If you happen to follow the Facebook page of my blog/site, you may recall I mentioned quite awhile back that I had been invited to attend "The Newport Vintage Dance Week" after one of the sponsors came across my post about Vintage Tailgating. It was one of those moments when, upon learning of this event, I again thought to myself: "How is it I have never heard of this?"
(photo courtesy of The Commonwealth Vintage Dancers)
Newport is less than an hour away, and although my days of hanging out at The Black Pearl, The Pelham & The Red Parrot have been long laid to rest, I do at times feel the urge to head to Newport, but on a far more grown-up level. I now tend to head there "off season", when traffic has slowed, parking is available & the weather is much more conducive to enjoying the coast with a wicker basket picnic or dining outdoors sans staring tourists with cameras and drunk prepsters who are trashing yachts Onassis couldn't afford to own. I suppose you can consider yourself a grown up when you'd rather be "un-seen" than "be seen" in such a place as Newport purports to be.
(photo courtesy of 12 Meter Charters)
Although still the lovely "City By The Sea", when you watch films shot on location in or about Newport such as "The Age of Innocence", "The Great Gatsby", "High Society" and "Mr. North", you have to wonder where all the charm, the grace, the manners and propriety that was once associated with and demanded by those who swam the circles of Newport's social seas has gone. The glamour once associated with the glamorous likes of Doris Duke and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy has all but disappeared and been replaced with a much less refined sense of entitlement and entertainment.
While I cannot tell you (in a simple blog post, anyway) where those days have gone, I can tell you there is a troupe of rather talented, aesthetically concerned persons who wish to reclaim, revive, and at the very least recall the grand days of yesteryear.
They are The Commonwealth Vintage Dancers and their mission is rather admirable and most noteworthy. Voted two years in a row one of The Top Five Most Memorable Events of 2010 by Bill Cunningham of The New York Times (additional photos here) , the upcoming 24th Annual Newport Vintage Dance Week (30 July - 5 August 2011) is, rather obviously, the place to be.
The week kicks off on Saturday, 30 July 2011 at 5:00 pm with a Polo Match (Newport vs New York), a Dinner Buffet & Welcome Dance to be held at The Newport International Polo Grounds at Glen Farm in Portsmouth, RI and includes private box seating in the Subscriber's Enclosure for excellent viewing of the match. Registration for the event will begin at 1:00 pm to allow plenty of time for settling in, mingling and enjoying the lovely grounds of this Rhode Island landmark.
"Travel Back in Time to the summer playground of the Gilded Age.
Perfect your dancing skills with classes taught by leading experts on vintage dance.
Experience the breathtaking opulence of America ’s finest ballrooms as you dance in Newport’s famous mansions.
Let yourself be immersed in a bygone era as you sip tea by the shore..." (courtesy of TCVD website)