On Saturday 22nd June 2013
we held The Jane Austen Festival ‘Netherfield’ Ball
The Venue was The Guildhall in central Bath
and the dancing commenced at 7.00 till 11pm
We had a glorious time and the food was marvellous with a whole dressed salmon taking centre stage.
If you have no idea what Regency dancing is like then the nearest comparison is a Barn Dance. It was not necessary to bring a partner of the opposite sex or indeed a partner at all, everyone was made most welcome even if they came on their own.
The costumes were absolutely stunning with men being as well dressed as the ladies. The Regency look is the Empire line, with a high waist just below the bust, very flattering and feels wonderful to wear. Our finery included of course a ball gown plus all the accessories, long gloves, fan, reticule, necklace and earrings. With the chandeliers sparkling above we all glittered below in the Banqueting Room.
Tickets for the Ball included entrance, the dancing, entertainment and a light buffet with tea and coffee after the meal. There was also a cash bar for drinks and plenty of water available on the tables.
As the Netherfield Ball celebrated the 200th anniversary of the novel Pride & Prejudice we had a Mr Bingley, Mr Darcy and Miss Bingley in attendance. We also danced a very creditable version of Mr Beveridge’s Maggot thanks to our wonderful dance caller Diana Campbell. The live music was provided by the superb trio Green Ginger on keyboard, violin and viola. Some took a break and tried their hand at the card tables, another popular 18th Century pastime which were organised by our very good friends Select Society.
All too soon the evening came to an end and we took to our carriages for our journeys home.
Earlier in the afternoon we practised at the Pre-Ball Dance workshop
Prior to the Ball in the evening the practise of 2.25 hours was held in the Banqueting Room. To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, we practised the dance known as Mr Beveridge’s Maggot. The version Diana instructed us on was danced at the Netherfield Ball in the BBC 1995 adaptation. This complicated dance required our concentration and extra practise so the workshop was 15 minutes longer than in previous years.
Practising the dances beforehand really helped us to get more out of the Ball, besides which we met people and made new friends and had a great time at this fun workshop.
Most of us saved our Ball gowns to the evening but some wore day dresses to the workshop so as to get into the mood earlier.
We hold a Summer Ball annually in late June, see tab at top of website for details of the next one.