Al­ber­ton has a ball to mark 150 years

Central Leader - - NEWS -

For­mal balls are be­ing held at Al­ber­ton as cel­e­bra­tions to mark the man­sion’s 150th an­niver­sary con­tinue.

The balls will be held on Au­gust 31 and Septem­ber 14.

Guests can en­joy colo­nialera danc­ing un­der the ex­pert guid­ance of Beth Har­ris.

‘‘Beth has been teach­ing English coun­try danc­ing, early dance and in­ter­na­tional dance for the past 30 years. She has a spe­cial in­ter­est in colo­nial dances of early New Zealand,’’ Al­ber­ton man­ager Ren­dell McIn­tosh says.

‘‘She’s a great teacher and knows how to make danc­ing fun so ev­ery­one is in for a treat. The other thing is that peo­ple don’t need to come with a part­ner to en­joy our gala events.’’

The Mt Al­bert man­sion is cared for by the NZ His­toric Places Trust and this will be the first time in at least 20 years that Al­ber­ton has hosted for­mal oc­ca­sions like th­ese.

‘‘Our two for­mal dance evenings are in­spired by a sim­i­lar event held in the Al­ber­ton Barn on Septem­ber 20, 1877, when more than 250 peo­ple danced in the first County, or Rid­ing Ball held in New Zealand,’’ Mr McIn­tosh says.

‘‘The ball would have at­tracted prom­i­nent com­mu­nity lead­ers and busi­ness peo­ple of the day, given that Al­ber­ton was a so­cial cen­tre for Auck­land’s colo­nial elite. Al­though the ball was held in Al­ber­ton’s barn, it’s fair to say that it was cer­tainly no barn dance.’’

Al­ber­ton’s barn was de­mol­ished many years ago but or­gan­is­ers be­lieve the spirit of that first for­mal oc­ca­sion will be re­cap­tured at both gala events that will take place in Al­ber­ton’s ball­room.

‘‘Our pro­gramme will in­clude Vic­to­rian and Ceilidh dances with live mu­sic from the Rose and This­tle Coun­try Dance Band,’’ Mr McIn­tosh says.

‘‘Guests are en­cour­aged to dress up in their fin­ery, and Vic­to­rian out­fits if they wish, and take part in our won­der­ful events, which will be­come a part of Al­ber­ton’s his­tory.’’

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

His­tory cap­tured: Balls are be­ing held at Al­ber­ton as part of its 150th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions.

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