Ragtime at Downton Abbey
Cathleen Myers & Alex Lerman
Saturday, June 9, 2012, 1:00pm
Dance 3 -- The South Gym

The workshop will focus on several easy but extremely fun dances of the Ragtime Era (1910-1920) that would have been popular both Upstairs and Downstairs at Downton Abbey : The wild, uninhibited One-Step; its graceful, gliding cousin, the Castle Walk; the elegant One-Step Tango, and "that dreadful Fox-trot" that so annoyed the Dowager Countess.

The Ragtime social dances are the ancestors of today's modern smooth ballroom dance style - dances ANYone can do - quite a departure from the whirling athletic and balletic social dances of the Victorian age - and are enjoying new popularity among vintage ballroom dancers of the 21st century. Soft-soled dance shoes that can easily glide over the floor are recommended for our class. Ladies, to be both fashionable and agile, your heels should be no higher than 2 inches and we won't discourage dance flats.

Age Suitability: Adults and teens (This workshop is a bit too sexy for children. Trust us!)

Cathleen Myers is the Dance Mistress of the San Francisco Dickens Fair and the Artistic Director of PEERS (the Period Events & Entertainment Re-Creation Society), which produces full-scale historical costume balls and dance classes almost every First Saturday (for details of PEERS' 2012-2013 Season, see her website at http://www.peers.org). A dancer since childhood, Cathleen has researched and taught historical dance in the Bay Area since 1987. With her husband James Eric Myers and frequent teaching partner Alex Lerman, she has dance- mastered at a wide variety of Bay Area period balls, charity balls, and science fiction/fantasy conventions. In her copious spare time, she also performs occasionally with the Alameda Vintage Dancers and with her own group, the PEERS Flying CirCUS, a historical music, dance and theater performing ensemble, most notorious for their recurring Peerless Music Hall and Theater of the Vampires. For more information about the annual Dickens Christmas Fair, particularly our all-day Fezziwig's Victorian dance party, please see http://www.dickensfair.com .

Alex Lerman has studied, performed, and co-taught vintage dance with Cathleen Myers since 2002. In 1992, before Alex knew he liked to dance, he wandered into an Irish pub with the intent of listening to music. He was unwittingly dragged into a dance lesson despite protestations. He was soon hooked, and teaching Irish Ceili dancing 18 months later. He's taught and performed various forms of vintage dance ever since, in venues as diverse as pubs, studios, weddings, formal balls, and the YMCA. Alex's fascination with improvisational performing arts extends to improv acting, and he currently teaches a popular series of improv acting classes in Berkeley.