Early Dance Group "Belriguardo" works at the Youth Cultural Centre No. 2 in Lublin and was established in 2001.It is a dance group that brings together enthusiasts of culture and customs of past centuries. "Belriguardo" is one of few in Poland and the only one group of the kind in Lublin. Małgorzata Wojcieszuk is the initiator and team choreographer. The team won the second place at the International Early Dance Competition "Pavana 2007" in Wroclaw and the third place of the "Pavana 2006. Every year, the group represents Lublin at the International Court Dance Festival “Cracovia Danza” in Kraków.
Early Dance Group "Belriguardo" refers to the style of Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque, when dance became an important element of court culture and also marked the beginning of ballroom dancing. The group takes inspiration from old Polish dances as well as dances from Western Europe, basing their knowledge on historical sources. By doing that, "Belriguardo" makes an attempt to familiarize audiences with cultural heritage, not only of Poland but of the whole Europe. Presentation of clothes, culture and dances of the era helps revive the Renaissance Art and culture. During their dance performances, "Belriguardo" shows Renaissance fashion, the most typical suite of court dances such as Pavane, Galliard, Bassa-danse, Tordion or Volta. In their programme, the group lays strong emphasis on Polish court dances which, according to historical sources as early as the middle of the 16th century, were known abroad by their Latin name chorea polonica. Polish dances, the first court dances, mainly retained their two-part character. The most prominent and described by many chroniclers was the polonaise which at the court of Henry III of Anjou (after 1574) took form of a ceremonial parade of the nobility before the king.
The group performs both the more primal form of the Polonaise, so called ‘Chodzony’ ‘(the Walking Dance) and the Polish Dance, as well as the Court Polonaise with its characteristic features leading couples , formal bows or swinging movement. "Belriguardo" also attempts to reconstruct other traditional Polish court dances which survived only in fragmentary descriptions or as incomplete pieces of music, such as Wyrwany or Dryguła.
I the age of widespread electronic media and the Internet, Early Dance Group is an alternative that shapes a person who is sensitive to art and capable of its perception. With dance and recreated atmosphere of the 15th, 16th, 17th as well as 18th century, the dancers want to emphasize the fact that Lublin of the Renaissance and Baroque era was a refined European city. Countries of Europe share common culture as the Polish Renaissance art developed in a very similar way to art of other European centres, like Italy. One aesthetic canon existed, a canon of beauty. During the Renaissance period Lublin was home and inspiration for such eminent artists as Jan Kochanowski, Mikołaj Rey and Jan z Lublina (Joannis de Lublin) who became world-famous for his organ tablature. It is worth mentioning that in Lublin originated an architectural style characteristic to the city and named after it “The Lublin Renaissance”.
All dancers aim to bring to us the atmosphere of court banquets, balls and parties. Aside from dance, the members of "Belriguardo" group make their best to recreate and demonstrate various customs present in late Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque court culture.
”Belriguardo’s” concerts take form of theatre-and-dance performances, because, in addition to the court dance, the team uses pantomime to show the old conventions and the narrator recites works of famous Polish poets: Kochanowski, Rej, Klonowic. To highlight the nature of the period, the group performs in costumes sewn on the model of courtly fashion. Performances of the “Belriguardo” group are lessons in history, art and court culture.
The word “belriguardo” means "exquisite view". It is an Italian word, as Italy was the first patron of arts during the Renaissance period and the cradle of Renaissance art. “Belriguardo” is also a name of the villa which belonged to the rulers of Ferrara (16th century), where Duke Leonello took dance lessons from Master Domenico da Piacenza. Domenico was the oldest master of the 16th century Italian school of dancing. He composed a dance that bears the same name - “Belriguardo”. It is the group’s one of the most characteristic dances and makes up the base choreography in their repertoire.