Or, as its billing more accurately put it, the “Girl Genius Victorian Mad Science Ball,” held on April 4 in San Mateo, CA. Put on by the Period Events & Entertainments Re-creation Society, the ball was set in the world of the Girl Genius graphic novels, which meant the very imposing Baron Wulfenbach (and his massive raygun) acted as host. And I mean imposing. The gentleman had to have been 6’4″ in jackboots, and if he had asked me to dance, I would not have been able due to the knocking of my knees!
My companions and I, despite having just disembarked from the airship from Paris, which meant we were still in traveling clothes, were welcomed with open arms. After a dance lesson (the rotary waltz is much more difficult than the Viennese, I discovered), the ball began. And the costumes! From airship pilots in skin-tight jodhpurs to mad scientists in lab coats to ladies in every state of dress (and undress) you could imagine, it was a spectacle.
My favorite dance was “Lancers,” where the ladies face the gentlemen in a long set, and one figure involves drawing swords and charging across the floor. My 18-year-old partner particularly enjoyed this–understandable in a young man to whom the waltz was a new and unnerving experience.
We danced for a couple of hours and then retired. Next year I am determined to have an 1880’s walking costume for the occasion–or else a new ballgown!