THE EARLY DANCE CONSORT ~ Renaissance & Baroque Dance

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About the Classes  |  Schedule &c  |  2024 Class Brochure

Classes will run observing any vaccination, masking, hygiene & physical distancing requirements following NSW Government Health guidelines

About the ClassesWhy learn?

Welcome to the delights of Early Dance! We invite you to join us and experience the physical world of the European courts - through dance. Thanks to surviving treatises and notations, we are able to revive and relive ballroom and stage dances from the Renaissance and Baroque eras. 
Far from being dusty and sober, this repertoire offers the pleasurable challenge of dancing to  lovely music, while learning about the social, musical and aesthetic context of the dance.
Our evening classes cover a range of dances from a wealth of sources. Taking part is an enjoyable and informative experience for anyone with a passion for early music, period drama, social history and the European dance heritage.

Beginners' Classes focus on dances such as the Pavane, Galliard, Allemande and Branle from the European courts of the 16th century, and on English country dances from the 17th to 18th centuries.

During the year, students will be introduced to the noble baroque dance style from the court of Louis XIV of France. Epitomised by such dances as the Minuet, Gavotte and Sarabande, this laid the foundations for classical ballet technique.

No partner or previous experience required.
Classes begin with warm-ups and gentle stretches, and the dances provide exercise ranging from mild to moderately vigorous, in a relaxed and friendly environment.

Advanced Classes are by invitation, for students with training in ballet or modern dance, or experience in early dance, including Italian Renaissance and French baroque.

Costumed Balls may (COVID-19 permitting) be held at the end of terms - a chance to dress up in costume, display dances learned, and invite friends & family to come, watch and join in.

The Dancing School - Playford

Why learn early dance?

With a touch of history, the transport of beautiful music,
and harmonious exercise in pleasant company,
and the question is not "why learn?" - but "why not?"

Dancing combines physical, mental, kinaesthetic, musical and social skills, and is an enjoyable pastime which is accessible to and beneficial for people of all ages.

Dancing promotes an awareness of the body and ways to move gracefully and efficiently.  This is a lifelong asset, especially when combined with the habit of good posture acquired by learning and practising dancing.

Learning to dance has for centuries been recognised as important for health and well-being of both individual and of society.  Social dance forms - early dance included - provide a combination of mental, physical and social skills which have been found to be helpful for maintaining an active mind.

The early dance repertoire embraces a range of movement from slow and sedate to lively and energetic.  Dance steps are based on natural movements, so previous dance experience is not required, though it can be helpful.  These dances were designed for aristocrats, and do not involve the immodest extremes of movement to be found in many modern dance varieties.  Most court dances were designed to be danced with a partner or in a group, and so team-work is required, but in an atmosphere of collaboration rather than competition.

For students of music, a knowledge of the relationship between music and movement gives a new and tangible dimension to concepts of rhythm, tempo, phrasing and musical structure.

To performers of early music, a practical knowledge of historical dance is of particular relevance in achieving an appropriate performance. So much music of the past was written for or inspired by the prestigious dances of the courts.

For both dancers and actors, a working knowledge of early dance and deportment is of great benefit in achieving appropriate styles of movement, gesture and dance, for historical stage productions.

And, of course, dancing is great fun!

Taking hands (1728)

© The Early Dance Consort 2024.