Friday, 26 June 2015

Beating Retreat such an experience.

On June 10 and 11 I was lucky and privileged to dance in the Household Division Beating the Retreat ceremony at Horse-Guard's Parade in London. We did so in costume as we were commemorating the Battle of Waterloo and our section was about the glittering Ball that the Duchess of Richmond gave in Brussels 2 days before the battle. There were soldiers dancing Highland and this too was represented at this year's performance. We were four Scottish Country Dance sets and 4 groups of four Highland dancers. Here I am with my partner in the dance, Lisa and I am wearing a Jane Austen period cotton dress.
Here are some of the  team with the two officers from the Regiment who coordinated what we did and looked after us.
This is Louise who plays the drums and who shared a room with us when we stayed over at Blackheath Barracks.

Bits of the performance which we could watch from the upper windows while we were waiting for our part of the entertainment . We were waiting in a ''holding room'', which was like a cellar, but also had occasional access to windows upstairs.

These videos give an impression of how it all went. It was a fabulous experience, much enjoyed by all who took part.

There were two Country dance sets from London and two from Oxford University, the latter had a ''tall'' set and and a ''petite'' set. Also known as the wild ones as our birling was particularly enthusiastic! I was in that one of course. We danced close to the Royal/ VIP box and were less easily seen from the stands. Hence JJ and the girls did not manage any photos or videos though they did have the grace to come and see it all.

this one shows us walking on at 5:09 , London set with Margaret dancing at 6:43 and Oxford tall set dancing at 8:22.

tiny glimpse of our set towards the very end

Another fun part was the parading behind the band through St James' Park along Birdcage Walk. It was barricaded off and we were inside the barricades with the band marching and playing music while we marched and walked, waved and smiled to people watching, such FUN!
As we arrived at the parade ground we waited a while by the statue of ''Clive''  a chap who once worked for the East Indian Company and some steps. This where these more informal photos were taken.

After our dance there's the battle re-enactment with real canons firing and eventually we parade back onto the grounds behind the pipers to stand for the Finale . The fireworks were all behind us for this part , but we caught glimpses reflected in the windows above.
Then the final pieces of music and we march off behind the band again off the parade ground and back down Birdcage Walk to finish at the Wellington Barracks.
That is where we change back into ourselves again having had a wonderful time at the Duchess' Ball...

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