At Baxter Communications, we all have a special place in our heart for everything British, but our Senior Consultant Karen Holt (actually an American by birth) really goes the whole hog! Her love for the books of Jane Austen, and the English Regency period in general, has become a serious hobby that entails making her own period-style clothes, learning the era’s dances, and travelling the world to participate in international reenactment and other related events.
In mid-July, Karen took part in a special excursion to Bath and environs to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice – Austen’s most widely loved novel. Aside from visiting numerous filming locations from the famous 1995 mini-series (including “Longbourn”, the Bennet family home, which is usually closed to the public), she also got the chance to meet Simon Langton, the mini-series director, and Jeff Smart, producer of the BBC’s 10th anniversary tribute to the production “Pride and Prejudice – Lasting Impressions”. Add to that a Jane Austen walking tour of Bath led by Austen scholar and author Hazel Jones, and a presentation by Natalie Garbett, a leading UK expert on Regency fashion, and it was an Austen-full weekend that would satisfy the heart of any “Janeite”.
What was dancing like in the Regency period? Very different from today! Most were ‘contra-dances’, in which partners executed a pattern of steps and movements in two lines facing each other, changing places up and down the rows as they did so. Here is an example from the 2009 mini-series of “Emma”.