Over the years many dancers, in addition to attending regular classes and balls, have given their time to preparing displays under the direction of Earthly Delights' John and Aylwen Gardiner-Garden, and these displays-always to live music offered by Earthly Delights musicians, have brought much pleasure to many people over 20 years and given the displayers themselves many wonderful memories.
The first display side John and Aylwen organised was known simply as 'The Delights' and included leading dancers from several of Canberra's dance communities, including from the Finnish, Slovenian, Scottish, Bushdance and the Renaissance. Their repertoire showcased some of the new dances John was choregraphing, and two of those involved in a display at the Albert Hall in 1998, Tony Northey and David Wanless, are still very much involved with dance and dance leading in their own communities interstate.
Many subsequent ad hoc display groups eventually lead to the formation of the Bordonian Heritage Dancers. As with 'The Delights' their repertoire also showcased new dances John was choregraphing. The size of the troupe expanded to about 16 and their repertoire expanded to include dozens of medley's of John's 'lost' Bordonian dances. They also developed repertoire and wardrobe for Renaissance, Baroque, Regency and Victorian era shows.
The dancers ended up being able to dress and dance in styles from the late 16th to late 19th century and became well-known for their skill, high-energy and versatility- every show being different and everyone wowing audience. They did many stage, dance hall and street shows for many different festivals. They did many regional festivals, including at Yass where they won best of the show. They did many shows for the National Multicultural Festival, including as 'Bordonians' in the street parade and an 8-hour show in going through 5 costume changes to illustrate dances from 1450 to 1900. They twice went to the Abbey Medieval Festival in Queensland in full 1580’s Elizabethan attire- where, apart from displays and workshops they got nearly 500 novices dancing the night away at masked balls. At various National Folk Festivals they did shows in everything from the Renaissance, Baroque, Regency, Victorian, to the Lost Bordonian dances (in Bordonian National costume) and, ever keen to push boundaries, in the Mary Poppins song contest. For many many years they offered displays at the Earthly Delights Historic Dance Academy's monthly theme balls, Jane Austen Festival Australia, Festival of Early Dance and Yarrangobilly 19th century dance and costume retreat (see under Events).
John Gardiner-Garden, was the dance troupe artistic director, is well-respected for the rigour he brings to his historical research as well as the creativity he brings to his choreographies, presentations and productions. He is literate in every dance notation system from the 15th to the 19th century, possesses a library of over 200 historic dance manuals and has written 15 books on dance, while having the ability, born out of a thousand engagements, to entertain and get complete novices to join in.
Aylwen Gardiner-Garden, was the dance troupe’s costume director and administrative co-ordinator, is an historical costumier whose expertise is sought after by people all around the world. She is also well-known for over 20 years of successfully presenting hundreds of public dances, balls and shows- including two 25-piece tours to QLD, a 4-piece tour to US, UK & Denmark in 2011 and a 16-person tour of the UK in 2013. Aylwen has directed Jane Austen Festival Australia for 8 years.
For year-by-year pictures, programs and posters pertaining to past shows these dancers have been involved with see our Events pages.
John and Aylwen no longer run an EDHDS dance display side, but they still run regular dance classes and occasional dance events - see classes and workshops- and they occasionally offer dance displays themselves so if you want them to show, lead, dress and/or play for dancing in any period from 1450 to 1900, and offer a memorable experience that is simultaneously enlightening and entertaining, educational and fun, contact them on 0409 817623.