What is Early Dance?
Like “early music”, the term “early dance” covers the dancing of a range of historical periods. Early dance (or historical dance) refers to the dances current in Western Europe from the middle ages up to the end of the 20th century. Details of such historical dance can be derived from descriptions in original sources and from careful use of reliable secondary sources. Early dance is a growing area of dance research and of social history. Fresh insights reward those who return to the sources, but historical dance is also an art form and, like early music, invites us to explore interpretations. Its riches still have much to offer us today.
For example, there are no age barriers in historical dance: everyone used to dance and everyone can enjoy the pleasures of social dancing today. Moving in company to beautiful music is a huge pleasure.
Fuller details on early dance are given in our information pages Dance through History.
What is the Early Dance Circle?
The Early Dance Circle (EDC) is a UK charity that aims to promote the enjoyment, performance and study of historical dance in the UK and beyond. Formed in 1984 as an umbrella organisation, it counts individuals and groups, both amateur and professional, among its members. We believe that knowledge of earlier forms of dance helps enrich the cultural life of the UK, by accessing a heritage of international importance that belongs to us all, but has been until recently largely forgotten.
Please read our full Mission Statement.
Join us on the dance floor of history – Learn how to dance Britain’s heritage or help to pass it on
If you love dance and want to help safeguard and pass on its earliest forms in the UK and Europe, join us now. Help to secure a thriving future for early dance. Membership
What can the EDC offer you?
The EDC can offer you:
- information about historical dance activities worldwide
- access to current research and practice through EDC publications, lectures, conferences and through the library and other facilities of the National Research Centre for Historical Dance
- contact with early dance teachers and researchers
- practical help with arranging, insuring and publicising your own events.
- opportunities to meet and dance with other historical dance enthusiasts from all parts of the UK and abroad
- a voice in the cultural arena promoting the value of early dance
Support and Donations
If you’d like to support our ongoing work in a practical way, various options exist. We suggest you begin by reviewing our Donations & Support page.
You can register to our Email Notifications service to hear the latest information about our Events and Publications.
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