Friday, March 18, 2011

Tripping Out with Jane Austen - English Country Dance part 1

Have you noticed the popularity of nineteenth-century dramas, our fascination with the clothes and hairstyles? They portray a dignity and feminine mystique that's lacking in our lives and we want it back. One place in New Zealand where it's allowed to flourish is an event known as the English Country Dance.
Photo by Steven Sandrbook Photography. View Steven's album at
http://www.stevensandbrookphotography.co.nz/english-country-dancing.html
February 4th in Palmerston North was the first of such events I was free to attend. I knew I'd been missing out on a good time, but the reality of it was better than I'd dreamed.  These photos were taken during that hot and happy evening, and you're invited to the next one! [See invitation below.]
It's been more than a decade since I trotted out my dancing feet. I was amazed at how quickly I felt comfortable in my first dance, and how badly I messed up my second, but this I shall blame on not hearing a crucial piece of information from caller Charmagne Smith (probably because I was busy with two cameras during in-between dances). First Corners is not the same as First Couple. Simply profound. The support and insistence of fellow dancers eventually sent me in the right direction and before the end of the second round I was assisting others.
Outfits were diverse and colourful, representing many eras and varied dedication to detail. We'll have more photographs for you to admire next week. In the meantime, get planning your own outfit, because we would love to see you there!
Click on image to enlarge.

Photo by Steven Sandbrook Photography. View Steven's album at
http://www.stevensandbrookphotography.co.nz/english-country-dancing.html

Don't think you have to miss out because you don't have a dress or don't live near Palmerston North. Families regularly travel from as far as Wellington, Wanganui, and Hamilton, and as you'll see in this video, ordinary day clothes are just as common as magnificent Victorian gowns. In fact, a number of the very elegant ladies are wearing borrowed gowns. If you need help, please let us know.


If Palmerston North is too far for you to travel to, consider organizing your own event. If you can't find a dance caller in your region, Charmagne Smith may be able to recommend someone. She's travelled to many events, including outside of New Zealand. If you really want something, you can make it happen. Please let us know how you get on, and if we can help!

Next week, more photos from the last event, and tips for where to find those elegant accessories.

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