logo designed by jcobb_beaumont@hotmail.com Jane Austen Society of North America in Calgary

Sprigged Muslin Dancing

In Calgary you can learn Regency dances and share laughter with the members of "Sprigged Muslin". Our Dance Mistress, Ruth Steven helps us find the real spirit of dancing in the Regency period. Descriptions of the dances are available in pdf.

Sprigged Muslin is seeking new members. No experience of any sort is required. Enjoying laughter and comradery are the only qualifications. Contact Sprigged Muslin by email (jasnacalgary@jasnacalgary.ca) for more information.

Usually we meet to learn and practice on the fourth Monday of each month, at
Prairie Sky Co-housing at 100 - 403 31 Ave NE. If a performance is in the offing, we agree on a more frequent schedule to polish our dances.

Steps and Music

Thanks to the JASNA 2014 Conference in Montreal, we have discovered a deep source of steps and music for Regency and every other style of Country Dancing. Michel Landry, the Dancing Master at Fanny's Ball, kindly pointed us to the Country Dance and Song Society".

Fashion in Dancing

Like all arts, dancing evolves. The movies we have all enjoyed so much have unfortunately blurred the meaning of Regency Dancing. Hone your knowledge of the fashion dictates in Jane Austen's time. Real Regency Dancers Don't Turn Single

Dancing in Jane Austen's novels plays a pivotal role in courtship and family entertainment. The Jane Austen Centre in Bath provides a good description of Regency Dancing and the History of the Waltz.

One of our favourite dances, Mr Beveridge's Maggot, looks much better in the movie video from Pride and Prejudice. Descriptions of many English dances are at Earthly Delights website.

Dancers are often members of JASNA Calgary, but everyone is welcome. We dance mainly for our own pleasure, although we do perform for seniors groups, JASNA galas, etc. For performances we create costumes, and experienced members help with suggestions and sources. If you would like more information contact us at JASNA Calgary.

For a peek at group similar to Sprigged Muslin in the UK, watch video interviews with Jane Austen dancers

In the UK, a new site describes in words and action how to do many Regency Dances. They invite others to contribute to their online library. Also, online videos can help in learning new steps and dances.

Sprigged Muslin Performances

Birthday Tea for Jane Austen 2013

Dancing was the focus for the Tea. Catherine Gardner gave a talk on "Dance Mania" during Georgian times. Jane Austen herself was very fond of dancing. There were three types of dances at the time, the Assembly dances being the most elaborate, then the country dances given in rooms attached to country inns followed by the much smaller private dances given in people's homes.
Assemblies of this sort were very important in the courtship rituals of the time. It was an opportunity for men and women to mingle while still under the watchful eyes of the single women's mothers. An interesting detail of these Assemblies, especially in Bath, was the importance of the Master of Ceremonies. These men created the rules of etiquette involved in conducting assemblies. One had to obtain tickets and the approval of the M.C. in order to gain admittance to assemblies and to meet the right people. One of the many rules was that brides and strangers were given first choice at dances in order to keep the young men from dancing with only the prettiest women.
After breaking for a marvelous tea, we were entertained by the Sprigged Muslin dancing group. First, the dancers presented a gift, A Dance with Jane Austen, to Dance Mistress Ruth, honouring her cheerful and dedicated teaching. Then the group performed the Alderman's Hat, Mr. Beveridge's Maggot, and Croft House. They invited all tea-goers to join in the Circassian Circle. It was truly a delightful way to spend a January afternoon.

A Very Proper Tea

On 2012 October 28, Calgary Food Tours presented A Very Proper Tea at the Palliser Hotel, after which many tea goers attended Pride and Prejudice at Theatre Calgary.

Jasna Calgary's Sprigged Muslin dancers performed three dances at the tea, plus a participation dance enthusiastically embraced by everyone. Ann Craig began the performance with a brief review of Jane Austen's life, and Amber Adams contributed a talk about Tom Lefroy, Jane's admirer.

Chestermere Tea

On 2012 June 5, Sprigged Muslin was invited to tea and dancing in Chestermere as part of the town's celebration of 1812. Jane Austen may never have known the Canadian prairies, but Chestermere's enthusiastic Events Coordinator, Nancie Huneault, knows 1812. She and her colleagues joined in Sprigged Muslin practices from March to May, culminating in a graceful dancing demonstration for the town's Seniors Tea.

Pat Barton, our long-admired, now-retired dance instructor, presented several short talks on the history of the selected dances. Indeed, she honoured the tradition of new dances for special occasions by creating "Chestermere Circle", spritely and easy enough for all to join in.

Jane's Birthday Tea

We all enjoyed performing at the Birthday Tea for Jane Austen in 2011 January 15. More photos can be seen on the Photos page.

CFUW Dinner

In 2010 May we performed for the Canadian Federation of University Women - Calgary North. Under the direction of Pat Barton, members of the CFUW participated in a set of readings from Pride and Prejudice. At intervals, Sprigged Muslin performed dances.

Pat introduces the readings Sprigged Muslin dancing Sprigged Muslin dancing Sprigged Muslin dancing

Sprigged Muslin