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National dance covers a wide range of European Folk Dances from countries across the continent including: the British Isles, Spain, Portugal, Central Europe, Scandinavia to name but a few. These traditional dances, celebrating local culture, have been developed over time by communities throughout Europe. The study of traditional dances from non-European countries is also encouraged to explore a global dance heritage.



The History of National Dance

The National Dance Faculty was founded in 1952 by Irene Grandison Clark and Joan Lawson. In 1953 they were joined by Helen Wingrave who was also a key contributor to the progression of the faculty. The aim was to form an authentic body of knowledge based on sound research for teachers to make an in-depth study of European Folk Dance. Over the years, as international travel became easier, further research was carried out and key texts were written by various specialists such Robert Harrold, Margaret Dixon-Philip and Nigel Jaffe

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The aim of the National Dance Faculty is to bring the joy of European Folk Dance to all age levels. Folk dance develops a sense of community and awareness of others. The dancers have the opportunity to study traditional dances, costumes, music and customs. The syllabus is wide in range and choice. It is designed to suit all teaching situations, such as schools, dance schools, vocational colleges while embracing the National Curriculum, Community Dance, Dance Degrees and Ethnic studies. This leads to its creative use both in the classroom and the theatre. Folk Dance is important in the present dance scene and all aspects are covered within the National Dance Faculty.

Download syllabus outlines here


Folk Dance Studies

The studies are a form of assessment for any age or ability. The dances are all traditional Folk Dances and the choice of countries can include European and Non-European. With each unit the dancers prepare projects on any aspect of the chosen country.


National Exams and Qualifications

The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing National Dance exams and Medal Tests are recognised internationally for their quality and excellence

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National Dance Faculty Committee

Our Faculty Committees are the vital link between the members of the Society and the staff and trustees, and provide a two-way channel for communication and consultation with the wider membership body.

Meet the team


"Folk dance offers a wealth of material to choreographers, teachers and dancers and they in turn must understand its value and potential."

Former Patron of the National Dance Faculty