Newport Vintage Dance Week

by The Commonwealth Vintage Dancers


Newport Dancers' Gazette

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The Newport Dancers' Gazette
Vol VII, Number 1
Tuesday, 6 June 2000

What's New at Dance Week 2000

This year brings a number of exciting changes and additions to the Dance Week, which we hope you will all enjoy.

Jacek and Bozena Marek will be joining our teaching staff for the first time. They will be leading a class in Polish ballroom dances. Jacek is a noted Polish folk dance specialist and his accomplishments were included in the Polish- American edition of "Who’s Who". Jacek and Bozena have taught dance together around the world.

Idy and Bob Thomas will also be joining our teaching staff this year, teaching the dances of the 1920’s. Together, Idy and Bob are The Kamikaze Jitterbugs, performing dances from the 1920's to the 1950's. Their historical dance program "The Roots of American Dance" has earned critical acclaim. Idy is a member of CVD and directs Ballet ETC in Brookline, MA. Bob performs, in addition to dance, as a storyteller and monologist.

The group mansion tour will be held on Thursday afternoon, rather than Tuesday, allowing more time for the trip to Newport; we will be touring Marble House this year.

This year's Mid-19th Century Ball will be held in the Seaside Pavilion Ballroom at Newport’s First Beach. It is a wonderful circular hall, just off the beach, with a large verandah, and adjoins the carousel. The carousel will be operating from 8:00 to 9:00 for our enjoyment. Live music will once again be provided by the New River Dance Orchestra.

Join us for the opening of the Newport Orpheum Cinema as we present a silent film (title to be determined) accompanied by an abundance of popcorn and lemonade. No reservations required.

Dress is casual or period casual. The movie will be followed by an informal dance to recorded music of the teens and twenties.

Do you have a favorite silent film that you would like to propose for this evening? We are entertaining all nominations. The selected film may or may not include dance sequences; its selection will be determined by a variety of factors, availability and whim being the dominant ones.

Please send your nominations to:

Newport Silent Film
c/o Hannah Roberts Artuso
99 Malvern Street
Melrose, Massachusetts 02176
or via email to:

"Neptune’s Realm"
Fancy Dress Ball

The theme for this year's costume ball is Neptune’s Realm. The time is August, 1899, and the most elegant of Newport society are diving into a fancy dress ball that celebrates the splendours of the sea. Once again, Smoke and Mirrors, our talented and flamboyant decorating crew from Connecticut, will apply their magic to the Abbey Auditorium and transform it into an undersea paradise. We invite you to strap on your fins and flap your flippers in an informal evening of dancing and merriment, featuring recorded music from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Costume Workshop: Headpieces

For those of you who need the perfect headpiece or corsage to compliment your new gown Katy and Terry will be giving a workshop Tuesday afternoon on period headpiece design. You will have the opportunity to design your own headpiece or dress ornament, with inspiration from period illustrations.

You may wish to bring your own supplies of flowers, ribbons, and feathers to make an ornament suited to your tastes. A small supply of flowers, feathers, ribbons, milliner’s wire, and trims will be available for a small fee. For more information please e-mail:

Volunteer Jobs

There are tremendous numbers of details to be attended to in order to make a week such as this a success. We accomplish this feat by asking each participant to assist CVD members at one or two events during the week. With everyone pitching in, no one has to devote a major amount of time attending to these tasks, and the disruption to everyone’s dancing pleasure is minimal. There will be a sign-up sheet at registration.

For four of the evening events — The Silent Film Night, Astor’s Beechwood, Seaside Pavilion 1860’s Ball, and the Fancy Dress Ball — we will ask several volunteers to arrive thirty minutes early for refreshment set-up, and others to stay afterward for clean up. We will need helpers for set-up and clean-up help at the daily teas, as well as at the Swap & Sell. Assistance with the sound system will be needed throughout the week. And, on Saturday afternoon, some of you may want to help the decorating crew transform the auditorium into the undersea realm of Neptune and his court.

Fashionable Dances of the Day

Harper’s Bazar, December 22, 1896

Although in every city and town throughout the country there may be dancing steps in a manner of dancing peculiar to the place, still the fashionable dances of today are in general principles much the same everywhere, and those which are the most popular here in New York, for instance, are universally recognized as the dances correct for any entertainment which may be given elsewhere, so we will concern ourselves with the ones now in vogue in our metropolis.

Here in New York the waltz is danced much as in recent years, slow or fast, according to the preferences of the individual dancers, but always in rather a dignified way, and as it is ever the most graceful of modern dances, so in the long- run it is the pleasantest in motion and time. The polka is danced in different ways, with one, two, three, or more glides, three being the most popular, but in whichever way it must be danced in perfect time with the music, whether the movements of the dancers be slow and restful, or gay and rollicking, and degenerating occasionally into a romp. The two-step, which is now in full tide of popular favor, almost rivaling the waltz in the opinion of its devotees, is danced to march time, the fine, spirited marches of Sousa's being the music most used to accompany it. It is a change from the waltz, easier, less fatiguing, and offering more opportunity for fun and jollity, so it is likely to maintain long its present high rank of favor.

These are the ordinary dances of the present time, and in making a programme for a dancing entertainment it is safe to say that they succeeding one another, with perhaps four square dances, and a Virginia reel as a finale, will make an order of dancing agreeable to all the young people who may be present, and one in which the older people are also considered.

This year the Saturday Seminar will be devoted to presentations of vintage dance videos put together by attendees of the Newport Dance Week of their own performances or of performances of the dance group to which they belong.

We do not intend on previewing or prejudging submissions, nor do we ask that they be sent in advance of the seminar. We do, however, require that a descriptive note be submitted detailing the duration of the tape and briefly describing the group, types of dance, etc, being shown. Preference on the order of presentation will be based on the order in which we receive the descriptive note, with later entries put on a waiting list in anticipation of tapes promised but not delivered.

Note: the tape duration specified (five minutes preferred, eight minutes maximum with commentary) will indicate when the "stop" button will be pressed, possibly cutting off part of the presentation; the unacceptable alternative to this is that someone else's presentation gets cut entirely. Multiple selections are fine, but time spent searching from one selection to another will count as playing time, so we strongly suggest that you make a presentation version showing just the pieces intended.

(Note: Tapes are expected to be in VHS compatible format.)

Please send your descriptive notes to:

Hannah Roberts Artuso
99 Malvern Street
Melrose, Massachusetts 02176
or via email to:

Newport 2000: The T-shirt

Celebrating yet another turn of the century, we feel it is appropriate to offer a new T-shirt celebrating the Newport Vintage Dance Week. Two sided, the shirt will have the image (seen here to the right) on the front and wording evocative of the Dance Week printed on the back.

Only a limited number of these shirts will be produced, but orders (including special sizes) placed by registrants of the Dance Week before July 15th will be guaranteed and held for pick-up at the Dance Week. T-shirts are $15 each.

Crew neck, short sleeved, T-shirts (color: "blue spruce" a pale greenish/bluish/grey) available in Medium, Large, X-Large and XX-Large. A ladies’ scoop-neck version of the t-shirt (color: "orchid" a pale lavender) are available in size Large and X-Large. Alternative sizes may be available, but only by pre-order and only when availability is confirmed.

In addition, we have decided to produce a canvas tote bag with the same graphic (100% cotton canvas, dimensions 22"x15"x5" in color "natural") available for $15 per bag.

     Indicate Quantity desired:
     Crew neck t-shirt   ____ Medium  ____ Large  ____ X-Large  ____ XX-Large
     Scoop-neck t-shirt               ____ Large  ____ X-Large
     Canvas Tote Bags    ____
     Total enclosed: ($15 per item) $____________ Name: _____________________

All orders must be paid with a separate check (made out to CVD) and received no later than July 15th; the pre-ordered shirts will be available for pick up during Monday’s registration, the welcome dance, and the Wednesday swap 'n sell.

Send check and order form to:

CVD T-shirts
99 Malvern Street
Melrose, Massachusetts 02176
e-mail: to ask about special sizes.

Last updated 31 August 2000/beb