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Capital City Pride Revives the Lost Tradition of the Sunday Tea Dance


DES MOINES, Iowa — Join Capital City Pride on Sunday, October 1 for its first Sunday Tea Dance from 2-6 p.m. at The Garden. Titled “Mandate,” this Sunday Tea Dance hopes to revive a lost tradition that served as a pivotal activity for gay culture dating all the way back to the 1950s.

What began as a way for singles to meet after indulging in late afternoon tea service, Sunday Tea Dances soon turned into a way for gay men and lesbian women to discreetly dance in underground speakeasies. At this time, it was illegal for members of the same sex to dance together so in the event of a raid attendees would quickly change partners to mixed-couples.

By the time the late 60s rolled around, these dances were more focused on gay men and were held in venues that typically were not licensed as nightclubs or to sell alcohol. After the birth of the modern gay rights movement, the once popular afternoon tea dance gradually moved later and later until it disappeared completely.

“Over the next year, we’re going to do many events that embrace and enhance the gay culture in Iowa,” said Capital City Pride President, Justin DeVries. “The Sunday Tea Dance has such a historical significance and I couldn’t imagine a better way to bring it back as Capital City Pride prepares for its 40th anniversary.”

Help Capital City Pride bring the Sunday Tea Dance out from the underground and into broad daylight. Featuring DJ GERMANation, Mandate is free for everyone with drink specials, Jell-O shots, and plenty of dancing. 

Prep Iowa - Pride Month

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