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March 11, 2013


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You've sadly missed your chance to attend Tony & Beth Parkes' annual (but now defunct) Christmas Cotillion, which was exactly such a mix, with those particular contra dances, as well, though it also included the Patience Lancers and another G&S Lancers.

The dance lives on, in a reduced form, as part of the Parkes' Square Dance series.

The Folk Arts Center of New England's annual Elegant Evening, also sadly now defunct, also had a mix of contras, couple dances, and sequenced couple dances, though with more emphasis on the couple dances.

David Millstone teaches and calls modern and older versions of these contras, but I don't think he adds in the mix of couple dances.

I had always hoped to attend a Christmas Cotillion, but when I finally arranged my schedule last year to be able to do, it had sadly stopped happening. I was delighted that they had Tony calling at the Harvest Ball last November, though I was so jet-lagged I wasn't able to fully appreciate the experience!

I did get to a couple of Elegant Evenings, but it was so long ago (mid-90s?) that I don't recall any details.

I know there are people who enjoy both couple dancing and modern contra, though perhaps not chestnuts and quadrilles. The trick seems to be how to get enough of them in one place at one time for a good event.

During my childhood and early adolescence, in the 1950s and 1960s, the Boston Fancy was still performed at Franco-American weddings in Biddeford, Maine.

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