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Strictly Come Horniman

Dance is a key theme of our collections, including ballet shoes, dance masks and costumes: we do love a good dance at the Horniman.

A figure representing the god Shiva, Lord of Dance

A print titled 'The war dance by the Ojibbeway Indians'

An archive photo from Project Tobong showing a Javanese dancer

Static objects can only show so much, so we like to host live dance in our galleries and gardens, providing a unique venue and performance for our visitors and the artists we work with.

An African dance performance in our gardens

For over 5 years, we have worked with Trinity Laban, a music and dance conservatoire based in Greenwich, commissioning new performances and hosting hundreds of performers.

Georgina Pope, Head of Learning, tells us about the dance collaboration between the Horniman and Trinity Laban at our Curious Tea Party last year.

One of our most recent dance commissions was with the fabulous Mandinga Arts as part of our African Summer. African Summer had a strong dance element, launching with African Dance. The event included performances by Trinity Laban, ADAD, Tazaviza and Ballet Nimba, all giving unique performances set against our gardens, bandstand and galleries.

Mandinga Arts leading our Africarnival with a brightly coloured dance

It is relatively rare for a museum to host dance performances, but we do like to do things differently. There are many artistic and logistical considerations to make but we love the chance to host cross-arts events with a broad participatory mindset.

With such a strong dance legacy and presence it's no surprise Strictly Come Dancing recently filmed a group performance in our gardens and we opened the show on 11th October.

If you would like to see some Horniman Dance, why not waltz down to our Secret Late on Thursday 12th November which features prohibition themed swing dance and circus performances.

Some of our Twitter fans' comments on our dance events this summer:



Glorious Gardens on the Small Screen

Have you seen our glorious Gardens on TV recently? If you've been watching closely, you'll have seen them appear on several TV shows.

Firstly, we were a romantic location to introduce a couple on BBC One's Don't Tell The Bride. Sadly, we weren't the venue for their actual wedding - although we do love a wedding here!

Later, we were featured on The Autistic Gardener on Channel 4. Our Gardens were part of the visual, aural and sensory inspiration for the family involved in the show's garden makeover.

A few days later, we were on Channel 4 again - this time in the final episode of drama Humans. Our Bandstand was the location for a dramatic meeting between the humans and the Synths.

And finally, just last night, we were seen in More4's Selling Homes with Amanda Lamb. Our Bandstand Terrace was the perfect place for a chat and coffee between Amanda and the show's house buyer.


Filming here is a great way to show more people our wonderful Museum and Gardens, and proceeds from filming greatly support the Horniman's extensive learning programme and maintenance of the Museum and Gardens.

Horniman on the Small Screen

We've been featured in a few shows and films broadcast on TV recently.

If you've kept your eyes peeled during several programmes in the last week, you might have seen some familiar sights.

CBBC's Totally Rubbish paid a visit to our Natural History Gallery, and left us something rather unusual in the conservatory!

  • Totally Rubbish, A new addition to our conservatory.
    A new addition to our conservatory.

In last week's Location, Location, Location, Kirstie and Phil brought along a couple looking for a new home for a look around our 'local landmark'.

  • Location, Location, Location, Home-hunters checking out the local area.
    Home-hunters checking out the local area.

And we loved seeing characters in drama Treacle Jr enjoying our Natural History Gallery and making use of our Music Gallery Hands On Space.

  • Treacle Jr, Characters from this drama make some music in our Hands On Space.
    Characters from this drama make some music in our Hands On Space.

Let us know if you have spotted the museum or our gardens anywhere on the small screen!

Horniman Elephant Leg Makes TV Debut

Look out for a cameo appearance from a Horniman object in the 2010 Royal Institution Christmas Lecture “Why Elephants Can’t Dance”, which will be broadcast on BBC4 on Tuesday 28 December at 8pm.

This is the front right leg of an Asiatic elephant that was probably 5-6 years old, despite being only half-grown it is likely to have weighed around 700kg and to have measured 155cm at the shoulder. Elephants usually reach their adult height of 230-270cm at around 10 years old, by which time they can weigh in at a dancefloor-endangering 3300kg!
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