Lorenzo State Historic Jane Austen Ball, February 1999, Cazenovia
This was a truly amazing event!
A grand time was had by all.
Feb 6th, 1999 at Historic Lincklaen House, in conjunction with Lorenzo Historic Site and Cazenovia College. This exciting event was held under the guidance of Bells & Motley, musicians well known to the Cazenovia Community from many years of Christmas performances at Lorenzo. Sondra Bromka taught popular country dances of Jane Austen's time, and John led a chamber orchestra in performance of the lively period dance music. English Country Dance is an early form of double-line dancing. (People who have danced to the calls of New England Contra Dances and Square dances will find these earlier dances very familiar.) Beginners were most welcome of all...and in good hands, as teaching workshops were featured in conjunction with the event.
And finally, a brush-up Public English Country Dance Workshop was given prior to the ball on the afternoon of Feb 6, for those are already well familiar with this style of dancing, but who wanted a review of the specific dances we would be dancing that evening at the ball.
It was a truly community-oriented event that brought together folks all ages...with workshops for the general public, workshops for Cazenovia Middle School Students, and for credit at Cazenovia College.
In conjunction Caz College also offered Public Pride & Private Prejudice, looking at Jane1s writings, and Jane Austen's World: Wear the Illusion, to help folks create or modify your ball attire! You can see from the photos what a superb job everyone did of dressing the part.
Gathering at the Linklaen House.
Why Jane Austen's England in Cazenovia? Simply because it is one of the best indicators of what life at an early rural estate like Lorenzo might very well have been like, given certain cultural differences in a frontier society, albeit one headed by an erudite European. Miss Austen's legion of fans has grown after the recent spate of films based on her six published novels. So why not join Fanny Price at Mansfield Park and celebrate Jane Austen's England in Cazenovia?
Fancy-dress attire, with any historic embellishments you can conjure up, was the rule of the night!
First Figure: Up a Double
For costuming ideas for your next ball, and a reading list, try these resources:
What Jane Austen Ate & Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool, full of quirky information about life during this era, including costume, dance, customs, as based on period literature.
also, Jane Austen's Town & Country Style by Susan Watkins
Consider the Following
Top 10 Reasons to
Learn English Country Dances:
10. For women: Allows you to fulfill your childhood dream of going to a ball dressed like Cinderella.
9. Teaches improved balance, making you less likely to slip on the ice, crack your head open and die.
8. For men: Allows you the opportunity to dress up like the guy on Beefeater's Gin bottle without having to drink the whole bottle to build up your nerve.
7. Allows your kids to learn about clean dancing before they learn about dirty dancing.
6. Saturday night events allow you to work off a half a pound of fat before you gain two pounds at the dessert table.
5. Gives you another opportunity to use that stupid contraption to tape the stuff on TV while you're out dancing.
4. Will give you something you can talk about if you're ever stranded on a deserted island with an English country dance enthusiast.
3. Teaches you a useful skill that comes in handy if a cowboy points a six-gun at your feet, tells you to dance, and starts shooting.
2. Allows you to meet new friends who aren't as lazy, shiftless, and uncoordinated as your current friends.
1. Teaches you new knowledge which will ensure you won't sit there like an idiot when your boss tells an English country dance joke.
thanks to Roddy Thorleifson, Winnipeg, Canada
used with permission