About us

The Historical Dance Society promotes public education in and appreciation of the performance, costume and music of European and other dances from the 15th to 20th centuries as recorded in the literature of the period.

How do we achieve this?

  • We run regular workshops, study days and an annual summer school. Details of these can be found on our site.
  • We produce dance instruction booklets and accompanying recorded music, based on our own dance research. These can be purchased through our site.
  • We publish Historical Dance, the leading journal for research in the subject. Most articles from previous issues are available for downloading and book reviews appear on the web site prior to publication in the journal.
  • We work with several other organisations involved in early dance in the UK and around the world. There are links on our site to several sites providing information and resources about early dance and music.

Objectives of HDS

The main objective of the Society as set out in the constitution is the promotion of public education in and appreciation of the performance, costume and music of European and other dances from 15th to 20th century as recorded in the literature of the period.

We achieve this by:

  • Conducting and promoting original research into treatises on dancing and other references in the literature, drama and dance music of the various periods.
  • The organisation of workshops for the education of dancers, teachers, actors, musicians and the general public in historical dance and its associated dance music.
  • Holding conferences at which lectures, demonstrations and opportunities to participate in historical dances and their music are given to members of the society and others.
  • Publishing articles conducive or incidental to the aims of the society in a Journal (and by any other medium which will bring the information to the attention of scholars in related disciplines and other persons concerned with the performance and teaching of historical dances and their music).
  • Developing good practice for teachers and instructors in order to promote skills, understanding and enjoyment of the dances, while incorporating current research.
  • Fostering the growth of other organisations with similar aims in this country and abroad.
  • Publishing books and music recordings in paper and digital form for the use of teachers, dancers, musicians and other interested people, to reflect the best interpretations of dance and music as understood at the time of publication.

Our History

The Dolmetsch Historical Dance Society was founded in 1970 in memory of Mabel Dolmetsch to promote knowledge of historical dance. The name was changed to The Historical Dance Society in 2015.

Find out more in our Constitution