Tag Archives: Regency ball

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.

Ze dance

I took my sweet time about it, but today I have a few final pictures to share from the Regency Ball we attended in South Bend, Indiana a couple weekends ago.

Here is the entrance to the venue: the Palais Royale.

Palais Royale. Sounds so fancy . . . so French . . . Everyone froze their buns off as I snapped pictures. No more buns for you.

Eric was looking debonaire in a top hat.

Nice job looking the part, Eric.

And my sister Erica did such a lovely job with our dresses. I love the back of mine:

The little lace peeking out around the neckline, the delicate fabric–I couldn’t have envisioned anything more beautiful! Thanks, Spankypants.

Note: everyone that I love at some point gets called ‘Spankypants.’ Be forewarned.

We headed inside and were immediately transported to another era. The elegance of the ballroom was a major part of it . . .

. . . but it was especially mind-blowing that everyone in sight was dressed in period clothing.

Hello, random blond girl. I like your curl.

Our first move was to stake out some chairs where we could drop off our scarves, purses, and camera before the dancing began.

Hey, baby. You’re looking très attractif in that cravat.

Very soon, it was time to dance.

In Regency period movies, the dancing always seemed so calm and effortless. The heroine is always able to talk to the hero as they weave in and out of a long line of couples, and sends him meaningful and languid glances as she steppity-steps around.

But don’t be fooled: we worked up a real sweat.

With the exception of a brief photographic excursion to the balcony, we danced for about 3 out of the 4 hours.

The dance master was excellent, and called out the steps as we moved through the dances.

Mistakes were made, and laughter was quick.

You know those events and parties that are supposed to be fun but really aren’t? Oh, we had a great time, you say when recounting the evening–but if you really think about it, there was a lot of standing around, a lot of stiff conversation, and a lot of general uncomfortableness. When will this be over? you’d been asking all along in that very tiny voice at the back of your mind.

Well, this ball most definitely does NOT fall into that category: it was actually fun. I laughed so much during the dances as I tried to master the left arm-right arm cross-overs and watched my husband execute little jumps and twirls with his characteristic intense concentration.

Most of the dances did require a lot of focus on the feet for this novice, but there was one dance that I was able to learn just enough to start letting go. The steps were pretty simple, so by the end I was floating through the moves. I felt elegant, I felt light on my feet; I felt like I was in a Jane Austen novel. This feeling lasted all of 5 minutes, and then the dance was over and my focus was back on my feet. But during those brief moments, I got a little insight into what these dances are supposed to feel like.

And yes, I just used the word ‘feel’ 5 times in that paragraph. Does that just mean I’m a girl, or is it an indicator of bad writing? Then again, it’s too early to think too hard about. Pass the coffee.

Both my husband and I were surprised by the wide variety of age groups represented at the event. There was a big group of pre-teen and teenage homeschoolers; there were couples in their 20s, there were parents, middle-aged couples, and groups of elderly men and women who gossiped and watched the dancing from the tables along the side.

The ball ended with a waltz.

Looking good, you guys!

We took some final pictures.

And then it was time to go! After all that dancing, we headed exhausted back to the parking garage to pick up our wheels.

I amused myself with snapping even more pictures of the cold and tired bunch, and making up fake headlines.

Time Traveling Trio from 18th Century Mysteriously Appears in South Bend, Indiana! Very Hot Guy in Cravat Seems to be Sporting Anachronistic Rainjacket!

Strangely Garbed Time-Travelers from Distant Past Spotted in Midwestern US! Full report inside!

So! Who wants to join us for the ball next year?