We had the best turnout ever for our 4th annual Playford Ball in June. This was especially gratifying after the uneven attendance during the spring. In addition to many of our regular dancers and several folks from out of town there were several dancers new to our group who we hope we will see again at our dances this fall. We had a fairly challenging program for the Ball and we successfully did all but one of the dances we had planned on. Hopefully the great attendance and fine dancing will be a indicator of good things to come.
In addition to our regular monthly dances and our Ball we participated in some special events this past spring. With the assistance of the Illini Folk Dance Society and the Urbana Country Dancers, we participated in the Culture Bus program this past April. This was an event held by the Champaign and Urbana Park Districts along with the Mass Transit District and several other organizations. MTD busses travel around town stopping at different locations where there are activities and presentations. Riding on the bus is free. We presented an afternoon of American, English and international dancing at the Springer Center. Not as many people came by as we had hoped for, but there were a few people who showed interest in dance and while I don't think that we have seen any of them at our dances, I know that some of the people exposed to traditional dance during the Culture Bus program have been coming to the Urbana Country Dancers' contra dances. I hope we can do more events of this type in the future and get even more people interested in joining us at our dances.
A little later in April, Carrie Melin and Jonathan Sivier lead an evening of Scandinavian dances, featuring the hambo, with music by Kathleen Everingham, Deb Gilman and Larry Stout. Once again this was jointly sponsored by the Central Illinois English Country Dancers, the Illini Folk Dance Society and the Urbana Country Dancers. Turnout at the dance was very good and hopefully there will be more of these joint events in the future.
On the first of May we did some dances at the Botanical Gardens in Lake of the Woods Park near Mahomet. This was part of their May Day celebration. We did a Maypole dance as well as some other circle dances around the pole. We had a good time and quite a few spectators joined in as well.
One thing we will be trying out this fall is to have a dance on a Friday evening. The way the scheduling worked out this will be on October 29 so we thought we would make it a Hallowe'en Masquerade dance. While it is optional, everyone is encouraged to come in costume and wear a mask.
I hope everyone has a good summer and remembers the pool party on July 24 and the dance in the Sunken Gardens at Allerton Park on September 12.
Saturday, July 24: Pool party at Jane Hobgood's, 3 Illini Circle, Urbana. Swimming starts at 3:30, dancing (in the pool) starts at 4:00. A potluck dinner will follow. Rain date, Sunday, July 25.
Sunday, September 12: Dance and picnic in gardens at Allerton Park. Picnic from 1:00 to 3:00, meet at 1:00 at the visitors center. Dancing from 3:00 to 6:00 in the Sunken Gardens.
Sunday, September 26: Dance from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Springer Cultural Center.
Friday, October 29: Dance from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Springer Cultural Center. A Hallowe'en Masquerade, costumes and masks encouraged.
Saturday, November 20: Dance from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Springer Cultural Center.
Sunday, December 5: Dance from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Springer Cultural Center.
Saturday, December 18: Christmas Ball from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. at the Channing-Murray Foundation.
The Central Illinois English Country Dancers are affiliated with the Champaign Park District and are members of the Champaign County Cultural Consortium