Dances of Old California


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In the 19th Century, the biggest event for months on end was often the arrival of the medicine show. It provided entertainment, dancing and diversion, all in the service of selling a patent medicine. The model of entertainment interspersed with commercials carried over to radio and then television, and is still with us today.

One of the most popular purveyors of patent medicine and entertainment was Kickapoo Indian Sagwa, which was famous for its shows.

We will invoke the spirit of the great American medicine show with music, dancing and theater in celebration of the anniversary of California statehood. A dance lesson, covering waltzes, polkas, and set dances like the Spanish Waltz and El Coyote, will be followed by two sets of live music and dancing.

Music will be provided by The Wayfaring Sisters, who specialize in the popular and folk music of 19th Century America. Walter Nelson, dancing master and chief pitch man for Kickapoo Indian Sagwa, will emcee.

This event takes place outside in the Rancho’s lovely back garden. Light refreshments will be provided.