What is English Country Dancing?

There are many answers: Romantic, Sumptuous, Flowing Music - Meditation in Motion - Easy Steps & Satisfying Figures - The Joy of Dancing Together - Dignified Flirtation - A genuine Community Connection - Stimulation & Relaxation at the same time - and lots more.

OK, that give me a feel for English Country Dancing - but can you be more specific?

Well, if you've watched Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility or Emma at the movies, you have seen it. But English Country Dancing is not the obscure relic you might think it to be! While this traditional form of dance has been around for three hundred years, it's still thriving today.

We dance to beautiful music - hauntingly beautiful tunes that make the heart swell. Some dance tunes are taken from old ballads and political satire; others come from classical music and operas. This gives English country music tremendous variety; sometimes sweet and melodic, sometimes melancholy, and sometimes absolutely driven with a pulsating beat.

Others love English Country Dance for the grace and elegance with which you glide as you dance. At times, you simply get swept away as you become one with the music. Many people love the beautiful patterns created as you dance and weave. Some people describe it as a meditation in motion.

Through it all, there's an indefinable quality to English Country Dance that makes it energizing, mesmerizing, and just plain fun.
English Country Dance is not difficult to learn. If you can walk and know the difference between left and right, you already have much of the basic knowledge you'll need.

As we do it in Fairfield, most of the movements are based simply on a walking or skipping step. Dancers move in a number of specific "figures" -- sometimes holding hands, sometimes by themselves. Each dance is prompted by a caller, so that each figure and movement is called in time to the music -- you don't need to rely on your memory alone to know what to do.

While English Country Dance is most often done in "long way sets" (parallel lines of ladies and gents), dances are sometimes done in squares, circles, or sets of two, three, or four couples.

Beginners are welcome on Fridays (every week except the 1st Friday of the Month) at 8 pm at Morning Star Studio, 51 South Court Street in Fairfield. Cost is just $4, and we recommend that you come on time, as we do easier dances earlier in the evening. Please wear comfortable, clean shoes to protect the floor. No partner is necessary; in fact if you come with a partner, you may find it helpful for each of you to dance with a more experienced dancer for the first couple of dances.

If you are familiar with contra-dancing, you will find English Country Dance very easy to pick up.

If you want to learn more about English Country Dance (or ECD) click on some of the links in the FAQ section or at the end of this article.

If there are more complicated dances, you may enjoy sitting out and watching - you'll learn a lot, and after attending a few evenings, you'll be surprised how quickly you will be doing more intricate dances!

We look forward to welcoming you to our dance community!

ECD Intro
Wikipedia on English Country Dancing
Links to many videos
Video of modern ECD: 20 Years Waltz
Click here for an intro to basic dance figures for English Country Dance.
More on basics of ECD
Video: Costumed English Country Dancers dancing "Prince William"

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