Dancers at Beamish Museum capture the spirit of Christmas

A Christmas Carol was transformed into a dance festival to help spread the festive spirit and keep visitors on their toes at Beamish Museum

Students from Sunderland University show off their dancing skills at Beamish Museum
Students from Sunderland University show off their dancing skills at Beamish Museum

Families at a North East tourist attraction were given a festive treat when dancers wowed them with their performance of A Christmas Carol.

Beamish Museum in County Durham was transformed into a winter wonderland when the dances took place in front of packed crowds.

A group of second year students at the University of Sunderland performed throughout the day to celebrate the classic Charles Dickens’ tale and show off their skills as part of their course.

The dance was split into three different parts to represent the three spirits who visit Ebenezer Scrooge – the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. Firstly depicting childhood, happiness and memories, then generosity, goodwill and celebration, before finally fear, sadness and a sense of repentance.

The 10-minute piece was a mixture of traditional Victorian dances including the Waltz, Polka, Portland, Gavotte and Quadrille and was performed in the Museum’s Masonic Hall at regular intervals throughout the day.

School groups from the area visited to watch the students strut their stuff and show off their choreographed moves and Beamish visitors also enjoyed the performances too. The aim of the piece is to show off a Victorian story, wearing traditional clothing and dancing in an authentic style.

A Christmas Carol was transformed into a dance festival at Beamish
A Christmas Carol was transformed into a dance festival at Beamish
 

Sarah Riach, a dance lecturer at the University of Sunderland and project manager of DUSC Dance Company, said: “We’ve had visitors from Beamish Museum throughout the day asking what we’re doing and why as well as discussions about their memories of dancing, it’s been brilliant.

“With it being so near to Christmas it makes sense to choreograph traditional dances with a festive production and it works perfectly.

“These public performances for the students are essential for their confidence and their motivation.

Having an audience in front of them who don’t particularly know what’s going to happen is brilliant for the adrenalin and their practice.

It certainly helps the students prepare when they finish university and begin looking for jobs.”

The collaboration between Beamish and the dance department at University of Sunderland is now in its second year. The festive dance piece was specifically choreographed to be performed in the Masonic Hall. The costumes were loaned from Beamish Museum to further enhance the message and intention of the dance.

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