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Imagine to yourself everything most profligate and shocking in the way of dancing and 
sitting down together. (Letters, Jane Austen to Cassandra Austen, Jan. 9, 1796)

2011 Gala: Words, Wands and War

JASNA Calgary held its biannual gala on Saturday, May 14, 2011 from 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. The Sunalta Community Centre was prettily decorated and rang out with the sounds of tinkling teacups, laughter and good conversation.

After tea and dainties, and in honour of the 200th anniversary of Sense and Sensibility, the program began with the poem "Can you hear me, Jane Austen? This is me, Marianne Dashwood". Read by Kathleen Ryan, the poem was written by Esther Harris, who first fell in love with Jane Austen while playing Jane Bennet in a school production of Pride and Prejudice.

Kathleen Ryan, reader Esther Harris, author

Next, University Professor Emeritus at U of A, Juliet McMaster, shared "The Genres of Talk in Sense & Sensibility". She pointed out that Jane Austen looks at speech rather than through it, in genres including real conversation, fatuitous fillers, specious arguments and shameless flattery. McMaster then spoke of her work with Juvenilia Press and read a small portion from The Beautifull Cassandra, which she has illustrated.

After a break of "ices", Mount Royal University Professor Diana Patterson took the stage to speak on "Harry Potter's Debt to Jane Austen". She began by noting that three Austen books are on J.K. Rowling's virtual bookshelf (click on the glasses). She also shared several of J.K. Rowling's own words about Jane Austen and pointed out that Mrs. Norris, the grief-causing cat in The Philospher's Stone, takes her name from Aunt Norris of Mansfield Park.

After Diana's talk, we were treated to a scrumptious lunch that included watermelon, coleslaw and snap pea salads, mango chicken skewers, and a delightful gooseberry-topped panacotta. Eight lucky attendees were awarded a door prize.

Finally, Professor Emeritus at U of A, Rowland McMaster spoke to us about "Women Aboard Men-of-war". His expertly researched talk on the experiences of women aboard ships in Regency times was framed around the discussion between Captain Wentworth and Admiral and Mrs. Croft in Persuasion. His lecture was peppered with multimedia treats, including dramatic readings by himself and Juliet, a slide presentation and Juliet's guitar and singing skills in the song "Jackaroe".

Juliet McMaster Diane Patterson Rowland McMaster

All in all, a gala not soon to be forgotten! Thanks to our Regional Coordinator and Program Coordinator, mother and daughter team, Catherin and Helen Gardner.

Catherine and Helen Gardner

Gala on May 14

2009 Gala: Husbands, Warfare and Dancing

Our Gala on June 13 was an all day affair with about fifty Jane Austen fans discussing Husbands, Warfare and Dancing as seen through the perceptive lenses of Jane Austen and our distinguished speakers.

  • Dr. Nora Stovel picked up the famous statement by Mr. Knightley, "Brother and Sister! No, Indeed!" to illustrate the transformation of friendship into courtship. She also launched Jane Austen Sings the Blues, her book that pays tribute to her husband, the late Dr. Bruce Stovel, an admired Jane Austen scholar and lover of the blues.

  • Dr Rowland McMaster delivered his talk, "War, Gore and Much, Much, More: The Battle of Trafalgar with Allusions to Jane and Francis Austen". He used many historical stories and pictures to increase our understanding of history that so influenced Jane Austen's brothers. Francis, missed Trafalgar under orders from Nelson, but he eventually became Admiral of the Fleet, the highest rank in the navy. Rowland McMaster is Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta,

    Nora Stovel Rowland McMaster

  • Dr Juliet McMaster entertained us with her approach to "Categorising the Husbands", such as the lover, the brother, and the father types. How many of us categorised our own loved ones?

    Juliet McMaster Pat Barton

With a dance floor of "good proportions", Pat Barton and Sprigged Muslin gave all our members a chance to dance simple Regency dances, just like in the movies. Sprigged Muslin also showed several more complicated dances that impressed on-lookers. An option many others enjoyed was a quiz based on Jane Austen and her novels.

Sprigged Muslin dancing Sprigged Muslin dancing

2007 Gala

The JASNA Calgary dancing group is called "Sprigged Muslin". Some of us dance and the rest of us watch. Shown here is "Sprigged Muslin" at the 2007 Spring Gala at Fort Calgary.

Dancing at Fort Calgary Dancing at Fort Calgary Dancing at Fort Calgary Sprigged Musling dancing group