Jane Austen Evening 2009, and Prizes!

First off, I would like to welcome any newcomers or visitors to the blog! Risky Regencies is a light-hearted community of Regency writers and Regency fans, and we provide great discussions on everything from the merits of the 1995 miniseries of Pride and Prejudice to rereading Georgette Heyer.

Now, to today’s subject: the 2009 Jane Austen Evening, which I attended this past Saturday!

(In fact, I enjoyed it so very much, that I shall be giving away two Regency-themed prizes to lucky commenters today! Just comment on this post by Wednesday night, and you’ll be entered to win a DVD of the Rintoul/Garvie version of Pride and Prejudice, or the guidebook to the Bath Museum of Costume, or a book on Sarah Siddons, or another prize of your choice!)

I have now attended something like six Jane Austen Evenings, and it seems to me they get better every year.

As always, it was held in a gorgeous location (as these photos attest!)

First, we had a Regency tea, with as much scrumptious period food as one could eat, plus a variety of teas.

My favorite food this year was the sweet rosemary shortbread — I went back for more.

And more…

And more… (Oh, it was heavenly!)

I think every year, the costumes are better, and the dancers more experienced.

And this year, it seemed to me that the costumes weren’t only fabulous, but that nearly everyone was in some sort of costume.

There were moments when one could truly picture oneself back in Jane Austen’s time!

(Though the cameras, I suppose, were a tiny bit anachronistic.) πŸ˜‰

Then again, with so many amazing costumes, who could blame those of us who took photos?

(And more photos!)

(And still more!)

(In fact, I took so many, that I had to do two blog posts today to hold them all…)

I even brought a camcorder this time — though I’ve yet to see how my taping turned out!

(If it turned out well, then I’m going to upload some of it to youtube, just as Jane Austen would have done herself.)

Then, after all the splendid tea, we danced all night.

(My feet were killing me by the end!)

So: if you want to comment on this post, feel free to answer any or all of the following questions:

Did you attend the Jane Austen Evening? What did you think? Which was your favorite part? (Your favorite food, or dance, or costume?)

If you didn’t attend it, which part sounds the most alluring?

Which is your favorite photo?

Have you ever attended a similar event?

All comments welcome!

(And if you want to see my posts on previous Jane Austen Evenings and Playford Balls, just click the link below that says “Jane Austen Evening.”)

Cara
Cara King, author of MY LADY GAMESTER and dancer of Maggots

About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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Margay
13 years ago

I have never attended an event like this, but I would love to! It looks like it was great fun and the costumes are beautiful! I think it all looks like it was great fun, but I’d love to learn the dances – they’re one of my favorite parts of Pride and Prejudice.
Margay
http://margayleahjustice.com

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

Oh my Cara! You all must have felt transported in time. The costumes are lovely, even if I spied a zipper or two.

Janet Mullany
13 years ago

another prize of your choice…

Oh, Cara. You’re not giving away TODD are you??

Great pictures–looks like a fantastic event.

CrystalGB
13 years ago

I have never attended an event like the Jane Austen evening. It looks like a fun event. I love the costumes.

M.
M.
13 years ago

Cara – where are you? And is your DH somewhere here too? And where did this take place?

(no need to enter my name – I’m just curious)

azteclady
13 years ago

Oh man, those are great pictures and it looks as if it was an amazing occasion!

I am so torn between the first picture on the previous post and the third one in this one… Dancing! πŸ™‚

The part that intrigues me the most about the Austen evenings is… the conversation. Human nature being what it is (read: slow to change) how much of what we read in Regency-set novels continues to happen to this day?

Maureen
13 years ago

I have never attended one of these type of events but it looks like a great amount of fun. I really enjoyed all your pictures and the costumes were fabuous. My favorite pictures were of the dancing, reminding me of Pride and Prejudice.

Virginia
13 years ago

I love the costumes you are wearing. I have never been to anything like this. It must have felt like you were time traveling.

janegeorge
13 years ago

Ooh! That last pic in the post below of the young couple would make a great book cover!

Stefanie
13 years ago

I’ve never attended an event like this one. But it has always been one of my biggest fantasies to where one of those gowns! They’re so beautiful!
And dancing… *sigh*

Btw, those pics are very nice! And as Janegeorge said: I love the last pic of that couple!

Cara King
13 years ago

Margay, there are groups that do English Country Dancing lots of places… If you’re in the US, you might want to check out the following links…

country dance

still more country dance

And there are a lot more groups that aren’t on these lists…you might do a search around where you live, and see if there are any groups locally…

Cara

Cara King
13 years ago

The costumes are lovely, even if I spied a zipper or two.

Were you using a magnifying glass, Diane? Because I had to go look at every picture, and then click on them all to make them larger, to even figure out which one you thought had a single zipper in it… (I finally found one…but it took some work.) πŸ˜‰

Oh, Cara. You’re not giving away TODD are you??

Sorry, Janet, he’s mine!

Just to clarify — the winner will get to choose from a specified list of prizes — no Todds on that list! (No men at all, actually!)

Cara

Cara King
13 years ago

Cara – where are you? And is your DH somewhere here too? And where did this take place?

M, this year neither I nor my my dh are in the pictures…I realized when I uploaded them that, of the many many photos I took (and a few taken by others), the only two with either of us came out badly.

Then again, we wore pretty much the same clothes we had in previous years, so we looked pretty much like this:

Cara two years ago (I’m the one at the top in pink grinning), and

Todd and Cara three years ago (we’re the second photo — this year, Todd had a nice waistcoat on top of that outfit, actually…)

The ball is held annually in Pasadena, California…it’s extremely popular, and this year the tickets sold out within a week of going on sale!

Here’s more info about the Jane Austen Evening. (Sorry, I meant to put the link in my post, but forgot!)

Cara

Jane
13 years ago

I’ve never attended this kind of event before. The tea sounds like fun. I would love to sample some scones and tarts. The costumes are beautiful.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

How awesome! I think I like the classic deubtante white gowns the best. — willaful

Todd
13 years ago

Janet wrote:

Oh, Cara. You’re not giving away TODD are you??

Cara wrote:

Sorry, Janet, he’s mine!

Oooh, flattery! πŸ™‚ But at the very least you’d have to buy me dinner, Janet…

Todd-who-is-no-prize

Todd
13 years ago

Janegeorge wrote:

Ooh! That last pic in the post below of the young couple would make a great book cover!

Hah! I had exactly the same reaction when I saw it. πŸ™‚

Todd-who-knows-a-cover-when-he-sees-one

Louisa Cornell
13 years ago

What fabulous photos, Cara! It’s almost as good as being there. ALMOST! I have never attended an event like this and I would dearly love to. I have attended some Faschings Balls in Germany and Austria, but never anything like this. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

The dancing is definitely the most alluring part to me. I watched the dancing at the Beau Monde soiree and it looks like so much fun. Maybe this year I’ll actually dance! Of course that rosemary shortbread sounds pretty alluring too!

I love the photos of the dancing. The kaleidescope of colors is sensational. The photos look as if they were taken by a time traveler.

I think my very favorite though is the last photo of the young couple. It says so much about the purpose of Regency balls and just draws you into that age of gentility and innocence.

Cara King
13 years ago

Azteclady wrote: Human nature being what it is (read: slow to change) how much of what we read in Regency-set novels continues to happen to this day?

Hmm…not sure which part of it you mean, Azteclady! πŸ™‚

Mostly people were very friendly, but then, I was running around either dancing or taking photos so much that I didn’t have very much real conversation with anybody this time!

And I’m glad you and Maureen liked the dancing photos! Those are the hardest, I think, for me to take well. (The lighting’s generally more difficult, and the delay on my digital camera means a perfectly set-up dancing shot has changed for the worse by the time the picture’s actually taken.)

That last pic in the post below of the young couple would make a great book cover!

Glad you spotted it, Jane George! That picture’s my pride and joy — the perfect Regency cover. πŸ™‚

Cara

JC
JC
13 years ago

the pictures are beautiful. I’d never heard of one of those gatherings.

janegeorge
13 years ago

Hmmm, I detect an undercurrent to the photo of the young couple that runs in the opposite direction of gentility and innocence.

It’s all gloved propriety on the surface, but he’s actually whispering about what they’ll do when they get back home in exchange for his dressing up in costume and attending a ball.

But that juxtaposition is what we love about historical romance, so that’s why it makes a great cover! πŸ™‚

And I really really hope neither party reads romance blogs…

Deborah
Deborah
13 years ago

I have never attended an event like this. What gorgeous costumes! It looks like such fun! I would love to learn the dances.

Ladyhawk
13 years ago

My favourite pic is that last one of the young man and woman. My first thought was ‘Elizabeth and Mr Darcy!’

I’ve never attended one of these but have attended a number of LOTR events, some of which required a costume. I enjoy seeing the costumes the most and then trying the food.

Thanks for sharing the evening with us!
~Judy

sarabelle
13 years ago

OH that looks like it would be so much fun. Great photos and wonderful dresses. Thank you so much for sharing them.

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

mmmm, rosemary shortbread!

I always wish we had something like this ball where I live. It would be so much fun. One year I will just have to come to Pasadena! πŸ™‚

Megan Frampton
13 years ago

Those pics are fabulous! Thanks for sharing.

Margie
Margie
13 years ago

I have never attended an event like the Jane Austen evening. I love the costumes. It’s like you were transported back in time!

Santa
13 years ago

I, for one, can’t wait til you post the camcorder pictures here and on You Tube. I’ve never attending a Jane Austen Evening but would love to be able to do so. Do you know if there are any held here in NY?

Thanks for posting the pictures. I’d love to hear more about the food and dances.

Santa
13 years ago

I just took a gander at the 2008 high tea menu. They list Catherine de Burgh chocolates.

Makes me wonder if they were a bit on the bitter side…. πŸ˜‰

Cara King
13 years ago

Makes me wonder if they were a bit on the bitter side…

Well, they were certainly very rich! πŸ™‚

BTW, Santa, there’s tons of English Country Dance activities in New York. Here are a few links (though as I’m not clear about whether you mean NY state or NYC, I’m including a variety of both):

http://www.cdny.org/EnglishCalendar.html

http://www.geocities.com/cdwestchester/

http://www.danceflurry.org/new/english.html

http://www.rochestercontra.com/

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=29703670290

http://www.kickery.com/susans-upcoming-dance-gig.html

Cara

Mallory Pickerloy
13 years ago

Cara, I always love seeing your photographs!

I never attended a Regency dance before. It’s wonderful to see all those garments. And the dances.
πŸ™‚

I do hope your video films turned out so you can show them off!

Carol L.
13 years ago

Hi Cara,
I have never been to a Jane Austen evening like that. I don’t even think they have them here in Jersey. I loved all the costumes and have to agree with Jane George that the picture of the young couple is beautiful. Was the food from her era served as well ?

Maddie
13 years ago

I’ve always wanted to go an event like this. I have many patterns in my UFO bin (Unfinished Objects) of dresses and other regency era clothing I need to get around to. I think the most alluring thing to me about the Jane Austen Evening would be the dancing. It looks so fun! Plus I would love seeing all the men dressed up as gentlemen. πŸ™‚

Cara King
13 years ago

Carol, there’s lots of English Country Dancing in Jersey — I think the first ball I attended was in Princeton, years ago… Here are a few links to get you started:

http://www.princetoncountrydancers.org/events
/flingflyer2009.pdf

http://www.lambertvillecountrydancers.org
/ECDindex.html

http://www.maxellute.net/njecd.html

Also, there were people who came from a very long way away to attend our Jane Austen Evening — so don’t rule out the New York links I posted earlier. (Or the general links for the US, which were in an earlier comment…)

Good luck!

As for the food — a lot of it was from the Jane Austen cookbook, or other sources. I think basically the food was period, for the most part…or at least, period-inspired.

Maddie — I know what you mean about unfinished projects! I have quite a few of them myself. My erstwhile roommate had so many, actually, that one Halloween I dressed up as “one of Heather’s unfinished sewing projects.” πŸ™‚

Cara

Santa
13 years ago

Thanks for the links, Cara. I had no idea!

Jean Stewart
13 years ago

Ah, it was a lovely event! I talked with my partner constantly during one dance (I think it was Childgrove), and at the end of it she said that was the first time she’d ever been able to actually have a conversation while dancing.

Cara, my feet were killing me by the time we left, too, but didn’t it seen as though this year the dances flowed more smoothly and that nearly everyone seemed to be familiar with most of the dances?

Cara King
13 years ago

but didn’t it seen as though this year the dances flowed more smoothly and that nearly everyone seemed to be familiar with most of the dances?

Yes, Todd and I were talking about that! Barring a little problem my partner and I had in Mulberry Garden (we were ones, and after two iterations, there were ones below us, insisting they were ones, with twos below them — so we went to the bottom of the set to start over, only to have it happen again!), I think it all seemed to go extremely smoothly, with very few obviously novice dancers…

Todd thought that this year, perhaps attending the dance practices had seemed more of a requirement, somehow?

And I wondered, as it sold out in a week this time (faster than ever!), if that had meant that the only people who got tickets were people who were very keen on attending (and hence, less likely to be casual dancers who neither attended a regular group, nor attended the practices…??)

And certainly Mr. Beveridge seemed to go more smoothly than ever…but then, I believe they only taught it at the advanced practice this year… πŸ˜‰

Cara

krisdavey
13 years ago

I was rather grumpy about Mr. Beveridge, actually. It was played EXTREMELY fast this year, and I felt that negatively impacted one’s ability to be elegant and graceful.

Keira Soleore
13 years ago

Cara, what a lovely, lovely post. And all those pictures had me oohing and sighing over them.

But…where’s a picture of you and Todd???? And…do you have a link up to your video?

I’m most fascinated by those two ladies, one in green and the other in brown, who’s dress fabric looks like it came from sarees of very old patterns. First time, I’ve seen anything like this.

Never been to an event like this except for the two Beau Monde soirees at which I was too shy to dance. I’m so not a dancer, and I’ve never danced a single step of these Regency dances. Perhaps the Riskies will be willing to coach me this year?

(I enjoyed playing cards with Cara though last year. Splendid handout!)

Maggots is a dance? Oh, lordy lord.

Keira Soleore
13 years ago

Ah, yes. The “Regency Macaroni and Cheese” from the menu sounds tres entrancing. You think that’s what children in the Regency ate??

The photos on the official website are nice.

Todd
13 years ago

Kris wrote:

I was rather grumpy about Mr. Beveridge, actually. It was played EXTREMELY fast this year, and I felt that negatively impacted one’s ability to be elegant and graceful.

Yes, that was odd, since the other advanced dances were played unusually slowly. But if one cannot show off one’s innate grace, one can at least show off one’s innate athleticism. πŸ™‚

Todd-who-is-looking-forward-to-the-sprint-version-next-year

Cara King
13 years ago

I was rather grumpy about Mr. Beveridge, actually.

Kris, I agree! It was bizarrely fast.

As opposed to Kelsterne Gardens, where I had to keep reminding myself to do big loops on the hey so I didn’t get ahead of the music! πŸ™‚

But…where’s a picture of you and Todd????

Sorry, Keira! None came out well…and very few were taken. (When I uploading my pics, I realized I had almost none of any of Todd or myself or anyone else I knew! I guess I was busy dancing, figuring out the camcorder, and taking pictures in general…)

And I still haven’t uploading my video…I will definitely add a link when I do!

As to the sari fabric — I am totally ignorant about old patterns or new ones, but I do know that a lot of folks like to make their Regency dresses out of sari fabric nowadays — both because they think it’s period, and because it’s a wonderful look for hems, etc.

As for maggots — there are many dances with “maggot” in the title, in the Regency sense — a whim. Off the top of my head, I can recall Jack’s Maggot, Dick’s Maggot, and Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot — Mr. B being the most famous one, because it was the most memorable dance in the 95 P&P…in case you’re interested, here are links to youtube for three versions of Mr B (BTW, in P&P and Emma, the steps were altered to keep the couples together more, as far as I can tell…)

1995 P&P Mr. Beveridge

Paltrow Emma version

2007 Jane Austen Evening

And I suspect Regency kids did not eat mac and cheese! I suspect it was an elegant dish. πŸ™‚

Cara

Keira Soleore
13 years ago

Thanks for the links, Cara!! I also liked the dances PDF the site had about the steps involved.

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12 years ago

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