Friday, August 18, 2017

Netherfield Ball: An Assembly for Novice Dancers

The Netherfield Ball from the BBC 1995 adaption of Pride and Prejudice
“The two young ladies were summoned from the shrubbery where this conversation passed, by the arrival of some of the very persons of whom they had been speaking; Mr. Bingley and his sisters came to give their personal invitation for the long expected ball at Netherfield, which was fixed for the following Tuesday.” Pride and Prejudice chapter 17

The Jane Austen Society of North America Central and Western NY region and the Country Dancers of Rochester wish to extend a personal invitation to our own Netherfield Ball. The date has been fixed for Saturday, August 26 at 2 pm. Here are the details:

Event:             The Netherfield Ball, An Assembly for Novice Dancers
When:             Saturday August 26, 2017 2-6 pm
Where:            First Baptist Church 175 Allens Creek Road, Rochester NY 14618
Admission:    $10
Attire:             Comfortable and a little dressy
                           Regency attire admired but not required
Refreshments: Experienced dancers are asked to bring a sweet treat to share

This is our premiere event for new dancers. We especially invite anyone who would like to learn to dance in the style of Jane Austen’s characters.

As we all know, the Netherfield Ball in Pride and Prejudice is a central moment in the story. Elizabeth, having “dressed with more than usual care,” is disappointed to find Mr. Wickham absent. There should be no disappointments at our Netherfield Ball. You do not need to bring a partner. We change partners after every dance, and there will be plenty of experienced dancers in attendance to help new dancers through the steps.

Elizabeth is then forced to endure two dances with Mr. Collins, “awkward and solemn, apologising instead of attending, and often moving wrong without being aware of it”. New dancers need not fear any Mr. Collins moments. The Netherfield Ball will begin with an introductory tutorial to English Country Dance. Our callers will clearly instruct all dancers in everything they need to know to successfully navigate the dances. After a brief break the ball proper will begin. The dances will be easy and our callers will guide dancers through each of the dances.

Finally, Elizabeth has a chance to dance with Mr. Darcy, although somewhat against her will. At least he is a good dance partner. As Sir William Lucas testifies, "I have been most highly gratified indeed, my dear Sir. Such very superior dancing is not often seen." There will be plenty of experienced dancers attending the ball. While Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth dance while verbally sparring with each other, the experienced dancers at our Netherfield Ball will happily assist new dancers through the dance figures as the callers articulate them.

Join us at the Netherfield Ball
Dancing was important in the lives of Jane Austen and her characters. Only Persuasion of the six major novels lacks a major dance scene. Jane Austen used music and dance to help draw her characters and move her plots. Learning English Country Dance is a beautiful way to more fully comprehend Jane Austen’s world and the world of her characters. Beside that, it is also fun. The music, movement, and merriment will all combine to create an unforgettable social event.

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