Waltzing at Downton Abbey
Cathleen Myers & Alex Lerman
Saturday, June 8, 2013, 12:00pm
Dance 3 -- The South Gym

Join us for a blissful hour of Edwardian waltzing, as danced both Upstairs and Downstairs at Downton Abbey. The class will focus on the whirling romantic rotary waltz, still popular in 1910-1920; the new and easy Hesitation Waltz; and the Valse Veleta, the beautiful Edwardian waltz mixer which will be danced at this evening's Social Ballroom Dance.

Does the Rotary Waltz make you dizzy? Perhaps at first but, after sufficient practice, never again. The smooth Hesitation Waltz variations will help you recover your equilibrium!

The class will begin with footwork but will focus primarily on style, elegance, posture and partnering. The ideal shoes for these waltzes are low-heeled soft-soled dance shoes that allow you to glide gracefully over the floor. Ladies: Your heels should, ideally, be no more than two and a half inches high, and flats are just fine.

Age suitability: Teens and adults (No partners needed. We have ringers and we'll be constantly changing partners!)

For a Rotary Waltz demo see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xJvoXxsEFY

For the Hesitation Waltz see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUjoNqOCKzU and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqYYq0fAeSk

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 more information about PEERS and its upcoming balls, see her website at www.peersdance.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, science fiction/fantasy conventions, and the celebrated Le Bal des Vampires. 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 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.

The gifted and accomplished musicians of Transit of Earth include William Allen, keyboard & band organizer; Stanley Kramer, violin; Susan Kramer, woodwinds and vocals; Mary Tabor, violin and mandolin; Robert Powell, recorder; and Daniel Soussan, various instruments. They are veterans of both the Bay Area Country Dance Society and the San Francisco Free Folk Festival and can play everything from Classical to English Regency to folk music and beyond. As their name suggests, Transit of Earth is also known for playing for dances at science fiction conventions, including the annual BayCon. Best of all, they know how to play beautifully and effectively for both ballroom dancers and country dancers. Other members of Transit of Earth who play regularly at the San Francisco Free Folk Festival include David Strong, violin and viola; Craig Johnson, accordion and keyboards (performing this year with Dogwatch); Craig Martin, accordion; Robert Shultheis, string bass; and Nancy Solomon, violin. David Strong, Stan & Susan Kramer, and Craig Johnson also play together as Bangers & Mash - one of the most admired and popular vintage dance and English Country Dance bands in Northern California.

Having played piano since childhood, William Allen branched out to Contra, Irish, and Old-Time music thanks to music jams organized by Darwyn Patz. In 1996, as sole musician for the Santa Cruz English Country Dance, led by Theresa Krull, he learned to accompany dancing. The next year he applied it to playing for the Palo Alto English Country Dance, led by Bob Fraley and others, and the Palo Alto Regency Dance, led by Alan Winston. He annually plays for Regency Dancing at the BayCon Science Fiction Convention and for dancing at the San Francisco Free Folk Festival. The ensembles "Fine Companions", "The Phoenix," and, of course, "Transit of Earth" count him as their pianist.