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Capital Region Scrapbook: The Benedicts still whirl across ballroom floor

Capital Region Scrapbook: The Benedicts still whirl across ballroom floor

A look back at Schenectady's Benedicts and a night of dancing at the Van Curler Hotel.

Egbert Lowe, Walter Booth and J.J. Heuther were in fine spirits.

The men and their wives were at Schenectady’s Van Curler Hotel on Saturday, June 1, 1946, for the Benedicts club’s last informal dance of the season. The three couples had just been introduced as the social club’s new committee for the coming year.

People inside the Van Curler liked the news. They liked the dancing and conversation that was a part of every Benedicts gathering.

Schenectady’s Benedicts took their first steps in 1942. James and Margaret Foley, who had moved into the city from Cleveland, wanted to re-create the Benedict experience they had enjoyed in their former home city.

They had all the details, even an explanation for the name: In Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” the character “Benedick” had discovered love and abandoned bachelor life.

New friends liked the idea, and began to sign up for nights of formal dancing and socializing. By January, there were 147 couples on the roster. The first dance was held in February 1943 at the Van Curler Hotel. Dances — married couples only, like Benedick, have been held ever since.

The Benedicts are still in action. Couples will return to waltzes and fox trots Oct. 4, at the Edison Club in Rexford.

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