June 30, 2015
Here are some of the instructions for “Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot” which Elizabeth and Darcy danced in the 1995 movie version of Pride and Prejudice after Mr. Darcy has announced that every savage can dance:
B1 1s couple cross 2nd couple meet. B2 1st couple cast down one place 2nd couple lead up.B3-4 1st couple back to back 2nd couple cast to ends . . . and so on
What could possibly go wrong?
Upon reading these directions, I, as would any sane person when confronted with a problem that might involve geometry, assembled a group of romance writers. I decided that we might do better (as we could hardly do worse) if we were wearing costumes. So our corps de ballet included three hoop shirts (go, Greer Garson!), a cathedral-length wedding veil, a poodle skirt, and what was possibly a Queen-Esther costume. We then struggled/flitted our way through the appropriately named Comical Fellow.
Except for a wedding-veil mishaps, we managed the dance because I had the week or so before discovered the Alexandria (VA) English Country Dancers whose dance master is Corky Ohisnthegreat. At least I assume that that is his last name. Mention “Corky” to anyone along the Eastern Seaboard in the English Country Dance world, and you hear “Corky? Oh, isn’t he great?”
As a result of Corky and Jack, the dance master at the Jane Austen Summer Program, in the simpler dances, I can, unlike Mr. Collins, generally manage to the correct place at the correct time(or at least only a few beats behind) with the correct hand extended, but I am not dancing, I am shuffling, walking, thinking. Okay, I am taking a big risk attempting to post a video from the JASP. If it works, you will see me at the right-hand edge in my dark red dress. At this point in the evening my posterior tibia tendon tendonitis had gotten the best of me, and my progress is . . . let’s call it stately. I am channeling my inner Lady Catherine. I apologize if the video doesn’t work. You can’t be Lady Catherine and a techno-geek at the same time.