This interesting name derives from the pre 10th century Old French word "dance", itself a development of the German "tanzer", and as such it describes a professional dancer or dance teacher. Probably introduced into England after the 1066 Norman Invasion, it was later used as a metonymic or occupational name for a professional dancer, one employed to perform at weddings, festivals, fairs and other such public functions. The surname is first recorded in the mid 13th Century (see below), and an early example taken from surviving authentic rolls, charters, and registers, of the period is that of Robert de la Daunce, in the Subsidy Rolls for the county of Yorkshire in the year 1301. Later examples taken from surviving church registers include William Dance, who married Mawdline Adams on December 2nd 1610, at the famous church of St. Dunstan's in the East, Stepney, London, whilst Elizabeth Dance was christened on December 15th 1615, at St. Giles church, Cripplegate, also London. George Dance, (1700 - 1768) was the Surveyor of the city of London from 1735 until his death in 1668. He was succeeded as Surveyor by his son known as George Dance, the Younger, and he held the position until his death in 1825. George Dance, the Younger, was also professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy from 1798 to 1815. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Daunce, a witness at the "Assize Court" of Bedfordshire in 1247. This was during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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