Victoria and Albert Ball 2023
Saturday, October 7, 2023
6:00 pm Hall opens
7:00-10:00 pm Ball
Mechanics Hall, Worcester
Immerse yourself in historical dancing, delightful refreshments, and a whirl of costumes. The Victoria and Albert ball will be a stunning recreation of a nineteenth-century ball in grand European style. Please wear costumes from the years of Victoria and Albert’s marriage (1840 – 1861) or modern formal wear. Dances will be taught during the course of the evening. Beginners are welcome, and you do not need to bring a partner to attend.
Music will be provided by Spare Parts.
Prompting by Barbara Menard Pugliese.
Tickets are on sale now! (Please read our covid precautions below before you register.)
More information, including photos of the venue and details on parking, tickets, and hotels, will be posted soon
COVID precautions for 2023:
This ball will require that all participants wear N95 masks at all times while in the ballroom. We will provide masks to all guests at the door of the ballroom for your convenience. Masks will be optional in other parts of the building, allowing for refreshments and photos for those who choose to step away from the ballroom. Proper mask wearing (covering nose and mouth) will be enforced in the ballroom, and people who are unable to comply will be asked to leave the event. Please do not buy tickets unless you are willing to wear a mask while in the ballroom.
Although many events and groups have relaxed or removed their COVID precautions, we are deeply committed to our dancers’ safety and comfort. By instituting these strict requirements, we hope to create an event that friends can safely attend in cases of immune deficiency, other disabilites or risk factors, and commitments to care for high risk family members.
In keeping with this goal, please do not attend if you are exibiting signs of illness on the day of the event. We will not be checking vaccine cards, but we ask that all attendees make sure they are fully vaccinated at the time of the event for their own safety and as a courtesy to others.
Evening dress from the years of Victoria and Albert’s marriage, 1840-1861, or modern evening dress. A black dress suit in 1840 to 1861 style is appropriate for men, though a dress military uniform or court dress would also be good. A ball gown from the years 1840 to 1861 is appropriate for women, and extra jewelry and tiara would take your ensemble to the next level. For those who don’t have period clothing, gentlemen should wear a dark suit and ladies should wear a formal dress with an ankle length skirt. Please do not wear modern casual clothing – short skirts, jeans, shorts, t-shirts, short-sleeved shirts – and definitely avoid wearing sneakers.
What is the dancing like?
Our dances are reconstructed from period sources, and we strive for historical accuracy. For instance, our 1860s waltz is related to, but different from, a modern ballroom waltz. It can be done whirling around the grand ballroom, or can be danced in a more restrained manner in the center of the ballroom. Our 1860s contradances use simple walking steps in patterns. They are easy to join in, and quickly become a lot of fun.
If you have no dance experience, this is an event where your can get some! The Victoria and Albert Ball will have dance instruction as part of the evening. We will teach contradances and get everyone, both beginners and experienced dancers, involved. We will also play waltzes and polkas for those who have some experience with whirling couple dances.
What dances will be too difficult for me to handle?
The simplest dances require a brisk walk and following simple instructions; that is, walking in time to the music, and knowing right from left. Couple dances (waltzes, polkas, etc) can be more challenging and will be taught in less detail. If you are adventurous and have no trouble walking you will be able to learn many of the dances with no prior experience! If you are very concerned about making mistakes, you can always observe for a little while to build confidence.
Do I need a partner?
No. The dancing we do is a fundamentally social activity. You are welcome to bring a partner, and many people enjoy our events most if they have a small group of friends to dance with, but there is no problem with attending solo and meeting new people. We cannot insist that people change partners—some people dance with only a single partner as a matter of comfort or because of medical concerns or injury. On the other hand, people learn best from dancing with lots of different dancers. When we teach classes we encourage partner changes, and we hope that mindset carries over to our balls. As a rule of thumb, do not be afraid to ask strangers to dance, but do not be offended if they decline.
Do you use non-gendered dance terms?
No; we use the terms “lady” and “gentleman” that were used in nineteenth-century dance manuals. We use these terms for the dance roles. A person in the lady’s role begins on the right side of a couple and generally steps off with the right foot. A person dancing the gentleman’s role begins on the left side of the couple and generally steps off with the left. You should pick a role and stick with it for the length of the dance. You can dance the same or a different role for other dances in the evening. You can wear clothing of whatever gender makes you feel comfortable and confident, but this doesn’t force you into one dance role or the other.
Will there be actors? Will there be activities? Is this a LARP, immersive theater, or something else?
CVD is an educational non-profit organization focused on history and dancing. Therefore the main activity of a CVD ball is dancing, and through this we try to build an immersive social experience capturing positive elements of a historical time period. We think this is fun and educational, but it can be a little hard to describe to someone who has never attended one of our events!
We do not generally have actors at our events, nor can our volunteer-run non-profit achieve the production values of some of the larger immersive experiences or theater events. We are also not a LARP – the event does not have a plot, and attendees do not pretend to be characters. It might be easier to think of this as an elaborate costume party with friends you haven’t met yet!
Also note that there are many elements of history that we DO NOT emulate or reenact. Racism and sexism have absolutely no place in our ballroom. Behavior will be judged by modern standards, and bad behavior will not be tolerated in our community.
Are children allowed?
Children who are able to display adult manners and follow directions, usually beginning around age 12, are welcome to attend our balls as participants, but must be accompanied by an adult. Children are charged the adult rate for the Victoria and Albert Ball. Children who are too young to participate in the event are discouraged from attending.
What should I wear?
For this ball, historical clothing is greatly admired but not required. If you wear modern evening dress, you’ll do fine. Please, do not wear sneakers, shorts, jeans, t-shirts, short-sleeved shirts, or overly short skirts to our formal events (casual clothes are fine for dance classes but not for balls, and sneakers are never safe to dance in).
Where can I get an outfit?
We are constantly asked that question, but the answer is not easy. First of all, remember that period clothing is not required—if it is a question of showing up in nice modern clothes or not showing up at all, definitely come! That said, some people really prefer wearing historical clothes and want help finding them.
If you are interested in making a historical outfit and have some sewing skills, there are many commercially available patterns. Past Patterns is a favorite of ours because each pattern is an education in historical sewing. There are other historical pattern companies that do great work. The big commercial companies have historical patterns, but they often use modern construction techniques and can look a little costume-y, especially if made up in slick modern fabrics. Stick to nice cotton or silk fabrics, and you’ll come up with something beautiful.
If you do not sew and would like to buy an outfit, there are usually many sellers on Etsy and eBay that make Civil War and other historical clothing. Some of these are much higher quality and more accurate than others, but there is so much turnover in sellers that it is hard for us to make recommendations. Look at lots of pictures and original garments to educate your eye before you jump into buying something.
What is your refund policy?
Tickets to the Victoria and Albert Ball are non-refundable.
What if I have more questions?
Write an email to Query@VintageDancers.org. or leave a voice-mail at 781-350-3399, and we’ll get back to you.