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Theresa Buckland


Former affiliations

Research activity per year

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Personal profile


I am currently Emeritus Professor of Dance History and Ethnography and continue to be research active. Until August 2020, I supervised PhD students and taught on the MA Dance Anthropology, the  collaborative Choreomundus: International Master in Dance Knowledge, Practice and Heritage and contributed to the MA Dance, Philosophy and History. I joined Roehampton in 2013 and my previous positions include Head of Dance at the University of Surrey and Professor of Performing Arts at De Montfort University.

To date, I have examined over thirty doctorates in Dance and supervised eighteen to successful completion in the subject. My specialisms are dance history (especially nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century British),  dance anthropology and  folk dance.

A pioneer of teaching popular dance in higher education in England, I have published numerous research articles on popular and social dance and on dance as cultural memory. My principal edited books include the following international collections: Dance in the Field: Theory, Methods and Issues in Dance Ethnography (Macmillan, 1999) Dancing from Past to Present: Nation, Culture, Identities (University of Wisconsin Press, 2006) and and Folklore Revival Movements in Europe post 1950: Shifting Perspectives (with D. Stavělová, 2018).

My monograph Society Dancing: Fashionable Bodies in England, 1870-1920 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) charts the changes in social dancing from the late Victorian period to the beginnings of modern English ballroom dancing. The book raises issues of movement socialisation, class and gender, national identity, self-expression and cultural leadership that resonate across the wider dance culture of modern Britain.

Recent publications include a study of the development of the modern waltz in early twentieth-century England (Dance Research, 2018), issues of gender in morris dancing in the 1970s (2018), and dance as an academic discipline in nineteeth-century Britain (Victorian Culture and the Origin of Disciplines, 2019). I am currently working on an article on couple dancers and modernity and chapters for the Oxford Handbook of Ethnochoreology (postmillenial approaches to ethnography and history), Bloomsbury's  A Cultural History of Dance (dance, religion and ritual in the nineteenth-century) and the Oxford Handbook of Musical Biography and Life-Writing (historical biographies of dancers).


Research interests

Social and danced relations across stage and street, particularly in the long nineteenth century; dance history and historiography; theory of dance anthropology, ethnochoreology  and ethnography.



  • PhD, Institute of Dialect and Folk Life Studies, University of Leeds
  • BA (1st Class), English Language and Literature, University of Leeds

Research projects

  • Society Dancing in England 1870-1920
  • P J S Richardson and Transformation in Social Dancing, 1900-1924
  • Maintaining Social Distinction: The D'Egvilles of Brighton and London, 1830-1900
  • Dance and High Society: Report and Reminiscence, 1870-1914
  • Edward Scott: Socio-cultural perspectives on a late Victorian dancing master
  • Constructs of Identity in North-West English Morris Dancing, 1970-2001
  • The Competitive International Folk Dance Festival

Professional affiliations

  • Congress on Research in Dance
  • English Folk Dance and Song Society
  • The Folklore Society
  • International Council for Traditional Music
  • Society for Dance Research
  • Society for Dance History Scholars
  • Social History Society
  • Society for Ethnomusicology
  • PopMoves (UK consortium of universities, with focus on teaching and research in popular dance)
  • Nineteenth Century Derived Couple Dances (European Working Group, ICTM Study Group on Ethnochoreology)

Consultancy work

  • Peer Review Board, European Research Council
  • Editorial Consultant, Dance Research
  • Editorial Board, Folk Music Journal
  • Editorial Board, Folklore

Media Consultancy

  • Consultant for BBC's The One Show: feature on exhibition dancers Irene and Vernon Castle (2014)
  • Consultant for BBC's online magazine iWonder: feature entitled Dirty dances: A timeline of the moves that shocked (2014)
  • Consultant and interviewee for Dancing Cheek to Cheek: An Intimate History of Dance, BBC FOUR TV series presented by Dr Lucy Worsley and Len Goodman (2014)
  • Interviewee, Thinking Allowed, with Laurie Taylor, BBC Radio Four (2013)
  • Invited speaker, Victoria and Albert Museum, London Beauty and the Ball: Fashion, Society and Ballgowns exhibition. Lecture entitled 'Dancing and Decorum at the Society Ball' (2012)
  • Specialist Advisor, Deborah Bull's Dance Nation, BBC Radio Four (2012)


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