Historic & Steampunk, Music & Dance

Silicon Valley is a great location for those interested in historic dances, historic music, Steampunk, plus vintage and historic clothing. We are close to San Francisco and the East Bay, both home to many organizations which promote historic re-enactments, historic balls and historic dance instruction, plus sources for authentic or handmade historic clothing from each era, as well as the historic techno-fusion which is Steampunk.

There is a particular interest in traditional jazz here, with many dixieland and traditional jazz groups visiting Silicon Valley from all around the Bay Area. 

(Note: See my Quirky Silicon Valley Page for more on historical re-enactment groups related to military history or heritage transportation hobbyists, or my Archaeology, Ephemera and Vintage page for more on Vintage clothing purveyors and those whose passion is found or paper relics.)

In the heart of Silicon Valley:
  • The Bay Area Country Dance Society hosts English Country Dancing events which are very popular around the Bay Area and in the Palo Alto area.
  • Bollywood Dance: India Community Center (Milpitas) 
  • Friday Night Waltz: Lessons and Vintage Balls in Palo Alto and the Bay Area, lessons preceding balls, some with noted Stanford Dance Maestro Richard Powers. 
  • The Jane Austen Society of Northern California is headquartered in Daly City, yet holds some events and meetings in San Jose.
  • Richard Powers (Stanford Dance): Historic and social dance workshops, events, dance descriptions, and social dance music discographies. 
  • San Jose Victorian offers links to Heritage clothing, Steampunk, and High Tea purveyors, among other links which are very informative and in depth. 
  • South Bay Traditional Jazz Society: This lively group hosts parties featuring historic dance and visiting dixieland bands on the fourth Sunday of each month, at the Sunnyvale Elks Lodge. Some attendees are dance instructors willing to show others how to do the Charleston Strut, the Balboa, Lindy and other dances popular in the early 1900's. Music continues throughout two 30-minute band breaks, when several volunteer, yet highly-accomplished musician "Jammers", take the stage.
  • Stanford University Viennese Ball (Richard Powers) (Also on Facebook): Stanford Dance formal ballroom events held at lovely off-site ballrooms, complete with ceremonies, performances, and old-world traditions, preceded by weeks of lessons. 
  • Santa Clara Vintage, Waltz and Swing Weekend: Annual Dance event hosted by Richard Powers and Joan Walton, complete with lessons and instruction. Their Web site offers other workshop and vintage dance events, both locally and nationally. 
  • Social Dance at Stanford: (See "Richard Powers" above.) 
  • Steampunk Dance (Richard Powers): Dances for a Steampunk Ball. 
In San Francisco:

In Santa Cruz:

In the East Bay:

  • Gaskell Balls: Heritage location at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland, with formal attire, vintage dance instruction preceding the balls, and information on costumes and period etiquette. 
  • The Greater Bay Area Costumer's Guild: Specializes in historic costume concstuction and reviving the guild experience for members. 
  • PEERS - The Period Events and Entertainments Re-Enactment Society hosts historic dance events in the Oakland area, however there are many members in Silicon Valley. This group is expert in locating historic clothing, or where to have it made to order.
  • San Francisco Bay AreaCajun Zydeco Dance Calendar: Traditional Cajun and Zydeco dances in the Bay Area. (Most dances include instruction.) 
  • SF Swing: One couple's guide to Swing and Lindy dance and culture in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

    Resources: Dance Ephemera, Descriptions and Etiquette:

    Library of Congress: 

    Stanford Dance:

    University of Texas at Dallas:

    Historic and Contemporary Dance Apparel and Costumes*:

    *Links to purveyors are for informational purposes only.