SHSS hosting English Country Dance on Sunday

Published 5:12 pm Thursday, March 2, 2017

Contributed Photo
Donna Horowitz, left, and Scott Pruitt are shown here in early 19th century clothing at the Sabine Hill House.

Residents now have a new way to enjoy and learn more about local history in the Elizabethton area thanks to the Sabine Hill Social Society.
Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park announced the new Society which was formed to help share the history of the park’s newest satellite campus the Sabine Hill house. The Sabine Hill Social Society is a group of dedicated volunteers who focus on helping the park with educational events, social activities, and early 19th century period clothing assistance as it relates to Sabine Hill and the Federalist period of time in America from 1790-1820.
Donna Horowitz, one of the founding members of the Sabine Hill Social Society, said the group has been working to organize for around a year. This weekend, the Society will have its first official meeting and event all rolled into one.
“It’s the introduction to the Society, and it’s also going to be an English Country Dance,” Horowitz said.
The event will be held on Sunday, March 5, from 1-5 p.m. in the Pine Room at the Wellness Center located behind Sycamore Shoals Hospital. The dance is open to the public and admission is $7, which is payable at the door. Horowitz said the Society will be serving light refreshments for the event. Horowitz encourages everyone to wear casual and comfortable clothing. Society members will not be in period attire for this event, she said.
“We have a dance instructor coming over from Asheville (N.C.), Mr. Bob Thompson,” Horowitz said, adding Thompson is a certified instructor for many styles of dancing including English Country Dancing. “He is associated with The Old Farmer’s Ball in Asheville. They do all kinds of dancing.”
“He will be teaching all of us newbies, myself included,” she added.
For those who may not be familiar with the style, Horowitz said Contra Dancing, which is a popular style locally, derived from English Country Dancing.
There is a sign-up list for the dance at Sycamore Shoals State Park’s Visitor’s Center. Horowitz said reservations are encouraged to help the Society prepare the refreshments but are not required to attend the event.
In addition to the dance, those attending the event on Sunday can learn more about the Sabine Hill Social Society as well as its parent organization the Friends of Sycamore Shoals Group.
“It’s a way to meet other people who are interested in history,” Horowitz said. “There are no other groups like this around here.”
Much like the Washington County Regiment of The North Carolina Militia serves as the living history group for Fort Watauga and hosts a variety of events dealing with the history of the fort and early settlers, the Sabine Hill Social Society will also provide educational programs.
“Our goal is to start doing things associated with the Federal period,” Horowitz said. “It will be a civilian type of program as opposed to military. We will also have guest speakers, teas and other events at the house once it opens.”
To become a member of the Sabine Hill Social Society, those interested would need to join the Friends of Sycamore Shoals Group. Membership fees for the Friends Group are $25 per year for an individual and $35 per year for a family membership. The dues are also tax deductible as the Friends Group is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit and members also get discounts on certain events at the park.
To reserve your spot on the dance floor, contact Sycamore Shoals State Park at (423) 543-5808.
For additional information on Sabine Hill Social Society, please contact Donna Horowitz at (423) 434-0424 or by e-mail to

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