Early Dance

Early Dance Working Group
Chair: Jane Peck
Contact: (T) 612-823-0776, (E) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Here are links to:

  • Notes from the Early Dance Working Group meeting at the UCR SDHS/CORD conference, November 2013.
  • Notes from the Early Dance Working Group meeting at the Philadelphia SDHS conference, June 2012.
  • A letter from Barbara Sparti in which she reflects on the contributions of Julia Sutton and other music researchers to SDHS and the study of early dance.

The Early Dance Working Group (EDWG) is a caucus of scholars, teachers, and performers who share a common interest in European dance forms and movement practices dating roughly from the early 1400s through the 1800s. In addition to their contributions as scholars and educators, many members are specialists in dance reconstruction, performance, and staging of early dance material.

To increase the visibility of early dance, members of the EDWG have been working on various scholarly projects. Among them are efforts to improve outreach to other disciplines; participation in early music festivals through performing, giving workshops, and serving as guest speakers; and creating opportunities to introduce early dance into humanities curricula. One key goal is to promote a broader base of recognition for the work of scholars and scholar-practitioners in the field of early dance. Toward that end, a directory of specialists available for professional engagements has been developed. See the attached Directory of Specialists in Early Dance.

Members of the EDWG named on this list are available to provide professional expertise to theater, opera, and music organizations that are mounting theater works calling for early dance reconstructions or original creations based on historical dance styles. Some members are also available to give presentations, lecture-demonstrations, or workshops on medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, or nineteenth-century ballroom and theater dance. Other members direct professional dance companies that perform Renaissance and Baroque dance or other period ballroom dance styles. These companies can be contracted for touring engagements. See the entries in the attached directory for names of directors of companies, and see the entries for early dance companies in the listings of online resources.

Anyone with interests in any of the several cultural periods embraced by the term "early dance" is invited to join the EDWG. The working group meets annually during the SDHS conference and remains in touch throughout the year via e-mail and postal mailings. Inquiries about membership or about activities of members should be made by sending an e-mail message to the chair of the group (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).

SDHS publications

Studies in Dance History SDHS’s monograph series, published by University of Wisconsin Press, answers a growing demand for works that provide fresh analytical perspectives on dancing, dancers, and dances in a global context. Read more...

[cover of 2012 Conversations] Issued yearly in early spring generally, Conversations Across the Field of Dance Studies reflects the dynamic and diverse membership of SDHS. We seek to bring you themes and debates current in the field of dance studies and the profession, alongside news from the international community of scholars in dance and related disciplines. Read more...


Conference 2014: Writing Dancing/Dancing Writing
A Joint Conference of The Society of Dance History Scholars (SDHS) and The Congress on Research in Dance (CORD)
13–16 November 2014
Hosted by the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa

Conference 2015 will be held in Athens, Greece. Dates and other details will be available later this Spring.


The SDHS Board of Directors election takes place during the final two weeks of February. All SDHS members may vote. Please log in and then click here to view candidates’ biographies. Ballots will be available beginning on Feb. 15.

SDHS announces the November 2013 awards, including de la Torre Bueno Prize® Special Citations.

Proceedings of the 2013 joint NOFOD/SDHS conference are now available.

Proceedings of the Special Topics Conference 2013: “Sacre Celebration: Revisiting, Reflecting, Revisioning” are now available.

Call for proposals for contributions to Conversations Across the Field of Dance Studies: Network of Pointes (Guest Editors: Drs. Kathrina Farrugia and Jill Nunes Jensen). Note that the deadline has been extended to May 15, 2014.

Updated 3 April: Conference announcements and calls for papers

Updated 3 April: Job postings and opportunities for students

Updated 24 February: News and announcements from SDHS members: “The American Society for Theatre Research is now seeking nominations for the Biennial Sally Banes Publication Prize....”

SDHS endorses MLA statement on learning another language

Connect to Amazon.com through this link and a percentage of your purchase will help fund graduate student travel to SDHS conferences.