Historical Performance

 Historical Performance Ensemble

 Renaissance & Baroque Dance, Theatre, Commedia and Music

Historical Performance Ensemble Oct 4th 15 ‘Go for Baroque’ Richmond at the Cultural Centre, Oct 4th 2015

Commedia dell’Arte and Baroque Dance

We offer delightful professional performances from the Renaissance and Baroque period.  Our performances are for the stage, entertainment, atmosphere at trade shows, conferences & special events.

With sumptuous period costumes, and live music on period instruments. our performances are for the stage  entertainment, at trade shows, conferences, schools  & special events.

Below are excerpts from “Go For Baroque” filmed by Casey Mons

Angela Brown as Arlecchino (Baroque Dance)



‘Happy We’  at Hotel Vancouver for the Great Northern Exhibition

Angela Brown is the company’s Commedia dell”Arte expert. she teacher workshops as part of the Compleat Courtier and on her won. The video above is her Baroque Dance portrayal of Arlecchino.


Our company presented “Go for Baroque” at the Scotia Dance Center on April 25th, 2013 as part of the noon series. We have been performing and teaching in secondary and elementary schools.


 We have educational presentations for schools which include audience participation in dance, music, song garments and Commedia dell’Arte, from both the Renaissance and Baroque periods. We call this event  The Compleat Courtier. In April 2013, at John Oliver Secondary School in Vancouver, we offered a 40 minute concert for 500 students from Grades 8 – 12 and four rotating – 25 minute workshops in dance, commedia, music and garments with up to 360 of the upper level students

We were delighted by the positive response we got at John Oliver Secondary. They raved – FOUR young boys of about a group of 14 come up and shake our hands and thanked us!

  Compleat Courtier event in Ladner B.C. a 10 year boy demanded that the host bring us back and if money was a problem he’d saved $200 she could use to bring us back!

Richmond Music Teacher’s Association

In October 2014, we did a larger event with 4 – 40 minute rotating workshops for music students in dance, commedia, music and garments, followed by a Soirée with 200 audience members. The teachers and students along with their  friends and  families, participated in simple communal dances and songs and watched our Company the students performing both music and dance from the workshops.

Some of these students played a minuet while others danced. As well, we were able to showcase a group of individual performers on lute and piano. Our costume mistress (Brenda Webster) and a few assistants, dressed these 15 students for the soiree. 

These garments are available for any workshop we engage in.

Overall Learning Objectives of Complete Courtier (HPE)

 Our performances and workshops/soirées provide opportunities to observe, acknowledge and question the immense contributions to civilization made during these periods in history . With the  pursuit of fidelity, through authentically reconstructed period instruments and garments, highly researched language, gesture and movement usage our work aims to illuminate both contrasts and parallels to present values.

Workshops for groups: special events, schools and  music associations

- Students experience the hilarity of Commedia and the stateliness of the dance and music. Encouraging acceptance of an individual,  group, or nation in terms of beliefs, attitudes, traditions, lifestyles, language peculiarities and clothing and create a sense of community.

Literature: The teacher mentions playwrights like Shakespeare  and Moliere as well as the courts they were employed by. The writers then were almost always influenced by and completely sponsored by the Nobility.

 French: Angela, musician Anne, dancer Janet Walker all speak  French. For the Baroque, the dance that was popular using the stock characters from 14th Century Commedia, the terms of the steps are all in French. (For the Renaissance both French and Italian).

Physical Education

- The workshop is both physical and expressive. I encourage the students to be communicative and spontaneous. The Commedia style dance and theatre of the commedia exert the muscles and exert brain cells as well as building cooperation and “team work”

Fine Arts – Dance, Music & Theatre: Students improve grace, posture and develop rhythm skills individually and in the group, through physicality, song and instrumentation. Improve presentation and performance confidence. They observe images, movement and notation that express personal identity and reflect historical culture and mannerisms and develop response to aspects of art from a variety of historical and cultural contexts through painted images, dances, music and theatrical expression from the time. They develop response to aspects of art from a variety of historical and cultural contexts through painted images, dances, music and theatrical expression from the time. They ar encouraged to demonstrate respect for self and others (bowing, addressing others, personal space) and the ability to co-operate, develop and grow collaborative skills

Socials: The students have fun, are involved, and get to think about the differences between then and now, understand the events and experiences within the context of time and place and access the relationship between culture and environment and relate a society’s artistic expression to its overall understanding and practice of national culture.

Math: Educational research has shown that students’ all around abilities are enhanced with the study of dance and theatre. Dance has been considered part of the study of mathematics and science since the time of the ancient Greeks because it is based on the study of numbers and geometry. The patterns in Baroque dance, the choreography, and learning how to interpret the notation, connect to skills: in Spatial relationships, geometry, graphs, tables, maps,  increased critical thinking skills and concepts of progression, patterning and repetition occurring in music and dance create pathways between right and left brain functioning.

For more info call

Angela (604) 649-1979

Catherine Lee, Artistic Director of HPE (604) 303-0377

Another recent project is  ”The Compleat Courtier”.  This is a programme primarily for secondary schools  and for elementary schools (grades 3 – 7).  Besides exposing the students to arts of the past, we hope to make a stride towards reduction of bullying through exposure to the best parts of Renaissance  & Baroque chivalry.

More about the program

These projects may include workshops and/0r a Soirée (this optional performance is available at additional cost to complete the experience). The performance is 45 minutes in length, including introduction and question period. Each residency includes a minimum of eight workshops (designed for grades 3 to 12 with special focus on Grades 8 -11).  The residency can be distributed over a period from one and a half weeks to four weeks.


We offer multiples of eight workshops lead by Master Artists in each of music; dance; commedia; and garments/etiquette of the period.   The teachers sprinkle amusing or surprising information about historical personalities, events and practises throughout their presentations. These workshops may or may not culminate in a celebratory Soirée for the entire school and/or community ( including performances by artists and students).

Performers and teachers

The professional performers and teachers are highly trained in modern dance, ballroom dance or ballet and specialized in historical dance, music and Commedia dell’arte. Musicians are trained extensively in modern and historical styling on their specific instruments.  Master teachers have at least 25 years teaching experience in their form.

Names of Artists

Catherine Lee (Artistic Director), Pat Unruh (Musical Director), Brenda Webster: Costume Mistress
Angela Brown: (Dancer and commedia dell’ arte expert), Anne Duranceau: Musician
Monica Kim (harpsichord)

Catherine Lee 

Since co-founding GVHPS in 1989, Catherine has created over 225 performances. She has coached historical movement and choreographed dances for professional and student actors and singers in such varied productions. Since 1972 Catherine has continued to expand her knowledge of 15th through early 20th Century repertoire and performance through personal research and with the world’s leading historical dance and singing researchers. Catherine teaches movement (Studio 58, Langara College) and singing for actors (TooBa Physical Theatre Centre).     Historical Performance Ensemble 2131 Stirling Ave Richmond, BC V7B 1J6 Tel. and Fax: 604-303-0377 www.historicalperformance.net