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Conversations with Victorian Society

Today we’d like to introduce you to the Victorian Society of Colorado. They would like to share their story with us below:

Passion was the main ingredient in how we got started. That is a passion for all things Victorian (the period of 1837-1901). Thirty-plus years ago, a woman who used to do Mountain Man Rendezvous with her husband, became interested in the later Victorian time period because of its lovely dresses. She held a ball.

More people wanted to join in, so they turned into a group with all these lovely garments in need of more places and events to wear them. The group continued to grow, and later it organized into a club and obtained its nonprofit status to this day. Today, it continues with a minimum of one event per month.

The group is now called the Victorian Society of Colorado and we continue to aim at preserving the Victorian period’s history through public events, education, and demonstrations. We host events throughout the year, including teas, socials, dances, lawn parties, and an annual grand ball on the 4th weekend of September.

Other events are scheduled at the whim of the membership. Dances are authentic from the period of the reign of Queen Victoria and they are simple to learn and taught at each event. Dances include reels, quadrilles, set waltzes, polkas, and, of course, the elegant free waltz — all guaranteed to make you smile. Everyone is welcome to join in on the fun, whether singles or couples.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The passing of time has been our biggest challenge. The young generation is not as interested in voluminous outfits or dancing from the past. It has been hard to get young people to pick up the torch.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
We are most known for our elaborate historic attire. Dancing is our next most public feature. As early as 1997 we were asked to dance at Denver’s Summit of Eight Industrial Countries. After our dance demo, we went into the crowd and brought world diplomats into our dancing routine. In more recent years we danced for the Sherlock Holmes events at the Museum of Nature and Science.

Our most recent project was providing extras, costumes, props, and even a main character for the filming of “We Three Kings”, a Christmas movie that can be rented on Amazon. Today, we continue to dance, send speakers and do fashion shows for museums and libraries. We love living history events that we can “flash mob” in our historic attire.

What sets us apart is that we can have members with extremely historically accurate attire and accessories up to even a civil war canon, such that they’re asked to be extras in movies, but still welcome beginners with thrift store outfits that aren’t particularly historically accurate. Everyone is welcome, embraced, and nurtured in their newfound love of anything Victorian.

What matters most to you?
We want people to enjoy participating in our events, being in our club, and supporting one another through the rabbit hole that is historical costuming and dancing. One of our board members once called us “a mutual admiration society”. That is the perfect description: it means we celebrate each other’s successes, even baby steps in our costuming, rather than getting hung up on competing with each other.

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