International Council for Traditions of Music and Dance

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

ICTM Study Group on Ethnochoreology

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Since the establishment of the IFMC in 1947 in London, dance has been strongly represented by its membership. The Study Group on Ethnochoreology is the oldest Study Group in the ICTM. In 1962, a Folk Dance Commission was established at the IFMC conference in Zlin, former Czechoslovakia. This group focused on folk dance terminology and in the early 1970s it renamed itself as the Study Group on Ethnochoreology, reflecting its changed remit beyond that of dance terminology to include cultural dimensions and other issues relating to ethnochoreology. Today, the Study Group on Ethnochoreology is the largest Study Group  within the ICTM (name change from IFMC to ICTM occured in 1981) with a multidisciplinary membership. Scholars - young and old - critically engage in research and scholarship in their specific fields of dance research and share their insights with the membership at international biennial symposia. Currently, the Study group has an active and associate membership of  some 250 people from over 58 countries worldwide.

The increased presence of ethnochoreology and dance anthropology programmes at universities in Europe, since the 1990s, is evidence of the growing interest in the field of dance, human movement practices and culture. The Study Group on Ethnochoreology provides an important forum and network for all scholars working and researching in this interdisciplinary field.  


The objectives of the Study Group are

  • to promote research, documentation, and interdisciplinary study of dance
  • to provide a forum for cooperation among scholars and students of ethnochoreology by means of international meetings, publications, and correspondence
  • to contribute to cultural and societal understandings of humanity through the lens of dance


The Study Group organises biennial international symposia and publishes proceedings of these symposia. A large percentage of the membership attend these symposia. Recent symposia take place in a hybrid format. The Study Group also meets informally at ICTM World Conferences.  

Sub-Study Groups

Within the Study Group on Ethnochoreology there are sub-study groups focusing on specific areas of interest and relevance to the membership. These groups play an important role within the Study Group and generally correspond and meet between symposia. Currently there a number of active sub-study groups.  They include the following: 

Sub-study groups also publish research in the form of books. These have included the following:

  • Egil Bakka, Theresa Jill Buckland, Helena Saarikoski, Anne Von Bibra Wharton (Editors, 2020) Waltzing Through Europe: Attituded towards Couple Dances in the Long Nineteenth Century.  Open Book Publishers.

  • Kaeppler, Adrienne; Elsie Ivancich Dunin (Editors, 2007) Dance Structures: Perspectives on the Analysis of Human Movement, Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó.

  • Sparti, Barbara; Van Zile, Judy (Editors, 2011) Imaging dance: visual representations of dancers and dancing. Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag.

Application for Membership

The Study Group on Ethnochoreology is open to all ICTM members who are involved in the field of research in dance, either as specialists in the field or in related fields.  Membership is obtained by writing to both the Chair (Placida Staro) and the Secretary (Andriy Nahachewsky) (, and completing a brief information sheet (copy attached below). 

Executive Committee

Chairperson: Placida Staro
Vice-Chairperson: Siri Maeland
Secretary: Andriy Nahachewsky

Chair of Publications Committee: Tvrtko Zebec
Previous Symposium: Rebeka Kunej
Upcoming Symposium: Mehmet Öcal Özbilgin

List of Past Symposia

  • Brežice, Slovenia - 2022 (Themes: Reconsidering Knowledge Production; Inclusion/Exclusion) (Abstract Booklet attached in Brežice Post below)
  • Klaipeda, Lithuania - 2021   (Themes: Dance and Economy; Dance Transmission)
  •   (Online Roundtable - 2020)  (Theme: Ethnochoreology in the Time of Covid 19)
  • Szeged, Hungary - 2018  (Themes: Dance and Politics; Dance and Age)
  • Graz, Austria - 2016  (Themes: Dance and the Senses; Dancing and Dance Cultures in Urban Contexts)
  • Korčula, Croatia – 2014 (Themes: Dance and Narrative; Dance as Intangible Cultural Heritage)
  • Limerick, Ireland – 2012  (Themes: Dance and Place; Dance and Festival)
  • Třešt, Czech Republic – 2010  (Themes: Dance, Gender and Meanings; Contemporizing Traditional Dance)
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – 2008 (Themes: Transmitting Dance as Cultural Heritage; Dance and Religion)
  • Cluj, Romania - 2006  (Themes: From Field to Text; Dance and Space)
  • Monghidoro, Italy – 2004  (Themes: Visible and Invisible Dance; Crossing Identity Boundaries)
  • Szeged, Hungary – 2002  (Themes: Reappraising our Past, Moving into the Future; Dancer as a Cultural Performer)
  • Korčula, Croatia – 2000  (Themes: Sword Dances and Related Calendrical Dance Events; Revival, Reconstruction, Revitalization)
  • Istanbul, Turkey - 1998  (Themes: Traditional Dance and its Historical Sources; Creative Processes, Improvisation and Composition)
  • Třešt, Czech Republic -1996  (Themes: Children and Traditional Dancing; Dance and Style)
  • Skierniewice, Poland -1994  (Themes: Ritual and Ritual Dances in Contemporary Society; Dance and Music Relationship)
  • Nafplion, Greece -1992  (Themes: Dance and its Socio-Political Aspects; Dance and Costume)
  • Budapest, Hungary – 1990  (Themes: Dance Transmission and Diffusion; Implement Dances)
  • Copenhagen, Denmark – 1988 (Theme: The Dance Event: A Complex Cultural Phenomenon)