Mary Collins is an Early Dance specialist whose research and teaching approach has inspired musicians to look afresh at the dance music that is at the heart of the baroque repertoire bringing, in turn, a fresh perspective on the great composers of the baroque era. A practitioner and researcher, she has worked with dance, theatre and TV companies as an adviser, choreographer, dancer and actress and tours regularly giving master-classes, lecture-recitals and workshops. A faculty member of Aestas Musica in Croatia, the Austria Barokakademie and, for 26 years, The Ringve International Summer Course in Norway, she regularly collaborates with many of the world’s leading exponents of early music.
Reviving original choreography and gesture for historical performance. Mary’s notable productions include the Bourgeois Gentilhomme at the National Theatre of Croatia in Zagreb (awarded the Croatian Grand Prix Award 2009/10) and the London Handel Festival’s ‘Il Pastor Fido’ in 2010. Credits include works by Cavalieri, Monteverdi, Blow, Purcell, Charpentier, Rebel, Rameau, Lampe and Gluck.
As a dancer, Mary performs widely. In 2013 she appeared as principal dancer in the unique production of Lully’s Les Arts Reunis, an historic premier in Sao Paolo, Brazil. She has since begun working with the Irish Baroque Orchestra in Dublin. Events in 2015 include: concert tours with the London Handel Players – the York Early Music Festival, Tilford Bach Festival, Gregynogg Early Music Festival and the East Cork Early Music Festival, also a debut concert/workshop at the University of Limerick. Future performances with Florilegium Baroque Ensemble involve concerts and workshops at King’s Place in London and The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.
Mary teaches at the Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music in London, also as a guest at the University of Birmingham. She is often invited to work with orchestras, most recently the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Southbank Sinfonia. Outside the UK she has also conducted courses for ballet companies, drama schools and universities in Ireland, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, South Korea, Romania, USA and Brazil. In Romania, Mary also inspired and helped create the Orange Young Musician Award to find and promote young musical talent throughout the country. Her work was the focus of several documentaries on Early Dance and its music for TV Cultural.
Education work spans every age group and includes projects for the OAE, The National Trust, English Heritage and The British Museum. Her resource book for teachers, The Art that All Other Arts Do Approve, was on the Recommended Reading List in the UK and a new historical performance guide for musicians is planned for 2017.
In 2015, Mary presented her research at the Oxford Dance Symposium, the European Association of Dance Historians and VisionPlus, covering topics ranging from Bach and the Ballroom, 18thc Theatre and its Anglo-Irish connections, Irish Dancing Masters and Baroque Dance Notation. Her article, “The Great Leap” written with co-author Joanna Jarvis (Birmingham City University) is due to appear in The Costume Journal in 2016, tracing the evolving relationship between dance and dance costume in the long 18thc.