Jane Austen Ball revisited

My friend Colleen and I attended the Jane Austen Ball again this year, it’s already been over a month and I’ve been meaning to repost this. We wore the same dresses and so looked exactly the same except a year older and without our handsome escort. We still had a marvelous time, danced nearly every dance, and woke up with music in our heads for a week afterwards. I’m already looking forward to next year.
This post doesn’t have much to do with being a non-consumer, but I thought I’d give you a peek into my personal life, and one of my favorite yearly activities: the Jane Austen Ball. It’s held nearby in Pasadena, and I’ve been attending ever since the very first one in January of 1998. I’ve only missed two due to work (yes, I was actually AT work on a Saturday night, while I was working as an assistant editor on feature films). I don’t miss it if I can help it, it’s great geeky fun!

I used to go alone, but my friends David and Colleen have been joining me for the past several years. Colleen comes over early for tea and then she does our hair and we get dressed. I finally had my dress made for me last year, but Colleen made her own dress! The dressing up is fun, but the best part is the dancing. Yes, we do the dances just like you see in the Jane Austen movies.

This photo is without a flash, also taken in our living room.

And this photo was taken at the dance. Can you tell how I excited I am? I think I look a little scary, like I’m about to burst into a maniacal fit of laughter. Colleen looks so beautiful, and David is so popular at the Ball that we have to beat off the other women to dance with him. As you can imagine, there are always more women than men at the event.

Every year I come home so high I can’t go to sleep for hours, and I wake up with the tune to my favorite dance in my head. The name of the dance is “Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot,” I’m not kidding. Apparently the word “maggot” means “whim” in this context. The dance is beautiful to watch and so much fun to dance.

I used to rent a dress every year, but last year I finally had one made, so this was the first year that I didn’t have to do anything to get ready the week before. And I only had to spend $30, the cost of the dance, which was well worth it.
I don’t know how many cities put on a Jane Austen Ball, but I do know there are groups that do English Country Dancing all across the country.
Have you ever been to this type of dance, or a Jane Austen event? I think Jane Austen would be absolutely baffled by the extent of her popularity two centuries later.


    • Angela says

      I thought you must be joking, but then sometimes people mention the names of big sports stars and I have no idea who they are so maybe you’re not. Jane Austen was a writer from England of the very early 1800s who is still read today, in school and for pleasure. She was very witty and is wonderful at satirizing people and society. There are many popular films made from her movies and a whole industry based around novels based on her books. Her most famous novel is “Pride and Prejudice.”

  1. says

    How fun! I think I have watched the Pride and Prejudice mini series with Collin Firth about about 5 million times and I have read everything I can get my hands written by Ms. Austen and many other books by those seeking to be like her. Plus I will take any excuse to dress in a costume. Weeee! I would be excited too.

  2. says

    Jane’s my favorite author, bar none.

    I invited both Dickens and Austen to my Fantasy Dinner Party:

    Second, being a fan of English literature, I want a few “less contemporary” writers in attendance. The value of their work arises from its timeless quality. The English authors invited to my dinner party are none other than . . . Charles Dickens and Jane Austen.

    Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol, is the center point of the Christmas season at our home. We read it, watch it, and grow inspired to live with its message in our hearts for the coming year.

    And, dear Miss Austen, a talented ”old maid” who understood love and shared that understanding through brilliant writing and clever dialogue in Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, and other good works.

    So glad you enjoyed the ball. Your dresses are gorgeous.

  3. A. Marie says

    Hi, Angela! Glad you enjoyed the Pasadena JA Ball again this year. My friend Lisa and I were “Thrifty Threads” models last year in our outfits for the Rochester, NY, JA Ball, and we’ll be attending this year’s edition on May 1. Also, Lisa is becoming nationally famous for her Regency costume workshops (which always include tips on thrifty Regency dressing!). She’s giving one called “Dressing the Miss Bennets” at the JASNA Pittsburgh Region’s JA Festival this weekend, and will be presenting it again to the JASNA NY-Metro Region in September. (JASNA, for folks who may be interested, is the Jane Austen Society of North America, with over 60 regional groups across the continent. Go to http://www.jasna.org for more info.)

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