Historical Dance Program,
  Comments from Participants


"The Historical Dance Program offers the opportunity to intensively challenge body and brain to learn the technique, step vocabulary and choreographic conventions of the Renaissance and/or the Baroque. I appreciate the Festival’s interdisciplinary approach to performance. I learn a great deal about music, period performance conventions, and various aspects of related history from faculty and participants in other disciplines.
~~Peggy Murray, Ph.D., Ohio University

"As one who has had a lifelong interest in historic dance and theater, the Festival has given me invaluable opportunities to work with a variety of gifted music and dance professionals in an inspiring environment. For a dancer, it is an amazing experience to be able to perform original choreography from period sources; the knowledge gained by observing the director’s and choreographer’s creative process in the Opera performances has been helpful to me in my own work.
~~Susan Nabors Jenkins, Dancer, Teacher, Choreographer; Mahwah, NJ
Co-Director of “In Good Company,” an 18th century historic dance troupe

"My experience at the Amherst Early Music Festival has been extremely beneficial to me professionally. The opportunity to learn and perform authentic Renaissance and Baroque dances has enabled me to create an Early Dance Ensemble; in addition, the enriching experience will also benefit a Dance History course I teach. Perhaps even more important was the great comraderie that existed among the dancers and instructors, Dorothy Olsson and Kaspar Mainz. The dance instruction was awesome: Dorothy and Kaspar approached the classes with patience and enthusiasm. I am extremely grateful for the superb educational opportunity and the professional contacts offered through the Dance portion of the Amherst Early Music Festival.
~~Florence Neubauer, Ph.D. Dance History, Dance of Other Cultures
Department of Theatre and Dance, Rollins College

"Dorothy Olsson has a wonderful way of including everyone in the class. Steps are taught at a very manageable pace for beginners as well as professional dancers. For musicians who play Renaissance music, it’s important to dance the steps, to really understand the rhythms, accents, tempo, and character of the various dances. Dorothy also gives interesting source information, showing copies of historical dance treatises and dance iconography. We danced to glorious music from her dance CD collection; it’s an experience not to be missed!"
~~Nancy Hurrell, Harpist in Renaissonics

"This unique program allowed me to sharpen my view of historical music and dance. As a musician I gained a new insight into how the music should be played to support the dance. As an amateur dancer, I had the opportunity to work with professionals to enhance my technique. Even having an opportunity to dance in authentic costumes gave me an appreciation for why the dances move the way they do. Best of all the instructors have an understanding of how to work with students at various levels of knowledge. From the professionals to the beginners like me, we all came home with new information, improved technique, and an even greater love for this material. I can't wait to come back again!"
~~Betsy Scott Chapman, Harpist and Martial Arts Instructor

"The Amherst Early Music Festival was a treasure of information and insight into the historical origins of classical ballet and the dance classes were a springboard to new insights on group movement and choreography. Performing in a historical masque was the catalyst for my own dance company’s Renaissance evening. The well-versed and very approachable faculty made this festival both enriching and inspiring. I am sure that this festival will continue to influence my choreographic vision for years to come.”
~~Paul Abrahamson, Artistic Director, The Moose Project, Chicago, IL

"My experience at Amherst opened a rich and stimulating new world of knowledge about Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque dance and music. It was an intensive two weeks that gave me very concrete specific skills and dances that I have used as springboards for my own choreography, as the basis for a course on western theatrical dance for high school students, and as a lively educational addition to my middle school dance composition classes. The teachers are active in the field, knowledgeable and able to convey the material clearly and with a great sense of fun. The opportunity to perform this material with period instruments is a rare and privileged experience."
~~Sarah Stead, Saint Ann’s School, Brooklyn Heights, NY


"I have wonderful memories of the many theatre projects that I was privileged to be a part of. They stretched me in a way I had never imagined I could be stretched, and I will be forever grateful to Dorothy for the opportunity to participate in them. I do admire her patience and her calm approach to teaching as well as preparing for a performance."
~~Linda F. Adams, Renaissance dancer, recorder player and choral singer from Canada