Triangle Vintage Dance sends out a huge thank you to Stormi Souter for her help on edtiting this page!
What type of dancing will there be at this ball and do I have the skill level to attend?
The goal of Triangle Vintage Dance is to offer events in which dancers of all levels of experience can enjoy Vintage dance.
The Victorian Ball is definitely accessible to beginners.
More than half of the ball will be dances which are simple sequences that will be taught, walked through, and called while you dance.
These country dances are similar to English Country Dances or Contra dances.
They include dances like the Spanish Waltz, Galop Quadrille & Virginia Reel.
The other part of the ball are couple dances where you dance with one other person for one dance, and you are encouraged to dance with as many different people as possible throughout the evening.
Some of these couple dances will be waltzes. The Victorian Waltz is usually a turning waltz, a little faster than a typical contra
dance waltz, but not as fast as a Viennese Waltz. If you know any kind of waltz, you can have fun dancing it at the ball --
just tell your partner for that dance what you are familiar with and what you would like to dance.
The other couple dances include Polka and Schottische which are very easy to learn. Chris will give
a brief reminder of Polka and Schottische steps right before those dances are played.
Dancers may also attend dance classes, to learn the Victorian Waltz and
Polka basic steps. We want to make sure beginners come to have a good time, as well as allow the intermediate dancers to have an event
to practice and try out the trickier choreographies. If you are already familiar with Waltz and/or
Polka, you may want to come to the intermediate dance classes to practice and learn some new
variations or simply to refresh your memory on Victorian styling.
Can singles attend this dance if there is a lot of couple dancing?
Yes, singles are definitely encouraged to attend this dance as much as couples. There will be plenty of
opportunity to dance with other people and meet new folks. We encourage everyone to pre-register early,
but particularly singles, so that we can go out and recruit extra leaders or followers as needed to keep the balance close.
Please invite your friends as the more the merrier!
Just because you sign-up or arrive with someone, does not
obligate you to dance with them every dance! Everyone will be encouraged to mix
and meet other dancers to fill out their dance cards.
In addition, anyone is welcome to dance any role. It was quite common during the Civil War to have ladies dancing with
each other, as many of the men were off at war. Please see the discussion of dance cards below for more information.
Why is the Victorian Ball a bit more expensive than other dances in our area?
The Victorian Ball provides
live musicians, playing historically appropriate music; informative teaching and calling of dances of the period; light refreshments;
and an atmosphere and opportunity to dress-up (if you want) and recreate a bygone era. We hope
participants find that this type of event is worth a few extra dollars to enjoy a special night of
Specifics on the cost of the ball can be found here.
What should I wear?
Formal wear, fancy dress, Victorian styles and military uniforms are encouraged, but definitely not required.
We encourage formal dress for the ball because some folks really like to dress up in period clothing and it gives
the general feel for being present in a Victorian ballroom.
However, the most important goal for Triangle Vintage Dance events is having fun dancing!
We do not want to discourage anyone from taking part in the dances just because they don't have a vintage wardrobe or
formal wear available. We recommend that you come in your best approximation of period dress that you can manage.
The details are less important - it is more about giving an overall impression of that time period. Here are some ideas...
If you don't have a fancy dress, ladies can wear a modern skirt and a nice blouse or dress (Long, full skirts are best - but be sure that the skirt is not so long that your dance partner might step on it). Pastel and pale colors were popular for Victorian evening wear, especially for younger ladies who danced. A ball would have been under candle or gas light, and darker colors would fade into the background. Younger ladies or teens would often wear white dresses, often in sheer or very light silk or cotton. A silk colored petticoat could be worn underneath for a splash of color. Dark colors and blacks were not within the realm of proper dancing colors in the Victorian era. At the first ball, Dawn wore a brides maid's dress - prom dresses work well too. Many of the thrift shops in our area are great for getting a fancy gown/dress at inexpensive prices.
The most important thing is that you are comfortable and able to move well. Hoop skirts, petticoats, and/or corsets are appropriate to the period, but are strictly optional! Ladies would often also wear gloves -- but again, don't worry about dress too much. We've listed some costuming resources below if you are interested. Also, feel free to email Dawn with any questions you may have.
You can wear a modern tuxedo, a dark suit or simply dress pants and a sports coat or a nice shirt.
Civil war or other uniforms welcome (but please, no boots on the dance floor!)
A white or black bow tie and white or black vest is best, but optional. Other things you could add include a colored bow tie,
a regular neck tie, a colored vest, a cummerbund, and/or white gloves.
Gloves are very nice, as they prevent perspiring onto the ladies' lovely dresses!
You may email Chris or Dawn
with any questions.
There will not be a formal "changing area", but there are restrooms that you can use to change in, if you do not want to
drive in your formal attire.
Be as formal as you'd like to be and just come enjoy the music and dance!
If you want to see what some folks have worn in previous years, take a look at the
photos from previous years.
Local costume shops that rent vintage style costumes, hoops and crinolines
Eastern Costume Have 1800s style costumes, and hoops
510 North Elm. St.
Greensboro, NC 27401
Website coming soon!
The Formalwear Outlet This is a great place where men can purchase a tux or tails!
They don't have vintage clothes, but they have good prices.
415 Millstone Dr.
(directions under the Clearance Link on their webpage)
A local group of women make their own costumes and have a discussion forum
where they will answer questions about Victorian dresses & costuming.
www.carolinabelles.net is the website -
click on The Belle Alley
Includes some wonderful pictures online. Or you can order costuming books or work with Katy to create your own gown. Katy is really wonderful to work with. However, she is quite in demand, so definitely start working with her well in advance of your event.
Search on Etsy - "The place to buy and sell all things handmade, vintage and supplies" is their tagline. Use the terms, "Civil War", 1850's, 1860's, 1890's, 1900 and Victorian. You may search for ballgowns in the 1870's & 1880's, but it isn't recommended to purchase a gown with a train, as they can be very difficult to dance in. Ladies may also wish to add keywords to your search, such as bloomers, chemise, hoop skirt, petticoat, gown or ballgown.
Is is difficult to dance in a hoop skirt? Doesn't the hoop get in the
way, so that you can't get close to your partner?
Dancing with a hoop skirt isn't that much different from dancing in any other ball gown. The hoop skirt acts like a bell and sways when you get close to your partner in ballroom position for a dance. It is a good idea to wear something under the hoop skirt so that you don't flash people if the hoop sways too far out (either drawers or a regular petticoat/slip or tights.) Drawers became popular in 1856 with the invention of the cage crinoline or hoop skirt for just that reason.
What type of shoes should I wear?
With all the wet and sandy streets, please carry your own clean, dry, dance shoes to the ball and
change into them once you get there. We recommend comfortable, leather soled shoes. Shoes with rubber soles don't slide
nicely, and one must be able to glide over the floor for Victorian dance.
Sneakers with treads tend to be hard to turn in, so soft-soled smooth shoes are best. Jazz oxfords
are great. You can also dance in socks comfortably on the wooden floor.
Ladies -- Flats or very low heeled character shoes are recommended.
Please no boots, hard-soled shoes with stiff heels, spiky heels that might mark the dance floor.
Area stores that sell adult dance shoes (Jazz, character, ballroom, dance sneakers, etc.)
What are dance cards?
Dance cards become popular at balls in the early 19th century and they were a way for the ladies to keep track of
the gentleman to whom she had promised dances in the course of the evening. They also served as mementos of the occasion.
We provide dance cards at the ball in order to evoke a more authentic feeling of the period. However, we do not adhere
to the strict dance etiquette of the 19th century and dance cards should not cause you added stress during the evening. They
are intended to add a bit of historical flavor and to the fun of the evening.
Some mixer dances will be conducted at the beginning of the evening, to allow you to meet and dance with several
partners and perhaps find new partners for later dances.
While historically, a lady did not typically ask a gentleman to dance, at Triangle Vintage Dance we encourage gender equality,
so followers should feel free to ask leaders to dance and leaders should be ready for dance invitations. One should never feel obligated to dance.
You may always defer if you would prefer to sit out and watch a dance. If you find that your ball card is full, or has no openings that
correspond to someone else's, you can request for the dancer to find you for one of the "extra" dances that will be sprinkled throughout
We recommend only filling in the top half of your dance card early in the evening -- save the bottom half for filling during the intermission.
The "extra" dances that are not on the dance card will give you an opportunity to dance with many different participants at the ball.
Although we do not adhere to a strict ballroom etiquette, it is fun to read through the typical etiquette suggestions. We have
provided you with a few links to some of the advice for the period. Below are etiquette suggestions that we feel are good
ones to follow, since they give the dance a distinctive Victorian feel.
Usually followers did not cross the main ballroom floor alone. At the end of a dance, the leader should escort the
follower to a place of her choosing -- this could be her next partner (if known from the dance card), the refreshments table, or just
to the side of the hall. Abandoning a partner in the middle of the dance floor was considered to be in poor taste.
Everyone feels better if he or she is treated with extra courtesy and respect.
It is typical for this kind of ball for the couple dances to dance in the "line of direction" (in a counter-clockwise direction around the ballroom).
This allows for a nice flow of dance. If you find that you do not tend to travel as fast as the
other folks around you, or if you want to experiment with a different move that spins or stays in place, then just try to dance toward
the center or toward the corners of the hall. This will help keep the dance flowing.
If there is threatening weather, a decision will be made 4 hours before the event as to whether the event will go on
and a message will be on the answering machine at (919) 9-DANCE-2 [932-6232]. I will also email or phone those people who are
pre-registered. If the event is cancelled, of course all registration money (including checks or PayPal) will be refunded.
If the event goes on, but you are unable to attend because of weather (please be safe and use your best judgment),
I will give you a refund. If you are unable to attend for other reasons, you may transfer your registration to a friend, or
get a credit towards a future private lesson.