunny Hop, the Grizzly Bear, the Turkey Trot and Australia’s own Kangaroo Hop? These novelty “Animal Dances” all took animal style and movements onto the dance floor principally to outrage the establishment.
This Saturday there’ll be a chance to explore all these styles, to the sounds of Mike Butcher’s Ragtime Band, but why Goulburn? Well, the construction of Canberra had barely started and there were no dance halls here so people had to travel for a good knees-up to nearby towns like Goulburn.
And by sheer coincidence it’ll be Goulburn’s 150th anniversary in March.
The Edwardian Ragtime Ball, at St Saviour’s Hall in Goulburn, February 23, 2013.
Bookings to 1800 353 646, details at http://www.igoulburn.com/Events/Kick-Up-Your-Heels-Edwardian-Ragtime-Ball.aspx
Tickets at $30 includes a 3-course supper.