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How to Organise your own Regency Party, Rout or Ball

A Regency Ball is fun for adults and teenagers alike.

The dancing is romantic and can be quite flirtateous and it's fun to dress in the beautiful period costumes of the time. Teenagers are energetic and enjoy the more lively dances and often display remarkable creativity in making their costumes from vary simple materials based on films they have seen and illustrations in books.

I love organising a Regency Ball whether it is an 18th Birthday Party, a Golden Wedding Anniversary - or just a - party!


Here is what you will need -

 


Demonstrating
at a private party
  • You will need to find a suitable ballroom to hold your party. The best guide is to reckon it up in quadrille sets! You will need about 10 x 10 feet per set of 8 dancers for a cotillion or quadrille, and a similar area for longways dances - which is much more space than modern dancing. Try to find a room with historical connections if you can. Georgian is ideal, Victorian or Edwardian are good, but really your village hall is fine since they have come to party, not admire architecture.
  • Remember that most Regency dances are in sets of three or four couples. Not everyone will dance, but go for at least 16 dancing guests. Four to six quadrille sets (32-48 dancers) is probably ideal for a private gathering.
  • You will need a good caller unless you are prepared to call yourself. I advise against trying to call while dancing yourself - you will end of doing neither well. An experienced caller can also help you with most of the points below.
  • Be prepared to help and advise your guests about costumes. Of course some may wish to come in modern dress, though in my experience. they won't enjoy the party as much. Part of the fun is being 'in period'.
  • You may wish to offer a meal or other refreshments, usually half way through the evening. Always offer plenty of water and soft drinks because energetic dancing makes the guests thirsty, but beware of too much wine! After a very little alcohol the dancing does become remarkably more difficult!
  • Choose your list of dances. A mixture of cotillions, quadrilles and country dances is ideal, with a mixture of easier and harder dances. Most dances take 4-6 minutes - multiply by three if you are going to walk through the dances first.
  • Find the music. This can be harder than you think so start in good time. You may wish to use a live band or CDs.
  • It is helpful to send your guests a list of the dances and brief dance notations with their invitations. You might even like to hold a small informal pre-party "workshop" for your closest friends to practice the dances before the ball proper.
  • Encourage the right ambiance. In Regency dancing one should dance with everyone. Of course you may stick with your own partner throughout if you wish, but it is usual and more fun to dance with lots of different people.

 

Finding a Caller

The best way to choose a caller is by recommendation. You might start by asking your local dance society. Failing that, RegencyDances.org can often find you a caller who can fit it into their schedule and live not too far away from you.

Your caller will be able to suggest dances suitable for the skill level of your guests. Unless your guests are experts, he or she should be prepared teach your guests by walking through the dances before each dance, as well as calling while the dancing is in progress. This, of course, takes more time.

As well as choosing the dances, the caller will normally procure the music or find suitable live musicians, whichever you prefer.

You might also wish the caller to arrange for a group of experienced dancers (normally eight) in Regency costume to do some demonstration dances, offer to dance with any guests without partners and generally assist your guests with the patterns of the dance if they get in a muddle.

The caller, dancers and musicians will each charge a fee, travel expenses and, if necessary, overnight accommodation so ask the caller to get all these prices agreed with you early.

 

 

Have Fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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