Jane Austen Ball Weekend

Our next Jane Austen Ball weekend will be May 6 & 7, 2017, with the popular Tom Amessé calling and three fabulous musicians: Rebecca McCallum, Eileen Nicholson Kalfass, and Jane Knoeck.  Check back here in February 2017 for full information. Our 2016 Ball is described below; we expect the events and schedule to be similar in 2017.

Saturday and Sunday, April 23 & 24, 2016.


Dancers at our first Jane Austen Ball in 2007

Our tenth annual English Country dance weekend in Rochester, NY, including a Regency period Ball, an experienced dance, practice sessions, and good food! We have a printable flyer with registration form.

Dance Mistress

Beverly Francis

Music by


Debbie Jackson (piano), Anne Ogren (violin & viola),

Martha Stokely (oboe, pennywhistle & recorder)

Co-sponsored by Country Dancers of Rochester and the Central and Western New York Region of the Jane Austen Society of North America.

Schedule of Ball and pre-Ball events

March 13 & 20, April 3, 10 & 17: Ball preparatory sessions, 3:30—5:30 pm, at our regular English dance location. $5 per class. Newcomers to English dancing should attend the first two classes to learn the basics. Potluck dinner to follow; consider staying and attending our regular beginner friendly dances in the evening. Lisa Brown will offer a free Turban and Bandeau workshop on April 3 at 2 pm at First Baptist.

Saturday, April 23 (all events at The First Baptist Church of Rochester, our regular English dance location):

3:00—5:30 pm: Ball practice for all (led by Beverly Francis), 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, April 24, at the Memorial Art Gallery Ballroom

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.  If you like, you can visit the Art Gallery between 11 am and 5 pm, just by showing your name tag.

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. You can sign up at the review session.

Jane Austen Ball Dance Program

Caernefon Castle The Dressed Ship
Bonny Charley The Free Mason
The Cotery Alterations
The Physical Snob The Drummer
Prince William of Gloucester’s Waltz Shrewsbury Lasses
Jackey Tarr Lovely Nancy
The Hop Ground Over the Hills
The Bishop Duke of Kent’s Waltz

Directions for the dances (in PDF format) can be found here, and will also be in the program booklets given to Ball attendees at the Ball. 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.

Further Details


(This event is now over.  Check this website in mid-February, 2017 for information on our 2017 Ball.)

If you’d like to attend, but the admission price is prohibitive for you, please get in touch with the registrar. We may be able to work something out.

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


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


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 men.

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.

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.

Contact Information

For general questions, e-mail BallRegistrar@CDRochester.org or phone 585-721-5825.

To request local hospitality, e-mail BallHousing@CDRochester.org.

Our Performers

BeverlyBeverly Francis finds English country dance endlessly fascinating after more than four decades. She is Country Dance New York’s leader of longest standing and has called dances up and down the East coast as well as across the country and in Canada. Beverly has a particular fondness for country dance in the time of Jane Austen and has called many dances for the Jane Austen Society of North America, New York Metropolitan Region, as well as two balls for the national JASNA.  She is a featured caller at CDSS’ English Dance Week at Pinewoods this year.

childgroveCDCoverChildgrove features Debbie Jackson on piano, Anne Ogren on violin and viola, and Martha Stokely on oboe, pennywhistle, and recorder. Drawing on backgrounds in classical, Celtic, Klezmer and other styles, the trio brings a fluid, eclectic approach to the elegant and compelling melodies of English country dance. The always spirited and completely danceable effects are captured on the band’s two CD’s, Early Instincts (2004) and Wanderlust (2008), which feature traditional and original English country dance tunes.

Martha Stokely is a reformed classical musician who now has much more fun. After living rather nomadically, she is happily settled in Ann Arbor with her fabulous husband, Neil, and two adorable, shenaniganizing cats. Her past musical experiences include playing with Ars Musica, the Sarasota Opera Festival, the Bolshoi Ballet, the Sao Paulo State Symphony in Brazil, a shawm & sackbut ensemble, a Scandinavian fiddle circle, and the Mantovani Orchestra.

Debbie Jackson is a versatile pianist, singer and event organizer who has been playing regularly for contra and English Country dancing for over 20 years. As a happy music collaborator, she enjoys composing new tunes, improvising with chording and interpreting music to connect with dancers. She also plays in various swing, folk and couple dance ensembles throughout the Midwest. Debbie has performed in Denmark, Austria, Turkey, France, Ukraine and the Slovak Republic. Along with playing regularly with Childgrove, she recently released a solo piano CD Inner Spaces.

Anne Ogren got hooked on playing music in a group when she joined her first orchestra, the Des Moines Symphony, at the age of 13. Since that time she has played in many orchestras in the US, Norway, France & Scotland. Over the years, she has performed with innumerable soloists, from Van Cliburn to Tony Bennett and PDQ Bach. Now retired from teaching orchestra in the public schools, Anne enjoys a more flexible schedule and keeps busy giving private lessons, playing chamber music, performing with Childgrove and traveling. In February 2011, she was part of a team starting the first primary school violin program in Kenya.