“It may be possible to do without dancing entirely. Instances have been known of young people passing many, many months successively without being at any ball of any description, and no material injury accrue either to body or mind; but when a beginning is made -- when the felicities of rapid motion have once been, though slightly, felt -- it must be a very heavy set that does not ask for more.” - Jane Austen
For many years, when we lived in California, we attended a large and lovely Victorian Ball. Oh, how our hearts pine to dance those quadrilles, waltzes, polkas, contras, and schottisches with our dear friends again. Well, this year Colette was invited out for the Ball! Although I attended, it was just as an observer, since Technohubby could not go. But observing is almost as much fun as dancing!
An entire suitcase was devoted to her ball attire, which included: pantyhose, bloomers, corset, camisole, petticoat, bustle pad, underskirt and apron, bustle, bodice, ballet slippers, purse, lace fan, necklace, and earrings. And we carried that suitcase on the plane with us, because what on earth would she do if it was one of those horrible cases of a lost suitcase that is never recovered!?!?!
The ball is actually called “Mr. Fezziwig’s Ball” and is held in conjunction with the weekend-long Riverside Dickens Festival. As such, Queen Victoria made a grand entrance, with bagpipe accompaniment.
The dancers lined up to dance The Grand March.
Here’s a glimpse of the crowded dance floor. I do so wish I had a video camera, so you could hear the Philadelphia Quadrille Orchestra play. They’re wonderful!
Everyone has their best, Victorian manners for the evening. Dance cards are issued as the dancers enter. Gentlemen ask the ladies to dance and fill in the ladies’ names on their cards next to the name of the dance for which they have engaged the lady. Ladies note the gentlemen’s names on their cards. Everyone has an itty-bitty pencil attached to their card by a tiny cord. Gentlemen keep their dance cards in their pockets. Most ladies use the cord to dangle their dance card from their wrist.
There was an observation area for those in attendance who were not dancing. We spent much time admiring attire, pointing out fine dancing to each other, chit-chatting with our friends as they rested between dances, and generally have a grand time!
All the ladies were beautifully coiffed and beautifully attired! Oh...such silks and tafettas and velvets!
Colette wore her 1880's dinner dress in dark green with black velveteen trim and ecru lace. I'm sorry to say that this is one of the few photos I took of the front of it all night.
The back view of her gown, as she is led onto the dance floor for the next dance.
The dancing was splendid!
A dance is a joyful affair!