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.
The EDC aims to foster authenticity in the performance of early dance. Our members enjoy recreating the dances of courts, country houses and theatres, basing their work on research into steps, patterns and music. Part of the joy of discovery inherent in the study and performance of early dance stems from how the subject continues to expand. Dance historians re-examine the various treatises, new sources come to light and our understanding of the relevant artistic, social and historical contexts grows.
The EDC also aims to help our members share their enthusiasm. They perform, study, teach and publish. As an umbrella organisation on behalf of early dance, the EDC sponsors a national Festival each autumn, an Annual Lecture each February and an academic Biennial Conference on aspects of early dance. The speakers come from both the UK and abroad and the Proceedings are published. We also publish a Diary of Early Dance Classes & Events, our own Circular and a number of works on dance education and research. The EDC owns a considerable archive of specialised materials, The National Resource Centre for Historical Dance.