huguenots of spitalfields
huguenots of spitalfields
huguenots of spitalfields
huguenots of spitalfields
huguenots of spitalfields
huguenots of spitalfields

Friday 12th October 2018

Tea & Talks 4: Candles, Claret and the newest French Dances: the ladies prepare for Queen Anne's birthnight ball 

Speaker: Jennifer Thorp

Jennifer Thorp is a specialist in late-seventeenth and eighteenth century dance, with particular interests in dances created in the fashionable ‘French style’ for performance at the late Stuart and Hanoverian courts in London, the dancing-masters who taught and recorded those dances in notation, and their fellow dancers who performed on the London stage at that time.

Townhouse, 5 Fournier Street, Spitalfields, E1 - Come and eat some of Fiona Atkins' delicious cakes!

Admission: £10 plus booking fee

The annual celebrations of Queen Anne’s birthday at St James’s Palace reflected a long tradition of feasting and finery at Court which would continue well into the Hanoverian era, and were attended by crowds of courtiers and their wives in their most splendid clothes and jewels (many of them made in Soho and Spitalfields by Huguenot tailors, silk weavers and goldsmiths). The festivities often included music, drama, poetry and songs specially composed for the occasion, and an evening ball in which the Queen’s Maids of Honour danced with courtiers to music provided by court and theatre musicians. Most of the dances, in the fashionable style imported from France and including a specially created birthday dance for that year, were performed by the ablest dancers before all took partners for informal country dances. During Queen Anne’s reign the ball was held in a large chamber known as ‘the Dancing Room’ at St James’s Palace, lit by hundreds of candles; courtiers averse to dancing or just wishing to cool off could adjourn to other rooms to play cards or enjoy refreshments of food and wine. How did the ladies in particular prepare for these celebrations? This talk looks at what they wore, what they danced and how they learned the dances – many of which still survive today.

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