Since we started performing our Fringe show, The Tea Dance, ten years ago, we feel that the words “Tea Dance” run through the company like a stick of rock! Not that we are complaining – we love tea dances – we’ve even been the dance hosts for the 2008, 2010 and 2012 World Record Tea Dances in Glasgow and Edinburgh – and it is the company’s mission to return to the days of the original Tea Dance, where people could get together and enjoy an afternoon of dancing, music, tea and other refreshments in a relaxing environment. So here’s our take on Tea Dances and why they’re so important to the company – and dance/social history!
Over a century of Tea Dances
There’s no doubt about it, Tea Dance culture has returned! More and more people are rediscovering the joy of dancing together with another person to the sophisticated strains of Palm Court music. Let the Fly Right Dance Company take you on a journey back to a time of elegance and style, where civilised conversation and sophisticated dancing were punctuated by tea and savouries! Fly Right are keen to revive the less formal, original and more accessible ballroom dances from the 1900s to 1920s, when social dances were becoming the leisure activity of choice for the masses.
Tea Dances (or Thé Dansants) were the first modern social dances, accessible to all. They developed from the concept of “afternoon tea” in the late 19th century and really became popular in the early 1900s, when the shocking Argentine Tango arrived in Britain, and hotels and other establishments began to open these functions to the masses. Their popularity has never waned since – not even the War could stop them, with Tea Dances being an important part of maintaining morale in the services during World War II.
Building on our Edinburgh Festival Fringe successes over the past 10 years, Fly Right has created a series of themed Tea Dance packages, suitable for dancers and non-dancers alike, and based around the following themes:
- 1910s “Titanic”-style theme
- Palm Court Charleston theme
- Wartime Theme
- The Evening Tea Dance
Included in our packages are:
- A suitably-costumed host and hostess
- Dance demonstrations
- Short, “bite-sized” micr0-dance lessons for non-dancers during the event
- Recorded (or live – please call for quote!) musical accompaniment
- Marketing advice for targeting new audiences
Format for a typical Tea Dance:
Fly Right Tea Dances are run in a traditional fashion, getting away from the strict-tempo and sequence dance variants which have become more prevalent in recent years. Guests of all ages should be encouraged, where practical, to dress according to the theme for the event – WWII uniforms, flapper outfits, etc. Traditionally, the older generation are well-versed in ballroom dances – but for younger and less experienced/non-dancers, the event will be punctuated with short, impromptu lessons in dances such as the Charleston, Foxtrot or Quickstep to help them on their way.