English country dancing in Oak Park

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By David Pierini

Staff Photographer

There are duple dances, the "Mad Robin," a "Figure of 8" and the "Straight Hey for Three."

But when Randi Woodworth first describes English country dancing, she explains the intricate patterns and social interactions only after she has caught peoples' attention with this: 

"One thing I love about it is it's the opposite of road rage," said Woodworth, who began monthly gatherings of English country dancers three years ago at the 19th Century Charitable Association in Oak Park. "You are connecting with people in a friendly and benevolent way. It's a very civilizing thing, so refreshing for the soul." 

With dances that range from the 17th century to the present, the Oak Park group draws an average of 40 dancers of all ages from around the state on the third Monday of the month. It is one of three groups in the Chicago area and many of the dancers who meet in Oak Park began with a group at the Fermi Lab in Batavia. 

Email: david@oakpark.com

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Suzanne Haraburd from River Forest  

Posted: March 7th, 2014 12:09 PM

As a frequent participant, I can say that your article, and especially the pictures with comments, capture well the convivial atmosphere at the dances. Thanks for helping us get the word out!

Virginia from Sarasota, FL  

Posted: March 6th, 2014 4:27 PM

I imagine this is a nice way to let loose the demons of our fast paced lives. If you don't have a beautiful beach nearby to lull you into peaceful coexistence, why not try a turn on the dance floor with homage to kinder, simpler days?

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