Dance Festival in Celebration of 'Father of English Ballet' John Weaver
01 Mar 2023

Shrewsbury School will host the inaugural John Weaver Dance Festival in celebration of the former Shrewsbury master and ‘father of English ballet’ - on March 17th - 19th to include a dance showcase, lecture and exhibition. 

John Weaver, who was born in Shrewsbury in 1673, was known as the ‘dancing master’ of Shrewsbury from 1720 to 1760 and was a highly esteemed choreographer and producer, creating works such as ‘The Loves of Mars and Venus’ and ‘Orpheus and Eurydice’ which were performed at the royal court and in the West End.

A new festival to celebrate the 350th anniversary of his birth will take place over the weekend of March 17th – 19th, to include a John Weaver inspired showcase performed by Shrewsbury School pupils, a lecture by renowned dance historian Moira Goff and an exhibition of Weaver’s work in the school’s Library.

Shrewsbury School’s Deputy Head (Co-Curricular) Helen Brown said: “Shrewsbury is very proud of its dance history; John Weaver played such a crucial role in the development of English ballet that our connection to him enables us to draw a direct line from our current dance department to the roots of classical dance in this country. 

“Today, dance is one of the most popular activities at Shrewsbury, and we are very excited to have this opportunity to showcase the work of our current students in the inaugural John Weaver Dance Festival.”

Shrewsbury School ballet dancer in action

Head of Dance at Shrewsbury School, Sian Stanhope, added: “We are very excited about this year’s dance showcase and are very proud to be celebrating John Weaver’s 350th year with the Festival.” 

The weekend will also see a competition for ballet and contemporary dancers of all ages and abilities from nearby prep and dance schools, culminating in the Grand Finale of the Weaver Festival where winners from each of the classes will perform in a production to bring the weekend to a close. 

The John Weaver Dance Festival is set to be a highlight in the Shrewsbury School calendar going forward, celebrating the school’s long tradition of dance which is to date one of the most popular activities. 

Tickets to the Shrewsbury School Dance Showcase, which takes place on Friday, March 17th at 7.30pm and Saturday March 18th at 7.30pm, are available via Ticketsource.  

For more information, visit Shrewsbury School Weaver Festival Page