I've written about this sort of event before, only they called it a ceilidh (KAY-lee). That's an Irish word used to describe this sort of dance, only it originally meant any social gathering. The old Irish céle meant 'companion'. Americans would call this a square dance; the music is about the same and you have a caller who walks you through each dance first without the music. Your job is to remember the sequence of steps! Given the origins I feel fairly certain that my Irish-Scots ancestors will have skipped about like this occasionally.
We sat with the few people Bill knew; they greeted us warmly and before I knew it I was chatting to people around me.
The tickets included the dance and food: hot dogs, corn on the cob and a mix of cold salads. People brought their own drinks.
I forget how much fun these are until we go to one. I was a little reticent about going, thinking we wouldn't know anyone, but at these fund raising functions it doesn't really matter about knowing people. Folks are friendly and inclusive and the evening flies past.
I don't remember much of any community centres like these in the States. You could get involved with school functions or at church. There was the YMCA for kids. I know in the 40s there were dance halls, but my Dad was never much of a dancer. The local bar was a place Mom and Daddy went to hang out and play shuffle board with friends. Community centres are sometimes attached to local churches and perhaps called the Parish Hall. They are used to play bingo, to put on children's activities, for various groups to rent for meetings, as a general place for people to gather. They are an important part of British social life and we were glad to support one. And even gladder to get to dance.
Are there community centres where you live?