WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2016-2017

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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social dance and etiquette to generations of Boston-area adolescents over four decades. Her classes, conducted under the name Juliet Ferguson School of Dance, took place in ballrooms and clubs in Dover, Newton, Brookline, Quincy, Boston, and Wellesley. Boston area adolescents attended "Fergie's" not merely for part of their fifth grade year, as they do now, but during the entire school year from fifth through seventh grades. Wellesley native Beth Hinchliffe remembers Mrs. Ferguson with great fondness. "She totally dominated every room she was in. Not in a brassy way but just by the power of her presence. She reminded me of a ship's figurehead. She always wore jewelry and her hair was always perfectly done. She commanded the room. Her voice was deep and compelling, but it was more her attitude. She could give the rowdiest boy a silent stare, and he immediately behaved well." Hinchliffe learned the fox trot and waltz in the Maugus Club in the 1960s, against a cultural backdrop of Woodstock, the Beatles, and Vietnam protests. Hinchliffe notes that Mrs. Ferguson was much more than simply a charming anachronism, though she did in some ways seem to live in her own world, unaware of the passage of time. Hinchliffe recounts a moment when Mrs. Ferguson addressed them about an upcoming seventh grade dance at school. "This was a dance in the school gym with strobe lights, a rock band, and psychedelic mini - dresses. Mrs. Ferguson stood up and in her booming tone said, 'For all of you girls in the Tuesday class, if you are asked to dance by a boy in the Thursday afternoon class, don't be surprised if they are a week ahead of you in the fox trot. But I think you'll do fine.' We tried not to laugh." She notes, "Yes, it was about dancing, but I think Mrs. Ferguson taught us so much more. It was the first time we'd ever been treated 54 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 6 / 2 0 1 7 Boston Assemblies " Y E S , I T W A S A B O U T D A N C I N G , B U T I T H I N K M R S . F E R G U S O N T A U G H T U S S O M U C H M O R E . I T W A S T H E F I R S T T I M E W E ' D E V E R B E E N T R E A T E D L I K E A D U L T S . " – B E T H H I N C H L I F F E –

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