Pride and Prejudice
Jack's Maggot @ Lennox Assembly
Geud Man of Ballingigh in Princeton
George Marshall: Intro to contra
English Country Dancing (in our village)
Partners and Patterns
- All English Country Dancing is done with a partner. We follow the custom of changing partners between each
- So, even if you attend by yourself, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to dance throughout the evening.
- It is perfectly acceptable for women to ask men to dance, or for two
people of the same gender to dance together.
- It is a matter of courtesy not to
accept a request to dance after you have refused someone else.
- Beginners will do better partnered with an experienced dancer.
- Most experienced dancers will be flattered to be asked to dance by beginners.*
- When you have found a partner, always join in the set at the bottom of the line.
- Enjoy yourself, bow to your partner when the music stops, and thank him/her for the lovely dance.
- Each dance has its own music and patterns, but almost always
you will progress along the line of dance either toward the music
or away from it.
- When you reach the top of the line (the end of the hall where the
musicians are located) or the bottom, you will wait out one round (sometimes two) of the dance
and then begin to progress in the opposite direction from the one
you had before.
- During the dance, you'll dance with your partner,
and also with all the other dancers as you move through the
patterns of the dance.
- Eye contact is characteristic of English Country Dance.
Callers and Cues
- The caller generally teaches the dance, step by step, while the dancers walk it a
couple of times through with the music.
- Listen carefully and quietly to the caller's
instructions, even if you already know the dance.
- Ask questions before the dance begins if there is something you don't
- Once the dance begins, the caller leads the dancers through the required movements
by announcing each new move just a fraction of a beat before it
must be performed.
- Cues can also come from other dancers' hands and arms.
- When we turn another dancer with one or both hands we use enough mutual
resistance to achieve a balanced tension ("giving weight"), so that the timing and
direction of the turn is satisfying.
- Experienced dancers will also give you cues
by their body language, so it is important to keep looking at your
fellow dancers, especially your partner.
- Those helping should never grab, push, or pull other dancers in the set. Hold out the
appropriate hand, use eye contact, or just use a gesture or a quiet word to help others out.
Tunes, Timing, Relaxing and Returning
- Beautiful and varied music is one of the greatest pleasures
of English Country Dance. Some fast, some slow, some romantic,
others rollicking, the tunes help the dancers keep pace with the
music. We match our steps to the beat of the music. If we fall
behind, we don't try to catch up, but seek to begin the next movement in
time with the music and the other dancers. Often callers will point out "recovery"
positions especially when a dance is challenging.
All of us were beginners once and everyone (beginner or not) makes a
mistake now and then. Don't panic or apologize - just relax, smile and try to get to the
right spot with your partner for the next figure.
- You can expect a dozen dances or so in an evening with a break for refreshments and socializing midway
and a waltz both just before the break and at the end of the dance.
- Come again. (Your second dance evening at LCD is free?. Each time you return you'll become more
familiar with the dances -- and we will look forward to seeing
Last updated on 9/3/2012.