Going to the Regency ball? Here’s the 411.

By Jennifer Abella

For veterans and first-timers alike, our ball is one of the highlights of the Jane Austen Summer Program. Here’s how to navigate our “Ball at Kellynch” as if you were Jane Austen herself.

First the basics

  • Your registration includes a ticket to the ball. If you’d like to bring a companion, they’ll need their own (UPDATE: We’re sold out of guest tickets; click to join the waitlist).
  • The ball is at Gerrard Hall, built in the first half of the 19th century, on the University of North Carolina campus.
  • If you don’t have a car, don’t worry. Shuttles to Gerrard leave from the hotel at 6:30 and 6:45; return shuttles leave at 10:30 and 10:45 from the hall.
  • Don’t know how to dance? We’re providing dance lessons leading up to the ball, included with your ticket. First-timers, don’t be shy. A number of attendees are learning for the first time or need a refresher.
  • This year our Ball at Kellynch has a nautical theme with songs/dances with such titles as “Fisher’s Hornpipe.” And we can’t let the ball go by without dancing “Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot” (yes, you read that right), which they dance in the 1995 version of “Pride & Prejudice.” Keep watching this page for info.

Helpful hints

  • As in Jane Austen’s time, this is a chance to meet people. You’ll likely be switching partners every dance. Make the most of it!
  • You’ll probably partner up with men and women. The lessons are a good chance to try to learn the men’s and women’s parts of different dances.
  • Be comfortable. The hall will get warm (it’s June!) and you will be moving. Wear clothes and shoes you can move in easily.
  • While Regency dress is a popular option, it is NOT REQUIRED. Plenty of folks wear modern clothes (summer dresses, modern empire-waist frocks, shirts/khakis, etc.).
  • If you are thinking of Regency dress, we’ve got some pointers for you.
  • Don’t drop out of a dance in the middle of it. No matter how badly you think you’ve messed up, just keep going. You’ll get it in the end. And dropping out in the middle could confuse other dancers.
  • Thank your partner!
  • The dance floor will get crowded. If you’re not planning to dance, make sure you’re not caught in the middle of the floor when a dance starts.
  • Want a breather? We’ll have chairs along the walls and refreshments.
  • For a bird’s-eye view of the ball, head upstairs to the mezzanine and watch the dances from above.
  • If you want a pretty backdrop for photo opportunities, look for UNC’s Old Well, across the street from Gerrard Hall. It’s one of the university’s most famous landmarks. Quads a short walk on either side Gerrard Hall are excellent places for photos as well.

And now a word from our readers

We asked our followers on Twitter and Facebook what advice they have. Thanks for the contributions, followers!!

  • “Definitely get a nap in beforehand. The dancing is fun but tiring!”
  • “Relax and enjoy it — don’t get too uptight about the steps to the dances. And wear comfortable shoes.”
  • “Go. Drink the Negus, even if Edmund isn’t there to mix in the water.”
  • Bring a handkerchief and a fan. It is warm!
  • “If you encounter a tall dark chap with a large estate in Derbyshire, do NOT speak to him until properly introduced.”
  • Keep conversation [while] dancing.”

Find links, photos and friends on our Jane Austen Summer Program page on Facebook — and follow @JASPhotline on Twitter and @janeaustensummer on Instagram!

Jennifer Abella is a TV/movie/pop culture/knitting/sewing/Jane Austen geek. Oh, and a total Anglophile. Find her on Twitter: @nextjen.


About Jennifer Abella

Jennifer Abella is a TV/movie/pop culture/knitting/sewing/Jane Austen geek. Oh, and a total Anglophile. Follow her on Twitter: @nextjen.

1 thought on “Going to the Regency ball? Here’s the 411.

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