Renaissance Dancers

The Southwark-based Renaissance Dancers have announced their 2002/3 programme offering the opportunity to learn and enjoy the the stately dances of Elizabeth I's Court as well as the dances of the English countryside.

Dance class at John Marshall Hall

Bankside is the home of Shakespeare and appropriately the Renaissance Dancers meet nearby in the John Marshall Hall which is in the heart of the Paris Garden known to Shakespeare. He visited it, featured it in his local play Henry VIII and had other plays performed at the Garden's theatre. Today that heritage of dance and entertainment will continue on Monday nights with dance classes.

Although the emphasis is on the world of the late Tudors and Shakespeare, the course also encompasses dances from the rich heritage available to the dancing masters of the day, for example Italian dances and some later 17th century English repertoire. This overall view is aimed at giving a better understanding of historical dance.

Performance Group (Photo: Renzo Fronstoni)

The Renaissance Dancers have a performance group with dancers dressed in authentic copies of Elizabethan court clothing, made using the fabrics and techniques of the period. The group has performed at the The Temple's Christmas Revel, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and at private parties.

The group's own Elizabethan-style celebrations include Hallowe'en, Lady Day and May Day with dance and food made from original Elizabethan recipes. Previous menus have included a Dysshe of Lambe with claret, Tartes of leeke and cheyse and A Puddyng of Figs with raisens and creme. On these occasions the hall is decorated to resemble a 16th century hall as far as possible.

Evening classes begin on Monday 9 September and the course encourages beginners, extending the experience of people with expertise in other dance forms and improveing the technique and style of those already experienced in early dance.

• • Full details of the new season are available from Gwenneth Bransby-Zachary on 020 8761 6565 (day) or 020 8473 3558 . Fax: 020 8670 3195. Email:
• Visitors are welcome to attend the Renaissance Dancers' talks and evening events. To join the mailing list contact Gwenneth Bransby-Zachary on the above numbers and addreses.

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