Historical Dance

Directed by Dorothy Olsson, with Peggy Murray

July 1-8, 2023

Muhlenberg College
2400 Chew St
Allentown, PA 18104
United States


The Historical Dance program will run during the first week of the Amherst Early Music Festival. The dates of the first week of the Festival are July 2-9, but dancers arrive 1 day early to prepare for opera performance on Friday, July 7.

First-week dancers who wish to audition for the opera project (L’Erismena by Francesco Cavalli) must arrive early to attend the following sessions:
Saturday July 1, 2:00-5:00 pm: *Baroque Dance Technique Class/Rehearsal
Saturday July 1, 6:30-8:00 pm: *Baroque Dance Technique Class/Rehearsal
Sunday July 2, early morning: individual practice time
Sunday July 2, 10:00-11:30 am: *Baroque Dance Technique Class/Rehearsal. (Murray, Olsson)
Sunday July 2, 1:00-4:00 pm: *Dance Rehearsal for Cavalli’s L’Erismena.
*Classes marked by an asterisk will serve as both audition and rehearsal for the dance roles in the Baroque Opera Project (Cavalli’s L’Erismena, July 7 performance).

For over twenty-five years the historical dance program has been a highly successful part of the Amherst Early Music Festival, itself the largest festival of its kind in the world. Students particularly enjoy the opportunity for performance, along with stimulating classes by dance historians and performers.

See the NY Historical Dance Company website for more photos!

Detail of dancing shoes


Peggy Dance

Festival FAQs

Union College
807 Union Street, Schenectady, NY 12308
Close to a major airport (15+ minutes from Albany International Airport), accessible by Amtrak (station is 1 mile from Union College) and Megabus, Union College is 3 hours away by car from NYC and Boston, and 4 hours from Montreal.

The meal card is $227 and covers one week of meals starting with dinner on June 30, (July 7 for week 2) thru breakfast on July 7, (July 16=4 for week 2). A la carte meal prices are $10 / $13.50 / $16.75 for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

All standard rooms and classrooms are air-conditioned. Budget rate housing is not air-conditioned. Basic linens (sheets, pillow, and towels) are included with all housing. Beds are twin, extra long.


Scholarships & Work-Study


All participants are welcome to apply for tuition assistance through AEM's Work-Study program. Please fill out the work study application form to apply. Notice of awards will be sent in late May. Questions about Work-Study can be sent to Click here to show mail address.

AEM Scholarships

To apply for AEM scholarships, send a one-page letter to Marilyn Boenau, the Executive Director of AEM, explaining your interest in early music or dance, your goal in attending the Festival, and your financial need. Email to Click here to show mail address.

The Washington McClain Scholarship Fund honors the memory of Baroque oboist and Amherst Early Music faculty member Washington McClain. It will fund scholarships for students who have historically been underrepresented in the early music field, including African-American, Latinx, and others. Awards will cover tuition, room and board, and travel and may be used for any in-person AEM event, particularly the Amherst Early Music Festival. To apply send a letter of inquiry to Click here to show mail address, with information about your interest in early music or dance.

In addition to scholarships, AEM offers work study tuition to all of our workshops, and the Amherst Early Music Festival. Work study is an option for students of any age.

Other Organizations

American Recorder Society offers scholarships to recorder players for Weekend Workshops as well as Summer Festivals. Any ARS member who needs financial assistance to attend a weekend or week-long workshop may apply for this scholarship. Deadline: May 15.

Lute Society of America scholarships include full tuition, room & board, and some travel. Due Date May 1

Early Music America offers scholarships to help students attend early music and historical performance workshops in North America. Applications due April 17, 2023.

Viola da Gamba Society of America offers Grants-in-Aid to its members to attend Workshops and Masterclasses.

The Historical Keyboard Society of North America has established the Funaro Fund Award to support its members to offset the cost of traveling to an early keyboard event.