2007 Library News

Historic Dance Classes Taught at Downtown Library

Nothing from the “good old days” may appear more quaint to young people today than the dances that were in vogue 100 years ago.

If you want to see how much dance has changed in the 100 years of Oklahoma’s statehood, the Downtown Library, 300 Park Ave., is the place to be in October as the library offers a four-week series called “Come Learn Historical Dances.”  The classes begin on Tuesday, Oct. 2 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and continue every Tuesday at the same time through Oct. 23.

“Celebrate the Centennial by learning the dances of 100 years ago,” said Downtown librarian Darlene Browers.  “Historical dance classes will be taught by Stephanie Kotzum from Historic Dance OK.”

By the time Oklahoma joined the Union in 1907, the waltz had been joined by dozens of new dance steps, both boisterous and sedate.  There were jigs, polkas, cakewalks, reels, and a variety of steps named for animals: the bunny-hug, fox trot, monkey glide, chicken scratch, kangaroo dip, and many more.  As the song lyric put it, “Everybody’s doin’ it.  Doin’ what?  Turkey trot!” 

Most of these had brief life spans and are long forgotten by now, but if you’d like to learn some of the more popular dances that were all the rage just before WW I, you can pre-register for the classes by calling 606-3879.  Pre-registration is required.

“Our historic dance classes are free and designed for learners aged 10 and older,” Browers continued.  “Join us and learn about dress, manners, dance steps, and a bit about life as it was 100 years ago.  Everyone is welcome and partners are not necessary.” 

So shine up those dancing shoes and get ready to take a ride in a terpsichorean time machine.  

As the dance-song “Ballin’ the Jack” had it: “Mr. Leader, won’t you start the syncopation?  And we’ll begin our little demonstration . . “

The Metropolitan Library System of Oklahoma County includes 12 libraries and five extension libraries.  Libraries include Belle Isle, Capitol Hill, Ralph Ellison, Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library and Southern Oaks in Oklahoma City, as well as Bethany, Choctaw, Del City, Edmond, Midwest City, Village and Warr Acres.  Extensions are located in the communities of Harrah, Jones, Luther and Nicoma Park and include Wright Library in Oklahoma City.  You can also reach us at www.metrolibrary.org