Norfolk and Norwich Dance History

New study of dancing masters

Throughout the Georgian period dancing masters were in demand in Norwich and other Norfolk towns, from ‘Young Gentlemen and Ladies and the Quality a social life that centred on assemblies and balls.

William Hogarth: The Country Dance - click to enlarge

William Hogarth: The Country Dance, plate from Analysis of Beauty 1753 ‘The main theme of The Country Dance is movement and the shape of the human body. The elegant couple on the left represent the ideal, their bodies forming a series of serpentine lines. The other dancers act as a foil to them through their clumsy, graceless movements and figures.’ Tate Britain Hogarth exhibition, 2007, Visit their website.

Norwich Historical Dance researcher Maggie Marsh, has drawn on local newspapers, directories and archives, to piece together the story of how they ran their practices and competed with one another from the late 17th century to the Regency. We are now pleased to publish her Norfolk Dancing Masters 1690 –1815 for the first time.

It makes an entertaining backdrop for her account of the most famous and successful of them all, Francis Noverre, who set up his academy at the Assembly House, the most select establishment in the city. Mr Noverre’s Academy was published by NHD in 2005, with the support of grants from Norwich City Council and the Assembly House Trustees. View Details and purchase information for Mr Noverre’s Academy.

William Hogarth: Caricature of a dancing master - click to enlarge

William Hogarth: Caricature of a dancing master

Since then, Maggie has continued research on the Norwich dynasty of the Noverre family which was established in the city by Francis’ father, Augustin, younger brother of Jean-Georges Noverre, the ‘father of modern dance’. The Noverres of London and Norwich, which tells the story of how, thanks to Francis’ shrewd commercial judgment, he and his descendants became part of the city’s establishment, has now been published.

Meantime, she will be happy to hear from interested readers – especially Noverre descendants. To get in touch with Maggie, go to our Contact Us page; we shall be pleased to pass on messages to her.

Both illustrations from:
The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Dance (by An Antiquary), by Anonymous

‘This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net’.