Renaissance Dancing for Fun and Fitness

Last weekend I went to an event sponsored by a local medieval club and found myself sucked into the rabbit hole of dancing. I’m usually too busy in the kitchen or working on crafts to think about dancing, but this time it was a small event, I had plenty of time, and someone was teaching the dances – so I joined in.

I danced a lot! Don’t believe anyone who claims that very old dances are staid and stately. While some were slower-paced, many were very lively. I got sweaty and breathless. We needed to take water breaks.

I danced in pairs, in groups of threes or fours, in lines, in circles. I danced with men and women of all shapes and sizes. There was even an adorable six-year-old. I really loved how people paid minimal attention to traditional gender roles in the dances. Some male-female couples preferred to dance together, but most of us had no life partners to dance with, so we paired up with whoever was available. The people dancing “male” parts tried to remember to hold hands from below, while the “ladies” put their hands on top. It helped us keep track of whether we were a “man” or a “woman” for that dance.

It was an unusual contribution to my 223 workouts in 2023, but a lot of fun.

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