Yesterday I attended a Jane Austen Tea Dace hosted by the Victorian Tea & Dance Society in Pasadena. As a girl I was always a fan of Jane Austen, my favorite was Emma. In college, I re-read her entire collection twice because I was an English major and could spend my time reading and writing all day. I used to wish I lived in the Regency Era along with her characters, it all seemed so lovely. So when I discovered that there was a group of people who host monthly dances a few blocks away from my apartment I was ecstatic. These people appeared to be the real deal, true fans of not only classical dancing but also big into community.
I invited my family to join me because they are avid readers and fans of Jane Austen too. It happened to be my cousin’s 18th birthday so we celebrated her special new year in this most unusual matter. None of us were sure what to expect, but were pleasantly surprised at the amount of people and the quality of the event. Here’s a taste of what we experienced.
Dancing, Set 1
Tea Time & a conversation about “The Politics of Tea”
Dancing, Set 2
List Of Dances
The entire event cost $15, which included 4 solid hours of dancing, tea, and a meal prepared with recipes from the Regency Era. For an additional $5 you could come early for an hour long dance class. But if you don’t take the dance class, no worries. The way they start each dance gives enough detail that after a few tries you should be able to understand the dance. My favorite dances of the day were The Congress Of Vienna, The Spaniard and The Waterfall Waltz. I included links above so you can see how each are done.
Isn’t the menu above lovely? I wasn’t expecting to see modern twists on antiquated recipes, like vegan and gluten-free options. But I thought it was incredibly considerate and I was able to eat freely. The food was delicious. In addition to tea, they also served a lovely punch. Here is a recipe for Glasgow Punch from 1770 that was handed out on a sheet of info at the dance, though it wasn’t served due to the alcohol content.
- 6 ounces raw sugar
- Cold water
- 2 limes
- 4 ounces strained fresh lemon juice
- 8 ounces old dark Jamaican rum
In a punchbowl or jug, dissolve sugar in 6 ounces of cold water. Add lemon juice, then sixteen more ounces of water. Add rum and stir. Just before serving, cut limes in half, rub the cut sides around the rim of the bowl, and then squeeze the limes into the bowl. Enjoy :).
My family and I walked away so impressed and we felt like we found part of what we were looking for. I think for us, the connection to England is a big part of it. Also for me, I’m very particular about how I spend my time and what I take in for entertainment. I appreciate the fact that I can go to an event like this and not have to worry about what I’m feeding my spirit or mind.
If you’d like to join me, I’d love to have you! Until then, check out Walter Nelson and some of my favorite photos from the day below :).