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"As A Vintage Dancer, He Parties Like It's 1899"

No offense to the geologists among us, but for the most part, we wouldn't find much more than khakis and steel-toed boots in the closets of these brainy, earthy types. But with a closet full of strolling summer whites and other vintage clothing items, Marc Casslar, who heads GeoQuest, a Bloomfield environmental consulting firm, is certainly an exception.When he's not ``wandering through life solving people's environmental problems,'' Casslar participates in something known as vintage dance -- a relative of better known contra dancing. The Vintage Dance Society, which Casslar formed in the late 1980s, reconstructs and preserves the music and dances of the Victorian and ragtime eras (circa 1840 to 1925.)During the last several years, he and his dance partners have worked with theatrical and film production companies, organizations, festivals and museums to accurately re-create historical events. At times he has spent 30 to 40 weekends and four to six weeks a year on the road, leading workshops in vintage dance. In October, he and his troupe taught a weekend of workshops and ran a Victorian ball and a ragtime-era tea dance in Cape May, NJ.Casslar, 52, who also participates in less polite activities such as camping and rock climbing, has been taking dance lessons since 1977, following in the footsteps of his father, who danced until he passed away at the age of 91 1/2.While in Texas to do oil exploration in the 1980s, Casslar took country and western dance dance lessons. His interest in vintage dance began when he saw a demonstration at a contra dance Halloween party.The Vintage Dance Society hosts formal balls and informal dances, in addition to re-creating events such as Civil War era, turn-of-the-century and ragtime era balls, and ragtime teas. Casslar has appeared in several movies, including ``Chicago,'' in which he is seen dancing in the style of a formal ball in the late 1890s.``I fell in love with this type of dancing right away,'' he said. ``My peers don't necessarily think it's cool, but I love it.''


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