I have let Therese carry the ball here by herself for far too long. I would offer my opinion that it's because she's the more spiritual of the two of us, but I don't want to start a bicker fight.
Last Saturday, I went with a friend to Ave Maria College's Twelfth Night Ball . It consisted of a formal dinner followed by 19th century dancing, including quadrilles (closely related to folk America's square dances, but minus the stomping and flannel shirts), cotillions, waltzes and the like. Some local aficionados of traditional dance were there, referred to by my partner as "ringers". Their traditional costumes lent a particularly genteel air to the proceedings, and at least some folks really knew what they were doing.
It was wonderful to see everyone from faculty (some of whom brought the entire family) to students having a terrific time. The bar was only lightly patronized after the dinner wine was consumed, except for glass after glass of ice water drunk by thirsty revelers. The women were beautifully and tastefully dressed, the men cleaned up handsomely, and the priests in the corner by the fireplace were the center of enjoyable conversation between sets.
I don't really want to go back to the 19th century; I'm quite fond of comfortable clothing, horseless carriages, indoor plumbing and Tivo. But it seemed right, somehow, to spend a little time visiting a world in which waltzing face-to-face shocked one's elders, a lengthy glance was the height of excitement and romance, and before the bow and curtsy were supplanted by "Hi. Howya doin'?"
So, can anyone help me set my cell phone ringer to play "Minuet in G?"