Dance classes for every era
Dances of the American Revolution
The dances of the day were the minuet, cotillions, and country dances. Dance lessons were considered an important part of education: you could tell an educated person from the way they walked into the room. Every year there were new dance manuals coming out with new music and dances.
Dances of the Regency/Federalist
Let's face it: today, most Americans don't refer to the early 1800s as the Federalist years. They watch Jane Austen adaptations and Bridgerton and call these years Regency. No matter what we call these years, people danced through them. The minuet has fallen out of favor, replaced by a scandalous new dance called the waltz! Meanwhile, country dances were still all the rage.
Dances of the Romantic Era
The hot new dance of the era: the polka craze of 1844! Was that why James K Polk got elected in 1845, he had the right name? Meanwhile, a dance the Germans called the Rhinelander and most other people were calling the schottische was really taking off.
Dances of the Civil War
Regardless of what flag you were flying, people were dancing! This is a rich era of reels, quadrilles, polkas, waltzes, schottisches, and mazurkas. In stressful times, dances create much-needed comfort and a sense of community.
Dances of the Gilded Age
The new dance of the era: the Grand March! A chance to show off your new finery, see who else is at the ball - and what they're wearing... The war is over, and the Industrial Age is in full swing. No ball card shows as much variety of dances as a soiree in the 1870s and 80s.
Dances of the Gay Nineties
Who doesn't want to dance to "Bicycle Built for Two" and "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and of course, just about everything by John Phillips Sousa? It's a time of waltzes and two steps, and sequence dances which took those two staples and created simple choreographies so that everyone all knew the same thing - and a gent who perhaps didn't lead very well didn't need to!
Dances of the Ragtime/WWI
Ragtime music required a new dance in the same way that hip hop music created a new dance 100 years later. The music was happy and upbeat, and the dance was as simple as dancing could possibly get! Everybody who could walk was dancing - because the dance was a quick walk. Slow it down, it was tango. Add some quicks and slows, it became foxtrot. The newest technology meant that no one even had to sit down and play the piano - everyone could dance to the gramophone!
Dances of the Great Depression/WWII
The Swing era saw America through the struggles of the Depression, and bolstered our spirits through the biggest war we could possibly imagine. The music was brought to us via the miracle of radio, while the Big Bands brought a constant stream of new music. So many people crowded the dance floors, a new dance was required - one that didn't involve moving counterclockwise around the room!
Dances of the 1950s
While prosperity returned for many in the United States, there was something that all teenagers of all walks of life agreed upon: Rock n Roll music required Rock n Roll dancing! Television not only delivered the latest music to living rooms, if you ran home from school, you could learn new dance moves by watching the other teenagers on shows like American Bandstand and Teenarama and Jim Lownstberry's Record Hop and The Buddy Dean Show.
Dances from the 1960s
As fast as Motown could crank out the music, there was a new dance craze. The Twist, The Pony, The Mashed Potato... it was an era where you did not even need a partner, and the simple dances required no extensive lessons to perfect your technique. Although a beach to dance on was highly recommended.