How to Hold a Regency Dance

by Lena Freund

The English Regency period began around the year 1800 CE, the era of Jane Austen and King George III and IV. Regency dance fashions were characterized by dresses that were shorter than had previously been popular so that ladies could move easily around the floor. Modern regency enthusiasts are active in societies around the United States -- societies which hold regular regency dances.

Items you will need

  • Period costumes
  • Music
  • Choreographer or instructor
Step 1

Organize an event called an Assembly, which essentially means a party or ball in the lingo of Regency enthusiasts. Invite guests to dress in period costume if they so choose, though this is not strictly required.

Step 2

Hire a DJ or a live orchestra to play music at your Assembly. These balls are characterized by classical music by composers such as Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven and Bach.

Step 3

Ask a Regency society member familiar with regency dances to either choreograph basic dances for your society's balls or to teach your members classic Regency dances from 1800s England.

Step 4

Learn some basic Regency dance steps in preparation for your party. A fleuret is a basic Regency combination that begins with a plie and proceeds across the floor in three gliding steps. The quadrille step, another combination common to Regency dances, consists of two arabesques either to the side or to the front.

Step 5

Perform dances such as the Allemande: a partnered dance that begins with a bow and proceeds more or less in place with a series of rock steps and underarm turns that resemble a modern swing dance.

Tips & Warnings

  • Organize many such parties throughout the year. Regency societies often hold weekly or biweekly dance parties along with several formal dances throughout the year.
  • There are many steps and combinations characteristic of Regency dances; these steps either move across the floor or proceed in place. Many of these combinations are characterized by plies, arabesques, chasses that glide across the floor or rising steps in which the dancer gracefully rises onto the balls of the feet. English country dances were also often used in Regency dances.
  • When dancing, feet should always land flat on the floor, with weight distributed equally through the ball of the foot and the heel. Landing on one edge of the foot will cause the dancer to lose balance.