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Historic Dance Week on Mackinac Island, May 5-9, 2013

Our latest dance week event, at the fabulous Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, MI, a unique venue really somewhere else in time, is now history. This one time only dance week followed on the heels of the Grand Hotel's own Titanic Weekend, an amazing weekend of food, fashion and history. Stay tuned for our next unique and amazing dance week to be scheduled at another fantastic location summer of 2015.

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The San Diego Vintage Dance Society is a 501C nonprofit organization dedicated the study and preservation of historic social dances of the 19th and early-mid 20th Centuries. We are available for special dance performances, most recently at the San Diego Symphony, and Lyceum Theater. Our group also sponsors vintage dance events complete with authentic live music, encouraging appropriate historic style attire and behavior by attendees.

We also periodically host special weekend dance festivals which include lessons as well as themed dances. Our last dance weekend was A Victorian Weekend at the fabulous Glen Tavern Inn in Santa Paula, November 2013. We also hosted a Titanic 100 Year Anniversary Commemoration Weekend in 2012. Our New Year's Eve 2013 dance party with a Casablanca theme, "Rick's Cafe Americain," was also a fun, fun time.

We have also hosted 6 dance weeks, each one unique: our most recent historic/vintage dance week in 2013 was on Mackinac Island (see report on left), and our penultimate dance week on the fabulous Queen Mary in Long Beach Harbor in 2011. Our vintage dance weeks are always spectacular, one-of-a-kind events, featuring incomparable vintage dance instruction, plus evening themed events, authentic live music, tea & much more!

Join the San Diego Vintage Dance Society on Facebook to get event notices and updates on future events. The link is in the left column at the bottom. If you are not on Facebook, you'll need to check this webpage periodically for updates/news, as we no longer maintain a separate email list.

Downtown Abbey Ball, April 19, 2014 

Saturday night, bring out your 1910-1930 formal wear as we have a grand time of which even Lord Grantham would approve at our glorious Grand Ball, celebrating the eras portrayed in the PBS series, 'Downton Abbey.' Authentic music will be provided for your listening or dancing pleasure by our own terrific ten member Heliotrope Orchestra under the direction of Mr. Bruce Vermazen. The evening will commence at 6:30pm (doors open at 6:15), and the venue is The Center,3909 Centre Street, an historic craftsman building in the Hillcrest area of San Diego and site of our 2012 Titanic Ball.

As with all events, authenticity is a goal. Our venue, our music and we hope, our attendees with dress appropriately. Era authentic formal clothing of is strongly encouraged; modern formal wear is fine. Absolutely no miniskirts, tee shirts, jeans or tennis shoes allowed.

Tickets are $20 per person prepaid, CLICK HERE.
Tickets $25 at the door,with a student/military price of $15 with photo ID.

Hot off the press: Heliotrope Ragtime Orchestra has a new CD coming out just in time for the ball. It's called "Sas-pa-torious!" and will be available for purchase that night!

The Centre, site of the Ball

Vintage Dance Lessons in San Diego
There are (nearly)free beginning/intermediate vintage dance lessons on Fridays in Balboa Park at the Casa Del Prado Bldg. Rm 207, from 7:30-9:45 PM. Learn basic dance steps as well as choreographies.

Contact WaltznSuch link(left) for more information.

SD Vintage Dance Week


Balboa Park Club


February 1, 2014 we again experienced the enchantment of a traditional 19th Century Victorian Ball, celebrating the music and dances of the Strauss family and their contemporaries. San Diego's own Grand Pacific Waltz Orchestra,under the direction of Mr Joe Dyke, provides LIVE authentic music for Waltzes, Polkas, Quadrilles, Schottisches and more! Mid-late 19th Century ball wear was much in evidence, with everyone dressed to kill. The fabulous Ms. Joan Walton of San Jose, California was our Dance Mistress for the evening. Ms Walton, an authority on historic vintage dances, also taught a basic class in "survival waltz", as well as the Quadrilles of the evening, in the afternoon prior to the ball.This year we were thrilled to have the Academy of Dance Libre, a vintage dance troup from the Bay Area, join us for a wonderful performance.

The Ball and afternoon class both take place in our favorite grand ballroom, the Balboa Park Club, a 12,000 sf 1915 ballroom in famous Balboa Park, here in San Diego. While clothing of the 19th Century is always appreciated at our events, it is not required. However, this is always a formal event, and formal wear is required (no jeans, tennis shoes, mini-skirts, sandals, etc. allowed.)

Our next Viennese Ball will be winter of 2015. .

Viennese Nights Ball


Richard Powers: Musings & Thoughts on Dance
Going Out Dancing – How to have more fun; how to let your dance partners have more fun!A few (MUST) ground rules:
Some dances travel in line-of-direction, like waltz, polka, one-step and foxtrot. For these dances... 1) The fast lane is on the outside. Please don't block or slow down the traffic. Dance in the fast lane only if you can keep up.... don't be a rock in the rapids! 2) The slow lane or stationary steps are in the center, the eye of the hurricane.
If you're not dancing for a moment, please clear completely off the floor. The dancers will appreciate it.
Floorcraft-- Please take extra care not to bump other couples. i.e. don't step on others, don't rock-step back onto others, don't throw your partner into someone else (!) and don't ram another couple (!!). Always be aware of the others around you. Guys, look where you are going to lead her before you send her there. Don't start a move unless there is room. Protect her from collisions.
In swing, don't do aerials or kicks in crowded conditions. Even if you have lots of space, never attempt to lead an aerial with someone unless you've carefully practiced that move with them.
Don't wear heavy perfumes and colognes to a social dance. Most people don't consider it very sociable, and some have allergies. And similarly...Dance hygiene! Need we say more? (Your partners may find it hard to dance while holding their breath.)
We encourage you to dance with people you don't already know. Most dancers will be happy to dance with someone new.
If you are far more experienced than your partner, dance for your partner's style and comfort. Yes, some challenges and surprises are fun, but being pushed around uncomfortably isn't.
Give your partners all of your attention. Let them know, somehow, that you'd rather be dancing with them than someone else.
Dancing is all about having fun. Criticizing your partner isn't fun. Don't give an impromptu lesson unless asked.
If there is live music, don't treat the musicians like canned music. Let them know that you appreciate their presence and their talent.
Relax. Don't get flustered, keep moving, laugh at what happened if appropriate but keep dancing. Truly exceptional dancers will almost always make a mistake look like something they planned if at all possible. There are no mistakes in dancing, only new moves.
Dance for your partner. But also dance with your partner — have fun yourself and let your partner know that you're having fun with them.
Happiness itself is the way to dance and to live. It isn't something you try to get from dancing or living. Happiness is something that you bring to dancing, and to life.

— Richard Powers

San Diego, CA

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