On Saturday, our English country dance group hosted its annual Elm City Assembly. This year was our first in a new venue, which featured a gorgeous, spacious hall for dancing, a lovely picturesque staircase, and plenty of facilities to accommodate our 150 guests and their armfuls of garment bags full of formal wear. We had dancers drive in from as far away as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York to attend the event, along with lots of fellow Connecticutians, and it was great fun reuniting and catching up with friends we've met at past balls. We also were surprised and quite flattered to meet a blog reader; thanks so much for saying hi and for persuading me into that last dance! :-)
Our lovely new venue...
...filled to the brim with dancers during the afternoon practice.
We attended our usual bi-monthly dance practice on Friday evening, and then were up early on Saturday to do some last-minute food shopping for the big event. This year, Ashley and I volunteered to coordinate the refreshments for the afternoon practice and the evening assembly. Although a LOT of work (much more than we anticipated!), we had fun laying everything out and making all of the treats look pretty and festive. Thank you to everyone who donated something and helped to make the dessert spread so delightfully tasty!
Ashley preparing the "secret recipe" punch.
Our lovely volunteer offered to snap a picture of us with one of the
refreshment tables before it was carried out to be enjoyed. Thank you so
much again for your help all night!
Our music this year was provided by several of the musicians from our incomparable ensemble from our Friday dances; many thanks to Margaret Ann, Phoebe, and Mark for gracing our evening with your talent. You make us all feel so elegant! Joanna Reiner, who called the afternoon practice and the evening ball, selected some fantastic dances, almost all of which were new to us. From Playford originals to contemporary country dances set to traditional tunes, the repertoire was a perfect balance. We even discovered a couple of new favorite dances this weekend, including "Interruptions," "Stepping Stones," and "Banish Misfortune."
Dancing the night away!
Because the light was so low in the dance hall and throughout much of the building, many of our pictures unfortunately came out quite grainy and blurry. Ashley did, however, manage to snatch a video of one of the last dances of the evening, "Stepping Stones," and if you listen closely, you can hear the (very!) old floor creaking. The ballroom was on the second floor, with the dressing rooms beneath, and when you were downstairs during a dance, it sounded as if the ceiling was about to come crashing down around you, it was so loud!
Ashley didn't have a chance to finish her new silk gown for this event, so she wore her favorite brown chintz quarter-back gown. For the very first time, however, I had my gown finished two weeks ahead of schedule - a definite achievement considering that last year, we were half an hour late for the ball because we were furiously finishing Ashley's blue/yellow sacque-back gown on our way out the door (literally!). There's a Threaded Bliss post on my new gown forthcoming, but here's a sneak peak. Stay tuned!
My new lavender silk anglaise.
Additional photos from the afternoon practice and the evening ball can be found in this event's flickr set.