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Coming events

Working with the sources

The Historical Dance Society has always sought to develop understanding of the original sources and their reconstruction in the light of current knowledge as the basis for informed teaching and the publication of dance instructions.

Our study days explore key sources and are led by experts in each field. They support those who teach or lead dancing and interest those who wish to extend understanding of the dances they enjoy.

You will be guided to supporting secondary sources. The tutor will provide handouts, but please bring any of the texts and translations that you already have, and any burning questions. Also come prepared to dance, and paper and pencil (or laptop) will be handy.

Steps into Playford with Anne Daye

This workshop has been cancelled due to forecast bad weather for the West Midlands. We will re-arrange it for later in the year.

Saturday 3rd March, 2018, 10 for 10.30–16.30
St Barbara's Scout Hut, Rochester Road, Earlsdon, Coventry, CV5 6AG
(There is parking adjacent to the hall.)

'Playford' as defined by Barlow in The Complete Country Dance Tunes, 1651–1728.

We will explore the significant changes in dance culture of c.1700, concerning the introduction of the French style. Sources linked to and illuminating Playford will be discussed: manuscript sources, Lorin's two manuscripts for the French king on English country dances published c.1700 in Feuillet notation. We will also examine selected dances in order to investigate some of the problems in turning words into dance.

To book: contact Jen Morgan (jen@folkdancing.co.uk).

Caroso, Negri and Their Circle with Anne Daye

Sunday 14 October, 2018, 10 for 10.30–17.00
Mulifunction Room, Trinity Leisure Centre, Bromham Road, Bedford, MK40 2QD
(If arriving by car, please ask at reception for a free parking permit.)

We will focus on the dance treatises of Caroso and Negri, with an overview of those of Santucci, Lupi da Caravaggio and others to gain insights into the context of noble dancing of sixteenth-century northern Italy. The purpose and content of the sources will be discussed, and their relationship to each other.

We will consider methodologies of reconstruction for dancers seeking soundly based reconstructions, whether by using the originals in Italian or by using translations and secondary sources, including understanding of the music scores. We’ll explore step descriptions and a familiar balletto alongside the original source with a translation to hand.

To book: contact Helen Young (helenhds@outlook.com).

Guglielmo Ebreo with Hazel Dennison

Saturday 3rd November, 2018, 10 for 10.30–17.00
Eye & Dunsden Village Hall, Dunsden Green, Oxfordshire, RG4 9QG
(It may be possible to collect some participants form Reading Station.)

The focus will be on the form, content and construction of dances by Guglielmo Ebreo of Pesaro. We will try to identify and translate key words and phrases in order to decode and dance selected passages from some fifteenth-century balli and bassadanze, with a comparative study of one ballo found in both Pa and NY sources.

Please bring any relevant texts, transcriptions or translations that you have. Barbara Sparti’s definitive work Guglielmo Ebreo of Pesaro, De Practica Seu Arte Tripudii. On the Practice or Art of Dancing (Clarendon Press, 1993) is especially valuable.

To book: contact Helen Young (helenhds@outlook.com).


The cost for each day is £25. Tea and coffee will be provided; please bring your own lunch.

Please book your place as early as possible by contacting the course administrator.

Future topics

Future topics include Domenico, the Galliard (synthesising various sources) and Music. Please contact Anne Daye (education@historicaldance.org.uk) if you would like to host a study day on any topic in 2019.

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