Celebrating Cook

Captain James Cook: a culture of music and dance.

2020 will mark the 250th anniversary of the visit of James Cook to Australia. Celebrations are planned nationwide.

Captain James Cook (1728-1779) by Nathaniel Dance. Courtesy of National Maritime Museum, United Kingdom, Public Domain. https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18059

Captain James Cook (1728-1779) by Nathaniel Dance. Courtesy of National Maritime Museum, United Kingdom, Public Domain

One aspect of Cook’s life which deserves to be acclaimed is the culture of music and dance which surrounded him. Cook recognised the benefits of dance, experiencing it first hand as a young member of Admiral Boscawen’s Fleet, and using it to good effect as the leader of extensive voyages in the Pacific. Not only did he encourage his crew to dance, but music and dance were used in cultural exchanges as he visited new lands.

The voyages, people and places which Cook visited were captured in the popular culture of the day, and even his death was commemorated in dance. Leading up to the anniversary, be sure to check these fascinating stories as they become available:

Boscawen’s Frolick

Lord Morton’s hints

The South Seas

Music and dance instructions for the South Sea. Straight & Skillern, 204 Favourite Country Dances (1774). https://imslp.org/wiki/204_Favourite_Country_Dances_(Various)

Music and dance instructions for the South Sea.  Straight & Skillern, 204 Favourite Country Dances (1774)

Transit of Venus

Island of Love

Sailor’s hornpipe

Omai – pantomime – dance

Trip to Tahiti

Captain Cook’s Country Dance

The Death of Captain Cook – Ballet – Grand Equestrian Dramatic Spectacle

HMS Resolution and Discovery in Tahiti By John Cleveley the Younger - http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/16210/lot/1/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19961903

Cook used music and dance in his interactions with people throughout the Pacific. HMS Resolution and Discovery in Tahiti, by John Cleveley the Younger.