Barbara Segal is based in London where she works in the field of Early Dance as a performer, teacher, choreographer and dance historian.
Although specializing in dance of the 18th century, Barbara’s repertoire covers dance from the 15th to the 19th century.
She is a director of Contretemps, a company she founded in 1985 dedicated to the reconstruction of early dance theatre. She has performed and taught (both dance and gesture) throughout Europe, the Baltic States and Australia, as well as at many festivals, stately homes and theatres in the UK. She has collaborated with and toured for the Early Music Network and the British Council.
Her early ballet training was interrupted by university, but after completing a PhD in Psychology at London University, she resumed her life-long interest in dance, with studies of the Baroque and Renaissance repertoires at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama
In 1995, together with Sara Stowe, Barbara formed the group Chalemie, a flexible group of singers, dancers, musicians and actors, to explore and recreate 18th century English pantomime and music theatre. More recently, Barbara and Sara formed the group Chalemina, to create shows for children. She organizes and teaches at the Chalemie Summer School (specialising in early dance, music, singing, commedia & period costume making) held annually at Oxford. She has also taught early dance on the BA (Hons) degree in Ballet Education at the Royal Academy of Dance.
In addition to her work with Contretemps and Chalemie, she is a frequent performer with other groups, both in the UK and abroad. She was a founder member of the European Early Dance Company, based in Berlin, and was co-choreographer and performer in their reconstruction of the Mozart ballet “Les Petit Riens”. She choreographed and danced in Purcell’s “The Fairy Queen” in Riga (a project organised by the Riga Early Music Centre). She has performed with many early music ensembles, including Fiori Musicali, the New London Consort, Mercurius Company, Tragicomedia, Midsummer Opera, Cambridge Handel Opera Group, Rejouissance, Hortus Musicus, Sirinu and Collegium Musicum Riga.
With her group Contretemps she staged small-scale entertainments of dance, song, and commedia for visitors to Hampton Court. She was also involved for 5 years in work for a company specialising in historical reconstructions for the Royal Palaces. This involved the choreographing of period recreations of dances from the 17th and 18th centuries. She has also acted as advisor to several theatre groups requiring choreography for period plays, and has choreographed and performed dances for film and TV.