Calling a dance for the Ted Kennedy Jr. Wedding
by Ryan Thomson
The Kennedy family had decided that an old fashioned square dance would be fun. I was
contacted, and after numerous long distance phone calls to Washington DC, the details
were set. There was only one complication. My agency had meant to send the senator the
tape of my country dance band but had mistakenly sent a tape of my sea shanty and
traditional music of New England group. The music was totally different on the two tapes.
After finally sending the proper tape, the agency informed me that the Kennedys liked
I brought a six piece contra/square dance band to the Kennedy's beach front house on
Block Island. We ended up dressing in western attire for the job, but started out the
evening singing acappella sea shantys in our cowboy hats. It seemed a bit incongruous at
the time, but everyone was happy, so I was happy.
I've called a lot of dances for private parties, but I found that the Kennedy's were unusually
enthusiastic dancers. There were several couples practicing steps on the dance floor even
before the band was ready to play. I called dance after dance for 4 hours with only one
short break in the middle while everyone stopped to admire a fireworks display. At the end
of our scheduled performance time there were numerous requests for more dancing, and
we obliged with another 35 minutes of circle dances and longways sets. Needless to say,
the rest of the band and I ended up exhausted, but we congratulated ourselves for a job
well done as we rode the ferry back to mainland Rhode Island the next day.
Written by Ryan Thomson, 1996