Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Classical Music - 24 August 2014, 9pm

'What role does dance play in classical music?' asks Catherine Bott.

In tonight’s episode of the Classic FM series that’s on a mission to explain and entertain, Catherine Bott asks, 'What role does dance play in classical music?'

The short answer, Catherine says, is 'It’s everywhere.' In medieval times there was dancing in church, in the 17th and 18th centuries, and courtly dances like the courante and the gigue gave Bach and Handel the basis for keyboard masterpieces that were mainly for listening to. And throughout history, composers have written music for those controversial dances designed to entice couples onto the floor – as George Bernard Shaw may or may not have said, “Dancing is the vertical expression of a horizontal desire”.

From Handel's hornpipe to the high-kicking can-can via a hoe-down, Catherine traces the history of dance as it has inspired the great composers.