Mrs. Park’s Rout transports the community to the past with a Regency-era dance!

Jul 30, 2014 | 2014 Articles, Heather Parish

by Heather Parish

Have you watched beautiful costume dramas like Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice and wondered what it would be like to go to a dance back then? Well, there is a terrific opportunity to do just that at Mrs. Parks’ Regency Rout on Saturday, August 2. The event is hosted by Period Entertainments and Recreational Costuming, Fresno.


Mrs. Parks watches as her guests dance an English Country Dance

Never heard of a “rout”? Well, “rout” is a slang term from the Regency era meaning a “party with refreshments, dancing, and entertainments.” The Regency era is loosely from 1800-1820, which is around the time when Jane Austen wrote her novels, Thomas Jefferson was president, and Napoleon was wreaking havoc in Europe!

Mrs. Park’s Rout is essentially a community dance and will feature English Country Dancing, which is the style of dance in those Jane Austen adaptations, live musicians, light refreshments, and the chance to experience a little taste of a bygone era. Stepping into the transformed hall with its little details from a time with more elegance, grace, and community spirit is an experience unlike any other.


Dancing an English Country Dance

Community dancing has continued to be a mainstay activity in many regions for decades. Groups like the Fresno Folklore Society host dance events where they teach English Country Dancing, Contra Dancing and Square Dancing regularly. These events are very casual and a wonderful way to connect with how our ancestors moved to the music of their times. They also tend to emphasize politeness, social graces, physical confidence in simple movements, and treating each other with respect and kindness.

But rarely in Fresno is there a chance to take that experience even further, by dressing in period costumes or in modern dressy-dress and attend a community dance designed to imitate the experience of people in the 19th century. Formal events with dancing are usually limited to proms and weddings in our lives these days, but in the 1800’s such Assemblies or Balls were held several times a year and were a highlight in the social lives of the community.


Refreshments are similar to light snacks of the 19th century.

At Mrs. Parks’ Rout, you need not worry about whether you know all of the dances or all of the rules. The dances are quite simple and will be taught before they are danced, with calling by popular folk musician Evo Bluestein. Period (or period-esque) costumes are admired but not required. Modern dressy clothes are also acceptable. We simply ask that everyone come with a desire to enter into an historical world and its delights with a cheerful heart!

The event is appropriate for all ages and this is a great opportunity for students, couples and families to learn a bit about history, dance, and have a great evening together. If you’ve ever wanted to step into another time and really taste, touch, and hear what it might have been like in a Jane Austen novel, purchase your tickets now!
Everyone who purchases at ticket online in advance will receive a handmade dance-card from Mrs. Parks!


A couple turns during a dance

If you’d like to try your hand at a period-style costume or learn more about what to expect, there are a lot of great ideas and tips for costuming, becoming familiar with the dances, and the customs of the era at the event’s website and blog,

Mrs. Parks’ Regency Rout
Saturday, August 2. Doors open at 7 p.m. and dancing from 7:30 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.
College Church Fellowship Hall, 5550 N. Fresno Street between Barstow and Bullard in Fresno.
Tickets are $10 per person. Information and advanced tickets are available online at or you can call hostess Brooke Aiello Parks at (559) 901-1022.
Admission will also be available at the door on the night. Master Card and Lady Visa accepted!

Heather Parish is the founding artistic director of The New Ensemble Theater in Fresno and author of What’s My Call Time? Theater Blog. You can sign up for her e-newsletter on upcoming theater offerings in the Fresno/Visalia area at

1 Comment

  1. From down here in Southern California, it’s great to read the KRL emails. Fresno is alive and well in the arts, it’s plain to see from reviews of the many local amusements, plays etc.

    I’ve been an email subscriber to KRL for some years now, ever since I ‘joined’ The Cat House on the Kings, where I was lucky enough to surrender three semi-feral cats I’d found five years prior and fed every day. The administrator of the property where ‘my’ cats were gave an ultimatum to every feeder of animals there [and I was not the only one], to relocate the animals or else … TCHOTK was my/their salvation. So, a big thank-you to all, keep up the good work!


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