Regency Dancing

The English Regency period, roughly around the year 1800, was a colorful period, when the cut of a man’s coat was as important as his politics, and “Beau” Brummel offended the Prince Regent by asking, “Do you really call that a coat?”

A regent rules a monarchy while the monarch is alive but unable to rule, such as by youth or absence. England has had only one in modern times. When George III began to go mad around 1790, the Prince’s star began to rise, so his era may be thought to begin then, although he was not made Regent until 1811.

The Regency writer Jane Austen is a great name in literature. I recommend the 20th Century Englishwoman Georgette Heyer. He stories are quite wonderful: witty, lively, and historically accurate. Even heterosexual men like me love them. Other sapient beings should not look smug.

For years now, science fiction conventions have had an evening or afternoon for Regency ballroom dancing. I’ll teach at this year’s Westercon. You’re welcome to try. Come in costume or come as you are.

— John Hertz