Tag Archives: dancing

Regency Ball, version 2012

Hey guys!

So a few weekends ago we were in Indiana with our friends Eric and Carrie, dancing our little feet off at the very last Regency Ball. Last year around this same time we had such a blast at the fancy Palais Royale in South Bend, so we couldn’t miss it this year! Especially knowing this was the final installment. The ball was Saturday afternoon, so we planned to make a weekend of it, staying at my Aunt Jacquie’s house Friday and Saturday nights, and heading back to Chicago Sunday afternoon.

Friday night we got a very late start out of Chicago, because Carrie was singing at a jazz concert.

Man was it good. I mean, I’m in a band with this girl and we sing at church together, so I hear her sing on a very regular basis–I flatter myself that I know her voice. But her performance on Friday still knocked my socks off. Her voice was probably at its most stellar. Backed up by a fabulous band of professional jazz musicians, Carrie just let loose and soared.

I’m so proud of that girl! I wish you all could have been there to hear her.

We drove out of Chicago around 11pm, and man were we tired. But we had beds waiting at Aunt Jacquie’s house, so we gritted our teeth and forged ahead down the dark roads, with a stop for French fries at McDonalds around 1:20am to keep us going. We rolled into Culver, Indiana around 2am, and then spent 5 minutes panicking because we couldn’t identify her house in the dark as easily as we thought we could. What if we never find it?? I wondered. The alternate plans rushing through my brain included: renting a floodlight from the nearest baseball stadium to illuminate the street; sleeping in the car and waking up with bodily aches so severe that we wouldn’t be able to move for 5 days; scrapping this whole plan and flying to Fiji; falling asleep and hoping someone else could figure it all out without my assistance.

Then we recognized the house, and my relief was immense. I could have crumpled into a heap on the gravel driveway out of gratitude . . . though how crumpling would express my thankfulness is a bit unclear.

We let ourselves into the house, found our beds as quickly as possible, and before I knew it I was alseep. Aaaaaah. You should know that Aunt Jacquie has THE softest and best sheets in the country.

In the morning, we woke up to the smell of coffee, which my loving husband had brewed for us.

It was soon time to get dressed, since we had an hour’s drive ahead of us. Carrie and I struggled with our hair (which would not curl correctly) and I loaded up my sash with safety pins to keep it correctly positioned. Then we headed out to the car, Carrie still working on her coffee.

Eric looks so natural in this garb that it’s . . . uncanny.

Where is my true home?

And does someone have a time machine I can borrow?

On a different note, my husband’s skills as a photographer are improving every time I shove that black box into his hands, I’m telling you.

As you may have noticed, we wore the exact same costumes as last year.

Thanks again Erica for sewing up these mahvellous gahments.

And then we drove off to the ball!

We entered the ballroom just as the promenade (or grand march? I can’t remember what it’s called for the life of me) was getting some steam. At this point, I started experimenting with a new lens . . . and didn’t figure it out quickly enough to produce any kind of a decent shot. But I’ll still show you what I got!

I’m not sure if there were less people this year, or if the lack of round tables made the space seem emptier.

Why aren’t the masses of America flocking to this fun, fun event?

Oh yeah . . . dressing up like you’re in a Jane Austen novel isn’t exactly . . . mainstream. One might even say we’re the dorks of society. But I’m okay with that. Because we get to wear period costumes and . . . prance.

And I ask you, Oh Cool Folk: do you get to prance in a floor-length empire waist gown?

I thought not.


We danced, we sweated, we laughed, we ate scones piled high with clotted cream.

The musicians were fabulous, the dance instructor clear and sedately energetic. Or energetically sedate–definitely one of the two. “Step to the right, step to the left, ringadoon ringadoon, hop, hop!” his smooth voice commanded. With a calm authority. Nothing can phase this man, I’m sure.

And before we knew it, it was all over. Our calves had received the workout of the century, as we would soon realize when climbing the stairs back at my aunt’s house.

I smiled and posed . . .

. . . but what I was really thinking was: it’s time to get this sweaty Regency body into a shower.

The amount of hairspray I used will probably clog up Aunt Jacquie’s drains for the next decade.

You’re invited . . . to a ball!

It’s that time, my son.

I promised last year that I would make a special announcement when the time rolled around again for . . .

. . . the annual Regency ball!

Here’s the 4-1-1: it’s in South Bend, Indiana at the Palais Royale. Everyone stop for a moment and say “Palaaaay Roiyaaaal” in your snootiest French accent. Please and thank you. It’s from 11am-3pm Saturday, March 24th. You will learn period dance after period dance, to the tune of excellent live music, with a dance master calling out the steps all the while and helping everyone keep it together. You will learn arm-over-arm thingies, steppity-step thingamagings, and patterns that make your brain twist around and do the polka on its side. You will get a work out. You will sweat. You will laugh. Etcetera. And tickets went on sale Friday!

The catch: you have to come in costume! Or rather, it is “requested” that you come in costume. For a guy, this can be as simple as coming in a shirt and pants and tying a piece of fabric around his neck (the oh-so-sexy ‘cravat’). If you want to take it to the next level, add gloves, a vest, hem and cinch the pants so that they come right below the knees, and wear white knee-high socks (this is the level that I took it to for my husband). Even more committed? Then grow some sideburns, and add a hat and jacket if you want to be nominated Mr. Regency Himself 2012. And of course, you can even get crazier and purchase or sew a full-out costume.

Confused? Let me provide a visual.

Here’s what Eric looked like all dolled up last year:

For the girls, at the most basic level, the costume simply involves a long, empire waist dress. Want a little more? Add some gloves, a wrap, and a hairdo with (if possible) little curls. From what I hear, little curls were all the rage in those days.

Here’s Carrie’s costume, made by Nimblefingers the Great (a.k.a. the blonde one).


You can read all about our experience last year in these posts:

1) The post announcing our upcoming Regency plans, which we were forced into by my dear friend Carrie.

2) The post chronicling Carrie’s and my road trip to Erica’s house, who agreed to be our seamstress and sew us up some dresses.

3) A post about a hairdo that got a little out control.

4) A post with some beautiful pictures of Carrie and some awkwardly painful pictures of me, highlighting our lovely costumes. Be forewarned: alien space-doll Jenna makes her first appearance . . . which will also be her last appearance. Or at least let’s hope.

5) A post about the dance itself.

Sadly, this may be the last year for the ball. Even though attendance looked great to my eyes last year, I guess they need more ticket sales to actually get into the black. So come one come all, and save the Regency Ball!

Anyone up for it? Here’s the link to buy tickets–the price is $35 through February 24th (that includes “luncheon refreshments” made by a 5-star chef with “period recipes”), and the price goes up after that. Let me know if you can come! (Erica? Dave? Rowenna and Randy? Nudge nudge?)

If you need further convincing, just look at Eric and Carrie!

So in love. So happy. So at home in their garb. If you come, you will also be in love, happy, and at home in your garb.

Thus endeth my sales pitch.