Norwich Historical Dance host the 35th annual Early Dance Circle Festival

Eight of NHD dancers perform the waltz 'Dance for 8' watched by the remaining members and audience

Eight of NHD dancers perform the waltz 'Dance for 8' watched by the remaining members and audience

After the Ball was Over…

We get ready for the next one! Norwich is known as a 'Dancing City' and with good reason given the stay here of such famous dancing masters as M. Noverre and Mr. Eager. The latter may not be as famous as M. Noverre but he figured large in Norwich Historical Dance's presentation at the 35th Annual "Early Dance Circle" Festival held at Norwich High School for Girls over the weekend of 26th -28th October 2018.

This is where Mr. Eager comes in as he was an acquaintance and contemporary of Mr.Yallop who built the Georgian mansion "Eaton Grove" which forms part of the school. The presentation of 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' centred around these two men, their marriages and that of their daughters. All good fun and a light hearted and humorous tale on which to hang the dances of the performance, which incidentally, celebrated the dance group's 35th anniversary. The 15 minutes of dancing from the Regency period performed by 28 members of the group delighted the very knowledgeable audience. They comprised other dance groups from across the UK as well those who had come to enjoy the delights of watching historical or 'Early' dance. Indeed there was one visitor from the Netherlands and another from Inverness who had come especially to see the festival.

Eleven groups, (over 140 people) took part; two from Norwich for as well as Norwich Historical Dance (NHD), Sasza Zargowski, a local 'dancing master' himself , led his group entitled "The Dancing Master presents…" who gave a very polished, bright and happy performance of 18th century dances. Other groups presented dances ranging from the 15th century through to the Roaring '20's and from Scotland to Spain passing through East Anglia with a dance called 'The Drayning of the Fenns' presented by the Cambridge based group, Capriol.

The Dancing Master presents…

The Dancing Master presents

It was not all high drama and beautiful costumes as there were three intervals of 'Dancing for All' led by Amanda Williams of NHD, Liz Russell of Capriol and by local Morris man and dancer, Jonathon Hootan.

The main music makers of the weekend were local Early Music ensemble "Hexachordia" who gave a concert on the Friday evening entitled " The Food of Love". They joined Norwich Historical Dances's own musicians during NHD's performance and for two of the 'Dancing for All' sessions. As if that was not enough live music they played for the Saturday evening's social dance with Sasza Zargowski as the MC or caller.

Whether hosting a festival, entertaining at a country house or village fete or at a private event, NHD aim to please. Sharon Butler from the Early Dance Circle said: " We would like to thank you and everyone in NHD for another highly successful Early Dance Festival on your home turf. Each one you do is better than the one before and we are truly grateful for all your efforts. The reception was most welcoming and the warm tone continued all weekend. She added:"I hope you can use that programme again for the delight of Norwich residents."

Praise also goes to the school and catering staff for all their assistance and the wonderful food served on the Friday evening at the reception, and Saturday's lunch and supper.

Forty of the festival goers were up bright and early on the Sunday to round the weekend off with a guided walk in the sunshine around 'Georgian' Norwich.

As for getting ready for the next dance, NHD were all there on the following Thursday for their next class and are preparing to run their 3rd 'Norwich Playford Ball' held in honour of Norwich man John Playford, on November 17th 2018 in the Assembly House. So all you dancers out there, get out your dancing shoes, costumes and step lively…!

For more information about the Playford Ball, please visit our Playford Ball page.