Contretemps: Baroque Dance Theatre

[photo of contretemps on stage]

Contretemps was formed in 1985 by Barbara Segal and Frank Perenboom as a dance duo. Their aim is to present the dance of earlier centuries in a manner that is both lively and entertaining, while still remaining faithful to the original sources. Working from early manuscripts, printed choreographies and contemporary descriptions, Contretemps recreates the dances of past times, with authentic costumes and the music of the period -- either as a concert performance or integrated into stories to heighten the dramatic appeal. Whether as courtiers at Louis XIV's palace of Versailles, or Harlequin and Columbine in the pantomimes of 18th century London, their performance is supremely entertaining.

"...Contretemps most pleasingly mix elegance and entertainment, charm and cultural history, in their very unusual production performed with wit and integrity"... The Stage

Our Performances

Contretemps presents an evening of light-hearted entertainment from the theatres and fairs of eighteenth century London. Theatre songs, broadside ballads and street music, dances from the stage and from the ballroom, commedia dell' Arte and mime, all combine to create an exuberant and colourful show, fully costumed and with period instruments.

"Uproariously funny in both conception and performance..." Berliner Allgemeine

"Unclouded pleasure..." Berliner Zeitung

Contretemps has toured in the UK, throughout Europe, the Baltic States and Australia. When performing overseas, the duo is usually accompanied by local musicians. In the UK, it is able to draw from a pool of musicians to suit the context -- from a solo violin or chamber group for small-scale performances, to large ensembles for full concert programmes.

"It was throughout an exciting lesson in cultural history" Der Tagesspiegel

"A highlight was the guest appearance of the ensemble Contretemps from London..." Zutphens Dagblad

Its experience in recreating historical dance has placed Contretemps in frequent demand as choreographers for large-scale productions. Barbara and Frank worked jointly on the production of Purcell's Fairy Queen at the Riga Festival of Early Music, supported by the British Council, and individually they have been responsible for the choreography of many productions. They have also given frequent lecture demonstrations in schools, universities and historical settings. In 1997/98 they toured the UK as part of Chalemie in The Hotchpotch Pantomime, sponsored by the Early Music Network.

Further information

For terms and availability please contact Barbara Segal:

3 Thornhill Square
Islington
London N1 1BQ

Tel: 020 7700 4293
Fax: 020 7700 5877

Email: contretemps@thorn.demon.co.uk