Music fills the ball room. The English chamber orchestra The Pemberley Players strikes up. About 100 persons dressed in historical costumes dance the elegant formations of the opening polonaise, smiling and greeting each other. A glittering ball set in the Regency period begins: We are at the Grand Jane Austen Ball in Erlangen, pretending to have travelled in time back to Regency England.
Taking part at a historical ball requires a fair bit of preparation: You need a costume, have to learn the dances, and the hair should be dressed in the style of the historical era. It’s worth the effort. Here are 6 reasons why you shouldn’t miss such a grand event:
Study historical costumes and hairstyles
The magnificent costumes and artful hairstyles of the Regency period are a feast for the eyes. Many participants of a ball make their gowns using historical sewing patterns and classy fabrics. Braids, laces and embroidery – where else do you get to see such beautiful accessories and decorations these days?
If you enjoy sewing, this is also your chance to discuss patterns, costumes and fabrics with the other dancers. Read here how my ball gown was made.
Enjoy graceful dances
In the Regency period, Country Dances were still popular. A Country Dance is a longway dance were many couples form a line, a so called set. The men stand on the right, facing the women on the left of the set. The couples then perform several dance figures with each other and by doing so progress up and down the line. The movements are very graceful. Give it a try: Dancing in the old style will take your breath away for sheer beauty.
Find inspiration for your novel
For a Regency Novel Writer, a historical ball is the place to find inspiration for the next big scene in a ball room. Whether it is flirting with a handsome gentleman, accidentally stepping on a patroness’s long train or being snubbed by a haughty beauty: Plot-bunnies are lurking everywhere.
When The Pemberley Players perform for you, you have stepped in the heart of Austenland. The chamber orchestra from England played all the dance music in the 2007 ITV adaptation of Jane Austen’s ‘Northanger Abbey‘ and performs at many grand Regency balls around the world. You will dance to the tunes arranged by the crème de la crème of the Regency scene.
Be part of the magic moment
Be enchanted by the graceful dances, the elegant gowns and the beauty of each moment. On your left dances a young officer in his splendid uniform and now he takes your hand to perform a dance figure with you; vis-à-vis a veritable Marianne Dashwood from Jane Austen’s „Sense and Sensibility“ seems to float over the dance floor: For a glorious moment, you are taken through time right into your favourite Regency novel.
See history in a new light
Taking part at a historical ball doesn’t mean you run away from bleak reality. In fact you are part of creating a new reality for one night, allowing you to see history from a new point of view.
Next time, you simply have to take part!