August 2022


Historical Dances 1221 – 1521


So soon as they had glided through

The estampies of this sort

Youths and maidens who disport

Themselves in dancing now begin

With scarce a wait to join hands in

The Summer Caroling!


Jean Froissart (c.1337- c.1405)


We all know about Christmas carols, but did you know that carols were originally for all seasons, including spring and summer? In medieval times, carols involved dancing, and brought communities into harmony, all moving together. You are invited to take your place in the circle at our Scottish summer course, be you newcomer or expert dancer, and join in some summer caroling!


During the three days, we will learn together, have social dances and fun activities exploring history and dance. The course will end with an opportunity to welcome the local townspeople to join our celebration.


Historical Themes:


Honouring the birth of the medieval Astrologer King, Alfonso X of Castile, born in the year 1221, this course engages the historical imagination to consider the beginnings of courtly dance. 



Robert Copeland wrote his French grammar in this year. Appended to this work was an exposition of courtly dancing enjoyed by the English the year before at the Field of the Cloth of Gold. Here, King Henry VIII met the French King Francis I and the two royal courts danced together and created pageantry and display.


Cosmic Dance:

The Concept of the Dancing Planets was imagined as a Cosmic Dance by Ancient Thinkers such as Aristotle, Plato, Ptolemy and Lucian. These ideas will inspire our creative approach to historical dance, using practical abstract exercises by the grandfather of contemporary dance: Rudolf Laban.


King Alfonso X of Castile (1221-1284)

The King was called El Sabio – The Wise, for creating tables to calculate the movement of the Sun, Moon, the known planets and the fixed stars. These Alfonsine Tables were used constantly for three centuries, being studied by Nicolaus Copernicus in 1492, as he made his first steps to produce a new doctrine of astronomy. In 1514, Corpernicus suggested a new way of seeing the moving planets. The Cantigas of Santa Maria are mystical songs based on the dance rhythms of the day, and these have been attributed to Alfonso X. We will be inspired by this music to create group choreography.


Medieval Courtly Dance:

Volume 1: Dances from the Courts of Europe by Peggy Dixon (published book and recorded music available)

The Mediaeval Carole: Line dances and Circle dances such as The Farandole & The Suite of Branles, Branles Coupés, The Olde Almaine, The Ductia, Manfredina & Rotta. Partner dances such as the Estampies & The French Basse Dance.


Music sources:

Harley Manuscript 978 (now in the British Museum) with Estampies and Caroles including the famous Sumer is Icumen in

The French Royal Dances & Estampies

The Troubadors: Kalenda Maya


Instruction Manuals & Manuscript sources:

Robert Copeland (1521)

Mansucripts of Basse Dance: Nancy, Cevera, Brussells

Toulouze : L’Art et Instruction de Bien Dancer


The Final Sharing: A Cosmological Movement Choir

In honour of the architectural historian and cultural theorist, Charles Jencks (1939-2019) who designed THE CRAWICK MULTIVERSE, Sanquhar.

Exploring the movement qualities of the Elements in Nature: Fire, Air, Earth, Water. Using Rudolf Laban’s movement scales to train the body in dynamics and space harmony, and create a Movement Choir inspired by historical and spatial themes explored in the course.


“Every learner… after their diligent study

may rejoice their spirits honestly in eschewing of idleness,

 the portress of vices”


Robert Copeland (1521)

Manner of Dancyng Bace dances after the Use of France


Dancing Master:


(Dramatic Dance RADA, The Laban Guild for Movement & Dance,

Paradance UK, Harmonic Interactive Healing)



To be posted later in the year. This will be a 3-day course from Friday to Sunday, arriving the Thursday.

COSTS -  to be confirmed later in the year

The fee will include evening meal on arrival day, and sandwich lunches each day and a 2-course evening meal each night. 


If you have a non-dancing partner they can eat with the group


All rooms must be booked independently. 

We can recommend the following: 

Nithsdale Hotel, Sanquhar - Nithsdale Hotel Restaurant [] Single / Twin / Double rooms, plus a Flat sleeping six person, with or without breakfast Newark Farm, Sanquhar [] Bed & Breakfast (also has Caravan Site and Self Catering accommodation) Blackaddie Country House Hotel [4 Star] [

AIR BnB offer bookings in Sanquhar and the local area 

Please get in touch if you need help in finding a place to stay. 


Those travelling by train should arrive at Sanquhar station. 

Trains run from LONDON EUSTON to SANQUHAR with one change of train at CARLISLE. Trains run from GLASGOW direct to SANQUHAR. 

GLASGOW airport for national and international flights, including low-cost airlines from London [Gatwick / Luton / Stansted] 

Any queries on the course please email []


ummer Course scheduled for August 2021 in Sanquhar, Scotland has been postponed to 2022 due to the uncertainty caused by Covid-19.

However, we shall be reviewing the provision of other online and hopefully face-to-face day classes in the UK during this year. 

Extract from the Summer Course in 2019 to give you a taster of what we do and what to expect.