the limestone frolic

Friday 1 September 2023

Music and dance is a living link to our heritage. Hear about the history of dance in early Ipswich with demonstrations and an opportunity to experience the dances yourself.

Ipswich has a fascinating social history which includes a rich cultural heritage of dance. Dancing was a popular amusement for celebrating grand occasions such as the visit of Governor and Lady Bowen in 1859, as well as more everyday activities: picnics, holiday balls and dances at home. Almost any festivity would include dancing.

Discover more about the history of dance in Ipswich and experience the dances themselves. Dr Heather Blasdale Clarke will demonstrate and teach a selection of dances with the accompaniment of Australia’s only colonial dance band Phillip’s Dog. Costumes encouraged but not required.

Biographies: Dr Heather Blasdale Clarke is a cultural historian and dance teacher specialising in early Australian dance. Heather has over 30 years’ experience researching, teaching and performing historical and folk dance, including doctoral research into convict culture. Her museum exhibition “Dancing in Fetters: The Culture of Convict Dance” is currently on a national tour (2021–2024). Heather’s online resource exploring the many dance traditions relevant to the European settlement in Australia is available at www.colonialdance.com.au.

Phillip’s Dog is a dance band with a difference! It specialises in Australian colonial dance music with a repertoire that extends to folk jigs, hornpipes and reels through to stately quadrilles, sprightly schottisches, bewitching polkas, and other lively dance tunes. The talented musicians play acoustic instruments including fiddle, clarinet, whistle, bassoon, French horn, harp and guitar. Be transported to an age where dance music was full of glorious melodies.

Image courtesy of Picture Ipswich. Marburg school students performing a Gavotte dance, Marburg, c.1912.

This event is presented by Ipswich Libraries as part of Galvanized – A Festival of Heritage

Event details

Friday 1 September 2023


6.30 pm - 8.30 pm

Ipswich Art Gallery, 116 Brisbane Street Ipswich


Registrations required


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