Palo Alto English Regency Dance
BACDS and The Bay Area English Regency Society (BAERS) co-sponsor second Friday Regency dance parties. Strictly speaking, the Regency is the period from 1811-1820 when George III was too sick to rule and Parliament authorized his wastrel son (later George IV) as Prince Regent. This is the era of the Napoleonic Wars, the Romantic poets, composers like Beethoven, and the years when the novels of Jane Austen were published. These focus on accessible dances with some connection to Jane Austen's lifetime (1778 - 1816), extending to the end of the Regency (1820), sometimes using American dances of the same period, which allows for longways (duple and triple) minors, three and four couple sets, and we'll do two-couple dances (which are out of period) if that's how many people are there at the start, so we will start on time. We dance in the spirit of the Regency era, but usually in modern Englsh style. Because the waltz becomes popular in England in our period, we usually have waltz country dances and several free waltzes, and occasionally some choreographed waltz couple dances. The famous "Congress of Vienna" dance was invented for Regency dancing. This is an excellent series for new dancers and people wanting to acquire fluency in country dance. These second-Friday dance parties are casual-dress events. BAERS also sponsors several balls a year with historical themes (see BAERS website, above) where we encourage historical, formal, or festive dress but don't require it.
Alan Winston is the series programmer and the most frequent leader for the dance parties, but other callers who share with Alan both an interest in the period and skill in teaching beginners sometimes share the evening or take the whole evening. On rare occasions we repurpose the second-Friday evening to take advantage of visiting world-class talent, so our second-Friday dance parties have been called by Andrew Shaw, Graham Christian, and others.
The house band, Divertimento, is usually led by BAERS Music Director James Langdell, with William Allen on piano, Paul Kostka on whistles and other instruments, Jeannette Langdell on violin, Bill Langdell on horns, and welcomes sit-ins from strong players who can sight-read. Band and caller are all acoustic.
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