Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Spring Lowcountry Heritage Ball 2015

A family portrait before the ball begins

     On May 8th, we had our biannual heritage ball. We always look forward to this opportunity to spend a wonderful evening of dancing and fellowship! The attendees are mostly homeschooling families who share friendship and common values. This is a great way for young people to meet others in a well-chaperoned and modest atmosphere. The dancing does not involve close physical contact and requires well-mannered behavior. The attendees attend as families or are accompanied by an adult family member or friend.  
     The dances are fun and vary from slow and formal to energetic and casual. All ladies must be escorted to the floor by her partner, and if a young lady refuses a dance to a young man (usually because she needs a break), she does not dance that dance with someone else. If a young man spots a young lady standing around in need of a partner, he is encouraged to ask her for a dance. Sometimes a young man must lay down his refreshment plate and forego a break in the name of chivalry! The men bow and the ladies curtsy before each dance begins, and unless a couple is married, the attendees must dance with a variety of partners.  
       A young man must wear dress pants, a shirt and tie (some even wear a tuxedo), and the ladies' dresses cannot be strapless, low cut, or overly short. Ladies may wear anything from their Sunday best to formal ball or historical gowns. This year I counted five tiaras! In addition to dancing with friends, it is also so sweet to see brothers and sisters dance as well as fathers and daughters and mothers and sons. Most of all, I love dancing with my husband! There is so much laughter as couples try to remember steps or the parents begin to tire!
       There is a maximum fee of ten dollars per family to pay the fee for the facilities (we use a church gymnasium), and the families bring the refreshments. This year's spring ball had our largest turn out yet with over 170 attendees!
       The Heritage Ball tradition began here around 2012. My girls had just performed in a dramatic presentation of "Pride and Prejudice" and had to learn one of the dances for their play. Like so many Jane Austin stories/movies, country dancing is frequently a beautiful and integral part of the Austin stories, and my girls are fans. Hayden even included country dancing scenes in her novel, Hidden Pearls. When our friends, Rachel and Rebekah Blauch had the opportunity to attend a ball in Anderson, their family decided to bring the beautiful tradition to our area and we've been participating ever since! To see some dancing from our previous balls, simply type in Lowcountry Heritage Ball on youtube.

Harrison chooses his partner for the Grand March.

After prayer and the introduction of the grand marshals, the ball opens with "The Grand March".  Couples walk up to the grand marshals and bow and curtsy to them. The first couple moves to the left and the next couple to the right. The couples then join hands at the end of the line and re-greet the marshals as a group of four. The new groups of four repeat the process and then join into groups of eight, etc.  Eventually, one large line begins to snake around the dance floor and coils up until everyone is connected.  The Heritage Ball is then officially declared open.
Scott and I are now connected to the Dykema family!

Our grand marshals, Professor Bob Menges and his wonderful wife, Patti.

Rachel Blauch calls the dances.

Emily gets escorted to the dance floor.

Hayden waits across from her partner for the dance to begin.

Samuel and Emily

Hayden and Joey

"Dublin Bay"

"The Duke of Kent's Waltz"

Emily and her friends

Most of Harrison's soccer team was there (including the coaches!)
This was taken right before clean-up so some of the guys took off their ties!
Already looking forward to the next one this fall!

Check out Emily's graduation pictures on my blog, Candles and Chandeliers!

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
Psalm 30:11-12


~Jennifer

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