|Members of Atlanta Baroque Dance in Charleston, SC. Kat is in red.|
Having come lately to researching and soon-to-be-writing for the Colonial Era as part of my multi-era Restoration Chronicles (1920, 1870 and 1790), I have spent most of my previous years as a writer, historian and vintage dancer from the mid-1800s, as befitted the era of my Georgia Gold Series (www.deniseweimerbooks.webs.com). While leading a group of dancers from North Georgia, I met Kat Peng, now Kat Peng Nagar, and her group of Atlanta-area dancers, also doing mid-1800s dance. On several occasions we enjoyed recreating elegant dances of the Civil War era with them at re-enactment balls. Since those days, I’ve concentrated more on writing and less on dancing, while Kat has gone on to become an expert (who sometimes appears in film!) on various periods of dance, from Baroque to Swing, and just about everything in between! She is the directress of Atlanta Baroque Dance Company. Today I’d like to introduce you to Kat and ask her to share from her expertise on Colonial-era dance, a subject which I am sure will delight many Colonial Quills writers and readers alike!
Can you explain the main differences of style between court dances and country dances and give several examples of the most popular types of each.
Whereas court dancing followed strict rules, country dancing was much more relaxed. Servants danced country dances that were easy so that when they had a opportunity to go to a dance, they could just jump right in. This kind of dancing looked like great fun to the nobles but they didn't want to dance the same dances as their servants. They had their dancing masters create complicated dances that would show off their dancing abilities and would require practice before being danced. Examples of these types of dances would be Portsmouth, Juice of Barley and Sun Assemble.