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Medieval Dance Question

I just received this question. My answer is below. Any additional suggestions are welcome via the "comments" feature.

I'm hoping you can help. I am a Girl Scout leader in Maryland. We have a day camp during the summer that changes themes each year. This year it is Medieval. I have been put in charge of DANCE. Don't ask me why!

Do you have any information or better yet instructions that would help me to teach a couple of medieval dances to girls ranging from 5 to 12 years old. If not do you have a suggestion where I could find such information. I would appreciate any help you could give me.


While not strictly medieval, I would suggest teaching them some of the many very easy dances called branles (pronounced "brawl"). An excellent source for this is a 16th Century dance manual called "Orchesography" by Toineau Arbeau, which is available in inexpensive paperback from Dover books. Many used copies can be found on Alibris and Amazon.

The forms of the dance you find in Arbeau are as they existed in the mid 16th Century, but they are clearly very old dances which existed in similar form in earlier centuries.

For video clips of the dances and steps mentioned, check out the Library of congress website at
The video links are at the bottom of the page.

Good luck.

Walter Nelson


The Broadside Band has a very danceable CD of music from Orchesography.