I can't say specifically where that concept comes from. Mary Dart's
book, quoted by Colin Hume, was published in 1995. I was certainly
saying things like that back in the 1980s and several of my lectures
from then hint strongly at that. However, Mary Dart was talking about
the USA and I was talking about the UK.
From: Colin Hume colin(a)colinhume.com [trad-dance-callers]
Subject: Re: [trad-dance-callers] looking for info on a quote
Date: Wed, 6 Apr 2016 20:18:09 +0100
On Wed, 6 Apr 2016 12:54:31 -0500, Jonathan Sivier jsivier(a)illinois.edu
For many years I have heard various versions of the phrase, "In
past communities came together to dance, today
dancers come together to form a community." I understand the
but wonder where it came from. Does anyone know
the origin of this expression? Is it a quote from someone, or from a
book, or is it just something that has developed
via the folk process?
Mary Dart in her book Contra Dance Choreography says:
Prior to the current revival, social dancing was a leisure time activity
within local communities of people whose relationship
with one another went far beyond the dance. The group of people who
danced together also worked together, worshipped together,
educated their children together, and shared the celebrations and
turning points of their lives with one another.
Although there still exist small community dances of this sort, in many
urban areas the social dance event has been transformed
from a community dance to a dance community, in which the dance provides
the major focus for the participants' relationship with
one another. The dance has become the strong thread in the binding of
these people's lives For many urban participants, contra
dance is not a supplement to their social life, but rather the hub of
I'll be quoting this in my presentation / web page on the differences
between English as danced in the States and in England.