Pride and Prejudice: Having a Ball

(Rochester, NY)- In Pride And Prejudice: Having A Ball, social historian Amanda Vickery leads the action as a team of experts recreate a Regency ball in honour of the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s popular novel. It airs Sunday, August 10, 2014 at 11:30 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

Joined by Alastair Sooke and a coterie of professionals – a food historian, a costume expert, music history academics, and a choreographer who trains a team of dance students to take to the floor– cameras will follow the recreation inspired by Austen’s Netherfield ball. This intimate country house ball drives the plot of Pride And Prejudice, and is a key turning point in the romance between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy.

The first readers of Pride And Prejudice in 1813 would have understood the workings of a private ball, and Pride and Prejudice: Having A Ball sets out to recapture this detail, enabling modern audiences to understand Austen’s novel fully by reimagining the time in which she lived.

This charming 90-minute film captures every element of a Regency ball, from the careful preparation of the food and clothes to the etiquette and manners expected of dancers in the ballroom. Amanda explores the male and female fashions of the day, and meets a make-up artist producing authentic products from scratch, including rouge worn by the women - and Red Coat officers. Amanda and Alastair observe the dancers in rehearsal, revealing just how energetic the routines were and, lured by the uplifting, traditional music, even attempt a few steps themselves. As the day of the ball dawns, Alastair dons his breeches, and attempts to channel Mr. Darcy’s poise and avoid the clumsy moves of Mr. Collins on the dance floor.

Observing the splendour and spectacle from the side-lines, Amanda and literary expert John Mullan reflect on the importance of the ball and its role in society. As young men and women embarked on the pursuit of a partner, the Regency ball was an arena where your every move could make or break your chances in the highly competitive marriage market.

Pictured: Amanda Vickery and Alastair Sooke
Credit: Courtesy of BBC

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