A friend of mine has a daughter who competed in her High School Mock Trial program this past year. The team won at the local level and had the opportunity to go to Sacramento and compete at the state level. After contending for several days, the students were looking forward to attending the Saturday night dance. When my friend’s daughter and team mates arrived at the dance, they watched the chaotic and frenzied jumping and bumping and left after five minutes. They had come to dance… but that’s not what they were doing.
A pastor of a local church recently said to me that his church does not allow dancing, but that doesn’t include the Civil War Balls because dancing is not what we are doing.
What are we doing? I guess it all depends on how you define dance. One of my favorite definitions of dance is found in the Noah Webster 1828 dictionary.
Dance - … to leap or step with graceful motions of the body… to wait with obsequiousness (what does that mean? – I’ll look this up too… ready obedience, prompt compliance with orders of a superior) to strive to please and gain favor by assiduous (diligent) attentions and officious (kind, obliging) civilities… a lively brisk exercise or amusement, in which the movements of the persons are regulated by art, in figure, and by the sound of instruments, in measure.
If people ask you what you do at the Civil War Balls, you can tell them - we gracefully follow the directions of the dance caller, giving diligent and kind attentions to our partners, and we gain brisk exercise and fine amusement in an orderly and regulated fashion.
That’s what we are doing!