Traditional dances

The traditional dances in our libraries are listed alphabetically by title. Use the pull-down menu above to visit the relevant page and access dances and step notes.

Please click here for a list of dance videos in our Traditional dances Library.  You can now search this library quickly and easily for a particular choreographer or dance title by following the instructions on the top of each page.

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Why not also visit our Choreographed Dance Library.

Traditional dances – an introduction

In the Circle Dance repertoire, there are various types of dances, including traditional dances.

Circle dancers

Traditional (or folk) dance dates back several centuries, although very little is known about the origins. Nobody is really sure what this dancing looked like say two thousand years ago, however historians are confident that it already existed at that time.

At some point, someone, or a group of people, would have devised steps so that they could dance to their music. The identities of these people will have been lost in the mists of time. People have passed these traditional dances on through the generations by various cultural groups.

The dances would have come into being with a social function, weaving recreation into celebrations and important agricultural events. Customs and beliefs developed over time, forming into traditions. Traditional dances emphasize the cultural roots of particular dances. Some are religious dances which people used to enrich ceremonies. In pre-industrial rural societies, people used dance to bring the community together for events such as marriages, and when appeasing deceased spirits.

In addition to the social nature of dance, costumes were present, and different musical rhythms, evidence of a deep and slowly evolving cultural tradition. Due to the isolated nature of regions of the world until fairly recently, many different forms of folk dancing evolved. However, what they have in common is they express the cultural values and traditions of the region where they originated. They also serve an important artistic and social function for the people from those regions.

Folk dancing offers a unique opportunity to look back in time and dancing history.

Some traditional dance forms have a generic title, for example Tsamikos and Syrtos in Greece. Where a specific version or variation has arisen in a village or region, there will be an indication in the dance title of its origins, for example Tsamikos Flambouro from Flambouro in the Serres region of Greece.

Adrian Pointon 2022 (Website)

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“… I just want to say how helpful I’ve found the […] teaching of so many dances. [CSCD’s website is] a wonderful resource. It was very helpful during the covid lockdown. And I love it when new dances are added.”

John Davison (Manchester), May 2022

For further information about the origins of Traditional dances, please read Ben Bailey’s article on the history of circle dancing.

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