May 2008

If you could dance with the days of your life,
If you could take life by the wrist and dance,
I think it would be a waltz. Forward and back,
sad and happy, high and low.

From John Patrick Shanley's play "Sailor's Song," a romantic fable
about a seaman grappling with the mysteries of love, death and destiny

Greetings from Waltz Time! This monthly communication offers a calendar of upcoming waltzes and workshops, community dance news and informative articles. We encourage your contributions to our newsletter. Please send suggestions for topics or a story of your own to staff@waltztimedances.org.

Please help us host our 25th Anniversary Evening with Strauss Waltz Ball on Saturday evening, April 26. We need volunteers to help us set up, manage the attendance, arrange refreshments and clean up after the ball. Volunteers get into the dance for free, so please help! Email us at staff@waltztimedances.org or talk to us at the April 20th Sunday afternoon waltz.

Waltz Time is an all-volunteer committee that produces the twice monthly Sunday afternoon waltz dances at Glen Echo Park's Spanish Ballroom. You can view the entire year's calendar of dances and workshops at our web site. We hope you enjoy our newsletter. At the end of this page there are additional links that you can use to forward this newsletter to a friend or to unsubscribe.


The Waltz King

For 25 years, Glen Echo has sponsored a ball in his name. Every January 1, the Viennese celebrate the start of a new year with his compositions. His sobriquet is "The Waltz King." So who is Johann Strauss? And why does his music endure?

Vienna-born Johann Strauss Jr. (1825-1899) was a composer and conductor who revolutionized the waltz, elevating it from its lowly origins to entertainment suitable for the royal Hapsburg court. He came by his musical gifts honestly: His father was a successful composer and conductor of dance music. Still, Strauss senior actively discouraged his son's musical leanings (he wanted his first-born to be a banker in order to escape the rigors of life as a musician). Lucky for us, and other waltzers the world over, Johann the younger was more inclined to follow his bliss than obey his papa; ironically, it was only when Johann senior took a mistress and left the family that Johann junior was free to pursue his musical propensity. The Strauss siblings, Josef and Eduard, also were musicians and composers.

The Waltz King crafted literally hundreds of compositions, most of them, of course, waltzes, but polkas, marches and galops (a high-spirited dance similar to a polka) as well. Probably the best known of his waltzes is The Beautiful Blue Danube (dear to the heart of your humble servant, who performed a simplified version for her first piano recital). His most famous operetta, the comic confection Die Fledermaus (The Bat), is still frequently seen on European and American stages. While it lacks the gravitas of operas by that other Strauss (Richard - no relation), it's a lot more fun than, say, Elektra.

When you attend the 25th Evening With Strauss on April 26 and dance to Tales from Vienna Woods, Emperor Waltz and of course, The Beautiful Blue Danube, you'll understand - if you don't already - why Strauss' waltzes continue to enchant: They're lively, melodic and, best of all, danceable!

25th Anniversary: Evening with Strauss Viennese Ball
Saturday Evening, April 26, Spanish Ballroom, 8 pm - midnight

A Ton of Fun, and a Benefit Dance for Glen Echo Park -- Don't Miss This Night! It's our Annual Strauss Ball and benefit dance for Glen Echo Park - and it's our 25th!

To our delight, OLD VIENNA will be back again, and they have added another violinist, Elke Baker, to provide an amazing ensemble for our dancing pleasure. Join Dave Wiesler (piano), Alexander Mitchell and Elke Baker (violins), Barbara Heitz (flute), and Ralph Gordon (bass) for a wonderful night of classical waltzes, polka, tango, and schottische.

An introductory Viennese Waltz lesson with Mike Marcotte and Donna Barker at 8 pm is followed by dancing until midnight in the Spanish Ballroom. Enjoy the traditional Grand March led by Ranger Stan Fowler, refreshments, and dance cards; fancy attire recommended, $15/person, pay at the door. Carousel rides until 10 pm, $1. Get a flyer here.

Workshops with Lilli Ann Carey in the Merry Month of May!

We know you'll still be on Cloud 9 after the Strauss Ball, so take advantage of your energy and head to the Spanish Ballroom one week later, Saturday, May 3, and Sunday, May 4, for workshops with Lilli Ann Carey. Lilli presented a full weekend of workshops here last year, and in response to the rave reviews, we are bringing her back again! On Saturday, she'll teach three progressive workshops in cross-step waltz. The cost is $10 per session or $25 for all three (for intermediate-level dancers). In Sunday's two workshops, she'll teach you how to integrate 19th-century flair into your turning waltz. The cost is $12 per session or $20 for both (for intermediate/advanced dancers). All workshops will be held at the Spanish Ballroom, Glen Echo Park, with payment at the door.

Lilli Ann teaches several nights a week in Seattle and runs a monthly workshop program for Waltz Eclectic in Portland, Oregon. She teaches and promotes dance through her company, Dance For Joy!. She has also taught workshops in Atlanta and is a frequent instructor in San Francisco. She will be assisted by Jamie Shamseldin, a performer for several years with, among others, Danse Libre, a respected vintage dance performance troupe. More information will be available on our web site soon. Mark your calendar!

New FAQs on Our Web Site

You might want to take a look at the new FAQ section on our web site. There may be a question or two that you've been dying to ask and wondered what our best answer is. Or you might have some questions that we haven't addressed. Let us know your thoughts - email us at staff@waltztimedances.org.

Notes to the Editor

Regarding the history of polka in the March/April 2008 issue, Ron Sadowski writes:

I was a bit deflated to find out that Poles were not the initiators of the polka. I guess you could say they were Czeched out.

Concerning the same article and early polka attitudes, Tony Treston writes:

Unfortunately I cannot take any credit for the information about polkas which appeared over my name. That entire section was lifted from a calendar I received some years ago. I *can* take credit for remembering it, digging it up from my paper piles, and sending it on to add to our history of polka. Send us *your* remembrances - they make great additions to our newsletter!

Upcoming Sunday Afternoon Waltzes

Sunday afternoon waltzes begin with an introductory waltz lesson from 3 - 3:30 pm, followed by dancing to live music until 6 pm. Cost is $8, including the lesson.

MAY 2008

May 4: SQUEEZE BAYOU with Karen Collins, Brian Simms, Matt Levine, Fred Feinstein, Kevin Enoch, David Lopez

May 18: JUBILEA with Mary Lea, David Wiesler, Paul Oorts, Anna Patton

JUNE 2008

June 15: RHAPSODY DANCE BAND with Marty Taylor, Alexander Mitchell, Dave Wiesler, Ralph Gordon

June 29: THE WALTZTRONS with David Knight, Edith Coakley, Barbara Heitz, Liz Donaldson

JULY 2008

July 20: TERPSICHORE with Elke Baker, Liz Donaldson, Ralph Gordon

NOTE: Waltz Time is hosting just one Sunday afternoon waltz in July.


August 3: CABARET SAUVIGNON with Paul Oorts, Karen Ashbrook, Andrea Hoag, Dave Wiesler

August 17: BLUE AMBER with Mary Lea, Anna Patton, Karen Axelrod, Ralph Gordon

All events are held at the Spanish Ballroom, Glen Echo Park, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo, MD and
sponsored in cooperation with the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, Inc.,
the National Park Service and Montgomery County, Maryland.