Jane Austen Ball Weekend

The 9th Annual Rochester, NY Jane Austen Ball Weekend will be April 25 & 26, 2015.  Save the date!  Tom Amessé will once again be our Dancing Master, and Serendipity (Barb Seppeler, Laurie Williams & Marnen Laibow-Koser) our musicians.  Registration will open mid-February. Here is a preliminary flyer.  The information below is for our most recent Ball, and will give you a good idea of what the event is like.

Saturday and Sunday, May 3 & 4, 2014

Ballroom Grand March 2013 Web
An English Country dance weekend including a Regency period Ball, an experienced dance, practice sessions, and good food!

Dance Mistress

Judi Rivkin

Music by




We have a printable flyer.

This event co-sponsored by CDR and the Rochester Region of the Jane Austen Society of North America.

Schedule of Ball and pre-Ball events

April 6, 13 & 27:  Ball preparatory sessions, 3:30—5:30 pm, at our regular English dance location. $5 per class. For those interested in renting a costume, Lisa Brown of Regency Rentals will be at the first two sessions with her collection of Regency Ball apparel.

 Saturday, May 3 (all events at our regular English dance location):

 3:00—5:30 pm: Ball practice for all (led by Judi Rivkin), followed by a potluck dinner (all welcome; food contributions encouraged but not necessary).

 7:00—10:00 pm: Experienced English dance.  An evening of challenging but rewarding dances and old favorites, not limited to the Regency period. Solid familiarity with English country dancing assumed — basic figures will not be taught and walk-throughs will be minimal.

On Sunday, May 4, we will repair to one of Rochester’s most elegant country clubs:

 10:00 am—noon: Ball dance review, focusing on the more challenging dances, followed by an elegant buffet lunch, and time for dressing (changing rooms available). Hall open at 9:30 am.

 2:00—5:30 pm: the Ball, at the same location, with sumptuous refreshments mid-way.

 6:00 pm:  an informal dinner at a local restaurant for as many as will. Advance signup unnecessary.

Jane Austen Ball Dance Program

Bellamira Long Odds
The Collier’s Daughter The New English Lady
Draper’s Gardens The Old Wigg
Duke of Kent’s Waltz Rakes of Rochester
The Fairy Prince Ramsgate Assembly
Hambleton’s Round O Sir Watkin’s Jigg
La Gavre Softly, Good Tummas
Leather Lake House Trip to Tunbridge

Directions for the dances (in PDF format) can be found here, and will also be in the program booklets given to Ball attendees on May 4. Links in the above table are to videos of the dances, which will give you a visual idea of how the dances go.  All dances will be taught and prompted during the Ball.

DVDs of previous balls are available by mail order, click here for details.  New this year is the ability to pre-order copies of the 2014 Ball DVD, which will be available in October.

Our Performers

Judi Rivkin, our Dance Mistress, is delighted to be returning to Rochester to lead her third Jane Austen Ball, having previously presided in 2007 (the first Ball) and 2010. Judi has been dancing all her life, and began leading and teaching English Country Dance more than 20 years ago in Seattle. Recognized for her clarity, good humor, and welcoming style, Judi has led workshops and dances at festivals, camps, and for groups across the US and Canada, and also leads occasional contra dances. In 2001, she was dance mistress at the Regency Ball, a highlight of the Jane Austen Society of North America’s annual general meeting in Seattle. Judi is based in the Princeton, NJ area, and is a regular caller in that area as well as in White Plains, NY, for Country Dancers of Westchester.
We are very pleased to have Frivolity playing for the Ball and the Sunday morning practice. Tim Ball of Ithaca on violin,  Rachel Bell of Shinglehouse, PA on accordion, and Jane Knoeck of Rochester on piano have long been delivering exciting and danceable music to Rochester audiences.
Playing for the Saturday afternoon practice and the Saturday evening experienced dance is Serendipity, a delightful English Country Dance trio composed of Molly Jaynes of Rochester on violin, Laurie Giroux Williams of Newark, NY on flute, and Barb Seppeler (also of Newark) on piano. Their moving interpretations of English dance tunes have made then popular performers at English dances in Rochester and increasingly in other venues in the northeastern US.

Further Details


To register, print the flyer and mail in the registration form on the last page.  Or register on-line (link removed til next year) with a credit card or PayPal.  Early registration is advised; we usually come close to filling our 80 places for dancers.  This year we will attempt to offer financial assistance to those who wish to come but cannot afford the usual fees. Contact the registrar to request this.

Please address all registration-related communications to BallRegistrar@CDRochester.org.

REGISTRATION STATUS: As of April 20, all of our 80 dancer spots have been taken.  Future registrants will be wait listed, as there is often a cancellation or two.  If we can’t fit you in, we’ll refund your money.   Plenty of room for observers!


Dancers must already be familiar with English Country Dancing.  We strongly encourage dancers to take advantage of our April Sunday afternoon prep sessions and to study the Ball instructions & videos online, as we try for limited teaching during the Ball. Dancers will give themselves—and their partners—the greatest pleasure if they are thoroughly familiar with the afternoon’s program before the Ball.

Prep sessions will be on April 6, 13, and 27, 2014, 3:30 – 5:30 at the First Baptist Church of Rochester, $5 per class. Newcomers to English dancing should be sure to attend the first class.  There’s a potluck dinner afterwards for the convenience of those staying on for our regular evening dance that starts at 6:30.


Regency period attire is encouraged, but anything formal or dressy is fine.  Consider viewing Lisa Brown’s Guides to Dressing for a Regency Ball  for women and menRegency Rentals will be at our April 6 & 13 Ball prep sessions for the convenience of anyone wishing to rent a Ball costume.

Hospitality & Housing

We can accommodate a limited number of out of town visitors in the homes of local dancers. See Contact information.  A list of area hotels is available here.

Raffle & Auction

A raffle and a silent auction will be held during the Ball, as in previous years, with proceeds going to support the Ball.  Contributions to this important fund-raiser may be brought directly to the Ball or to any of the local English dances.  Items related to Jane Austen, England or the Regency period are especially welcome.

Contact Information

For general questions, contact the registrar by e-mailing BallRegistrar@CDRochester.org or phoning 585-442-4681.

To request local hospitality, e-mail BallHousing@CDRochester.org, or phone Kathy Zager at 585-381-6856