Summer School 2024: Strictly Victorian

The 54th Historical Dance Society Annual Summer School 2024

Friday 12th to Monday 15th July 2024 or Friday 12th to Friday 19th July 2024
at Bromsgrove School, West Midlands, B61 7HP

Nineteenth century couples dancing

The aim of our summer school is to provide people with the time to study a range of dances, to improve dance ability and confidence in dance, and to have fun in good company.

We offer a choice of three courses with experienced teachers at two general levels of difficulty/challenge. The full course provides an in-depth dance experience while the weekend course is perfect for those with less time available or those just wanting to try out dance of this period. You do not need to come with a dance partner.

Participants will study for a weekend or a week with their chosen tutor in daily classes, to develop technique and learn a selection of dances. A varied choice of afternoon workshops led by course tutors and other specialists will offer an opportunity to enrich your experience. Sociable evenings will include informal dancing, talks and activities, with Tuesday afternoon free to rest or explore this beautiful and historic region. Each course will conclude with a celebration to share dances learned, for which you may wear a costume of the period (not obligatory).

Birte Hoffmann-Cabenda

Birte can look back upon decades of experience in teaching, reconstructing, and performing dances from different periods, from Renaissance to early 20th century. Her theoretical research in dance history centres around the lives and works of several North German dancing masters in the 19th century.
Her class, for dancers with some experience in Country Dances and/or couple dances, will introduce dances described in German sources from the second half of the 19th century (Quadrilles, Polkas and Tyroliennes, for example), exploring the appropriate footwork and its development over the decades. You will be dancing group dances in different forms such as square or longways sets, and you will acquire the step material for the various couple dances that were so popular at the time.

Birte Hoffman-Cabenda in 19th century dress
Birte Hoffman-Cabenda

Sam Gosk (Sasza)

Sam is an IDTA qualified teacher of dance with twenty years’ experience in teaching and performance environments. He teaches weekly classes and workshops but our summer school is likely to herald his retirement from running his own courses. His special areas of interest include the French Cotillions of the 1760s to 1780s, mid-19th century couple dances and animal dances of the early twentieth century.
His class will provide an overview of the popular couple dances of the mid-nineteenth century; the Polka, Schottisch, Polka-Mazurka and their variations, including the Esmeralda, Polka Redowa and Varsovienne. You will thoroughly cover the steps required and aim to master two quadrilles on the Polka and Schottisch themes. The class is suitable for anyone with some dance experience of any type.

Sam Gosk (Sasza) seated
Sam Gosk

Libby Curzon

Libby is a teacher and leader of Mrs Bennet’s Ballroom, set up in 2013. She runs historical dance classes in Surbiton and monthly in Euston. Her annual balls and tea dances are very popular and succeed in bringing original dances from historical sources back to life.

Her class will cover the Victorian era country dances and quadrilles from the book ‘Dances of Fashionable Society’ compiled by HDS from the work by Ellis & Chris Rogers. We will also cover some couple dances to reflect the Victorian craze for the waltz. Studying these popular dances will help you to learn their fundamental moves, footwork, timing and patterns. These dances, with their rich music, are great fun to learn and dance, and give a great sense of team work and achievement! The class is suitable for all regardless of any dance experience or none.

Photograph of Libby Curzon in period costume
Libby Curzon
Bromsgrove school exterior

Practical Details

Our venue is Bromsgrove School, Worcester Road, Bromsgrove (satnav address B61 7HP). The school is set within 100 acres of beautiful grounds with a range of architecturally diverse buildings. The dance, drama and music facilities are superb, and we will have the use of an excellent range of dance spaces, as well other facilities. The school campus is within easy walking distance of the town.

The fee includes modern, high-quality, full-board accommodation per person. All rooms are single and en-suite. Visit for more information.

How to get there

The school is centrally located in Bromsgrove town and is easily accessible for local, national and international visitors. Bromsgrove is close to the M5 and M42 motorways and there is ample free parking on site. There are taxis and a shuttle bus service to the school from Bromsgrove train station (by prior arrangement), and rail connections to nearby Birmingham International Airport.


The fee for the weekend course (Friday 12th July to Monday 15th July, depart after breakfast) is £287 for HDS members, £297 for non-members. The fee for the long course (Friday 12th July to Friday 19th July, depart after breakfast) is £686 for HDS members, £696 for non-members.


HDS may be able to offer a bursary to appropriate candidates. Details and the application form can be found here: Applications should be made by email to by 30th April 2024.


Please be aware that we may wish to take photographs or short videos during the course for HDS purposes.

Booking forms and further details

Cancellation and Refunds

If you have to cancel your booking HDS will provide a full refund until 21st June 2024.  We advise you to take out holiday insurance as, depending on circumstances and the timing of the cancellation, we may not be able to provide you with a full refund after this date.  If HDS has to cancel the course due to circumstances beyond our control then HDS will provide a full refund.

If you have any queries or questions or would like to discuss your needs you are welcome to contact Gill Plant, Summer School Administrator: