Show ContentsDance History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Dance family is linked to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. Their name comes from the baptismal name for the "son of Daniel," or it could have been from the Anglo-Saxon word Dense, meaning Danish. [1]

Early Origins of the Dance family

The surname Dance was first found in Yorkshire where the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 list some of the first entries of the family: Amicia Daunce; Thomas Danse; and Willelmus Daunse. [2]

In Bedfordshire, early records there show William Daunce in the Assize Rolls of 1247. Robert Daunce qppears in the Subsidy Rolls for Yorkshire in 1301 and Robert del la Daunce was listed in 1305 and "was probably a professional dancer, chief of ‘a dancing party’, a meaning recorded c. 1385." [3]

Early History of the Dance family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dance research. Another 72 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1700, 1768, 1741, 1825, 1761, 1768, 1748, 1827, 1800, 1755, 1775, 1793, 1790 and 1840 are included under the topic Early Dance History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dance Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Dance have been found, including Dance, Danse and others.

Early Notables of the Dance family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: George Dance the Elder (1700-1768), English architect and surveyor to the corporation of London. He designed the Mansion House and many of the churches and public buildings of the city during the earlier half of the eighteenth century. One of his sons, George Dance the Younger (1741-1825), was also an architect of note. He was the fifth and youngest son of George Dance the Elder. He "learnt his profession in his father's office. He spent also some time in France and Italy, and studied in Rome. He was a member of the Incorporated...
Another 135 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dance Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dance Ranking

In the United States, the name Dance is the 9,145th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Dance family to Ireland

Some of the Dance family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Dance migration to the United States +

Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Among the first immigrants of the name Dance, or a variant listed above to cross the Atlantic and come to North America were :

Dance Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Rebecca Dance, who settled in Virginia in 1729
  • John Dance, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1754
Dance Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Gilbert Dance, who settled in New Orleans in 1822
  • Mary Dance, who settled in New York, NY in 1824

Australia Dance migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Dance Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Dance, aged 21, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Punjab"

New Zealand Dance migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Dance Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Dance, aged 34, a railway labourer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alfred" in 1864 [5]
  • Marie Dance, aged 33, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alfred" in 1864 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Dance (post 1700) +

  • Jean Dance (1932-2023), best known as Jean Boht, who was an English actress, most famous for the role of Nellie Boswell in Carla Lane's sitcom Bread (1986-1991)
  • Walter Charles Dance O.B.E. (b. 1946), English actor known as Charles Dance, his film roles include, The Golden Child, Alien 3, Last Action Hero, Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Mank. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2006.
  • George Dance the Elder (1695-1768), English architect
  • George Dance the Younger (1741-1825), English architect and surveyor
  • Brian Dance, Headmaster of St. Dunstan's

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. Archives New Zealand Micro 5019. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Alfred. Retrieved from on Facebook