Welcome to the Norwich Historical Dance Website
Norwich Historical Dance perform 16th century dances with a festive flavour for the 'Passion in Fashion' exhibition in the Norwich Castle Museum Rotunda.
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.
Minstrels Gallery playing for Norwich Historical Dance in the Blue Room of Hanse House during King's Lynn's 'Hanse Festival'
Spectators in Hanse House, King's Lynn, watch the interplay of the dancers in 'Pazienza' during the 2016 Hanse Festival
Edith Cavell Commemoration Week. The nurse leads the men through the tunnel of poppies during the Poppy Farandole at the finale of NHD's performance in front of the Forum, Norwich, in October 2015.
The Ladies of NHD swirl in formation to the music of Minstrel's Gallery in the dance 'Armyn', midst the splendour of the Assembly Room in King's Lynn's Town Hall
The swirl of skirts in the Undercroft of Strangers Hall, Norwich as Norwich Historical Dance perform 17th century dances during the Norwich Lanes Weekend.
The ladies of Norwich Historical Dance are in fashion as they dance 'A la Mode de France' during their performance of 17th century dances at the Early Dance Circle Festival, 2015, held in Bath
Masqued ladies surge forward to the rythm of the music in the dance 'Armyn' in the Assembly Room of King's Lynn's Town Hall during the 2016 Hanse Festival
Mrs Fuller (Anne Giles) reflects on days past and dreams about one of the singers and songs from the 1914 Parish Tea Dance, "Is My Team Ploughing?" by George Butterworth
Honour your partners! and Eileen glows with the joy of dancing with Mr. Vernon Castle in 'Les Lanciers' in the February 2016 performance of NHD's 'When the Lights Went Out', an afternoon of Dance and Music from 1914, in Swaffham Assembly Rooms
'Vernon Castle's Dance Troupe' give a splendid Ragtime Revue during Norwich Historical Dance's performance of 'When the Light's Went Out' in Swaffham Assembly Rooms, February 2016, bringing dance and music into the 20th century
The woman left behind after the men have marched to war, perform the 'Poppy Farandole' in the finale to 'When the Light's Went Out' in Swaffham Assembly Rooms
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.
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 this year, with their first 'Norwich Playford Ball' on Saturday 19th November 2016. For more information visit the 'Playford Ball' page and download the flyer. We extend our grateful thanks to Freda for organising the Norwich Assembly Balls for so many years.
Kemp's Jig: Music and Dance from the Plays of William Shakespeare
Norwich Historical Dance with Minstrels Gallery are presenting a performance in Wymondham Abbey on Bank Holiday Monday, 29th August, 2016, in aid of the Priscilla Bacon Centre for Specialist Palliative Care. There will be performances between 2.00pm and 4.30pm, with audience participation. View the flyer (PDF file: 186 KB). NHD would like to thank Wymondham Abbey for giving permission to stage this charity performance in the Abbey.
Belsey Bridge 2017
Norwich Historical Dance in collaboration with The Capriol Society are running a practical course studying 18th century Danish dances, researched and taught by Jørgen Schou-Pedersen, who has had a long and distinguished career in teaching dances of many periods. The venue, Belsey Bridge Conference Centre, is set in a peaceful rural location in Ditchingham near Bungay in Suffolk. The course will run from registration at 5.30 pm on Friday 31st March to 4 pm on Sunday 2nd April. Saturday afternoon will be free. Accommodation is for two nights with all meals included. Early booking is advised for this popular course as numbers are limited. Please download the booking form (PDF file: 409 KB).
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. Please come along for a free 'taster' evening, see the dances, hear the music and meet the members. NHD Terms start from September. To help you step more easily into the classes there will be a series of 4 Beginners Sessions on 20th, and 27th September and 4th and 11th October, 2016.
Normal classes are 7.30pm on Thursday evenings at Norwich High School, 95 Newmarket Rd, NR2 2HU. Phone to check details.
Enquiries: or telephone Anthea Block: 01603 452732. For more information, please download our flyer (PDF file: 125 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.
Hanse Weekend in Kings Lynn
We participated for the third year in a row as part of the Hanse Festival in Kings Lynn. We took part in the Procession on Saturday 21st May, then performed Medieval Dances to live music played by Minstrels Gallery, in Hanse House throughout the afternoon. Spectators joined in a dance at the end of each performance. A second series of demonstrations took place on Sunday 22nd May, this time in the Assembly Room in the Town Hall.
A busy Historical year
Over the last year NHD have flitted back and forth through the centuries, starting in June 2015 in the 13th century where we ensured that King John signed the Magna Carta down at the 'Barley Mow', Witnesham, Suffolk. A few weeks later Strangers' Hall played host to us for 16th and 17th century performances, and we stayed in the 17th century for our performance in October 2015 at the Early Dance Circle Festival in Bath. October also saw us dancing at the Forum in Norwich, taking part in the Edith Cavell Commemoration week, with dances from the Edwardian era. For Swaffham Arts in February 2016 we gave a performance of dances, music and songs, "When the Lights Went Out", again remembering the final days of peace, the start of the Great War and those who died. More recently we have been back to the 15th century, enjoying live music from Minstrels Gallery for our performances in Norwich Castle for a 'Museums at Night' event, and at the Hanse Festival in King's Lynn.
Performance requires practice and as well as the weekly classes at Norwich High School for Girls and some more targeted rehearsals, the group have taken part in workshops which included 16th C. dances under tutor Jørgen Schou-Pedersen at Belsey Bridge, in April; a Playford dance day in Cambridge with fellow dancers from the Capriol group and, more recently, late 19th century quadrilles with Sasza Zargowski, in Norwich.
Early Dance Circle Festival
NHD will be taking part in the 33rd Annual Early Dance Circle Festival in Bath. The theme for this performance is being developed…
Norwich Historical Dancers enjoy a DHDS workshop on the dances of Thomas Bray with Barbara Segal, January 2016
NHD join with other Early Dance enthusiasts in a Thomas Bray dance workshop run by DHDS, January 2016
Film about Norwich Historical Dance
YaranZhao and HetingZhang's work is showcased on “Norfolk on Film”; do take a look at it.
When the Lights Went Out
The performance of Edwardian dances and music familiar to Norfolk people in those pre-First World War years which took place on Sunday 21st February 2016 at Swaffham Assembly Rooms, was well received by the audience. The afternoon of ragtime, folk and social dances and music was much enjoyed by the Swaffham Arts members and many other dance and music lovers who sat around the tables in the cabaret style layout for the performance. They were also able to join in on the chorus' of the songs and take part in the 'Castle Walk' Dance, led by Mr. Vernon Castle himself, (in the guise of Sasza Zargowski). This very moving performance ended with a specially created commemorative dance to the accompaniment of popular WW1 music and song, which highlighted the cataclysmic effects of war.