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English Country Dance Resources

Kent Davis 22 Jul 10 - 11:47 PM
Manitas_at_home 23 Jul 10 - 02:54 AM
greg stephens 23 Jul 10 - 08:18 AM
Will Fly 23 Jul 10 - 08:45 AM
Chris Partington 23 Jul 10 - 09:32 AM
greg stephens 23 Jul 10 - 09:49 AM
GUEST,leeneia 23 Jul 10 - 09:50 AM
Desert Dancer 23 Jul 10 - 11:20 AM
Kent Davis 23 Jul 10 - 10:19 PM
Old Vermin 24 Jul 10 - 03:18 AM
Kent Davis 17 Sep 10 - 12:40 AM
Fidjit 17 Sep 10 - 04:59 AM
Fidjit 17 Sep 10 - 05:02 AM
Kent Davis 21 Sep 10 - 11:46 PM
Desert Dancer 22 Sep 10 - 01:14 AM
Old Vermin 22 Sep 10 - 06:56 AM
Old Vermin 22 Sep 10 - 07:05 AM
GUEST 22 Sep 10 - 07:46 AM
Kent Davis 22 Sep 10 - 10:50 PM
Mo the caller 23 Sep 10 - 04:36 AM
Mo the caller 23 Sep 10 - 05:14 AM
Banjo-Flower 23 Sep 10 - 08:28 AM
Old Vermin 23 Sep 10 - 10:16 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 23 Sep 10 - 10:31 AM
Banjo-Flower 23 Sep 10 - 11:52 AM
Old Vermin 23 Sep 10 - 12:23 PM
Desert Dancer 23 Sep 10 - 02:29 PM
Banjo-Flower 23 Sep 10 - 04:30 PM
Old Vermin 23 Sep 10 - 04:42 PM
Banjo-Flower 23 Sep 10 - 04:47 PM
CupOfTea 23 Sep 10 - 06:57 PM
Old Vermin 23 Sep 10 - 07:05 PM
Kent Davis 23 Sep 10 - 08:45 PM
Banjo-Flower 24 Sep 10 - 10:02 AM
GUEST,Hi 24 Sep 10 - 03:07 PM
Kent Davis 24 Sep 10 - 09:34 PM
Mo the caller 25 Sep 10 - 04:17 AM
GUEST,Nice 25 Sep 10 - 08:13 AM
Kent Davis 01 Jan 11 - 07:32 PM
open mike 01 Jan 11 - 11:22 PM
Kent Davis 02 Jan 11 - 02:41 PM
Steve in Sidmouth 02 Jan 11 - 05:50 PM
Desert Dancer 06 Jan 11 - 04:47 PM
Mo the caller 07 Jan 11 - 09:43 AM
Kent Davis 21 May 11 - 04:54 PM
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Subject: English Country Dance Resources
From: Kent Davis
Date: 22 Jul 10 - 11:47 PM

My 15-year-old daughter is interested in learning more about English Country Dance. I am not sure if this is the right term, but this is what I mean by ECD: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLDBMJM0jz8
and http://www.facebook.com/michaela.ferrar#!/video/video.php?v=1394370907137   My daughter is a participant in both dances.

Is ECD the right term for this? Is that what it would be called in England? Can anyone recommend a good book or DVD or web site that would help her learn more about it? There are lots of things on the web, but I was hoping to hear from someone who actually knows about this sort of thing, who actually goes to this sort of dance, to help us separate the wheat from the chaff. Also any recommendations for events in Appalachian Ohio, Southwest PA, or in West Virginia would be great.

The dances in the linked videos are at an event for homeschool alumni. The folks there were kind, helpful, and generous, and the atmosphere wholesome. One thing I'm wondering about is whether this wholesomeness we found tends to be characteristic of ECD in general, or if it was probably specific to this particular group. She is young and beautiful, and I would hate to have to challenge some young punk to a duel for getting fresh with her. As my daughter says, "Guns don't kill people...Dads with pretty daughters do."

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Kent


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 23 Jul 10 - 02:54 AM

The second link has gone AWOl but in England that would generally be called Playford dancing after the collections of dances published from 1650 to 1750.


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: greg stephens
Date: 23 Jul 10 - 08:18 AM

Well, it certainly looks wholesome! That kind of dancing looks sort of historic. I play in a band(in England) that plays for events that tend to get called barn dances or ceilidhs, but the style of dancing would definitely be called country dancing. And while its roots are certainly historical, people don't dress up in period clothes or dance in that formal style(as on the video link) for these kind of barn dances. I am not sure where to go on the internet to learn about "ordinary" country dancing, but I expect someone will soon oblige.
   I don't actually recall any irate dads shooting would-be suitors of their young daughters at any barn dance I have played at, but memory's a fickle thing. A spoons player once died of a heart attack while joining in with the band at a Liverpool gig, but that's about as dangerous as it gets this side of the pond, as far as I can judge from my own experience.


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Jul 10 - 08:45 AM

Hi Kent - as far as the video's concerned, it's like watching actors and extras rehearsing for a performance of Pride & Prejudice! Particularly with the period costume, which looks about 1821...

Quite different in atmosphere from the sort of bash our ceilidh band plays for. We like to watch people getting into a tangle while "wringing out the washing" or changing from a right-hand star to a left-hand star. The only irate person I've ever encountered at a band gig was where the local vicar complained about the volume level of the "banjo" - it was actually a mandolin. The mandolin has been known to us as "God's banjo" ever since then.


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Chris Partington
Date: 23 Jul 10 - 09:32 AM

Yes, that is the sort of thing you would find on both sides of the pond at an "English Country Dance" or a "Playford Dance" (though it is neither, being a waltz), or an "Assembly Ball" or a "Dance for Dancers".
Not my cup of tea though, being MUCH too wholesome-looking!
You should know that dancing has famously been called the vertical expression of a horizontal desire, which may be wholesome or not depending on your point of view.
In order to shake off that rather prissy image, and separate the apples from the oranges, (or the wheat from the chaff as you rather unpleasantly put it), it has become the custom to refer to the same set of dances, but danced with more vigour (sweat involved), as "ceilidh, E-ceilidh (for English), even Barn Dancing, and to do it to live music.


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: greg stephens
Date: 23 Jul 10 - 09:49 AM

Here is Hogarth's picture the Country Dance
. Now, the dancers are obviously in "period costume"(18th century). And the people are clearly well-heeled, and in very fancy clothes. But if you look, and mentally remove some of the clothes and try to read the body language, you will see that some are in quite athletic and funky positions, particularly the men. They are dancing, and dancing properly. Once I got an artist to draw all the dancers from a couple of these Hogarth pictures without the 18th century dress, just to get an idea how they were actually doing the dance. This is a world far removed from the "gentility" or "wholesomeness" of the body movements used in the video clip of the original post, even though Horarth's people are obviously of "the gentility".


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 23 Jul 10 - 09:50 AM

Hi, Kent. I used to be an officer in a Missouri organization which had a dance division. Based on that, I believe that you will get the best results in the U.S. by searching for 'Contra Dance.'

For example, I googled this:

contra dance Ohio

and found a promising page.

Yes, I'm pretty sure the atmosphere is generally wholesome, but I don't know how many teenagers would be present.

Here's another idea entirely: look for someone running a Morris troupe (Morris side) for young people.


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 23 Jul 10 - 11:20 AM

There's lots of English country dancing (sometimes abbreciated "ECD") in the U.S., as well as contra dancing. However, there is more contra dancing than English dancing. Contra dancing is more vigorous -- you can find lots on YouTube as well. Also, check this great recent article on NPR. (The "flocking youth" may reflect the situation in New England better than other areas in the country, where many are still working on reintroducing contra to a younger crowd.)

A great starting point for resources is the Country Dance and Song Society, based in Northampton, Mass. They can point you to member organizations, as well as provide publications (cds, books, videos) that can tell you lots more. They have an active youth outreach program, so don't be shy about getting in touch. They'd love to hear from you.

Also, Alan Winston in California is ECD central. Here's his compilation of links.

From that site, a national listing.

Pittsburgh
Columbus

The contra dance group in Athens might be a help, too.

Any English dance or contra dance group would love to welcome your daughter. There may not (or there may!) be very many other people her age, aggressive young punks are not too much of a risk. :-)

There may also be a group in your area with more of a historical focus that includes some dance. Some Jane Austen Society of America groups have annual balls, other Civil War reenactment groups have dance events, so poke around for those folks if that approach (with costuming) might be of interest. As well as calling contra dances, I call some of the dances for We Make History in Arizona, which is very connected to homeschool groups and has a variety of activities in addition to the dances. There may be some organization like this in your area.

Good luck and have fun!

~ Becky from Tucson (in NJ at the moment)


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Kent Davis
Date: 23 Jul 10 - 10:19 PM

Thanks to all of you for your help.

Manitas at home, we weren't familiar with the term "Playford dancing". I will enjoy investigating that further.

greg stephens, I haven't had to shoot any young whippersnappers YET. Usually one look at me and they go scurrying.

Will Fly, My daughter will be thrilled by your comment. She loves Jane Austen. She made her dress for a harp performance at a re-enactment at Blennerhasset Island Historical State Park. I believe the "date" was around 1806. (Feel free to laugh at us "colonists", who think that 1806 was a long time ago.)

Chris P, Sorry for not being clear in my reference to the wheat and the chaff. I was not referring to any kind of dancing as "chaff". I was saying that there are lots of books, DVDs, and web sites available, not all of equal quality, and I wanted hep in picking out the best resources, the "wheat". Thanks for identifying some other names for this type of dance.

Guest, leenia, We will look into contra dancing. Thank you.

Desert dancer, Thanks very much. What a treasure trove.

Again, thank you all.

Kent


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Old Vermin
Date: 24 Jul 10 - 03:18 AM

English ceilidh and other dance at http://www.webfeet.org/


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Kent Davis
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 12:40 AM

Dancing to "Marie's Wedding" at the Ohio Summer Rendezvous Western Ball (Homeschool Alumni) in Perrysvile, Ohio. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQeh91f3kic&feature=channel

Kent


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Fidjit
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 04:59 AM

To quote Gregg.


That's enough to make me give up playing the spoons. Or at least staying out of Liverpool.

Chas


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Fidjit
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 05:02 AM

look here

This links you to some barn dances. Etc.

Chas


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Kent Davis
Date: 21 Sep 10 - 11:46 PM

At the risk of being thought a doting father, I am posting one more video from the Ohio Summer Rendezvous Western Ball (Homeschool Alumni) in Perrysvile, Ohio. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAVJn6c9fKY

Hope you like it.

Kent

P.S.

Thank you, Fidjit, for the link above.


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 22 Sep 10 - 01:14 AM

Kent, that's a beautiful video.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Old Vermin
Date: 22 Sep 10 - 06:56 AM

I mentioned English ceilidh above,

Committte band Exeter 09

gives a festival flavour.



and admit to being seen in both of these

The Watch 2008


the Bismarck's last gig


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Old Vermin
Date: 22 Sep 10 - 07:05 AM

The Watch clip is worth watching for the expressions. I'd forgotten that one....


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Sep 10 - 07:46 AM

I know that I became involved with English Country with my reenactment society, The Society for Creative Anachronism. Maybe you can find your local branch and they will have dance practices. The website is www.sca.org


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Kent Davis
Date: 22 Sep 10 - 10:50 PM

Thanks for posting those, Old Vermin.

I have a question that really shows my ignorance. In the last two clips, there is an instrument that looks something like a hammered dulcimer. What is it?

Kent


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Mo the caller
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 04:36 AM

The dance you posted to Maries Wedding is popular all over the place, with different names (dances cross boundaries). Known as the English Gay Gordons, the American Promenade, or (by people who enjoy French dancing) Chapellois (sp?). I've heard it claimed that it is Scandinavian.

In UK the dance scene is split between Ceilidh (enegetic, sometimes danced to loud bands) and Social. 'Social dance' being danced in clubs usually members of EFDSS, which dance a mix of the Historic reconstructions from Playford and other publications, new dances writen in the same style, and Squares dances and Contra dances. We would term the squares and contras 'American' and the historic and same style dances as 'Playford'. Some clubs are aging fast but the ceilidh scene is younger (and young at heart)

I believe in US the split is different. Contra (line of men facing line of ladies, dance a figure with one couple, end facing the next couple, dance the same figure with them till you reach the end of the line, then work your way back again) is danced in clubs that do nothing else. Recently composed contras are very active, and the dancers enjoy spinning and twirling. What we call Playford you call ECD and dance at clubs which have little to do with the Zesty Contra scene.

American contra dancers are encouraged to use a lot of 'eye contact' which can be disconcerting to a Brit, though it is not meant as anything other than part of the dance. From the discussion on this list
organisers are aware of the need to eliminate behaviour that would make young women uncomfortable.

There are a lot of links about ECD here and a discussion group which will give you all the information (and opinions) you could need.


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Mo the caller
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 05:14 AM

On the 'Wholesomeness' theme. American Contra and English Ceilidh dancers enjoy swinging their partners. The difference being that in American Contra clubs the convention is to ask someone different to dance each time, so you are enjoying physical contact with a whole lot of different people. For one dance only - no strings. At an English Ceilidh if you come with a partner you dance with him/her part of the time, as well as with friends (and friends-to-be).


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Banjo-Flower
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 08:28 AM


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Old Vermin
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 10:16 AM

Kent

I can understand the puzzlement. The gentleman in white shirt who is in The Watch and was in the Bismarcks is Gareth Kiddier. His electronic keyboard[s] housed inside what, from memory, is a hardwood filing drawer, suitably trimmed to fit.


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 10:31 AM

Kent, where are you located? I am involved with ECD in New England and might be able to help you and your daughter find good folks to meet and learn from in various other places. Desert Dancer gave some good resources, as the Country Dance and Song Society is really the main resource in the US for ECD.


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Banjo-Flower
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 11:52 AM

could someone please remind me of the title of the tune in the Watch clip
Thanks in advance

Gerry


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Old Vermin
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 12:23 PM

What sounds like a snatch of Morpeth Rant in the middle, sandwiched between stuff I can't identify.

http://www.myspace.com/thewatchdance should let you ask them


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 02:29 PM

From Kent's first post, southeast Ohio is the location.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Banjo-Flower
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 04:30 PM

Thanks Old Vermin actually its the 1st tune I meant but I'm not computer literate enough to be able to ask on the link you gave

Gerry


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Old Vermin
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 04:42 PM

Gerry - the link has a box half-way down on the left 'Contacting the Watch', I's assumed 'the 'send message' part of this might be the way to go. That said, needs email plus password which suggests registration with Myspace.

Otherwise http://blogs.myspace.com/englishcontradanceband seems to have Gareth's email address.

Probably english contradance band - one of his other bands - is relevant to the main point of the tread, anyway.


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Banjo-Flower
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 04:47 PM

Thanks Old Vermin
will try again tomorrow

Gerry


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: CupOfTea
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 06:57 PM

Kent,

In the US, you'll usually hear the dancing in general called English Country Dance, and you can access who does what where by googling English Country Dance + the locations close to you. For SW Pennsylvania, best would likely be English Country Dance in Pittsburgh. I know they have Bare Necessities in for a dance weekend (English, contra, ECD workshops) about every other year. Alternate years, they are likely in Columbus OH. I fiercely miss their trips to Cleveland. They're the top band for ECD in the United States, and Peter Barnes, of the group, has published several tune books, including two important ones on English Country Dance. Most bands for English are playing out of his books, such that the new or odd dance might be noted as "NIB" meaning "not in Barnes" For great resources, try some of Bare Necessities links.

Our English Country Dance band has had some lovely interactions with groups of homeschoolers who have held dances with a historical perspective, or a Jane Austen flavor. Most places will have a caller/prompter. In larger dance communities, they will have a "Playford Ball" in which people will have memorised the dances in advance and the only calling will be naming the next dance - you're then expected to know it.

The wholesomeness you noted tends to be true of the whole folk dancing community. Here, Contradance is much more popular, In Chicago it's squares. You may see three generations of a family on the dance floor at once. Most dances are in venues like church halls, public and respectable places. Being part of the dance community has enriched my life beyond what a few words can say - go find out for yourself, please!

Joanne in Cleveland


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Old Vermin
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 07:05 PM

Which reminds me - some North American-based dances get announced in the Usenet newsgroup rec.folk-dancing


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Kent Davis
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 08:45 PM

Thanks, Old Vermin, for identifying that instrument. The wooden housing on that keyboard had me stumped.

Desert Dancer is correct, we are in Southeast Ohio.   

Thanks for all the links. My family and I are looking forward to exploring them.

Kent


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Banjo-Flower
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 10:02 AM

Thanks again Old Vermin I finally remembered the title its called
"The Recovery" a cracking tune

Gerry


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: GUEST,Hi
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 03:07 PM

I decided I didn't need a full size piano to accompany folk melody instruments and I was fed up carrying them around so I had a friend (banjo player Tim Normanton) cut the top end off. I wasn't expecting it to come back in hardwood, and with brass handles, but it looked quite folky, and sounded fine.

Sadly, after twenty years of bashing it, the original has started clacking like a melodeon and I have a new piano based on a chainsawed Yamaha P-80. All part of the folk process.

G
x


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Kent Davis
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 09:34 PM

Welcome to Mudcat, Guest, Hi

You do a fine job with that mysterious-looking instrument. It does indeed look folky. I must admit to a certain disappointment that it wasn't something a bit more exotic, a rare English finger dulcimer or a Devonshire lap lyre or something, but I guess we must all take the folk process as it comes.

Kent


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Mo the caller
Date: 25 Sep 10 - 04:17 AM

English finger dulcimer
Maybe it is (from now).


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: GUEST,Nice
Date: 25 Sep 10 - 08:13 AM

I do have rare English fingers.

G


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Kent Davis
Date: 01 Jan 11 - 07:32 PM

Happy New Year!

Thanks again to all who provided the resources listed above. If the Lord wills, our family will host an English and Scottish Country Dance for a homeschool group this spring. The help you all have provided toward this goal is greatly appreciated.

Here's a short clip from a recent homeschool alumni ball in Erie, Pennsylvania. The original sound quality was poor, so my daughter replaced the original music with music from the soundtrack of "Pride and Prejudice", appropriate since this ball had a Regency theme. Many of the young women, and at least two of the young men, including one of the two in kilts, made the clothing they are wearing in the clip. There are some other clips (with the original music) on the same Youtube channel.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxPddasWxNw

Kent


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: open mike
Date: 01 Jan 11 - 11:22 PM

There is an country dancing group in the San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.bacds.org/
their web site differentiates between English and Contra dance styles

contra dancing is often called New England Contra Dance as some
of the figures and music are a bit different from old fashioned E.C.D.

there are some definitions on their links pages..
http://www.bacds.org/links/


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Kent Davis
Date: 02 Jan 11 - 02:41 PM

Here is a blue clicky for the site open mike mentions in the post above: http://www2.abcstuff.com/BACDS/styles.htm

Kent


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 02 Jan 11 - 05:50 PM

Some beginners find this useful:

folk dancing moves

I would recommend it though - I wrote it!

The Committee band video linked above was the IVFDF at Exeter University in Feb 2009 - not a typical event at all because almost everyone there was young - and highly competent.

There are lots of videos available on youtube of Sidmouth FolkWeek - mainly thrash around ceilidhs rather than the gentle Playford style of traditional dance.

You can look up IVFDF on Google - ideal for youngsters visiting the UK!


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 04:47 PM

CDSS has published a new booklet + CD: 21 Easy English Country Dances.

From their description:

21 Easy English Country Dances: Booklet with CD

Simple music; simple dances. Simply wonderful.

This booklet and CD are designed for people who have seen English country dancing (perhaps in a popular Jane Austen movie) and are intrigued by the elegance of the dance and the beauty of the music and want to try it out for themselves. The recording showcases the best of the CDS recording series, highlighting the playing of Phil Merrill, Marshall Barron, Chuck Ward, and others, for the first time on CD. The booklet gives you 21 historical English dances, easy to teach and to dance, with good music. We've included information about dance formations, the music and character of English dancing, and a glossary of the major figures and steps used. You don't need to wait any longer – buy this booklet/CD set and start dancing!

Dances include: Black Nag, Childgrove, Christchurch Bells, Draper's Maggot, The Duke of Kent's Waltz, Epping Forest, The Fine Companion, Gathering Peascods, The Geud Man of Ballangigh, Heartsease, Hit anad Miss, The Hole in the Wall, Indian Queen, Juice of Barley, Knole Park, The Queen's Jig, Rufty Tufty, Sellingers Round, A Trpi to Paris, Upon a Summers Day and Zephyrs and Flora

$20.00

Looks like a winner!

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Mo the caller
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 09:43 AM

Good to have a book that fits with a recording if you are beginning to teach/call dances.
I have encouraged all the new callers in our club to start their libraries with Hugh Stewart's book The Country Dance Club Book which is has chapters about the different kinds of dancing you might do in an English club (in England), and the instructions for lots of dances, most of which I recognise as frequently danced now. They are classified into Contra / Ceillidh / Playford etc. and (I think) by difficulty. A good basic if you haven't already got a big collection. I've gone through our clubs tape collection to match the dances to our tunes.


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Subject: RE: English Country Dance Resources
From: Kent Davis
Date: 21 May 11 - 04:54 PM

I hope you enjoy this video of ECD (and Scottish Country Dance). The ball took place last week in Northwestern Ohio. The participants are homeschool alumni and their families.
http://www.youtube.com/user/LittleLoverOfMusic16

Kent


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