The set of six Choral Dances from Gloriana was first performed by the BBC Midland Chorus in March 1954 and later arranged for Tenor solo, SATB Chorus and Harp for a performance to mark the opening of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, in 1967. The dances were intended as a homage to Elizabethan music and dance, with each dance representing a different character from the opera.
The opera Gloriana (op. 53) was written by Benjamin Britten in 1953 to mark the coronation of Elizabeth II, and first performed at Covent Garden in June of that year, with the Queen herself present. An unsympathetic critical reception meant that the full work was rarely performed again until after the composer's death, although extracts like the Choral Dances quickly became popular.