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. - click to enlarge

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.

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

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

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.

Museums at Night

Norwich Historical dance are taking part in Norwich Museums, 'Museums at Night' events. Along with live music from 'Minstrels Gallery' they will perform Medieval dances in the Rotunda in Norwich Castle between 5.30pm and 9.00pm on Saturday 14th May.

Hanse Weekend in Kings Lynn

We have been invited to participate for the third year in a row as part of the Hanse Festival in Kings Lynn. We will be taking part in the Procession on Saturday 21st May at 12.00, then performing Medieval Dances in Hanse House from 1.30 pm with a last demonstration at 3.30pm. Spectators can join in a dance at the end of each performance and there will be live music played by Minstrels' Gallery. A second series of demonstrations will take place on Sunday 22nd May, this time in the Assembly Room in the Town Hall, starting at 11.00am and with the last set at 2.00pm.

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.

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.

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

"Gathering Peascods" at Diss, June 1st 2014

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 - click to enlarge

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 audience enjoy participation in a dance at the end of the group's display of 15th century dances during the Hanse Festival in Kings Lynn - click to enlarge

The audience enjoy participation in a dance at the end of the group's display of 15th century dances during the Hanse Festival in Kings Lynn

The swirl of skirts in the Undercroft of Strangers Hall, Norwich as Norwich Historical Dance perform 17th century dances during the Norwich Lanes Weekend. - click to enlarge

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 - click to enlarge

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

Norwich and Cambridge Early Dance Weekend

The weekend workshop of 16th century dance under the tutelage of C Schou-Pedersen, was once again a tremendous success. Held again in the delightful rural setting of Belsey Bridge near Bungay in Suffolk, the dancers enjoyed Jørgen's precise and clear teaching to some beautiful music in a bright airy hall with a good floor. The mix of dancers who came from across England were also treated to a video-showing of Jørgen's own dance group in Denmark, performing the dances we were learning and this was followed by a wide ranging discussion on the dances, historical background and other items of interest.

Plans are afoot for this popular workshop to take place at Belsey Bridge once again.

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

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

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 - click to enlarge

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

Mr. Vernon Castle takes part in the quadrille, 'Les Lanciers' - click to enlarge

Mr. Vernon Castle takes part in the quadrille, 'Les Lanciers'

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

Norwich Historical Dance were part of the Edith Cavell Commemoration Week, dancing at the Forum, Norwich, on Saturday 10th October, with a range of dances familiar to Norfolk people in the pre-First World War years. We ended with a specially created commemorative dance to the accompaniment of popular WW1 songs which highlight the cataclysmic effects of war.

A busy Historical year

We have had a very busy year flitting through the centuries, from the 13th century where we ensured that King John signed the Magna Carta down at the 'Barley Mow', Witnesham, Suffolk, moving into the 15th century at the Hanse weekend celebrations in Kings Lynn, our dances giving the audience much enjoyment and the chance of participation at the end of each 'set'. Strangers Hall played host to us for 16th and 17th century performances and we stayed in the 17th century for our performance in front of other Early Dancers at the Early Dance Circle Festival in Bath in October. Skipping the 18th and 19th centuries, our other performance was at the Forum in Norwich as we went Edwardian as part of the Edith Cavell Commemoration week.

Fashion and Passion in Norwich Castle

Norwich Historical Dance performed again in Norwich Castle Museum on Saturday 28th November 2015 in the 'Fashion and Passion' exhibition. Dancing in 16th century mode, they delighted the visitors in the Rotunda. Several members of the public, both adults and children, enjoyed being part of the historical event when they joined in the audience participation dances.

Early Dance Circle Festival

NHD took part in the 32nd Annual Early Dance Circle Festival in Bath with a 17th century scenario set around the year 1651 and Charles II's escape to France, with 4 dances, Scotch Cap, Dull Sir John, A la Mode de France and Whirligig.

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.

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', Witnesham, Suffolk.

Norwich Lanes Fair, 2015

Norwich Historical Dance performed 17th and 18th century dances during the Norwich Lanes Fair, 2015. They danced in the Undercroft at Strangers Hall Summer Fair during the afternoon of Sunday 5th July with accompaniment of 'Minstrels Gallery' who played a variety of Early Music instruments.

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.

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.