Blog

WEEKEND COURSE – 1 & 2 October 2022

For dancers, Past events
Dance in the Spanish Golden Age Saturday 1 Oct 2022 10:30–17:00 and Sunday 2 Oct 2022 10:30–17:00  Springs Dance Studio (South Bank Arts Centre), Bedford College, Cauldwell Street, Bedford, MK42 9AH. The course will be led by Ana Yepes, an exceptional dancer and powerhouse of enthusiasm. Ana will bring her expertise gleaned from many years of deciphering Spanish manuscripts that are not available to the general public. Saturday : An introduction to Folía and its variations, which has its own style and step vocabulary, catering also for those with less experience of the period. Sunday: Aiming at more experienced dancers, focus will be on Folies d’Espagne, as performed in the French Court. Dancers will explore ways to accentuate the Spanish quality embedded in the choreography, using Folía arm movements from…
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Newsletters 2017 to 2019

Newsletter
Our newsletters contain a wealth of information on events, courses and personal insights from the HDS. On this page, you can find a selection of our newsletters from 2017 to 2019. If you have an article or news of an event to contribute to the newsletter, please email newsletter@historicaldance.org.uk. 2019 May 2019 Download October 2019 Download 2018 Feburary 2018 Download May 2018 Download October 2018 Download 2017 May 2017 Download October 2017 Download
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A brief history

A brief history

Dance history
Ann Hinchliffe with Anne DayeHave you ever wondered where our wonderful folk dances come from? Why Cotswold morris echoes the structure of Black Nag and Picking up Sticks? How Jane Austen’s characters could talk so much while they were dancing? These are topics that the Historical Dance Society researches, publishes and teaches, in UK and other countries. They’ve been doing that since 1971, and next year will celebrate their fiftieth anniversary. It began with Arnold Dolmetsch (1858-1940), who crystallised current interest in early music just as Cecil Sharp did with English folk dance, music and song. You may remember Dolmetsch recorders from your own school-days. Dolmetsch was trained as a craftsman at his parents’ piano manufactory in France, then studied at the Conservatoire royal de Bruxelles where he encountered musicians playing…
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Playford Then & Now Festival

Playford Then & Now Festival

For dancers, For musicians, Past events
Following the success of the HDS Webinar Talks and the Online Dance Tutorials – both of which can be found on our YouTube channel – we’re delighted to announce the HDS Playford Weekend Festival – Playford, Then and Now. The enduring popularity of Playford dances and their music from the first edition published in 1651 to the 18th edition in 1728, is a treasure chest for folk dancers, historical dancers, musicians and researchers. Festival sessions will feature talks on a variety of related topics as well as a dance workshop, with renowned speakers from the UK and overseas. Playford – Then and Now – an Online festival via Zoom The ‘Why’ and ‘How’ of his continuing success today through dances, bands, his London, his contemporaries, and choreography Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th…
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Historical Dance Volume 4

Journal
Historical Dance – The Journal of HDS (ISSN 0261-0965) The opinions expressed in articles and reviews are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the editor of Historical Dance or the committee of HDS. Volume 4, Number 5 Music and Movement – Music and Dancing – Dancing, Movement and Music Nathalie Dolmetsch (transcribed by Anne Daye)   Page 3–4 Download Nathalie Dolmetsch (1905–1989) Anne Daye   Page 5–11 Download Volume 4, Number 4, 2022 Dance for early Australian convicts: Discovering a lost culture Heather Blasdale Clarke   Page 3–9 Download A recently discovered ballet for the court of Wolfenbüttel Carola Finkel   Page 11–16 Download Mistresses of Dancing-schools in Edinburgh, 1755 to 1814 Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson   Page 17–23 Download The Cotillon: its origins, development and demise Anne Daye   Page 25–38 Download Book reviews Dancing Queen: Marie…
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Baroque period

Baroque period

Dance history, Education, For dancers, For musicians
Following the foundation of the Académie royale de danse in 1661, Louis XIV ordered academicians to invent a notational system to record dances.  In response, at least four systems were in progress in the 1680s, one of which came to disseminate dances of French style across Europe by means of printing/publishing businesses. This prevalent system is called Beauchamp-Feuillet notation today after the names of the inventor/academician, Pierre Beauchamp, and the business man/dancing-master, Raoul-Auger Feuillet.  Over 350 dances are extant in this notation system in print and/or manuscript spanning the late 17th to mid-18th centuries, a period roughly matching the baroque era classified in other disciplines (those in the late 18th-century sources are re-notations of earlier publications, except Auguste F. J. Ferrère’s manuscript of theatre production from 1782).  Whereas the baroque style in other art…
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Live music for early dance

Education, For musicians
The question has occasionally been voiced: “Why are historical dancers so reluctant to use live music?” So often they seem to prefer the recorded sound that emanates at the touch of a button, or click of a mouse, from their digital sound system. For musicians, who spend so much of their time, money and energy on practising their obscure but ‘authentic’ instruments, this rejection is both puzzling and hurtful. Why don’t they like us? What do we have to do to make them like us, at least to the extent that they are willing to let us join in their jolly dancing games? This note is a partial attempt at trying to understand the conundrum. Firstly, is the complaint true? To some extent, yes. At the most recent EDC festival…
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Tips to encourage the use of live music for historic dance

Education, For dancers, For musicians
Many historical performances of dance impress greatly with the meticulous research, careful practice, attention to style, and accurate costumes only to disappoint when a member of the group (or if lucky, a clued in helper) rushes over to press the button for music. Sometimes there ensues a ghastly pause, or even the strains of the wrong music; if correct, at a volume too loud or soft, or distortion from a less than perfect sound system for the performance space. Music is integral to dance, and for historic dance, that meant live musicians, so to present a performance with canned music is clearly an anachronism. The following tips are intended to try to address some of the issues that lead to this being such common situation – the perceived lack of…
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What are the objectives of HDS?

What are the objectives of HDS?

Important
The main objective of the Society as set out in the constitution is the promotion of the study, practice, education, and public engagement in the performance, music, and costume of European and other dances from the 15th to 20th centuries as recorded in the sources of the period. We achieve this by: Conducting and promoting original research into treatises on dancing and other references in the literature, drama and dance music of the various periods. The organisation of workshops for the education of dancers, teachers, actors, musicians and the general public in historical dance and its associated dance music. Holding conferences at which lectures, demonstrations and opportunities to participate in historical dances and their music are given to members of the society and others. Publishing articles conducive or incidental to…
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Stepping On: A Conference on Stepping in Dance across the British Isles and Beyond

Conference publications, For dancers, For musicians, Other, Past events
16 - 17 November 2019 Cecil Sharp House, London, UK The British Isles have a rich history of step dancing in many forms and in many forms and contexts, spanning centuries and linking with traditions across the world. Some of these dances and their histories are relatively well-known, others largely lost. The aim of the conference was to further our knowledge and understanding in these traditions and to stimulate debate. Download the proceedings from the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library Download PDF Buy the printed proceedings from the EFDSS Buy Papers In Search of ‘Street’ Clog Dance. Alexandra Fisher Ontario Old–Time Step Dancing and its Connections to the British Isles. Sherry Johnson How fast should we dance: An investigation using recordings. Sean Goddard Hornpipe stepping at barn dances and ceilidhs in…
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What is historical dance?

Dance history, Education
Historical Dance, or Early Dance, embraces social dancing of the courts and ballrooms of Europe, and choreographies from theatre and court entertainments. The periods covered range from the fifteenth century to the twentieth. Within this span, periods are often identified by slightly arbitrary titles, such as: Renaissance dance (in England, Elizabethan dance and Tudor dance) Baroque dance Regency dance and Victorian dance Some typical dance forms, in approximate chronological order, are: Basse danse, Bassa danza, Ballo Tourdion, Pavan, Almain, Galliard, Canario, Passomezzo (or Passo e mezo) Country dance, Gigue, Sarabande, Rigaudon, Minuet (or Menuet) Cotillion, Quadrille, Mazurka, Waltz Early Dance is based on careful research into original dance sources.  Dances are taught at many practical courses. Occasions such as revels, balls and assemblies provide opportunities for social dancing. Find out…
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Conference: Histories of the Morris in Britain (2017)

Conference publications
Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regents Park Road, London NW1 7AY, 25-26 March 2017 Morris dance has been an enduring feature of British culture for more than six centuries. The Histories of the Morris in Britain was a two-day conference held at Cecil Sharp House on the 25th and 26th March 2017, organised by the Historical Dance Society and the English Folk Dance and Song Society. The full proceedings or individual papers can be download free of charge from The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Edited by Michael Heaney, papers cover the latest in morris dance research and are an invaluable addition to our understanding of this enduring feature of British culture. Topics ranged from the early days of morris dance as found in the Jacobean court, to revival and formation of…
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Study Forum 2: Dance Disguised & Obscured (2015)

Conference publications
Dance Disguised & Obscured, at Goldsmiths, University of London, 21-22 March 2015 The event consisted of a stimulating programme of papers, workshops and discussion led by researchers, teachers and practitioners relating to theatrical, social and traditional dance and performance from the 15th century to now. This paper presented the Noveli manuscript, written at the beginning of the eighteenth century. The manuscript has been discovered recently in the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando of Madrid. The text is rather peculiar, as it proposes the Beauchamps-Feuillet chorographical notation system to represent the Spanish dance steps described by Juan de Esquivel in his Discursos sobre el Arte del Danzado of 1642. Apart from that, it contains the verbal description of a collection of dances from the seventeenth century Spanish school.…
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Study Forum 1: Reconstructing Technique – Creating Performance (2013)

Conference publications
Goldsmiths, University of London, 23-24 March 2013 Two days of practical workshops and presentations, guided by leading researchers, teachers and performers. Due to the practical nature of most of the sessions, the proceedings were not published. One of the papers is available to download Roger Clegg, Lucie Skeaping and Anne Daye – Singing Simpkin and other Bawdy Jigs: Recuperating the Song-and-Dance Comedies on the Shakespearean Stage (paper and workshop) Paul and Ann Kent – Ever to Endure: Recreating Dances from the Gresley Manuscript (workshop) Ilona Taure – Bringing the Castle to Life: dance at Bauska Castle, Latvia (presentation) Download Jennifer Kiek – "... and winding heys to tread": an Exploration of Possible Interpretations of the S. Hey in Country Dances from Playford 1651 (workshop) Jennifer Thorp – Revisiting Le Palais…
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On Common Ground 7: Kings and Commoners: Dances of Display for Court, City and Country (2009)

Conference publications
All Saints Pastoral Centre, London Colney, St Albans, 28-29 March 2009 All the papers are available to download. Anne Daye – Dancing for King and Country: the Jacobean Court Dancer Download Hazel Dennison – Dancing the Barbarian (workshop) Download Maëlle Amand – The Distorted Representations of Dance in Eighteenth-Century Britain: a Study of Parody and Caricature Download Moira Goff – Edmund Pemberton and the Improvement of Dancing Download Barbara Segal – The Hornpipe: a Dance for Kings, Commoners and Comedians (workshop) Download Ann and Paul Kent – Bransles for Display? Download Jørgen Schou-Pedersen – Dances for a Royal Danish Masquerade Download
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On Common Ground 6: The Minuet in Time and Space (2007)

Conference publications
All Saints Pastoral Centre, London Colney, St Albans - 10-11 March 2007 The conference explored the essential dance of the 18th century, as a solo and a duet, from the 1700s to the 1900s, from the ballroom to the stage and even the silver screen. As well as listening to papers, participants experienced the variety of the minuet in several workshops. Most of the papers are available to download. Teresa Buckland – Keynote Lecture: The world we have lost: minuets and the past in late Victorian culture (not published in proceedings) Moira Goff – Seductive Decorum: the Solo Minuet for a Girl (Workshop) Download Grainne McArdle – The Minuet in Early Eighteenth-Century Dublin Society Download Giles Bennett – The Minuet in 18th-Century Dance Treatises (Workshop) Download Elizabeth Aldrich – Drooping…
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