An Elegant Affair – The Jane Austen Dance

A joint event hosted by True Fellowship 52 and the Bay Area English Regency Society

learning a new waltz
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There’s something magical about a roomful of people dancing in carefully synchronized and choreographed harmony. And there are few venues better suited for it than an Odd Fellows lodge. The beautiful hardwood floor, the overhead lighting dimmed to better evoke a sensation of candlelit chandeliers, high ceilings presenting a spacious room filled with possibilities – all these elements were recently combined for a truly marvelous and romantic evening in San Jose, California.

On February 10th, the True Fellowship lodge was transported back in time, becoming an 18th century English country manor filled with brilliantly dressed lords and ladies out for an elegant evening of music and movement.

The Bay Area English Regency Society (BAERS), and the Odd Fellows of True Fellowship 52 in San Jose, partnered for their first joint Regency ball – also called the Jane Austen Dance. The partnership came about thanks to Brother Alan Winston, a recent addition to the True Fellowship members roster, who is also one of the directors for BAERS, and himself an internationally-known caller for English and contra dancing.

The style of dance is one that would have been familiar to guests at English country estates in the late 18th and early 19th century, and that you may have seen in movies like “Pride and Prejudice” or “Emma”. This dancing style combines simple moves in synchronized sequence paired with a repeating melody. Dancers move through rounds that could be a dozen or so movements each, changing positions and dancing with a continually rotating cast of fellow couples. With Brother Alan’s patient and expert instruction, even a complete newcomer could learn the dances.

The costumes were dazzling, the band skillful, and the refreshments delicious. By any possible measure, the event was a smashing triumph. And for the first time in the lodge’s history, all tickets were sold online before the doors even opened. There will definitely be similar events in the future, so watch the calendar at true52.org or join the mailing list, to find out when they’ll return. To learn about other dances organized by BAERS, you can find them at baers.org.

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