The aim of this paper is to cast light on the collective imagination built up around what is perhaps mistakenly defined as “historical” dancing. It will analyse gesture on the modern screen and compare it to dance iconography from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century. An attempt will also be made to provide answers to several questions posed by contemporary dance practice: Why has historical dancing been so defined, as compared to other arts or eras to which this label has not been given? What are the limits placed on the concepts of “Early Music” or “Early Dance”? These and other questions will be the focus of this paper, probing some of the definitions now used in both theory and practice and accepted as true, but needing to be consciously re-examined and reconsidered in the light of the most recent choreological research on this period of the dance.