As our blog is called Old fashioned Girls, I would say that yes, for the most part, I think our family does quite a bit of “old fashioned” things. In many ways, we are old fashioned, yet in others ways, take for instance this blog, we keep up with the times! Yet, I must say one of the great events that we home schoolers have, that is indeed very old fashioned, dating hundreds of years back, is historical balls and dances. This being the case, Cassie, Grace, Katie and I have been going to balls since we were about 8 or so. Now that we are all slightly older, we were the ones to host this year’s summer historical ball.
Now for people who are more familiar with high school dances such as prom, the picture you get in your head when you think “a dance” is hardly what happens at our balls. You see, these events are attended by whole families dressed in historical costumes. Each person who wishes to dance, has a dance card with 5-7 dances on it. In keeping with the etiquette of balls from say the mid 1800’s, the gentlemen must ask the girls to dance and it is improper to dance solely with one girl the entire night. For the girl’s part, one must not refuse to dance with someone unless she has all her dances full or plans to sit a particular dance out.
At the beginning of the ball, everyone of all ages gets out on the dance floor (or lawn on this particular evening) for the “”Grand March” and the dancing hardly lets up except for a quick break halfway through until the end of the night. At the beginning of each dance, the lady is escorted onto the dance floor and at the end of each the dance her partner escorts her off. The dances we danced were from the Civil War era (1860’s) and included dances such as the Virginia Reel and a general favorite the Post Jig (or sometimes called the Posties Jig).
Since it was summer, our ball was called the “Starlight Summer Ball” and was held in our yard with views of Smith Rock in the background. We had straw bales covered in quilts for seating, white lights strung in the trees and homemade pie for dessert! It was just delightful with all the girls dressed in beautiful gowns and the young men dressed nicely for the evening. Oh yes, back to the times of hoop skirts and petticoats we went!
As the evening drew on and the stars came out, the lights and tea candles scattered around the property, glowed and shimmered with the stars, as a canopy overhead. Girls giggled and little children ran about. As the dancing came to an end, the night was finished off with the playing and singing of “Amazing Grace,” in keeping with the traditions of our past home school balls. When the evening drew to a close, there was quite a bit ofchatting as we got to visit with friends we hadn’t seen in awhile under the cool hush of a starlit night!
*Megan’s mom, Kerry, chiming in…I just cannot help myself, as these historical balls have been a favorite part of my home educating life. It is such a blessing to see sisters and brothers, moms and dads, dads and daughters, moms and sons and even some new sweethearts all enjoying these dances of old together. I remember holding baby boys in my arms as I danced the “Woo Dance” and now I have to make sure I get on my son’s dance cards before they are filled up. At 8 and 10, they even filled in as Dance Masters for a demonstrations at the ball. It melts my heart each time I leave a home school historical ball, as I look upon the beautiful relationships represented, as I see the strength of family bonds and once again am affirmed that sometimes the “Old Fashioned” ways are still the best ways!
Happy to Dance The Night Away,
(Featured Image Taken by Taylor Gatley)
Because there were just too many pictures to choose from, here are just a couple more I wanted to share with you!