In the late 18th century and throughout the 19th century, European artistic tastes were lured away from Classical conformity by Romantic indulgence. Just as popular novels, fashion magazines, and opera plots increasingly became filled with gypsies, bandits, and colourful peasants of every sort, so composers turned to folk-lore and folk-dance for inspiration, and speculating impresarios hired real folk dancers and folk musicians for the stage. Around the same time, the Ottoman Empire relaxed enough of its strict rules on public entertainment to allow Eastern European and Roma musicians to work in Turkey and Egypt where they were greeted with fashionable enthusiasm.
It’s almost forgotten now, but for over a century ideas about art and music flowed freely between East and West, and folk-dance moved from the fields and streets to inhabit a strange, new place upon the stages of different lands.
Credits: Tina Jackson of Dancers Bizarre brought Roma dance from the Russian stage to our show in Rotherham. Photos: Jo Hirons
Credits: Ashay Dance and the Aim To Dance Collective came to Rotherham from Sheffield, where they are led by Nisha Lall. They brought us a delicious massala of Indian folkloric and classical dance, all performed by candlelight. Photos: Jo Hirons