Students embraced a renaissance of regency this last Friday while attending the 10 year anniversary of the Jane Austen Yule Ball. Dozens of students gathered together to experience Austen culture through dance, decoration, appearance and food.
“Whenever I watch the movies or read the books I always think it would be fun to be a part of that time era,” said Emi Jones, a junior student studying art.
Throughout the night, students danced several dances from Austen’s era like the “Physical Snob” and “Marie’s Wedding.” There was also a photo booth where couples could get their picture taken. On each table there were instructions on how to flirt using a fan and deck of cards so students could play a game of whist if they chose.
Gwen Redman, a freshman studying history education, heard about the ball from someone who used to attend BYU-Idaho. Redman attended and invited her friend Hannah Martinez, a freshmen studying family and consumer science education.
“I loved everything,” Martinez said. “The dresses, seeing the dancing and just the overall atmosphere.”
The Jane Austen Yule Ball was started 10 years ago by Zan Cammack who was a visiting scholar in the English Department. She helped create the ball and was faculty over it for years. When she left BYU-I she invited Emily Grover, an English professor, to take over for her. Grover has been helping with the ball since that time, a total of four years.
“I actually have a Ph.D. in the 1800s century literature and romanticism, so Jane Austen is my home girl,” Grover said.
A student committee of 15 members helped plan the ball, teach the dances and decorate the ballroom.
“The purpose of the Yule Ball is to celebrate Christmas and Jane Austen,” Grover said. “In the practices we had that led up to the ball, we taught a lot of the culture of the Austen era like the fashion.”
In between the Austen era dances, students could dance to Christmas music or other songs that were requested by students.
“I love working with the students,” Grover said. “I love seeing the costumes, learning the dances and just seeing the students enjoy the dances.”
Grover encourages anyone who wants to help plan the ball or teach the dances next year to contact her through her email at firstname.lastname@example.org.