Playford image from Library of Congress, with link to LOCThe Dance Niche
With Emphasis on English Country Dance

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Cover from "How to Dance," LOC colletion

Info on English Country Dance — scroll for more (contra, resources — links for music / videos / instructions)

Ann Arbor Council for Traditional Music and Dance (AACTMAD, Michigan) offers English country dancing as well as contra, swing and fusion ("A kaleidoscopic of dancing across a broad spectrum of styles . . . old favorites . . . and new. 'It's like dim sum for your feet!'") AACTMAD offers one of the few remaining Dawn Dances — dance 'till dawn. Also has links to dances in northwestern Ohio.

English country dance in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Country Dance Society, Boston Centre, sponsors dances, dance camps, and produces publications and recordings. Notable is their series, The English Country Dance Collection, which endeavors to make available recordings of English country dance music which can be used for dancing — they are recorded at dance tempo. The series, recorded on CDs, features Bare Necessities; fifteen CDs were available in May, 2015. Booklets of instructions for dances are available to accompany a few of the CDs. The Boston Centre also posts a calendar of English country dances in Massachusetts on the CDS-Boston Centre web site.

Cecil Sharp House, home of London's English Folk Dance and Song Society. See also more on Southwestern England under Wiltshire, below.

Central Illinois English Country Dancers.

In Delaware, the Dover English Country Dancers meet on the second Saturday of most months. Dress is casual except at balls when eighteenth century attire is worn. The group also sponsors occasional square and contra dances.

Durham, North Carolina's Sun Assembly English Country Dancers meet on 2nd and 4th Thursdays and sponsor an English Dance Fest in March.

Florida — Snow Birds and others may want to track-down ECD in Florida. Dance Web Florida has a comprehensive listing of English country dances around the state, including ECD in Gainesville where the "Gods" dance on Monday nights.

Germantown Country Dancers — ECD near Philadelphia.

New York City Area:

Chatham, New York, located near the Hudson River between NYC and Albany, is the location of the Columbia County Dance Series.  Callers from the New York and New England areas are featured during their dance season which typically runs from May through October.

New Jersey — south and north:

"Northern" Virginia English Country:

Canada / Overseas

Page from "How to Dance," LOC colletion

American Country Dances On Line: look-up a dance and review the calls.

Ball Room Blum: April and Jerry Blum have a marvelous ball room as part of their home in Adelphi Maryland. Watch their Facebook page for events. April serves as the president of the Folklore Society of Greater Washington (FSGW, as of 2014); both April and Jerry are devoted dancers and selflessly serve our folk community.

Find places to dance:

In addition to links provided elsewhere on this page, compilations are sometimes helpful to dancers looking for a place to kick-up their heels.

Tips on dancing with beginning contra dancer, compiled by Jonathan Sivier, are also worthy of the ECDer's attention.

What is contra dance? Gary Shapiro explains. Bob Stein's lists dances by location — by state as well as in Canada and other locales.

Reproductions of Dance Manuals, circa 17th to early 20th century.

David Smukler's Cracking Chestnuts — originally appeared as a series of columns on dance in the CDSS Newsletter. David re-published the material with David Millstone as a book, Cracking Chestnuts: The Living Tradition of American Contra Dances. Includes 17 classic New England contras, with tunes, the original articles from the CDSS Newsletter, and additional material. An appendix contains 20 additional dances and essays on calling and related material. Available in 2011 in the CDSS Bookstore for $20.

Bare Necessities: a premier English country dance band has produced several CDs, both for listening and dancing.  They have undertaken a significant project, in cooperation with Boston Centere: recording a set of CDs being produced expressly for dancing, a valuable source for those who do not have the luxury of local musicians versed in ECD music (see discussion, above).

Benefits of dance recognized for years. Laws of Etiquette in 1836.

Enjoy weekend and week-long dance get-a-ways at a dance camp. Try events sponsored by the Country Dance and Song Society CDSS and other organizations at Pinewoods and other camps. Almost Heaven weekends are conducted on Memorial Day each year and include contra and swing dancing. Other excellent venues for dance and music camps include the Swannanoa Gathering in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina and Augusta Heritage Center, Davis and Elkins College, Elkins, W.Va. In the mid-west, the Bloomington Old-Time Music and Dance Group sponsors Sugar Hill, camping and dancing at Lake Monroe — near Bloomington, Indiana. Established just a few years ago, the River Rendezvous weekend, in July, is held in a restored dance hall (with A.C.) in the rolling hills of eastern Ohio near Coshocton (convenient to I-70). In the Southwest, check-out Dance in the Desert near Tucson.

Czech Republic Dance Tour. Read about a Dance Tour of the Czech Republic in an article written for the CDSS Newsletter PDF (164 kB; this article orignially appeared in the CDSS Newsletter, Fall, 2011). The tour was conducted in October, 2010; it has been repeated bi-yearly with a tour scheduled for 2014. Both tours were led by American dance teacher David Millstone and Czech organizer, Jan Pumpr, of Dvorana Dance, Prague, CZ.

Hawaiian treasure trove: Contra Dancers of Hawaii sponsor contra dances and their Home Page includes links to other venues in Hawaii as well as a collection of contra dances, e.g., such chestnuts as Money Musk and Rory O'More, with midi files of the music that goes with the dances.

Under the rubric of 'mixed links,' even hamsters dance!

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Folk Groups and Societies, Other forms of dance, etc.


Folklore Society of Greater Washington.

Annapolis Traditional Dance Society.

Arden Folk Dance Gild, Arden, Delaware — between Wilmington and Philadelphia

Baltimore Folk Music Society — song and dance, including ECD on Monday evenings. Dances are usually held at St. Mark's-on-the-Hill, 1620 Reisterstown Road.

Bellingham (WA) Country Dance Society holds contra dances on first Fridays and third Saturdays of each month with some fifth Saturday dances.



Country Dance and Song Society: a society of societies and individuals. The CDSS web site includes links to folk groups (CDSS affiliates), listed by state, a calendar of events (national in scope), and interesting articles from previous editions of their Newsletter.

England: The Chippenham Folk Festival is sponsored by the Chippenham Folk Festival Association. The Festival is on the river Avon in rural Wiltshire. Look for more under Wiltshire, above.

Florida: Dance Web Florida provides state-wide listings of current events for contra dancers as well as for Ceilis, Scandi, International, and Scottish dancing.

Frederick, MD Contra Dances: Mid-Maryland Folk Arts Council

Friday Night Dancers: contra dances every Friday night at Glen Echo Park's Spanish Ballroom, Glen Echo, Maryland.

Illinois has the Urbana Country Dancers which sponsors contra dances and other events, year-round.

Lewisburg, PA.  Countryside Contra Dancers — they are about 60 mi north of Harrisburg (link updated 3/7/09 — hope it works for you).

Lloyd Shaw Foundation: dedicated to the preservation, restoration and teaching of the folk dances of America, the Foundation sponsors dance camps, at several locations in the U.S., featuring varied styles of folk dance. It supports the folk community by custom-cutting folk dance CD's, selling teaching kits for teacher's elementary as well as recreational dancing, and provides seed money for new dance events.

NEFFA, the New England Folk Festival Association, has a multitude of activities, not the least of which is the annal the NEFFA Festival, also known as the New England Folk Festival.

New Hampshire / Maine — The New Hampshire Old-Time Country Dance group hosts the annual Star Hampshire Music & Dance weekend off the coast of New Hampshire at the Star Island Retreat and Conference Center


Philadelphia: Opportunities for enjoyment of folk dancing and music abound in the Philadelphia / Delaware Valley area: The Folk Dance Council of the Delaware Valley lists a wealth of opportunities in the Seven Day Guide to Folk, Swing and Traditional Dancing In and Around Philadelphia.

North Carolina is a hot bed of contra (and other forms of) folk dance. In the Chapel Hill area, the Triangle Country Dancers" meet on Fridays to dance contras. Asheville and environs is a well-known dance mecca in the Smokey Mountains. Find dances in the Asheville region at the Old Farmer's Ball: see links in the side bar on their restructured home page. People (dancers and musicians alike) rave about contra dances, hosted by Harvest Moon Folk Society, at the River Falls lodge. Just across the border, south of Asheville, the "lodge" is a funky, old building "renovated" by local volunteers.

Princeton Country Dancers — Contra and occasional ECD.

Shepherd's Town, W. Va.: Shepherdstown Music & Dance

Swarthmore College Folk Dance Club: ECD, Contras, Scottish, &c.



West Virginia

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Dance Instruction and Other Resources

Dance graphics from Library of Congress

On-line copies of  Dance Instruction Manuals — ca. 1490 to 1920. This remarkable collection has been updated to include over 220 manuals with reproductions from the originals plus transcribed full-text versions.

Digital Collection of Dance Music  |   Other collections.

Cecil Sharp Diaries.

Sponsored by the Country Dance and Song Society, the diaries from America by Cecil Sharp are on-line at the efdss (English Folk Dance and Song Society). Cecil Sharp travelled and lectured on folk music in Americia and is well known for his collections of folk music from in Appalachia. Read more about background on the digitization of the collection, dedicated to the memory and contributions of John M. ("Jack") Langstaff, and underwritten by The Ithaka Foundation, The Langstaff family and William L. Ritchie.

Michael Barraclough's Resources

Michael Barraclough, caller of English Ceilidh, English country, and contra dance forms, has put together useful resources which include,

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