Les Danses Antiques

Les Danses Antiques started to offer historical dance classes for Edinburgh residents in January 2013. Since then we have organised classes, workshops with invited International historical dance professionals, festivals, open days and balls with the aim to revive the European historical dance heritage. Historical dance is our passion and we are happy to share it with the rest of the world.

The group started to perform in 2016. We developed expertise in reconstructing and performing European dances from 16th till 19th centuries. Some of our recent engagements are listed here:

  • 36th Early Dance Festival in Edinburgh
  • Performances and talk for Royal Collection Trust in the Holyrood Palace “Charles II, James II and Holyrood”, “Easter in the Palace”, “Dances of Scotland and Russia in the time of Princess Dashkova”
  • Dance Performance as part of the “Princess Dashkova, the Woman Who Shook the World” commemoration event at the University of Edinburgh
  • Early Music Forum Scotland Open Days at St Cecilia Hall
  • International Day of Dance at Stirling Castle
  • Dance performance at New Assembly Hall as part of Edinburgh New Town 250 years Anniversary
  • Reconstruction and teaching of dances in Edinburgh for the first Nathaniel Gow Ball in New Assembly Rooms
  • Opening Gala of the Botanic Cottage at Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh.

Group leader: Dr Alena Shmakova​

Dr. Alena Shmakova

Alena has a wide historical dance repertoire and interests covering dances from 1600 till 1850.​

Alena was born in Russia in the south-east region of the Great Steppe (Barnaul, Altay Region). She became interested in historical dance as early as 2006 by accidentally attending one of the balls organised by the Novosibirsk group of historical dances “Medival”. She learned her first steps from the best of Russian early dance specialists including Ekaterina Mikhaylova-Smolnyakova, Rostislav Kondratenko and Olga Fialko, followed by a passionate and tireless dance development, teaching numerous classes, and learning from international early dance professionals including Barbara Segal (UK, Baroque and Renaissance dances), Anne Daye (UK, Renaissance and Scottish dances), Ricky Barros (UK, Baroque dance), Karin Modigh (Sweden/France, Baroque dance), Robert le Nuz (France, Baroque dance), Charlotte Bell (UK/Germany, Baroque dance), Hubert Hazebroucq (France, Early Baroque style), Ellis Rogers (UK, Quadrilles and 19th century dances of Great Britain), Richard Powers (USA, 19th and early 20th century dances), and Fabio Mollica (Italy, Società di Danza, 19th century dances). Alena has a wide historical dance repertoire and interests covering dances from 1600 till 1850.

Alena moved to Scotland in 2009 and pursued a scientific career obtaining MSc in 2011 from the University of Edinburgh followed by a PhD (2012-2016, Welcome Trust program) from the University of Dundee, and several subsequent post-doctoral research projects carried out at the Universities of Dundee and Edinburgh.