Why learn early dance?
With a touch of history, the transport of beautiful
and harmonious exercise in pleasant company,
and the question is not "why learn?" - but "why not?"
Dancing combines physical, mental, kinaesthetic, musical and social skills, and is an enjoyable pastime which is accessible to and beneficial for people of all ages.
Dancing promotes an awareness of the body and ways to move gracefully and efficiently. This is a lifelong asset, especially when combined with the habit of good posture acquired by learning and practising dancing.
Learning to dance has for centuries been recognised as important for health and well-being of both individual and of society. Social dance forms - early dance included - provide a combination of mental, physical and social skills which have been found to be helpful for maintaining an active mind.
The early dance repertoire embraces a range of movement from slow and sedate to lively and energetic. Dance steps are based on natural movements, so previous dance experience is not required, though it can be helpful. These dances were designed for aristocrats, and do not involve the immodest extremes of movement to be found in many modern dance varieties. Most court dances were designed to be danced with a partner or in a group, and so team-work is required, but in an atmosphere of collaboration rather than competition.
For students of music, a knowledge of the relationship between music and movement gives a new and tangible dimension to concepts of rhythm, tempo, phrasing and musical structure.
To performers of early music, a practical knowledge of historical dance is of particular relevance in achieving an appropriate performance. So much music of the past was written for or inspired by the prestigious dances of the courts.
For both dancers and actors, a working knowledge of early dance and deportment is of great benefit in achieving appropriate styles of movement, gesture and dance, for historical stage productions.
And, of course, dancing is great fun!