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Pastime is an enthusiastic group of people who are interested in re-creating authentic period dance and performance. The group was founded in 1980 and is still going strong. We specialise in 15th, 16th and 17th century dance, with excursions from time to time into the 18th and 19th centuries.

Pastime dances for fun. We all enjoy performing for the public, whether in historic venues, schools or in the open air. Our performances are quite varied: we can provide entertainment from a range of periods, lecture demonstrations and audience participation, such as an evening of authentic Tudor or English Country Dance. We have appeared in plays and concerts and we sometimes stage our own productions.


As performers of historical dance, we are serious about what we do. We value our dance heritage and aim to inspire others of all ages to learn more about it and, perhaps, to begin dancing themselves.

We use original sources for our dances and engage specialist visiting tutors. We run our own biennial Summer School and many members attend other historical dance summer schools, conferences and workshops. We maintain active memberships in both the Historical Dance Society and the Early Dance Circle. Members attend the Early Dance Festival and often perform there


Pastime performs dances for which there is a textual source, manuscript or printed. The earliest known of such sources date from the 15th century. We have nothing in our repertoire earlier than that, unless a recorded dance is one with an earlier history, perhaps mentioned by name in texts of the time. Dance notation appears in the 15th century in an already sophisticated form. There probably were earlier sources and perhaps one day they will come to light. The dance manuscripts and manuals that have come down to us include those listed below. Pastime Historical Dance performs many pieces from these, including the following well known forms: measures, galliard, branle, pavane, gavotte, canaries and many English country dances.