The caller would have hollered out "Swing Partners". You can see that Colonial costume is encouraged but not obligatory.

...what we do know is that over the very long period of time that these dances evolved they certainly were made thoroughly enjoyable...

 Melbourne Colonial Dancers Inc is a not-for-profit association that has been meeting weekly since 1974 in an attempt to save a very rich heritage that was almost swamped by the first World War.

“What’s so good about Colonial dancing?” Solo or couples dancing, where even the dancers aren't sure of the next movement, is widespread. But it is the set dances that makes meeting others so effortless, and there is nothing like the old time couples dances for making friends.

It is only Colonial Dancing that has a mixture of set dances and couples dances, all of which have predetermined steps. There are many different set formats such as squares, lines, circles, etc. The couples dances include waltzes, schottisches and polkas. Vigorous movements have been mentioned, but some of the dances are quite sedate which may fit the image of the Colonial era that is sometimes portrayed in movies and in television documentaries.

Let’s have a brief look at its more recent history.

Colonial dancing has faced some obstacles in the last 100 years. It was the first world war that bought it to its knees. People were out of practice with the set dances and along came ragtime music and the Charleston. After the second world war a very popular Colonial dance called “The Lancers” was banned. Once again, people were out of practice and this dance was being danced dangerously! Rock n’ Roll and the Twist were among the dances that followed.

It may make you wonder why Colonial dances were so popular in the 19th Century, if they had so many difficulties in surviving the first half of the 20th. Some historians explain that set dances provided one of the very few opportunities that the very young gents and ladies had to be together. Others believe that the pace of life was slower, the range of available recreational activities was far more limited, and so on…

Most of us in Colonial Dancing are not historians, but what we do know is that over the very long period of time that these dances evolved they certainly were made thoroughly enjoyable.

With microphones, recorded music and other teaching aids, there are more opportunities to learn Colonial dancing than in the early part of the 20th century. One of the common movements is “Swing Partners” which can be done quite vigorously, like the Charleston or the Twist. In the photograph alongside the Caller would have “hollered” out “Swing partners”.

The Rules of Incorporation under which we operate.

Membership is only $10 a year. For that you get a discounted entry to our regular dance nights and balls and a free Christmas Barbeque. You also get voting and speaking rights at the club’s Annual General Meeting.


Created 5 June 2012 : Last updated 30 July 2012.