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updated: 1/30/2011 9:30 PM

Elgin residents get a lesson in English country dancing

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  • Elizabeth Bretscher, right, dances with Ann Rothmaler of Elgin in an English country dance performance and lesson Sunday at the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin. The event was organized by the library's Jane Austen Fan Club.

      Elizabeth Bretscher, right, dances with Ann Rothmaler of Elgin in an English country dance performance and lesson Sunday at the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin. The event was organized by the library's Jane Austen Fan Club.
    Tara García Mathewson/tgarciamathewson@dailyherald

  • From left to right, John Brubaker, Lori Davis and Eric Stern play violin in Old Fezziwig's Band at the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin Sunday, during an English country dance performance and lesson by Fermilab's newest dance group.

      From left to right, John Brubaker, Lori Davis and Eric Stern play violin in Old Fezziwig's Band at the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin Sunday, during an English country dance performance and lesson by Fermilab's newest dance group.
    Tara García Mathewson/tgarciamathewson@dailyherald

 

"Siding," "up-a-double" and "slipping circles" were all dance moves called out by Mady Newfield as English country music filled the Gail Borden Community Rooms in Elgin Sunday.

Newfield is a member of the English Country dance group that practices at Fermilab once a month. She and fellow dancers joined Old Fezziwig's Band to perform and then teach steps to audience members.

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"My feeling about dance is it's really all about community," Newfield said.

The dancing style dates back to the English balls of the 18th century, similar to those seen in movies like "Pride and Prejudice."

Gail Borden Public Library's Jane Austen Fan Club organized Sunday's event. The group generally meets the first Tuesday of each month but will not meet again until March.

Fan club member Lou Little said the group is nice because its not only limited to books. At its next meeting, club members will watch the movie version of Jane Austen's "Emma." It was watching the newest movie version of "Pride and Prejudice" with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen that caught Little's attention in the first place.

"I just loved it and I thought 'Where have I been for 67 years?'" Little said.

Donna Burner, an Elgin resident, attended Sunday's event as a lifelong lover of ballroom dance. She said she had never tried English Country dancing but enjoyed the gentle teachers from the Fermilab group.

"You don't feel awkward that you don't know what you're doing," Burner said. "It's good exercise and good fun."

The dance group is open to the public and meets once a month on Sunday afternoons. Newfield said interested dancers need not come with a partner. Information about the English Country dance group and the other Fermilab folk styles is available online at fnal.gov/orgs/folkclub/folkdance.html.

"The main thing is to enjoy the music," Newfield said.

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