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Sat. 15 June Winter/Summer Solstice Ball

Canberra Baptist Church Hall, Currie St., Kingston, 7-11pm. 

We enjoyed lots of great company, lively music, food, frienship, and the following dances:


2 late 16th century English court dances: ‘La Bonnette’, from a newly found Inns of Court manuscript and ‘The nyne muses’ (perhaps a masque dance) from a different manuscript, 


4 late 16th century Italian dances: ‘Bellezza Olympia’, a beautiful 2 person-dance; ‘Canario’ and ‘Galliard dating’, two fun show-off courting dances; Squilina, a flirting 3-person dance


3 early 17th century dances: ‘La Gillotte’, a broken-circle dance; ‘Bourrée à six passages’ that goes to the same tune later used for the English dance ‘Parson's Farewell’.


6 late-17th century English country dances: ‘Buff-coat’, ‘New Vagary’, ‘Singleton’s Slip’, ‘Skellemefago’ and ‘Smith’s Rant’ all for the first time, plus ‘Daniel Cowper’, one of my favourites.


6 fun Bordonian Lost dances:  Sum 1. ‘Longway Home’; Town16. ‘Northern Stars Southern Skies’; Court 3. ‘Snowball Slalom’

Autumn 7   ‘Battering Ram’; Win. 4. ‘Past, Present, Future’; Vill. 13. ‘Baltic Crossing’



Steampunk@Altitude Festival - Sunday 5 May, Nimmitabel,

Pre-event blurb

We haven't got the whole band and dance troupe going to this weekend-long Festival (hopefully will next year), but John&Aylwen are going down on Sunday with their new big colourful spinning time-wheel  to enjoy getting some dancing going in their heritage hall. Do join them. Here is the blurb and photo (courtesy of Steven Shaw) in their program:

Time-travel through dance! Spin the dial and you’ll enjoy dances, dance games and music on strange instruments from any period the needle points to. Let the Dance Doctor  (a.k.a. Dr John Gardiner-Garden, the director of the Earthly Delights Historical Dance Academy) and his hat-making wife Aylwen give you, your family and friends a healthy dose of fun in the Nimmitabel hall at 11:00, 12:30 and 2:00pm
More information about festival at

Post-event program

Aylwen and I had three really fun sessions getting everyone (including lots of children) spinning the time-wheel and dancing randomly across the centuries (big thanks to experienced dancer David Hughes for joining us and helping it all go well!).  The dances we ended up doing included the following (with Roman numeral referring to the relevant Volume from Dancing through the Ages Volumes). There may also have been one or two I've forgotten (time-travelling can be very disorienting!):

Petit rinense
Branle L’officiel
Chiara stella (which I modified for a large inward facing circle and instead of the final figure hand turns had a big mill each way with hands on arm of one in front)
Chirping of the Nightingale
Gathering Peascods
New Bopeep
(I don't recall the time-wheel taking us to this period!)
Black dance / La Galopade
Comical Fellow
(I don't recall the time-wheel taking us to this period!)
Gothic Dance (will be in forthcoming supplement to 1st edition of DTA)
The Prisoner (which I modified for a large circle- and set to 32 bars instead of 24, giving the active dancer 16 bars rather than 8 to imprison themselves (with a right-hand shake to all the opposites and then a right-hand turn with partner).
Baby Polka (with progression of partner)
Galop 4 / Danish Galop / Manchester Galop 


JAFA 2019 was the 12th in this remarkable annual celebration of everything Georgian, Regency and Victorian. 
Three full days and nights of costume, music, dance, food and friendship at Canberra’s beautiful Albert Hall.

The daytime activities choices—all with top presenters from around the country— included classes on sewing and singing, workshops on costume making and hair styling, talks on history and novels, impro-theater rehearsals, outdoor games, and previews of all the dances planned for the evening balls. On the final day there was also be a promenade and picnic. See the full festival program here.

 Each evening everyone came together for a ball on a different historical theme and with different special performances. There were Earthly Delights Historic Dance Academy dance leaders, great musicians on grand piano, cello, clarinet, flute, pipes, hurdy-gurdy, mandolin and guitar), the superb choir I progetti and theatre presented both by ACT Impro and by a Kirsty Budding troupe (performing a scene from Pride and Prejudice). These local artists were joined by wonderful interstate dance leaders David Wanless and Vaughan Wilson and fantastic interstate musicians Deanna Devers (harp and piano), Hannah Buckley (violin) and Aimee Brown (recorder).

By the end of the weekend we understood why Jane Austen wrote in Pride and Prejudice that ‘To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love’ and ‘There is nothing like dancing after all. —I consider it as one of the first refinements of polished societies’, why she had Mr Tilney declare in Northanger Abbey that ‘I consider a country-dance as an emblem of marriage’ and why it is remarked in Emma ‘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’.

We are grateful to Andrew Corson for the ball videos that follow. Great memories!
 Our apologies that our PA arrangement, though working for the dancers on the floor, didn’t balance instruments for these distant overhead recording… but the atmosphere and main features are captured. 

Here are some short 10-13 minute overview videos.

Albert Hall, Canberra: Friday 12 April 2019

In between readings from one of the first and funniest books Jane Austen wrote, her ‘History of England’, enjoy participatory dance from the time of the Kings and Queens she mentions, though to the Georgian era that offered the styles of Jane’s adolescence. Enjoy also the fabulous choral ensemble I progetti and a candle-lit supper. Dress Georgian, Regency or semi-formal. 

JAFA 2019 - Friday Ball.mp4

In the first half of the evening, in between readings by Katarina Hall of Austen’s very fun ‘History of England’ we sampled dances from the periods of the reigns referred to.

JAFA 2019 - B1 History of England Reading.mp4

From Tudor England:

Basse d’Espagne- popular all over Europe at the time and mentioned in an English novel

Eglamowr – a fun dance named after the hero of the Sir Eglamour and Christabel romance

*Prenes a gard—a fancy dance from the Derbyshire Gresley manuscript

From Elizabethan England:

Madame Cecilia—with lots of flirting

La Chemise—from a newly discovered manuscript

Spagnoletta—where the women get to lift the men!

From Stuart England:

*Lansdowne no. 4— an incredibly fancy pattern to a great tune.

JAFA 2019 - B1 Lansdowne No4.mp4

Goddesses—a fabulous romp to a catchy tune

Aye me Symphony—a fun 3-part ‘Playford’ dance

*Masque of the Season—bringing a rare manuscript’s dance and music to life.

JAFA 2019 - B1 Masque of the Seasons.mp4

Mr Lane’s Magot—with guest singer

Half Hannykin—an easy mixer


Guest  vocal ensemble I Progetti presented songs from the Austen family music books and then sung for:

*Emma’s Song—‘Go down to the garden singing’ in this dance Handel’ Non lo dirò col labbro

*Wachet Auf—a beautiful contradance to Bach’s beautiful cantata

JAFA 2019 - B1 I Progetti Choir.mp4

Dances from the 18th century Georgian-era:

Mr Young’s Delight—an elegant longways dance

Trip to Paris—a longways English country dance to a hit from the Paris opera

*Minuet d’Alcide—a uncalled fancy French opera choreography

Dances to Bach

Fleeting moments—a cotillion allemande to the minuets of Bach cello suite no.1

*The Conundrum—an amazing 2-couple bourrée to Bach’s cello suite 4.

JAFA 2019 - B1 The Conundrum.mp4

More longways and squares dances:

Le Bois de Boulogne

Irish Washer Woman—a simple longways dance to match this lively tune.

Two finales with twists!:  

CountryBumpkin—with ahat on the head of your set’s bumpkin, reel!

Meditation Chinoise—a double-sized set that will have you doubled over laughing!

JAFA 2019 - B1 Meditation Chinoise.mp4

JAFA 2019 - B1 Meditation Chinoise_Full.mp4

Albert Hall, Canberra: Saturday 13 April 2019

JAFA 2019 - Saturday Ball.mp4

 Between opening grand march and closing fun novelties, we enjoyed mixers, squares and longways country dances from Jane’s lifetime, with matching music from period English, French, Scottish and newly discovered Australian sources.  Special features were  two big dances—one miming the game of Chess and one set to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. Enjoy also our guest theatre ensemble presented a scene from Pride and Prejudice, fabulous guest harpist, guest singer, and candle-lit supper. 

Two traditional ball openers:

*Minuet (3)

A Grand March into The Cuirassiers—a quadrille in the tradition of the Lancers and Hussars sampled at other JAFA

Period crazes:

Perigordine—a fun mixer to name-sake music written out in Jane Austen’s music books

Petersen’s English dance no.5—a corner stealing dance to music from Germany, France and England

Carillon de Dunkerque—a promiscuous clapping dance popular in England

Five longways dances:

L’Augustin Waltz—a simple way devised in 1810’s England to enjoy this German folk song

De’il among Tailors—a simple way to enjoy this fabulous Scottish tune.

*Grossvater tanz

National Waltz—one man between 2 women in this progressive pleasure.

Hull’s Victory— stomping with a dance and tune that go back to the 1812 war in North America.

SUPPER and Kirsty Budding Theatre presents a scene from their upcoming ‘Pride and Prejudice’.

JAFA 2019 - B2 Budding Theatre.mp4

Pan European:

The European flag dance—makingstars in big circles to Beethoven’s stirring ‘Ode of Joy’

Wechsel Vals

Drops of Brandy—putting some lively Irish stepping into this longways dance

Three dances with a difference:

-(pawns)/*(nobles) The Chess Dance—for sets of 32! We have life-size boards for two sets!

JAFA 2019 - The Chess Dance.mp4

Réverbère—an example of the ingenious square dances being created for social pleasure.

*Mazurian Ecossaise—capturing an 1806 Latvia craze, a hybrid of two of the most popular dance forms of the day.

A triple finale:

The Battle of Waterloo (by John G-G)—debuted in 2015, back by popular demand!

JAFA 2019 - The Battle of Waterloo.mp4

JAFA 2019 - B2 The Battle of Waterloo.mp4

Opera Reel—a fun simple dance to this driving Scotch tune
Congo minuet—the wild early 19th century way to enjoy the most-esteemed dance of the 18th century.

Albert Hall, Canberra: Sunday 14 April 2019

JAF 2019 - Sunday Ball.mp4

Dress was from Tudor to Victorian (Regency still welcome,). The post-Jane dances for all included an1820s gallopade to the ‘William Tell’ overture,  a beautiful quadrille from 1830s Denmark, a can-can quadrille from 1840s France, the ‘Rose Bay Quadrille’ from 1850s Australia, a 'Gothic dance' from 1860s America, and an English 'village' dance with scarfs. There was also be supper, reels, games, couples and country dances and final farewells.

Grand costume parade into a 5-figure Quadrille set to the 'Rose-Bay Quadrilles'  in the Australia Musical Album for 1857.

JAFA 2019 - B3 Rose Bay Quadrille.mp4

Nine dances in all different formations rhythms and styles:

A Swedish dance—a fun way for ranks of 1-man-between-2-women to meet different opposites.

Lowe’s Galopade—to the thrilling 1829 'William Tell' overture. 

Triolet Waltzer (1830s)—men dance with every woman in the room in this fun 1-to-2 mixer.

Les Sylphides (late 1820s)—a famous elegant Danish quadrille to this beautiful ballet music.

JAFA 2019 - B3 Les Sylphides.mp4

Recital of amusing poem by Gilbert (of G&S fame) by Sarah Bull

JAFA 2019 - B3 Sarah Bull Recital.mp4

Redowa or Valse Patineurs—last year we featured the mid-century polka, this year a triple time craze.

Fancy Quadrille figure, The Basket—set to the uplifting ‘Life let us cherish’, with guest singer Adela.

The Gothic Dance—bring out our Northanger Abbey theme with this fun arching galop.

*Five steps to Heaven —John's medley of some snazzy variants in another mid-century couple dance craze.

JAFA 2019 - B3 Five Steps Waltz.mp4

Le Polo—a late 19th century French quadrille that became a world-wide hit.

JAFA 2019 - B3 Le Polo.mp4

SUPPER with ACT Impro theatre

Nine more dances in all different formations rhythms and styles:

Greensleeves—(by Robert Crompton, 1890s) a manifestation of the English nostalgia for the village green. Ribbons supplied!

Ostendaise—a simple way to couples dance, and we’ll share the fun by progressing partners.

The Orpheus Quadrille—revisit the standard quadrille done left-bank Paris Can-can style!

JAFA 2019 - B3 Orpheus Quadrille.mp4

*La Parisienne— a medley of the popular waltz, polka, schottish and polka-mazurka.

*Reel of Nine—(Anderson, 1890s) a fun challenge for sets of 3 men and 6 women

Waltz futsal (John G-G) inspired by 'The Boston Ball' (Paris, 1890s) which crossed waltzing and indoor soccer!

Charge of Light Brigade—from 1860s- a thrilling finale.

Free Waltz

JAFA 2019 - B3 La Parisienne.mp4

Here is the general JAFA 2019 poster