Australia's Leading Early Dance Group
Director: Helga M. Hill OAM
Rare manuscripts and the earliest printed dance books provide the repertoire for Renaissance Dance - the mainly social dances of Europe from the 15th to the early 17th centuries.
Styles during this period ranged from simple country round dances, stately pavans and energetic galliards to spectacular torch and sword dances and complex choreographies from the Italian courts.
You are invited to join the Rippon Lea Renaissance Dancers in classes which run throughout the year. All sessions begin with warm-up exercises followed by step technique and the study of chosen dances. Newcomers will be integrated through the simpler dances of the French and English repertoire. Progress is aided by printed material issued during classes.
Once appropriate standards have been achieved, newcomers will be invited to join the performing team which gives frequent concerts, theatrical and school performances around Melbourne, regional Victoria and, occasionally, interstate. Performers wear as-original court garments and are accompanied by the Early Music Consort of Melbourne using reconstructed historic instruments.
Relatively simple dances from the French and English repertoire are studied in the beginners' class and no previous dance experience is required. Participants are taught in a group, so it is not necessary to bring a partner. Classes are for males and females of all ages and fitness levels.
Sessions commence with warm-up exercises and basic step practice. New dances are introduced regularly, with ongoing revision to develop growing confidence in the art form. Instruction sheets are provided for each dance.
The information presented in class is wide-ranging. It includes references to the history of the period, the relationship between early music and dance, court mannerisms and etiquette, as well as the influence of period garments on dance movements.
Dress for classes is casual, but should permit freedom of movement. Soft shoes with no heels (preferably soft leather ballet shoes) should be worn. Rubber-soles and point ballet shoes are unsuitable.