Nonsuch History and Dance was founded in 1966 by Peggy Dixon as a performance company, gaining charitable status in 1976 to pursue its educational work. Since then we have worked to fulfill our mission to use the dances of history to teach, train and entertain by developing bespoke dance projects with local communities, performing shows, running schools workshops and bringing history to life in stately homes. Nonsuch works with a wide variety of cultural, heritage and educational organisations across the country on a broad range of events, blending historical accuracy and high quality entertainment in a unique and engaging format. Our repertoire spans eight centuries of dance from medieval to 1950’s jive. Our professional performers and educators come from a wide variety of theatrical and educational backgrounds, leaning their historical dance skills through our own programme of classes, workshops and summer schools.
We work wherever possible with live music, but also have a comprehensive collection of recorded music that accompanies our own dance manuals, recorded by specialists in early music, on period instruments.
We create and maintain elaborately detailed costumes for performance and teaching, and work with early musicians to create an authenticity in performance that is mesmerising to watch, but equally absorbing to participate in.
With Nonsuch, history is colourful, vivid and comes alive before your eyes.
The company takes it name from Nonsuch Palace, which was located southwest of London. The palace was built by request of the Tudor monarch, King Henry VIII, and the builders recycled materials from the medieval monasteries that had recently been suppressed. When the palace was completed, around 1540, it was named Nonsuch, as it was considered to be like no other palace in England. "There was nonsuch like it."