Midway through the evening we retired to the Grange Hall basement, similarly transformed with candlelight and white tablecloths, for savory canapes, homemade chocolates, nuts, marzipan, and easy conversation with these glittering, feathered, and turbaned dance fanatics. We met an EMU professor, a pharmacist, a biochemist, a steamfitter, and an air traffic controller (who confided that while dancing he "never bumps into anyone").
More dancing, a dramatic presentation, and a performance of Scott Joplin's long-lost "Silver Swan Rag" followed, as well as a thrilling competition performance of animal dances a dance craze that swept the country (much in the manner of the macarena) early in the last century. It features couples dancing as bears, foxes, snakes, and other fauna. As the evening wound to a close, faces were flushed and eyes merry, perhaps a manifestation of what one participant termed "a period rush." My tax guy's wife glided past me dancing to some blues, getting very sultry and dramatic with a partner who was not my tax guy. And another couple tangoed seductively past me and into the darkened cloakroom, where the door closed quietly behind them.
The Valentine's Ragtime Trot returns to the Pittsfield Grange on Saturday, February 9.
[Originally published in February, 2002.]