I discovered Pastime in 2015 when I attended an HDS summer school in Chichester and Irene, one of the participants put me in touch with Alison. The summer school had been my first introduction to historical dance and I was keen to find a local group. I confess I was a little apprehensive the first time I walked into Chelsfield Village Hall but need not have worried as everyone was very friendly and welcoming. I loved it from the outset although I recall finding ‘heys’ quite a challenge and still do! Despite patient explanations, I still find myself always facing the wrong way!
I had only been with the group a short while when I had to have an emergency hip replacement. I remember being quite touched to receive a ‘get well soon’ card from the group.
Over four years on I have some wonderful memories of Pastime. I always enjoy the Saturday practice sessions and am continually impressed by the amount of knowledge everyone has both collectively and individually. It’s not just knowledge about the dances but also the historical periods, the costumes and the music. I’ve also really enjoyed the workshops particularly those taken by Isabel Suri. Other highlights that spring to mind include the EDC festival in Norwich and of course the Commedia festivals. Dancing through the streets of Rotherhithe in full costume behind a cardboard coffin that was being trundled along was a truly bizarre moment but brilliant fun! And very Commedia .
It’s hard to choose my favourite dance or indeed a favourite period. I rather like the drama of La Battaglia which we rehearsed at the Isle of Wight summer school this year. I have a fancy it might be good danced as chess pieces. Just a thought. Bella Gioiosa is another favourite. Then there are the Playford dances, in fact the list is endless.
So these are some of my memories as one of the newer members. Pastime is a great group of talented people and long may it continue lockdown or not!
10 May 2020