Dance in the Regency
At the top of the blog is now the place for history, and I thought I would write out one of the period dances that not only we do at our Regency Balls, but that I also teach. Then once it was done here, I can save myself a step when it gets posted to the Regency Assembly Press website.
The Duke of Kent’s Waltz comes to us from 1801. It was rediscovered in a coverless book at the British Library which Jacqueline Schwab has since identified (and could be a woman who I danced with across Scotland in 2007. The one my search turned up plays in the band, Bare Necessities, and it is probably unlikely that there are two Jacqueline Schwabs researching Period English Country Dance.)
Edward Augustus, the father of Victoria, was the fourth son of George III. (And obviously the one to have the oldest surviving female child when he and his siblings had all died.) He was made Duke of Kent in 1799 at the age of 32. At this time waltz music was making its way to England but not the waltz itself.
Duke of Kent’s is a longways duple minor which means that men line up in a long line across from their ladies. The very top couple joins their hands and they take the hands of the next couple. That is one set. The couple who was closest to the music is the A couple or often called the 1st couple. The other couple is the B Couple, or 2nd couple.
Dance call from W.M. Cahusac’s Annual Collection, 1801
1) 1-8 All right hands-across, and left hands back.
2) 1-8 A couple take two hands and side step down center two steps, two back, and cast down to second place. B couple lead up.
3) 1-4 All take right hands and balance forward, back, and change places. (Men turn partner under arm, down the set)
4) 5-8 Repeat with left hand back to place.
5) 9-12 Men turn women below their partners by right-hand.
6) 13-16 Men turn partners by left-hand.
Breaking this down for you.
Cast-Casting out and around means that the A man turns over his left shoulder and walks behind the B man to the place vacated by the next A man in line as he has also cast and moved down the line. The A lady does the same casting concurrently over her right shoulder and walking behind the B lady on her side of the set.
Balance-A Balance is a shifting of weight. Here while taking the right hand, you step forward to your partner on your right foot as well, rocking your weight forward onto the right foot, then back on your left foot.
The Dance Figures
❖ Right hands across and left back means to take your partner right hand in your own and walk to their place, then switching hands once you get there, walk back to your starting place. We have four measures to get to the opposite side of the set, and then four measures of music to get home.
❖ The A Couple are then going to take both hands and come close together in the center of the dance. (All the A couples.) They then move down two side steps away from the music, and then move back up to where they started. They finish this with a cast to second place. (This allows us to progress and dance with new partners at the end of all the phrases)
❖ We take right hands again and do the balance step as explained above. But there is a little more here. Instead of walking around to place, the men are going to raise their hand that holds their partners. Not to high because one we are in very tight sleeves and have little room to raise our own arms, and two, one must think how high we will raise a ladies hand as to not cause her discomfort. As we do this, the gentlemen are turning the lady under the raised arm as we all exchange places.
❖ Very simply we do what we just had done with our left hands. Balancing and turning.
❖ Here it is a little awkward for the lady at the very top of the dance will be ignored, and the man at the very bottom of the dance has no one to partner. Looking at your partner, the gentlemen then looks to the right of her (her left) and this is who he will dance with. It is very much how we started the dance, but this is a full turn to place in four measures.
❖ And to make things somewhat symmetrical, as most of these dances do, we have four measures to turn our own partner once more by the left this time, before it all starts over.
Waltzing in the Regency
I have a post at English Historical Fiction Authors coming on December 6th that discusses this very issue. I was reading a book by a noted historian who has decided to tackle Regency Romance, and so jump from History to Fiction. Well she certainly did, having an impromptu dance where she gets the musicians, not in London, to play a waltz, and then teaches all the wives and officers how to waltz. Having taught dance for over 20 years, that would not happen. And in my article, I also point out when it is appropriate to have the waltz in England.
The Other Shoe
The NaNoWriMo Project passed the 50,000 relatively quickly. But finishing the entire story took 108,101 words and until the 23rd to do. Still, another year and another full first draft completed. The premise that love must be based more than on having the hots for each other, and that feelings can really be hurt to cause one to shut down about a suitor come into play. That there is an age and maturity to getting wed, and that being in love with love just is not enough. All is covered in the book. I hope the editing and second draft can come to fruition early next year.
Colonel Fitzwilliam’s Correspondence Sales at 400!
November has been proving to be even slower than October. But we have hit 400 in sales. 1000 dedicated readers who enjoy the way I craft a story, and this becomes a full time gig with 5 or 6 new full length books each year and several novellas as well. (3000 of you and we could even afford professional copy-editing, instead of the volunteer work of other writers)
2nd part of JDP Interview
Last post I published the first half of my interview for Colonel Fitzwilliam’s Correspondence. Now time for the last half, or you can read it all here. The interviewer was Joyce DiPastena at her blog. She writes medieval historical romance.
JDP: It was truly a fascinating age. What inspired you to write Colonel Fitzwilliam’s Correspondence?
David: Before I was a teenager, we were flipping through channels on television, when my mother, who thought she could order us when it came to control of the tv set, made us stop on an old black and white show. ‘That’s my favorite,’ and then she made my three younger brothers and I watch it. It was Olivier’s Pride and Prejudice and yuck! Fast forward into my twenties and I began to appreciate that movie, and then in my 30’s loved it. I even delved into reading the original piece of chick lit and enjoyed it as well. While I do not think of myself as a tremendous fan of Jane Austen, her work certainly got me interested in the Regency, along with the re-enactment activities I was becoming involved in. And then I read Heyer.
What a hoot! Georgette’s use of language to evoke a period was tremendous and that further gave me an appreciation for the period. As I spent more time with the Regency, meeting Cheryl who would become my wife in that society, I also worked on my writing. Also working on a true Historical of the Peninsular war. While researching that, the pieces fell into place for a sequel to Pride and Prejudice . Something that Cheryl and I would also watch is the A&E (1995) version of each year. So many write about Darcy and Lizzy and so few acknowledge that the war was occurring and that those of the Ton were quite concerned that the Little Corporal go down to defeat. I thought it an important gap that needed to be addressed.
JDP: I agree. I think even historical romances sometimes need to be placed in their historical context. Please tell us a little about your Regency romance, Colonel Fitzwilliam’s Correspondence.
David: Originally I envisioned that the Colonel would emerge and have a romance, but I quickly put Kitty into the scene. With Lydia gone, I found Kitty torn between wanting to be a better young lady than she had been while her more boisterous sister led her about, but also still a person of fun. I knew that the growth that occurs in all of us over time could be telling for one such as Kitty moving from being a girl to a woman.
I also knew that the war lasts for years, and a woman, if not married before her lover goes to war, most likely would not wait and appear to be on the shelf. When I placed the first letter in the story as a device to appease and contain the ever flighty Mrs. Bennet, I had no realization that would become the device I could employ for the entire story, but the truth is that England was growing closer by virtue of the post. Look to the original and the post between Jane and Lizzy telling of Lydia’s flight. Look at the missive Darcy places in the hands of Lizzy to explain himself. There is a great deal of letter writing occurring.
I believe that carries my book. That it is also the change in our hero, who becomes a great correspondent and uses his connections back in England to keep him sane amidst the battlefields of Portugal and Spain. The crux of both his growth, and that of his love interest occurs when he returns from the war. I attempt to place my own use of language, as did Heyer, into the story. I think this is a dividing point for my readers. Some have related that they find this works for them, while others expecting this book to be our current use of language can’t get past that.
The last caveat of a work based upon another’s writing is that many have their own ideas of what should be happening to the characters the original author created after writing The End. I of course take all those characters in the direction I chose. I used the last few paragraphs as a guideline, and I used Aldous Huxley’s view of Pride and Prejudice’s Catherine de Bourgh portrayed by Edna May Oliver for mine more than some of the others. Austen says that Lady Catherine and Elizabeth will make amends in the final paragraphs of the novel. The Olivier movie (1940) I think shows that clearly. (Edna May beats Judi Dench in this portrayal, hands down-IMO)
JDP: Are you working on any new projects?
David: Always. Currently being edited by my core group is a modern romance. I don’t want to say too much, but as it is Halloween, there are certain spectral beings that bring humor and channel Cupid. There are a few other Regencies also being edited at the moment. One called Beggars Can’t be Choosier, the other is Two Peas in a Pod. The last about identical twins and mistaken identities. Beggars has the underlying theme that so many Regency marriages were founded on, marrying for money.
JDP: Where can readers obtain copies of your books?
ECO Agents, Book 1
My brother Dr. Douglas Wilkin, who has worked at the NIH and FBI (Isn’t it cool to work at Acronym kind of places?) writes as well, though he does text books. He contacted me with the idea of a school dedicated to young people who are exceptional and studying to be scientists. Young people who have adventures in science, hence the Agents part. And with a green focus, thus ECO. Here is the first five pages showcasing our Villain.
His finger nails had been polished that morning by a manicurist as he had his weekly trim and a fresh shave. Though he used an electric razor every other day of the week, this once a week indulgence was certainly something he could afford.
“Mr. Carter, the senior staff are assembled sir.” That was the voice of one of his three personal assistants. Michael. Not only did he Zedadiah need three assistants, he had several office suites throughout the world with secretaries, project managers, vice presidents, troubleshooters, all ready to jump and aid him in managing the world’s biggest conglomerate.
Third biggest company by sales, behind Apple and Exxon Mobil. But a great deal more profitable that those two. ZED Corporation, an affectation he had renamed the company when he had first gotten control of what had been the old E4A conglomerate.
Then the company had offices in Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Australia, and extracting commodities had been the business model. Zedadiah had started in the New York office at sixteen. He had used a fake idea that said he was twenty-one and a little computer hacking had created a a paper trail to show he had graduated from an Ivy-League college.
He had a few minutes as he walked to the foyer of the building. The 91st story overlooking London’s Isle of Dogs. ZED Corp had built the largest building in the Canary Wharf section for it’s world wide headquarters. Not only the tallest building there, but in all of Europe as well. If they had stayed in New York, they would have been one of many, not they rose and towered above all others that could be seen. Size really does matter.
Zedadiah remembered when he had first applied at the old E4A company. Three floors then of a middling size skyscraper in Manhattan. The HR interviewer looked at him when she sat down, “You look quite young, which may be a difficulty for your co-workers, or you.”
Zedadiah thought quickly, he had always been the youngest in any circle he had been in. His faked credentials had some basis in reality. He had completed his first year at college, a prodigy, he had enrolled three years younger than his classmates. But after one year, he knew more about economic theory than most who were graduating that year. Zedadiah certainly knew enough to hack the computer system and give himself all the documentation that showed he graduated.
“I have had that problem for as long as I can remember,” Zedadiah had told the lady. Ms. Schmanski, he remembered. She was not a native New Yorker. He could tell that she had a great deal of the midwest in her. Which was not a criticism, but he was a native of the tri state. “I put my head down, do my work, and then show that because I look young does not mean that I am not accomplished. You can see I interned last summer for your Boston office.”
“Yes, I made some phone calls and they said that they remembered you.”
He quietly snorted a laugh. He had found where all the other interns for E4A were as well as six other large companies. He had spent a day at each rotating through all the companies. He had been at the E4A offices for perhaps thirty hours, but he had glad handed as many people as he could. He had dropped his name, and then he had left them with reports that had been assigned to the interns to do. He also collected some nice cash from each company. Some of whom he had worked for throughout the school year as well.
Cash was always good. Only General Electric had figured out he had been absent more than he had been in attendance. Only IBMs computer security measures had been too challenging for him to pull the scam off.
“I am glad I made an impression,” Zedadiah replied. “I hope they had favorable things to say.”
“Bright, personable, your research was spot on. This is merely a formality. We would like to offer you a management trainee position, we start at 85 a year…”
The advantage to being able to hack computers was that you could hack lots of computers. And he had already hacked E4As computers the previous year. He knew how high she could go, and what trigger her supervisor might come in to finish the negotiations. “I have already had an offer of over 100 from IBM. Are you sure you can’t do better.” Ten minutes later the supervisor came in and he finally got them to concede to their top number. 115 a year and three weeks vacation.
The money was not an issue, not really. It was access to information. That was what was going to make him wealthy. To learn about things before anyone else did, and E4A had people on every major continent. People who were only just beginning to understand that their computers could talk to each other faster than they could talk to one another.
Zedadiah knew that reminiscing was an indulgence. He had lived in the present since long before joining the company. And then leaving a few years later. Today was special. It was his fortieth birthday, officially that was. And the company was honoring him for reaching the milestone. Birthdays were great as a device he found for measuring how well he had achieved his objectives. This one was a year that many thought of as important. Born in 1972 and now it was 2012. The world had changed a great deal but fundamentals were all the same.
It was how much money and how much power you had that was important. At forty he was one of the five wealthiest in the world. Probably third, but the Forbes and Fortunes lists were never really quite accurate he had found as he became eligible for their lists. Especially since a great many of his assets he didn’t report. Just like many of the things that ZED Corp owned or controlled. One needed their secrets in business.
Zedadiah could see his employees ahead, hundreds who worked in the building, many of whose names he didn’t know. Several other employees of the conglomerate who had made sure they were in London for the day so they could attend and shake his hand. They knew, as he did when he was much lower on the ladder, that getting the boss to notice you was the way to advancement.
His first years at E4A he had thought to do so, and his skills with extracting economic information from the corporate computers had made him very successful at that. That coupled with the money he amassed during his summer of multiple internships, allowed him to invest in the stock exchange. He not only traded company securities but as his account balance ballooned, he used options, futures, traded commodities, and rode the largest wave of capital creation that America had ever known.
His salary negotiation was like nothing that first day for after a month of access to not only E4As computers, but also many of the systems from the companies he had interned at, he had made more than a years pay on the stock market. Within six months he had amassed a net worth of over a million dollars, and still not even seventeen. By twenty he had more than ten million and it was time to use that to leverage up to even greater wealth.
Zedadiah left E4A then and opened his office in London, a few blocks from where he now was. The applause was starting as they saw him approach the foyer. People already were beginning to sing, ‘For he’s a jolly good fellow,’ Pity they didn’t remember he was born in New Jersey and sang Happy Birthday instead. But he had now lived abroad for many years.
Not that he had cut his ties with the States. Zedadiah and more than a dozen accountants manipulated the tax codes of many countries to ensure that he paid very little in the way of tax. Keeping his US citizenship was crucial to that strategy. Even if he hadn’t spent more than a couple months in the United States every year for the last decade.
When he left to set up his own company, he started his own investment fund, still stealing information from the computers of those companies he had one time worked for and had hacked their knowledge. He only used computers from his flat in Kensington, but that made him seem like a genius to his employees when they would get phone-calls from him, or those new emails to tell them to act upon one of his ‘hunches.’
The company he formed was called Carter Investments, still a part of his conglomerate. His traders though had started to call themselves the ‘Z-Men.’ With his hunch, he had bought the majority interest in a French water company. The world in the nineties began to thrive on French bottled water. It was like minting money and he was able to purchase other commodities, and mineral extraction companies that he found at a discount, and then see rise to profitability.
There, on one of the tables off to the side of the marble encrusted foyer, were hundreds of bottles of ZED Corp water for the guests to enjoy. Everything now was a division of ZED Corp. Branding had become important and it bred loyalty amongst the mindless consumers. More of them trusted those that made the brand, then there own opinions to decide what they should use. What they should buy.
He snorted a laugh as he waved to the well wishers and then began to shake hands. His most loyal lieutenants that he allowed to work alongside him in London. Others who managed the various divisions and companies that had flown in for the day. Someone handed him a glass of champagne and when he took it, there began a call for a speech. Soon the chorus calling for him to give an oration was all that could be heard. He held up the champagne glass until he could make himself heard.
Are you a RAPper or a RAPscallion?