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?

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20 Responses to Ze dance

  1. Corinne says:

    That looks like it was SO much fun! Honestly. I’d love to do something like that!

  2. Wendi says:

    It looks like something out of a Jane Austen story. So freaking cool.

  3. Steve Berg says:

    WOW! That looks so awesome. Maybe they do this in Wisconsin Rapids…….or……maybe……not…..

  4. Virginia says:

    Your sister did a fabulous job with those dresses!! You all look elegant.

    That looked like a lot of fun. I’d love to attend something like that!

  5. Rowenna says:

    Looks like you guys had a blast! PS…if you ever want to try the Revolutionary War…we’re up near Chicago a lot and have clothes that would fit you two… :) I love the anachronistic shots at the end…those are my favorite! I have a fab shot of some friends in full 18th century clothing at the counter of a 50s ice cream parlor. Ha!

  6. Katherine says:

    Jenna, I am there! Let us know about it on Facebook next year!

    • Jenna says:

      Awesome! I’ll have to post a notice both on FB and on my blog when next year’s tickets go up for sale. The more the merrier. =)

  7. Sarah says:

    this looks so fun! i don’t like dancing, but i’d almost go to a ball for 4 hrs just to see my husband all spiffed up like that :)

  8. This is way cute! Love the banquet hall where everyone is all dressed up :) Looked just like time travel :P

  9. giselle says:

    Looks so fun!!

    What time did the ball end? It seems that it’s still light outside??

    • Jenna says:

      I know! This year they did it in the afternoon, from 11am-3pm. Kind of weird timing. It would have felt much more elegant to have it in the evening like previous years, but what can you do. I’m guessing the organizers got a better price on the hall or something.

  10. The ballroom is so gorgeous! I want to join you next year!!!!

  11. Erica says:

    Wow!! Looks so fun! And I am glad that it wasn’t one those awful “sure we had fun!” events. maybe we’ll come next year…. heh heh. :)

    • Wendy says:

      Do you really think Dave would wear knickers? If the answer is yes, it would only be for you!

      • Jenna says:

        C’mon, you mean he wouldn’t want to show off his manly calves?? =)
        ‘Cause if he’s not interested in wearing knickers, I’m sure Erica could make a beautiful dress for him, too. =) Heh heh.

  12. Veronica says:

    Oh just LOVELY!! Everything. Just. lovely. A night to remember.

  13. Kimby says:

    That ballroom is HUGE! What a gorgeous venue — and what fun to be part of it! The black & white photo of you two says it all… :)

  14. Where’s Emma!…so beautiful…..

  15. What an awesome and dreamy experience – you look radiant :)

  16. Weighting For 50 says:

    In a word….WOW!!!!!!! What an amazing event. I LOVE the dance shots! And the fact that the ENTIRE group look like they are all in time with each other! Amazing. Your sister is indeed talented, your dresses were beautiful. Thank you for sharing photos of this spectacular event with us Jenna!!!!

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