Jane Austen Ball Weekend

Saturday and Sunday, April 25 & 26, 2015  (this event has happened, but we’re leaving the details up hoping to entice you to come to our next Ball on April 23 & 24, 2016, with Beverly Francis as Dance Mistress and music by Childgrove).

2014 Ball Photo
An 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.

Dancing Master

Tom Amessé

Music by


Barb Seppeler (piano), Laurie Giroux Williams (flute) & Marnen Laibow-Koser (violin)

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

Schedule of Ball and pre-Ball events

March 15, 22 & 29, April 12 & 18:  Ball preparatory sessions, 3:30—5:30 pm, at our regular English dance location. $5 per class. Newcomers to English dancing are urged to attend the first two classes; the basics will not be taught at the later ones. Potluck dinner to follow; consider staying and attending our regular beginner friendly dances in the evening (except Mar. 29, when there is no evening dance, and April 18, which is a Saturday).

 Saturday, April 25 (all events at our regular English dance location):

 3:00—5:30 pm: Ball practice for all (led by Tom Amessé), 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 26, 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. You can sign up at the review session.

Jane Austen Ball Dance Program

Waltham Abbey Jaque Latin
Up With Ailey Nymph Divine
De’il Take the Warr Spanish Jig
Sadler’s Wells Rosamond’s Pond
Love’s Triumph Ramsgate Assembly
The Old Batchelor Bonny Grey Eyed Morn
Wa Is Me, What Mun I Do Fair and Softly
Mr. Lane’s Maggot Old Wife Behind the Fire

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


To register, print the flyer and mail in the registration form.  Or register on-line  with a credit card or PayPal.   As of April 18, all of our 80 places for dancers are filled and we are starting a wait list, in case there are last minute cancellations.  Plenty of room for more observers.

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 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.


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 585-442-4681.

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

Our Performers

Long before Tom Amessé discovered English Country Dance, he pursued several interests which included both American History, and acting — if he seems a natural on stage, some of the credit goes to his having acted in local community theater!  He has been calling English Country dances for over a decade, having studied with Scott Higgs, Beverly Francis, Paul Ross, Bruce Hamilton and Gene Murrow.

His clarity and easy-going style have helped him become a favorite at English country dance events in the New York/New Jersey area and all over the US. With regular calling engagements in North Jersey and Staten Island (his home), he has also emceed New Haven’s Elm City Assembly, the Binghamton Ball, several New York Playford Balls (with Gene Murrow), and the Twelfth Night Assembly in Staten Island. This will be his third appearance as the dancing master for our Jane Austen Ball.

Providing the music for our 9th annual Ball weekend is Serendipity, an English country dance band led by Barb Seppeler and composed for this event of Barb on piano, Laurie Giroux Williams on flute, and guest violinist Marnen Laibow-Koser.

Barb is a graduate of the Crane School of Music and SUNY Fredonia. She has taught vocal and general music to all grades in both public and private schools. In addition to being an English Country Dance pianist, she is an elementary school music teacher, a private piano instructor, a choral director, and a composer. She has taken classes and studied privately with Jacqueline Schwab.

Laurie comes from a family of musicians and teachers. She is a graduate of the Crane School of Music and Ithaca College. She currently teaches elementary music and chorus full-time at the Geneva City School District and is a private flute instructor.

Marnen is a composer, performing musician, and web developer from Somerville, Massachusetts. He has studied music and mathematics at the New England Conservatory of Music, Excelsior College, and Purchase College. A multi-instrumentalist, he plays piano, organ, violin, viola, flute, and recorder.  Most of his work is in classical or Anglo-American folk music. Since 1998 he has been a member of The Flying Romanos, a mostly English Country Dance band.

Serendipity’s moving interpretations of English dance tunes have made them popular performers at English dances in western New York, and increasingly at other venues in the northeastern US and Canada. They played for the 2013 Rochester Jane Austen Ball, and have been featured at the Toronto New Year’s Eve Ball, the 2014 Dance Flurry and at dances in NYC and Philadelphia.