Another visit to workshops and/or dances

I'm looking for dance groups in England who would like us to teach a workshop or call a dance for them next September. John's new revised dance history book series will be ready to release, and we'll be bringing copies with us. We teach renaissance, baroque, rococo, regency, English country, Victorian, and vintage couples dance up to 1900. Plus we will be bringing about 16 dancers/costume enthusiasts with us on tour.

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My 1820s Gown - in progress

I've been sewing my interpretation of this dress over the past few days, taking photos whenever I remembered.
It has ended up quite challenging - I keep looking at pictures and working out ways to copy, wishing I had the actual dress in front of me.
I am making two versions of this dress - this one is for a client and was supposed to be sewn by machine. My own version was to be sewn by hand and will be finished afterwards. You can follow my research and progress on my blog.
I don't have time to sew the entire dress by hand and wish to use the machine where possible, but I must say that most of it has ended up sewn by hand, and its taking me longer than I anticipated.

Lining up the stripes on the back

Binding the front open edges

Preparing the front detail. It was easier to bind before cutting it out.

Pinning in place 

Close up showing the binding loops

Gathering the centres of the bows

Three more bows to go. 

Side shot with flash showing first bow

Three bows, one to go. The mannequin is too large so the bodice is not sitting well tonight.

After 7 years John is nearing the end....

Dear friends,

After 7 years of working day and night on it and after months of promising I’d have it ready by April (2010 then 2011 now 2012!), I’m at last in sight of sending off for printing my 10 volume magnum opus entitled Historic Dance. Most receiving this email will already have sensed the wealth of material in these volumes, but if you want to glimpse their covers and contents please go to the Books and CD sub-pages on our and to find out a little more about the nature of the work read my note at the end of this message.

What I need to most urgently say now is that there is a 5 day window of opportunity to offer a special deal to all who have been, are or will be (in the week after Easter) dancing with us. The work will soon be going on sale through at $85 a volume plus postage. This is excellent value (considering that each volume is about 600 A4 pages, the market is tiny and I have no grant, society or university assisting me). I don’t, however, want you to have a dilemma about which volumes to buy first, and would like you to be able to afford to get everything you need to revisit and lead for yourself that to which I have introduced or will be introducing you. Accordingly, we have created on the shoppage of our web-site and if able to get an order to us by Monday 26 March and able to pick up from us between 10 and 15 April, you can get half or full volumes at close to cost price (my big apology that we can’t do anything similar at this stage for our out-of-range friends receiving this email!). I’ve even suggested one package of the five ‘middle’ volumes that will cover nearly everything we are doing (all 130 plus dance) at our 3 days of English dance between Shakespeare and Austen 10-12 April and/or our Jane Austen Festival Australia 13-15 April (here for tickets). I would encourage all who can, however, to get the full set—you’ll discover linkages between dance through the ages and we’ll not be able to repeat its pricing. You will not be disappointed!

The web-mechanism we have put up will accept credit card or paypal. A phone or in person order using credit card, cheque or cash is also possible. Should you be someone who was promised a discount in lieu of money paid for returned draft notes, a full set order will enjoy that further discount.

For those who want or need to know more about the Volumes, read on. It's hard to know how to describe such a mammoth work. The short way might be to say it's the resource you've always wished someone had written (it is for me, which is why I decided it just had to be done). The longer way might be to say there are 10 chronologically framed volumes each of about 600 A4 pages. Each volume is divided into five parts. 

  • In Part 1, Dance Context, I consider the social, political and geographic context in which dance was evolving and the continuities and changes in the institution of the ball. 
  • In Part 2: Dance Forms, I explore the nature and evolution of the period’s main types of dance. 
  • In Part 3, Dance Technicalities, I offer sections on ‘Style’, ‘Etiquette’, ‘Honours’, ‘Holds’, ‘Formations’, ‘Figures’ and ‘Steps’. 
  • In Part 4, Dances in Detail—the longest part—I offer my reconstructions of, and music for, dozens of dances and dance variants. 
  • In Part 5: Dancing Masters, I discuss developments in dance teaching, notation and publication, and offer an annotated bibliography of relevant primary sources. In every part of every volume I have placed an emphasis on original sources and have built my discussions around hundreds of included facsimiles, transcriptions, translations and illustrations.

There are many subjects/sources/dances I’d still like to explore, permissions I’d still like to seek and improvements I’d still like to make, but it’s become apparent to me no-one lives forever, that the work is benefiting no-one while it stays on my computer, that correspondence with people and libraries will be easier when they can see the useful work I’ve been engaged in, and that the work is too big now for me alone to give it all the reading, pondering, playing, dancing and use it needs in order to be of value and be built upon. For all these reasons I’ve ruled a line, have presented the work in the most attractive and useful way my skills allow and am now going to make it available.

Hope you can join me now in pushing this project forward into the stage we’ve all been waiting for—the stage of enjoying and using this work,

Warmest regards,


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Tribute to Charles Dickens

We danced at a tribute to Charles Dickens at the High Court yesterday. A snippet was played on the ABC news at

DPP 2011

I've had such a busy 2011 that I never expected to enter the DPP 2011 but just tonight, after speaking with my husband, he encouraged me to enter what I had made that was close to 1812 in the Your Wardrobe Unlockd section of the competition. I'm not expecting to come anywhere, my reward is in knowing I did complete some outfits and managed to make the deadline. Most of my time for the last three months has been taken up making Italian Renaissance over gowns, under gowns and linen chemises for the Earthly Delights Historic Dance Academy's upcoming performance at the National Gallery of Australia on February 18 and March 3 & 4, 2012. 

AUSTRALIA DAY OFFER - win a reticule or cravat

For one week only we are giving all our readers the chance to win a handmade reticule or cravat [their choice]. The reticule or cravat will be delivered to its new owner before the end of March, 2012.
All you have to do is post the Jane Austen Festival Australia 2012 poster and the website link onto your facebook page, blog or twitter with an @-mention shoutout to the festival website and then add where you posted it in the comments box at . The more places you post the poster & link the more times your name goes into the hat.

Download the picture from . The website link is or you can link to our blog

On 1 February 2012 we will make the draw and notify the winner.