Circle Dances From Around The World

Pam Kelly runs the Circle Dance classes. Here she explains more about the origins and many benefits of Circle Dance.

Q. How many members do you have?
A. Currently we have twelve members, ten of which have danced with me for over ten years. It’s a well-established group.

Q. How often do you meet?
A. We meet on the second Tuesday of the month, 2-4pm in the Dance Studio.

Q. What can you tell us about Circle Dancing?
A. Circle Dance is the most uplifting and exhilarating form of exercise one can ever imagine. However tired and stressed one feels when arriving, by the time the two hours of dancing have finished everyone always leaves beaming with joy and thus many deep and lasting friendships have been formed. We literally dance in the steps of our ancestors and it creates a sense of community and harmony like nothing else.

Q. What are the origins of Circle Dance?
A. Our ancestors danced on every occasion as a shared expression of harmony. They danced for birth, marriage, death, peace, the harvest, the changing of the seasons and just for the joy of it – sharing and celebrating all of life’s experiences in dance.

Q. So what are the other benefits of Circle Dance?
A. My osteopath says it is the very best form of dance for balance and general fitness. The joining of hands in a circle is an amazing feeling, everyone is equal and everyone is part of the whole. The steps are sometimes tricky and the brain has to be as active and as fast as the feet so it greatly enhances the memory as well!

Q. How is the group coping in the current crisis?
A. During the crisis we have been following the Frome group (with leader Tara Greaves) on Fridays via Zoom. She sends the dances and choreography in advance so we can all practise at home before we “meet up” to dance on Fridays. Many of us in Shaftesbury also go to Tara’s monthly dance in Frome where she has an outstanding live band!

Pam, who is an extremely accomplished poet, has written the following poem “Each Step I Take” which perfectly incorporates the many joys of Circle Dance:
Each step I take
dances to
the rhythm of my ancestors
long long before.
They danced for
marriage death, and birth,
for peace,
for victory in war.
They danced to celebrate
the moon, the sun,
the turning of the earth…
Joined hand in hand
the circle moved as one,
all joys and sorrows shared
in steps
their feet learned
in the womb.
They leapt and twirled
to music
pulsing, powerful…
Round and round
they whirled and sang
to the sound of
life itself.

If you would like to know more about the Circle Dance Group, contact Pam Kelly on 01747 852744 or email