Banquet, founded in 1995 by Thomas Baird and Hugh Murphy, is an
ensemble of dancers and musicians that presents 18th century choreographic
master works in concert. The ensemble takes its name from a series
of music editions containing French and English dance music published
in England in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Company is dedicated
to presenting dances that survive in 18th century notation with
the music to which they were origin ally choreographed in performances
that are historically informed, but live for an audience of today.
Of its production "Dances of the French Baroque Theatre"
presented at the Kaye Playhouse (NYC) in 1997, Jack Anderson of
the New York Times wrote, "Apollo's Banquet can provide a
feast!". The Company has presented a lecture-demonstration,
"The Characters of the Dance", at Lincoln Center's Bruno
Walter Auditorium in conjunction with the New York Public Library's
special exhibit "The New Baroque: Early Dance Re-Creations
Apollo's Banquet was invited to perform in the Fragonard Room
of the Frick Collection, marking the first time music and dance
had been presented in this unique and very appropriate setting.
The performance was named one of the highlights of the 1998 social
season by the New York Times. The Company was honored to participate
in the Kaye Playhouse's 1,000th Performance Gala in April of 1998,
and in July of that year, was presented on the Rutgers University
SummerFest performance series. In June of 1999, the Company appeared
at the Boston Early Music Festival. The Boston Globe reported
that Apollo's Banquet "..brought the house down!".
Apollo's Banquet has completed a residency that included master
classes and a performance in the Fine Arts Theatre at the University
of Wyoming in Laramie. This performance included guest artists
Paige Whitley-Bauguess, Marsha Knight, and Yasuko Hamanaka.
The Company has also presented a lecture-demonstration titled
"The Dancing Masters" at Assumption College, Sarah Lawrence
College, and also as part of the Lyceum Series at the Baylor University
School of Music.
For five years Apollo's Banquet and the dance department at Rutgers University, has co-produced the annual East Coast Baroque Dance Workshop, the only venue of its kind on the East Coast. Dancers, dance teachers, musicians and actors attend the workshop from all over the United States, Belgium, Canada and Japan.