The History of Dance — A lecture by Brigitt Mayer, as presented at the Blackpool Congress

Report by Philip Nicholas for Dance Beat (USA)

Over the years there have been many interesting lectures at Blackpool. But over all the years I have been there I do not remember one about the history of our dances. History has always been very interesting to me, so when my dear friend Brigitt Mayer-Karakis told me she was doing a lecture on the history of dance I was very interested to see it. I feel this is something that has always been missing in our world because without the history we have nothing to compare the present with.

I have been in dancing for 52 years, so I have seen a lot of dancing over the years and I remember many things. So to see this lecture for me was a “Special moment in time.”

The amount of time and work Brigitt had put into the preparation of her lecture was enormous, she had gone right back to the middle ages, to find where and when all the different music and dances were formed and traced them to our dances of today.

All the different people who were willing to give their time to prepare their dances for this lecture was such a great thing to see for the success of this adventure. There were people of many years ago, and people from a short time ago and from today. They were all so happy to be doing this, to give us all a look into the history of a dance form that we all love.

The Charleston was danced by Bryan Watson and Carmen and they really gave us the style of this dance from the 20s. Wendy Johnson and Igor Suvorov did a very exiting Argentine Tango. Allan Tornsberg and Vibeke Toft danced the Maxixe. They really gave us the feel of the times when this dance was popular.

Jukka Happalainen and Sirpa Suutari danced the Son and the Mambo and they made it a real fun dance. Then we had Evelyn Hädrich-Hörmann (former Opitz) and Bernd Hörmann dance a beautiful square Rumba brought back memories when I started dancing as I did learn the Square Rumba. Peter Eggleton and Loraine Barry did the slow Foxtrot from the 40s and it was wonderful to see Peter out there. Rudi Trautz and his daughter Nina danced his Cha-Cha-Cha from 1968 and he looked so happy to be able to show it to us. Kenny and Marion Welsh doing the 80s Tango brought back memories.

And the only Lorraine with Neil Jones as Wally and he did a really great job. They did the Cha-Cha-Cha from the 60s. It was so wonderful to see Lorraine dancing again. I remember her from when I arrived in England.

They all produced the dancing of the times they were representing and the crowd loved it. I feel so lucky to have been there to hear and see this very special lecture about where our dancing came from and where it has gone until today. And I hope that we have more of this in the near future.

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