Tennessee Renaissance Festival Adds Courtly Dance Classes

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Queen\'s Promenade Dancers

This year the Tennessee Renaissance Festival is offering a “Bridgerton meets Renaissance with a dash of Pride and Prejudice” dance experience to those coming to the event. Dance classes will take place at the Queen’s Promenade, located near the new, larger tent location for the Queen’s Tea on May 18, 19, 25, 26 and 27, 2024. 

 

Brittney Williams, Rhythm and Spirit Dance Coordinator, Williamson County Parks and Recreation, says the idea came in-house.   

“We began to dream up the Queen’s Promenade shortly after our 2023 Rhythm and Spirit Dance Season began,” explained Williams. “I was searching for a way that our dance program could be involved with such a great community event like the Tennessee Renaissance Festival.  I knew we had a unique experience to offer. We set up a meeting with Festival Manager Devon Russell to talk about how we could incorporate our Rhythm and Spirit Dance instructors into the festival to create a … dance experience, and the event was fine-tuned from there.” 

They will feature a variety of Renaissance era-influenced social dance styles including Newcastle, English Country, and Pizochara. No prior dance experience is needed to enjoy these onsite classes.  

Like dancing today, during the Renaissance period, dancing was often done for entertainment. However, it was also considered a social expectation. Queen Elizabeth I was a noted dancer and those in the court wishing her favor had to keep up. 

Renaissance dancing fell into two broad categories, simple dances that took little or no practice and complex courtly dances. Some dances were slow and elegant while others were quick and lively. They included dances such as the pavane, gilliard, branles and gigue. The Gigue now known as the jig. 

Classes will be taught by Summer Elkin. Elkin grew up in Alabama as a company member with the Montgomery and Mobile Ballet, attending the Joffrey Ballet in the summers. She moved to Nashville to attend college where she danced for Vanderbilt University, appeared in music videos, and danced in the Super Bowl. After dancing in the National Basketball Association with the Miami Heat, and cheering for the Atlanta Falcons, she focused solely on her favorite style of dance, ballroom. Years of competing professionally in ballroom eventually led to multiple titles including the USDC National Compulsory title, UCWDC World title, USDC National, World, and she was a Blackpool finalist.

There will be two sessions per day. A youth session for those seven to 15 years of age will take place at 11:00 a.m. The adult session, for those 16 and older, will take place at 1:00 p.m. Sessions last roughly an hour. An additional ticket is needed to participate. It can be purchased here. Tickets are $25. 

 

Participation in the Queen’s Tea can be added to the experience at 3:30 p.m. each day. This will take place in a tent near the Queen’s Promenade. Tickets must be purchased in advance for $35.

Tickets and additional information is available at https://www.tnrenfest.com/. Tennessee Renaissance Festival will run every weekend in May plus Memorial Day. It opens at 10:00 a.m. and closes at 6:00 p.m. It is located in Covington Glen at 2135 New Castle Road in Arrington, Tennessee.

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