The dancers get to grips with the 'triumph' manoeuvre, in 'Les Pécheurs' from the Bülow Collection (1780).
Four pictures from our recent performance of 'Kemp's Jig: Music and Dance from the Plays of William Shakespeare' in Wymondham Abbey on August Bank Holiday Monday 2016: Hexachordia play for the dancers.
Jane Scheuregger holds up a Crumhorn as she explains and demonstrates the musical instuments from the Tudor period.
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 'Hexachordia', also in costume.
Back to back they faced each other… Andrew Swaine calls the changes at the Playford Ball at Norwich Assembly House, November 2016
The 2018 Early Dance Circle festival in October 2018 will be hosted at Norwich High School for Girls.
The Ladies of NHD swirl in formation to the music of Hexachordia 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 Stranger's 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 rhythm 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
'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
Take a leap back in time! Enjoy a Norwich Historical Dance performance at your event or get-together. Dancing in authentic costume and using live music whenever possible, created with your event and venue uniquely in mind, our performances can be formal or informal, set in their historical and social context and inviting audience participation where requested.
- Renaissance Europe
- The Tudors' love of music and dance
- The Shakespeare connection
- Charles II and Restoration England
- A Georgian Assembly
- A Jane Austen dance party
- Edwardian England and the impact of World War One
Norwich Playford Ball
The Noverre Suite in Norwich Assembly House will again be a chandelier lit room of music and movement, smiles and laughter as Dampier's Round provide the music with Frances Richardson as MC to call the dances. This is NHD's 3rd Norwich Playford Ball and is set to be as lively and enjoyable as the previous two. There a still a few tickets left but don't leave it too late or you may be disappointed as last year was a sellout. Visit the Playford Ball page for more information.
Early Dance Circle Festival
In this our 35th year we hosted the 35th Early Dance Circle Festival which was enjoyed by over 140 participants including 11 Historical dance groups from as far away as Scotland with visitors travelling from as far away as Inverness and The Netherlands to take part in the weekend of 'Early Dance' held in Norwich High School for Girls. The Early Music Ensemble 'Hexachordia' were on hand to provide much of the music and they joined NHD's own musicians to play for our performance of "Four Weddings and a Funeral" which was based around Eaton Grove which forms part of the school and featured Mr. Eager, Dancing Master. (See article below). The performance took its cue from Eaton Grove, its first owner Mr.Yallop and his acquaintance Mr Eager, following their marriages and that of their daughters in a light hearted Regency romp as 28 of NHD's members took to the floor through 6 dances to delight the knowledgeable audience.
We were also treated to some accomplished dancing by the other local Early Dance group under the title 'The Dancing Master presents…', led by Sasza Zargowski, putting Norwich well on the Festival map.
Hexachordia played for the Friday evening concert ' The Food of Love' and with Sasza Zargowski as MC, for the Saturday evening's Social Dance. The concert was preceded by a drinks reception and supper in Eaton Grove, the original Georgian part of the school.
Thanks are due to all the hard work put in by NHD's members and also to the school's staff and caterers for their generous and cheerful assistance.
People and Places: A local Flavour…
We can construct programmes around particular historical events, places and personalities. For example we have based performances around the life and times of Dragon Hall, Norwich; Thomas Paine of Thetford; Lord Nelson; the signing of the Magna Carta; and Will Kemp’s famous ‘Nine Daies Wonder’. The First World War Commemorations take us up to the Edwardiam Era and the arrival of Ragtime.
We have taken part in events as diverse as a production for Swaffham Arts of “When the Lights Went Out” set in 1914; Norwich Museums’ ‘Fashion & Passion’ and ‘Museums at Night’ in Norwich Castle, and an afternoon performance, “Will Kemp and the Music and Dances from the Plays of William Shakespeare”, in Wymondham Abbey, a fundraiser for Priscilla Bacon Lodge and "The Nine Minutes Wonder, Will kemp"!, a very brief and humerous recreation of Will Kemp's dance from London to Norwich, which was developed and performed for the 2016 Early Dance Circle's festival in Bath.
John Eager 1782-1853 - A Norfolk Dancing Master
A history of the Dancing Master, John Eager who began his career as a Music and Dancing Master in Norfolk. By Judith Havens.
A Victorian Christmas Ball
Norwich Historical Dance teamed up with Sasza Zargowski to provide 'A Victorian Christmas Ball', in great style, at Swaffham Assembly Rooms, for Swaffham Arts. The audience enjoyed the presentation along with suitable light refreshments and the opportunity to join in several of the popular Victorian dances, ably led by Mr. Sargowski.
Belsey Bridge 2019
Norwich Historical Dance in collaboration with The Capriol Society will be running another successful and popular course at Belsey Bridge Conference Centre under Isabel Suri's practical and gentle guidance. This course is now fully booked.
NHD also run a number of one day courses through the year. Please check the Events Page for these.
Norwich Historical Dance classes
Normal classes are 7.30pm on Thursday evenings at Norwich High School, 95 Newmarket Rd, NR2 2HU. Phone to check details. See Contacts Page. 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.
A busy Historical year
As can be seen from the paragraphs above, NHD have not been resting on their laurels, or even the garlands that they use in the Farandole. These arcs of flowers and greenery have changed with the seasons and context from the poppies of Flanders and Norfolk in the Great War of 1914 - 1918, to Ivy and flowers to celebrate the 'Festive Season' and at the recent Kings Lynn 'Hanse Festival', they were bright with the flowers from a spring meadow.
Most of our performances have seen us in 15th or 16th century themes with Shakespeare and Will Kemp figuring prominently in the latter. We moved forward in time though for this years Belsey Bridge workshop weekend when, under Jørgen Schou-Pedersen's practical and gentle guidance, the 24 participants were taught 18th century Danish dances.
In many of our appearances, 'Minstrel's Gallery' aka 'Hexachordia', provided much appreciated live and authentic music for the dancers and we look forward to working with them on many more occaisions.
We have also enjoyed evenings of Social Dancing under the direction of Sasza Zargowski, at the last dance class of each term. Sasza has also led occasional day workshops at the Belvedere Centre in Norwich such as his 'A Quadrille Tea' afternoon and Late 19th century Quadrilles.
Performance requires practice and as well as the weekly classes at Norwich High School for Girls and there are more targeted rehearsals in the run up to each event attended.
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
Over the last four years NHD have created performances on the subject of the 1914- 1918 Great War, the first being in Diss in 2014. Subsequent performances included a commemoration of Edith Cavell at the Forum in Norwich, NHD's presentation at the Early Dance Circle Festival in 2015 and a full length musical dance and play for Swaffham Arts, in the Assembly Rooms, Swaffham.
As 2018 nears its end we will all be remembering the end of World War I and as well as those who did not return their are those who did but suffered both physical and mental wounds. They came back to a changed world with all the challenges and promises that this entailed. For the group these performances have been both challenging and thought provoking and have always been met with much appreciation.