EDC Events

The EDC organise several community events each year:

Table of Upcoming Events

You can subscribe to our email notification service in order to receive information about all of our forthcoming events.


Our Annual Early Dance Festival

We host a community-focused dance history festival each year; enthusiasts and professionals from across our community perform for each other’s pleasure. A list of our previous festivals can be found here.

The 39th Early Dance Circle Festival

21 – 23 October 2022

The 38th Festival which took place online is now passed. We are looking forward to returning to offline gatherings in 2022. The 39th Festival will take place in a lovely Victoria Hall (Akeman Street, Tring, HP23 6AA) on 21 – 23 October. More information will follow soon.

Tring High Street photo by Robert Stainforth


Our Annual Lecture

We host a popular dance history lecture each year. An archive of information on our previous lectures can be found here. What follows are details of our next Lecture.

EDC Annual Lecture 2021

I had to fight with the painters, master carpenters, actors, musicians and the dancers: Rehearsals, Performance Problems and Audience Reaction in Renaissance Spectacles

Sunday 21st February 2021 10.00 a.m.; this lecture was hosted via Zoom

Our speaker was Dr Jennifer Nevile. In Renaissance Europe theatrical spectacles performed in front of the monarch and court carried serious political messages regarding the relationship – both real and hoped for – between the monarch and the state. Contemporary accounts of these events often offer fulsome praise for the costumes, dancing, scenery, stage machines and songs. A successful performance greatly enhanced a country’s reputation on the international stage. Much more was at stake than an evening’s entertainment.

Yet then, as now, such multi-media events encountered problems during rehearsals and performance. These form the focus of this paper, followed by an examination of the response of the spectators to such disasters. Did performance problems change the dynamics between performers and spectators? This is especially interesting when the king, queen or members of the ruling family were involved, either directly as dancers, or indirectly as the audience member to whom the spectacle was addressed. The paper begins with a discussion of the desire in European courts for a successful outcome, and what efforts went into achieving this aim, before moving to the disasters that occurred, from noise and over-crowding, stage-fright, properties too big to fit into the hall, and more serious catastrophes such as fire. The second half of the paper examines audience reactions to such disasters, and the effects of these disasters on the dynamics between audience and performers.

THE TEXT OF DR NEVILE’S LECTURE IS NOW AVAILABLE.


Our Biennial Conference

The EDC hosts a major dance history conference every two years. Proceedings are published and an archive of information on our previous conferences can be found here.

EDC BIENNIAL CONFERENCE 2022: Retrieving & Reconstructing the Past through Dance (postponed for 2 years)

6th-8th May 2022, at St Katharine’s, Parmoor, Frieth RG9 6NN (near High Wycombe)

This Conference will feature an international set of speakers on historical dance topics spanning the 15th century to the 20th. A list of contributors and topics will be included on the Booking Form in due course.

NEW! While waiting for the Conference please read the lecture by Professor Margaret McGowan “The Interplay of Professional and Amateur Dancers in Early Modern Festivals” presented online on Friday 28 May 2021 at 8:00 pm BST. THE TEXT OF PROFESSOR MCGOWAN’S LECTURE IS NOW AVAILABLE.

NB The Proceedings of the EDC Conference for 2018: PERCEPTION AND RECEPTION OF EARLY DANCE, which was held 18-20 May 2018 at St Katharine’s, Parmoor are now available to order. Please see more details HERE.


Special Events:

We host and collaborate on other events from time to time. These can include workshops, study days and additional lectures, as the opportunities arise. Many such projects are undertaken in collaboration with another organisation, do get in touch with us if you have a joint project in mind. An archive of information on our previous special events can be found here. What follows are details of our next Special Event.

The 2020 Celebration of the Music & Dance of Ignatius Sancho

Monday December 14

The premiere of the programme was on the EDC Facebook page and YouTube channel, it remains available to watch now. You can see the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOnjOprUWs0.

The Early Dance Circle has prepared a special programme of dance and music composed by Ignatius Sancho (c. 1729 – 14.12.1780) on 14 December 2020.

Sancho is famous nowadays as a man of letters and the first African to vote in a British election. Now you can enjoy reconstructions of Sancho’s choreographies and music by the Hampshire Regency Dancers, Quadrille Club and Green Ginger, as well as discussions and interviews with some knowledgeable experts on his career:

Meryl Thomson (Green Ginger), who recently recorded the CD “Dances for a Princess”. Paul Cooper, a specialist in Regency dance, who has worked a good deal on Sancho. Sally Petchey, author of a recent book about the life and dances of Ignatius Sancho: Dances for a Princess, humbly dedicated (with permission) to the Princess Royal by Her Royal Highnesses Most Obedient Servant Ignatius Sancho.