Welcome to the Norwich Historical Dance Website

Norwich Historical Dancers perform 15th c. in Norwich Castle - click to enlarge

Norwich Historical Dancers perform 15th c. in Norwich Castle

Norwich Historical Dance was formed in 1984. We are a collection of enthusiasts brought together by a love of the music, costume and dance of past centuries. Our aims are to promote and preserve the knowledge of Early Dance, its place in our cultural heritage, and to enable the enjoyment of such dance by members of the group and the general public. As far as possible the group employ live music, often with period instruments, for their performances with musicians like 'Minstrels Gallery', also in costume.

Come and see us perform - see our events page, or contact us to book us for performances, weddings or Workshops.

Riverenza - click to enlarge

Riverenza

The musicians of 'Minstrels Gallery' playing for Norwich Historical Dance at Norwich Castle, 2014 - click to enlarge

The musicians of 'Minstrels Gallery' playing for Norwich Historical Dance at Norwich Castle, 2014

Have a go!

Take a leap back in time….!

Anne Boleyn lost her heart to Henry Tudor but you can keep your head as you learn a range of dances from the 15th to the 20th centuries

Try a FREE introductory session. 7.30pm on Thursday evenings at Norwich High School, 95 Newmarket Rd, NR2 2HU. Phone to check details.

New! Our tutor, Amanda, will be running five 'one and a half hour' Beginners Sessions on Tuesdays from 15th September until 13th October, 7.30pm - 9pm. Venue: Belevedere Centre, Belvoir Street, Norwich, NR2 3AZ. Cost: £5.00 per session.

Enquiries: Anthea Block: 01603 452732. For more information, please download our flyer (PDF file: 335 KB).

Norwich Historical Dance offer friendly classes under Amanda’s caring tuition with the possibility of performing in costume.

Dancing is a great way to exercise both body and mind to a wonderful range of music, as well as learning about the dances, culture and costume of earlier times.

NHD being filmed at Stranger’s Hall, Norwich (J.Simkin/C.Gill)

NHD being filmed at Stranger’s Hall, Norwich (J.Simkin/C.Gill)

Broadcast & Journalism students Yaran Zhao & Heting Zhang have created a film about Norwich Historical Dance

Two young Chinese students were captivated by the dancing, the music and the costumes at an NHD event and threw themselves into making a film about the group as part of their studies, with the support of BBC Voices. They came to classes, interviewed dancers and musicians and, at last, filmed a performance in the garden at Stranger’s Hall in Norwich. Their only regret was not being able to show “all the splendid pictures and interviews in the final film”.

Yaran and Heting’s work is now showcased on “Norfolk on Film” at www.norfolkonfilm.tumblr.com. Do take a look at it.

Masked and head-dressed dancers participate in the experience of a 'Jacobean Masque' from the 17th c.

Masked and head-dressed dancers participate in the experience of a 'Jacobean Masque' from the 17th c.

Jacobean Masque Dance Workshop

Dancers enjoyed a day with Anne Daye which was both a dance workshop and an entertaining history lesson. It included some hilarious 'monkey business' as well as the stately court dances we expected. Dancing in masks and head-dresses was a new experience for many and we enjoyed the benefit of live music provided by Jane from 'Minstrels Gallery'.

"Gathering Peascods" at Diss, June 1st 2014 - click to enlarge

"Gathering Peascods" at Diss, June 1st 2014

Norwich and Cambridge Early Dance Weekend

In April dancers from across England enjoyed a weekend of 15th century dances with tutor Jorgen Schou-Pedersen in the delightful rural setting of Belsey Bridge near Bungay in Suffolk. This annual get-together explored the intricacies of 5 dances recreated from the Siena manuscript by Jorgen, who also arranged, created and reconstructed much of the music for the other dances.

Jorgen showed once again why he is a popular and much appreciated tutor as he led us with precision, clarity, and good humour.

Next year's weekend has been booked - see our Events page for details. We're delighted that Jorgen will be our tutor again.

Gill in 'Triumph', in rehearsals, EDC Festival. 2014 - click to enlarge

Gill in 'Triumph', in rehearsals, EDC Festival. 2014

Stretching the legs, Fresh air and primroses - click to enlarge

Stretching the legs, Fresh air and primroses

Norwich Historical Dance step back further in time to their previous visits and go to the 13th c., to ensure King John signs the Magna Carta at the 'Barley Mow', Wittensham, Suffolk - click to enlarge

Norwich Historical Dance step back further in time to their previous visits and go to the 13th c., to ensure King John signs the Magna Carta at the 'Barley Mow', Wittensham, Suffolk.

18th century dancing at Gressenhall, 2013 - click to enlarge

18th century dancing at Gressenhall, 2013.

First World War Commemoration

Following on from the moving performances in Diss and at the Early Dance Circle Festival, Norwich Historical Dance will be part of the Edith Cavell Festival, dancing at the Forum, Norwich, on Sunday 10th October, with a range of dances familiar to Norfolk people in the pre-First World War years but we end with a specially created commemorative dance to the accompaniment of popular WW1 songs which highlight the cataclysmic effects of war.

In 2016 we will be giving a similar programme on the theme of the First World War in Swaffham Assembly Rooms on Sunday 21st February which will include ragtime, folk and social dances and music. For more details see the Events page.

The Poppy Farandole danced by NHD ladies to the singing and drumming of the NHD men - click to enlarge

The Poppy Farandole danced by NHD ladies to the singing and drumming of the NHD men

Anne Gillian Ward, 1929 - 2014: An Appreciation

Gill loved to dance! She was dancing to the end…. For a fuller appreciation, please visit our special page: Anne Gillian Ward: An Appreciation.

Norwich Playford Ball

Norwich Historical Dance are pleased to announce that they will be taking over the running of the much loved 'Norwich Assembly Ball' starting in November 2016 with their first 'Norwich Playford Ball'. More information to follow and our grateful thanks to Freda for organising the Balls for so many years.

Magna Carta

Norwich Historical Dance stepped back further in time to previous performances and went back to the 13th c., to ensure King John signed the Magna Carta at the 'Barley Mow', Wittensham, Suffolk.

Norwich Lanes Fair, 2015

As part of the Norwich Lanes Fair, 2015, Norwich Historical Dance are performing 17th and 18th century dances at Strangers Hall Summer Fair during the afternoon of Sunday 5th July with accompaniment of 'Minstrels Gallery' who play a variety of Early musical instruments. All welcome; no need to book..