Regency Christmas Ball at The Court House on December 13th

On 13th December the Unlocking Warwick group is proud to present a Grand Regency Christmas Ball!

 Relive Regency period style with instruction from dance director Liz Bartlett of the Jane Austen Dancers of Bath.

No experience necessary to learn and perform some of the authentic dances of the 18th and early 19th century in the restored ballroom at the Court House, Jury Street, Warwick.

Doors open 6.45pm for 7.30pm~ Carriages at 10.30pm

Period dress is encouraged, but not essential.

Tickets will include a welcome drink, and interval canapés, with a bar available throughout the evening serving traditional ‘negus’ punch and other drinks.

Tickets at £20 are available from Warwick Visitor Information Centre 01926 492212.

Numbers limited so book in good time!

Find out more about the Jane Austen Dancers at

Photos of the dancers at

Here are some notes on Dress for the Ball………

Dress notes for the Warwick Christmas Regency Ball   (with thanks to ‘Jane Austen Dance’)

Regency Dance

The Regency period was technically 1811 to 1820, (future George IV ruling for mad King George III). However, ‘Regency’ has long been used to refer to a broader time period, and Regency Dance covers 1789 to 1830, (French Revolution to the end of the Georgian era).

In the early part of the period, the ballroom was dominated by the country dance, the cotillion, and the scotch reel; but the 1810s

saw the introduction of the quadrille and the waltz. The most popular exposure to this period of dance comes from the novels

and letters of Jane Austen (1775 to 1817).


Guests are encouraged to wear regency-style clothes for the ball. This is not a requirement. But flat shoes are essential! It would be good if ladies could at least wear a long loose skirt, and gentlemen a dark suit or jacket. But if you would like to look a little more like Elizabeth Bennet or Mr. D’Arcy from Pride and Prejudice, here are a few suggestions.


The empire line dress can be simulated with a ribbon tied under the bust, and the skirt gathered at the back. Blouses would have short puff sleeves and quite a low neckline. Young ladies would wear simple pearls or small crosses; ‘parures’ (family sets of jewellery) for married ladies. Long dresses or trains should be pinned up or held to avoid tripping. Soft, flexible-soled and flat shoes or slippers are recommended. No stilettos or high heels, nor bare feet for dancing. White or ivory gloves would normally be worn; the shorter the sleeve, the longer the glove, often fastened above the elbow with a ribbon. Caps would be trimmed with ribbon or lace. More mature ladies might wear a turban. Shawls were often worn indoors, made of soft Indian cashmere, silk or other light material.


Breeches would be fastened just below the knee with a garter or ribbons, and light stockings below. But Beau Brummel invented the fashion of wearing straight dark trousers for evening ware, so plain trousers will be fine. White shirt with the collar turned up and a cravat made from a large square of muslin or silk, folded into a long narrow tie with the ends tied into a bow or knot at the front. Normally gentlemen would wear a tail coat in the evening, but in late regency the frock coat (no tails) gained popularity. A simple dark jacket will suffice for our ball. Waistcoats were popular, often in pale colours to contrast with the jacket. Soft black shoes or pumps were worn at an assembly, sometimes tied with a buckle or ribbon.


Dancing can make you feel pretty warm, so you might like to bring a fan. Gentlemen as well as ladies would often carry a fan. But beware you are not unconsciously giving romantic signals with your fan; for example, a half-closed fan held to the lips says, ‘I would like to kiss you’.

If you feel a dance is getting too much for you, just sit down and have a rest. Jugs of water will be available. But please don’t leave glasses where they can be knocked over.

Costume Hire

If you would like to hire a costume or an item of dress for the Christmas Ball, the local hire shops have quite low prices – from £15 or £20.

Harlequin Party Shop, Smith Street Warwick. 01926 402542

 Aladin’s Cave Dress Hire, Leamington. 01926 434040

Stratford Fancy Dress, Stratford. 01789 298467

Spending money on lovely costumes is not a requirement for the ball, but we hope with a little inventiveness, guests will be able to dress in a way that indicates the regency period.