from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A dance by a single performer, who is required to execute a complicated figure, blindfolded, among a number of eggs, without touching them.


  • Being now reduced to the weapons of his mouth, he began bullying and cursing horribly: the lazy, worthless urchin, he said, would not do her duty; refused to perform the egg-dance, which he had promised to the public; he would beat her to death, and no one should hinder him.

    J.W. von Goethe, Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship

  • To avoid treading upon any of these varied susceptibilities the great Auckland had to execute a sort of diplomatic egg-dance; but he did it with consummate skill and temporarily satisfied everybody with the promise of a full statement upon trade policy so soon as Peace has been signed.

    Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 156, June 4, 1919.

  • The disease spread, the flags were multiplied, the operations of war became an egg-dance among miniature neutral territories; and though all men took a hand in these proceedings, all men in turn were struck with their absurdity.

    A Footnote to History Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa


This dance originated in medieval times and was performed as part of Easter-tide festivities. ‘Egg-dance’ also has the figurative meaning ‘an intricate and difficult task.’