What got you into dance in historical style (what attracted you to it, what do you like about it, how do people respond)?
I got into historical dance by chance. I never could decide if I wanted to be a dancer or a musician and so as a child I started with a ballet-company and as a pupil at the local music-school. Although it was a quite small city in a rural area, a teacher from "schuola cantorum basiliensis" came there and founded a historical dance and music group. There I could do both, music and dance belonged together and I felt at home with the style of the dance and the style of the music. By the time I was 16 years old, I understood more and more of the dimensions that lie in the art of the historical times and I studied further and further into historical documents to understand how people thought, lived, loved and how they lived differently and in what ways we are still absolutely the same.
Baroque dance is the grandmother of ballet, it is the reason why the very first academy of dance was founded, it has a wonderful high amount of presence on the stage, it is elegant, delicate/filigree, but represents power/potency.
When I'm teaching social dances of that time to large groups of people, I love to watch them discover that their social interaction is great fun. It is movement with beautiful music and you can communicate with your partner, without hanging your arms around a stranger :-)
The cliché of "historical dance is slow movement in a nice costume" is not true at all!
What is the design/preparation/fabric process for your costume?
For years I work together with two women who are specialized in historical costumes. First of all you have to know exactly which time, which country or region and which status you want to present and then you have to find paintings to choose what the dress should look like. Of course I don't want to have an exact copy, but there are styles, fashion, like today, about colors, patterns or limitations which you should know. The dressmaker themselves do a lot of research so they can develop a pattern. Furthermore, they work together with specialized weavers to get fabric which correspond to the historical paintings to match the design and material. After research and several meetings, the dress will become reality again, after several hundred years of oblivion.
What is Baroque music and how is it different from other forms of classical/modern music?
Baroque music is an art form that coincides with 17th century Europe. It was a time when harmony accompanied melody for the first time as we now see prevalent in modern music. A special attribute of Baroque music on period instruments in authentic style is the use of gut strings opposed to steel strings and the lower tuning of 415hz instead of 440hz. This puts less pressure and stress on the instrument and consequently has a calming effect on listeners. This effect is visibly seen in children; we have had reports from concerts of children with special needs dancing for the first time and crawling for the first time after being delayed in these areas. As a result of gut string use (the sound is not as amplified as with steel strings) an important aspect of this music is the venue. We have chosen suitable venues that act as an amplifier of the music to create the perfect acoustics that would have been experienced in 17th century Europe, giving people an authentic and enjoyable experience.
Who is the Baroque Music Community and Educational Trust of New Zealand?
The Baroque Music Community and Educational Trust of New Zealand is a charitable trust dedicated to high quality music on period instruments in authentic interpretation to a high standard accessible to New Zealanders. We accomplish this by bringing together experts in the worldwide Baroque community to perform, bringing concerts to various areas of the South Island and making ticket prices reasonably priced including discounts for seniors and students and a max of one child (up to 16 years) free per paying adult.
We are very grateful to our sponsors, without which these concerts could not be taking place. We are thankful to the ongoing support of Dame Adrienne Stewart, namely with fundraising activities. We are thankful for the financial support from Barbara Stewart Charitable Trust and Creative Communities NZ from Nelson City, Timaru District, Dunedin City, Grey District, Christchurch City and Invercargill City. A huge help is in kind support brought to us by Plumbing Laser, Video Testimonials, Silks NZ, Bohemian Bakery, Back door Spa and our billets that provide accommodation for our musicians.