We owe our existence to a chap named Simon Caradoc Evans, a successful businessman with a fondness for early music who became enthralled by the baroque dancing he saw at the Spitalfields Music Festival one year. According to legend, he had the idea of establishing a minuet company while cooking his breakfast, at the very moment an egg slipped out of his hand and fell with a splat to the floor...
An advert duly appeared in the national newspapers calling for people with a love of dance, noting reassuringly that "the minuet steps are not difficult". The very first class was held in February 1982 and many happy years of minuetting have ensued, with performances all over the UK as well as tours overseas. When Simon passed away the company was reorganised along more democratic lines, and continues to provide magical 18th century moments and absurd anecdotes and as we look forward to our fourth decade.
A mix of ages and backgrounds, we boast a wide range of interests and prior dancing experience – but are united by our love of the minuet, the ability to wear a wig without embarrassment, and a genial disposition.
Olivia is our former Company Chair. She spent 15 years as a shipping lawyer with an international law firm and now enjoys the freelance lifestyle. A fluent Spanish speaker, and our Membership Secretary, she combines all of the above with her professional acting career, which covers both stage and screen.
An auctioneer by trade, Charles was often tempted to resort to using his gavel in class as our former Chairman. A member of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London where he has played Watson, he is also a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipemakers which, he insists, means he 'must' take plenty of fine snuff and smoke a clay pipe!
Our Events Officer, Costume Advisor, founder member and for many years our Dancing Mistress, Linda works for a local council. In her spare time she's a school Governor, a Justice of the Peace and now a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters.
Yundi is a PhD student researching the use of classical muisc inside the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and in Anglo-GDR cultural diplomacy at Durham University. She loves listening to Glenn Gould's Bach: Goldberg Variations when she is writing up her thesis. Despite a hectic shedule travelling to archives around Germany and Britain, interviewing conductors and musicians, giving conference papers in the States, she goes to many opreas and concerts and still has time to minuet with the Company!
An officer of the Company, Kate is decended from playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan. By the age of 13 she was dancing tap, ballet, had passed grade 8 piano, sung in the pit at the Royal Opera House and played lacrosse for Surrey. Kate has degrees in French and German and a Dip. EC Law, and enjoyed a career in PR and marketing whilst continuing to teach English and drama to foreign students.
Jo is a dedicated volunteer at her local RDA (riding for the disabled) charity, helping to care for and exercise the ponies. Her passion for horse riding extends to learning to ride side-saddle. Her other interests include the natural world-she loves nothing more than a good murmuration now and then-and sketching what she sees!
Congratulation on Kath's maiden performance at Henfield recently! When not minuetting madly, Kathleen can be found at her day job as a historian researching medieval and early modern medicine and science. She has great fondness for Baroque costume history and music. Kathleen also spends time with her beloved single-action Erat harp, playing Georgian repertoire, when she can remove the cat from snoozing under the pedals.
A mathematician by training, Gilbert still crunches numbers as our long-standing Treasurer. He seems to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of early music, and is the proud owner (and player) of a beautiful harpsichord.
Meriel's a librarian, a collector of antique kimono and keeper of the loveliest bees in Surrey. She owns some amazing frocks, and we are but one era of an historical dancing life that can cover several centuries in a single weekend.
Helen is Deputy Director of a nearby museum and knows more about 18th century architecture than the rest of us put together. She's sung in Barts Choir for many years, sits on any number of committees and is a keen member of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London.
A barrister by profession, Peter has the dubious honour of being the only one who wears a wig in his day-job as well as his hobby. His other interests include silent cinema and the Sherlock Holmes Society, where he masquerades as Moriarty.
A professional opera singer by trade, Paris-born Latana loves all things baroque (especially Versailles!), good food and red wine - describing herself as a 'child of the planet', with her Chinese-Algerian ancestry Latana is ready to try anything new , which we still think learning the minuet is, naturally...
Erica is an accomplished dancer of all genres from a young age. She danced in 42nd Street and appeared in many productions at Drury Lane and Epsom Playhouse. She ran a designer fasion boutique before graduating in textile design from Chelsea College of Art. Now she is a freelancer and is involved in many creative projects including designing her own brand of textile and her very own minuet constume!
Nikki danced with the CGMC in 1984/1985 before going travelling to Israel and South America. During 20+ years in France (teaching English as a foreign language and rasing a family), already a keen musician, she totally fell in love with the baroque flute and decided to specialise in this wonderful instrument. She has formed a baroque trio available for concerts. She now freelances in London as a TEFL teacher.
We'd be nothing without our dedicated teachers to keep us all on our toes. They decipher cryptic diagrams when we're trying to bring original dances to life, and choreograph new ones for us to the music of the era.
Louisa is a longstanding guest dancing mistress, and now regular teacher for the Company, and a former pupil of our past dancing mistress, Sarah Cremer. Louisa divides her time between teaching at her parents' dance studio and performing – you would have seen her dancing in ENO's "The Mikado" at The London Coliseum a few years ago.