We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.
– Japanese Proverb
Tea dancing? While researching tea leaves and the history of tea, I came across something I did not expect – tea dancing. How lovely is that, I thought! It all began with afternoon tea during the Victorian era, which launched all sorts of fashion, from cups and saucers, to tea dresses, to beautiful gardens where people could enjoy their tea. Starting in England with Ana Duchess of Bedford in the late 1800s, tea dancing later made its way to America.
Imagine an afternoon tea in the 1920s in a beautiful garden setting or an elegant hotel salon, such as that of The Waldorf in London. Tea for Two…sound familiar? This would have been one of the popular songs of the day. And the background music might have been classical, although this was also the age of tangos, waltzes, and the Charleston! Back then, women were always accompanied by their husbands, or, if not married, by their mothers or escorts.
In the book Tea and Etiquette, Dorothea Johnson and Bruce Richardson recount that nearly every day of the week during the summer in the 1950s, members of the Cavalier Beach Club in Virginia Beach, Virginia would flock to tea dances. These dances began at 4:00 PM and by 4:30 PM, they were jumping.
Today tea dances take place all around the world. In fact, why not consider a tea dance as part of a holiday event? Perhaps one with a Belle Epoch theme, French music, Parisian tea, Champagne, croissants with ham and cheese, a nicoise salad, colorful macaroons, and fruit tarts.
To learn more about the history of afternoon tea, join me for a Victorian Tea Experience through the Burbank Adult School, starting Saturday, September 25. Sign up online and or more information, call 818-558-4611. The three-session course costs $49.00 and covers the following:
September 25 – Meet at the Rock Sugar Pan Kitchen in Century City to learn about tea history, tea leaves, and how to pair tea with food.
October 9 – Meet at the Scarlet Tea Room in Pasadena to learn about Victorian afternoon tea and proper tea etiquette. Don’t forget your Victorian hat!
October 21 – Meet at a five-star hotel to enjoy a lovely afternoon tea. Cost not to exceed $35.00.