BackA History of Country Dancing, with an emphasis on the steps

Anne Daye


A complete history of the country dance has yet to be written, and would form a major challenge.  Here you will find an overview of the country dance from the 16th to 19th centuries, as a framework for discussion of the changing steps with which it was danced.

The term 'country dance' is first recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary in the play Misogonus Act 2 scene iv, printed in 1577.  This implies that the genre was well known at the time; if the play was written in 1560, then we can assume that the country dance was a well-established genre by the middle of the sixteenth century.  The English measures also date from approximately the middle of the sixteenth century, recorded in manuscripts relating to elite social dancing.

The English measures are a group of couple dances developed from the pavan and almain of France; a number of manuscripts have survived recording them, showing that there was a group of the same dances repeated across time from c. 1560 — c. 1680.  Several of the manuscripts were written by members of the Inns of Court (the centres for legal training and professional practice — as today), so they are also known as the Inns of Court measures.  Measures were also danced in court balls, and in both locations they were danced at the beginning of a ball, thus forming communal 'warm-up' dances, before the main event of solo couple virtuosic dances such as the galliard.

The country dance and the measures originate in England, and, alongside the hornpipe, the jig and morris dancing are the vernacular dance genres of early modern Britain.  Although the country dance is often called a 'folk' dance, it belonged to all levels of English society, not just people dwelling in the country or the lower orders, so the term 'vernacular' is a more inclusive label and identifies it more broadly with the particular country and nation.  What did 'country' mean here?  I suggest it meant 'national' dance, and referred to the whole country, not just the part outside towns.  An equivalent would be 'court and country', for example, when the king was in contention with the nation leading to the Civil War in 1640.  However, the 'country' dance was and is frequently assumed to belong to rural life rather than that of the court, city or town, an interpretation made throughout its history.  It may have originated outside the court and city, but was central to fashionable dancing for most of its history.  In the 21st century, the importance of the country dance as a significant cultural element in English history is undervalued, and I hope that this short article will make plain its unique, native features.

Our first notion of country dancing comes from The English Dancing Master published by John Playford in 1651.  He presents us with a variety of dances, in circles, squares and columns; set dances for four, six, and eight couples; longways and round dances for 'as many as will'; dances with complex figures, simple and repetitive sequences and dance-games; some known from earlier citations as dances (The Shaking of the Sheets), some as melodies only; to a variety of tunes, mostly of English origin, but including tunes of Scottish, Irish and continental origin.  They are all social dances, for men and women in pairs interacting with the other couples.  The equivalent in France at the time, of a communal, sociable, vernacular dance form (rather than the European-wide court culture of solo couple dancing, such as the galliard), was the branle, executed in a simple line, each dancer or couple maintaining the same placement within the group, danced with a short repeated step sequence.  In contrast, the country dance figures required a sophisticated spatial awareness and more complex interaction amongst the dancers, as they change places in the dancing group.  The variety of forms of the mid-seventeenth century country dance were also more sophisticated than the variations of the branle.

Playford's successful publishing venture of a small, modestly-priced book of tunes with brief dance instructions beneath initiated three centuries, or more, of country dance publications in the same format.  Through them, we get an idea of the development of the genre.  However, the economical presentation gave the briefest information on the steps to be used.  The publishers could rely on their clientele knowing the steps of the time, and also there was a certain freedom and individuality in the dancers' choice of steps.

Historical Overview   Top of page


I propose that the country dance evolved from the communal dances by a line of people.  These still exist in local practice all over Europe, such as the carole (sung and danced), cousin to the kolo of Yugoslavia, hora of Rumania, horo of Bulgaria, the khorovod of Russia and la danza grande of Northern Spain.  With a repetitive step pattern, the line travels onward guided by a leader, passing through the streets of the town, forming circles, spirals and weaving patterns in open places.  Such a line can easily form into pairs to make further interactive patterns down the line.

Two good examples of this genre in an elite setting are La Chiaranzana (described by Fabritio Caroso, dancing master of Rome, in Il Ballarino published 1581) and La Catena d'Amore (described by Cesare Negri, dancing master of Milan, in Le Gratie d'Amore published 1602).  A popular dance for weddings, as many couples as wish form a column.  Then the leading couple move down the column and up again several times making circles, arches and turns with each couple they meet, progressing on to the next.  After this, they turn the column into a single file, and lead the company into and out of a spiral or snail formation; they start a hay or chain from the top, all joining in as the leading couple reach them.  Other figures include casting, threading the needle and, with hands held going under or over another pair ('duck and dive').  The lengthy dance finishes with a going-out figure, in which the ladies are returned to their seats.  Throughout the entire dance, a step sequence is maintained fitting the phrases of the music.

In England and Ireland such dances were known as 'Long Dances'.  Playford 1651 includes vestiges of such forms in Sedany or Dargason (hay figure), The Slip (going-out figure) and Half Hannikin (meeting every dancer).  Note that Step Stately is called 'a long Dance' for up to nine couples.  Both The Countrey Coll and The London Gentlewoman are further examples of the Long Dance, in which the changes are danced with every couple.  The circle dances for as many as will were a version of this genre too, such as Pepper's Black.  We still have a Long Dance in the Helston Furry Dance, taken through the streets in a column of couples, the simple figure performed in pairs of couples.

By the mid-seventeenth century, this fundamental genre had been elaborated into more complex figuring while dances for four, six and eight were added to the communal forms for as many as will.  This process was unique to England, and parallels the development of the English measures from the international court forms of pavan, almain and courante.  Evidence of the performance of the measures (dignified dances by couples in a column, not exchanging places) come from manuscript sources, with connections to the Inns of Court (Wilson 1987; Payne 2003).  However, there are indications in other sources, such as contemporary plays, that these measures could include figures allowing couples to change places in the column; however, no choreographic information has survived.  The English interest in figuring is therefore found for both the courtly measures and the general country dance (and arguably, for the morris dance of this era too).  Details of the process of development are lost to history, but probably arose from a synthesis of invention by dancing masters, musicians and the people of every level of society.  Exchange of ideas may have followed the royal and aristocratic seasonal journeys from London, the centre of power and international exchange, to the country house estates north, south, east and west, where aristocratic and gentry families lived in close communication with the lower orders.

Elizabethan Country Dance

Records of the time show that the country dance was current by the late sixteenth century, when 'old and new' country dances were enjoyed at court.  We have no specific evidence for what was understood by 'old and new' at that time, but the lengthier long and round dances, also danced in open spaces, may have been the 'old' form, as Margaret Dean-Smith proposed in the modern edition of The English Dancing Master (1957, 35).

Queen Elizabeth enjoyed seeing country dancing on her progresses; a telling account of her visit to Cowdray in August 1591 shows the social range of the vernacular dance: 'In the evening the countrie people presented themselves to hir Majestie in a plesaunt daunce, with taber and pipe, and the Lords Montague and his Lady among them, to the great pleasure of all the beholders, and gentle applause of hir Majestie' (Nichols 3, p.95).  The dance is not specifically named as a country dance, so strictly speaking this anecdote only supports the mingling of nobles and the lower orders in a dance.  It's also worth noting that Shakespeare never used the term 'country dance' in a play; the nymphs and reapers of The Tempest entered in 'country footing'.  Nevertheless, the enjoyment of country dancing as a recreation by the Queen and her court is plain.  Earl of Worcester to Sir Robert Sidney 1602: 'we are Frolyke heare in cowrte: mutch dauncing of contrey dawnces before the QM [Queen's Majesty] Whoe is exceedingly pleased therwith' (Nichols 3, p.  40).

No country dance choreographies prior to 1651 have survived.  We select what we judge to be an older form or having a tune recorded as circulating in the latter half of the sixteenth century or an association with those times as representing the country dances of Elizabethan England.  A few are recorded as dances (not just tunes): The Shaking of the Sheets for example.

Thomas Morley in A Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke (1597) states that country dance music is in the courante or compound duple measure.  This is a dance metre associated with France (according to the Italian masters) and the courante step is described by Arbeau 1589, as well as Caroso and Santucci.  Two thirds of the dances in Playford 1651 are in this metre; the majority of the remainder are in duple metre.  Upon a Summer's Day is a good example of the lilting and attractive courante metre.  Today, musicians have the habit of referring to the compound duple tunes as being in jig time: there are only a few true jigs in Playford 1651: Skellemafago, Millisons Jig (second strain) and Kemps Jig have the driving relentless quality of the excitable jig.

The Country Dance of the Early Stuarts & The Commonwealth

Court records indicate that the country dance did not feature at court after 1603 until the 1620s, while other records show its continuance elsewhere.  As James I came from Scotland and his wife from Denmark, it is likely that they had little knowledge of the vernacular dance of England.  However, my research into the masque reveals that in 1619, steered by George Villiers the Marquis of Buckingham, the country dance was used as a marker of English culture in diplomacy with the French.  After that, it became a regular conclusion to court balls, following the measures and the solo couple dances of galliards, lavoltas and courantes.  The dance had, therefore, moved from the private arena of Queen Elizabeth's recreation to the more public one of the masque (court dance theatre) and an audience including ambassadors from other countries.

The Civil War brought an end to court dancing, but not to dancing in other social milieus, as it was a fundamental aspect of social intercourse.  Contrary to many assertions, Puritans did not ban dancing, only expressing disapproval of 'promiscuous' dancing, in other words unregulated and sexually-charged activity.  However, the times were disturbed, and the notion of the identity of the country, as opposed to the monarch, was in question.  As Keith Whitlock proposed in 1999, it may be that John Playford had a loyalist agenda to the king and non-Republican government in publishing his particular choice of dances in 1651.

The English Dancing Master  published by John Playford 1651

Playford claims to have rushed the book to press under pressure from a rival 'false and surrepticious copy'.  His publication should be placed in the context of extant manuscripts concerning a similar repertoire: BL Add MS.  41996; BL Sloane MS 3858; BL Lansdowne 1115, all in the British Library, and MS Eng 1356, known as the Lovelace manuscript, in the Houghton Library of Harvard University.

Renaissance stepping

Single and double steps were the foundation of dancing c. 1550 — c. 1650.  The evidence is clear and consistent in Italian (Caroso, Negri, Santucci) and French (Arbeau) sources, for dances known in England.  A double step is a measured step, in that three paces are performed within two bars, with a marked finish (such as closing the feet or ending with a foot in the air).  Playford's curt instructions indicate the same step: 'foure steps forward or back, closing both feet'.  It can be danced to duple or compound duple metres, but not to triple metres.  In Playford 1651, the dance instructions are laid out beneath the music, providing a good guide to the match between double step and tune, demonstrating a consistent match of tune heard and step executed: a cadence.  The courante step would go with compound duple metre and a hopped double with duple metre.

Playford also dedicated the publication to 'The Gentlemen of the Innes of Court, whose sweet and ayry Activity has crowned their Grand Solemnities with Admiration to all Spectators.' The country dance was associated with lively energetic dancing in many sources.  Indeed, the one step named in The Maurice Dance of BL Add MS 41996 (for couples of men and women) is a caper — a high jump passing the feet several times while in the air.  The gentlemen of the Inns came from an upper level of society, ranging from aristocratic families to small gentry, but were famed for their dancing ability, being well-placed to take lessons with London dancing masters.

The Country Dance of the Later Stuarts

The Civil War and the Commonwealth caused a hiatus in English social life, particularly following the departure of royalty and many aristocratic and gentry families for France and the Continent.  A new energy came with the Restoration of Charles II to the throne in 1660.

Samuel Pepys went to Whitehall on New Year's Eve 1662, where he saw the King dancing:

After seating themselves, the King takes out the Duchess of York; and the Duke, the Duchess of Buckingham; the Duke of Monmouth, my Lady Castlemaine; and so other lords other ladies; and they danced the Bransle.  After that, the King led a lady a single Coranto; and then the rest of the lords, one after another, other ladies; very noble it was, and great pleasure to see.  Then to the country dances; the King leading the first, which he called for; which was, says he, 'Cuckolds all awry' the old dance of England'.

Thus the King and his brother adopted French practice in the branle and courante, alongside the English vernacular country dance: a canny mix of foreign fashion and national practice.  Across the next three decades in England, a transition in social and theatre dance was made from the 'Renaissance' system of dancing (pavans, almains, galliards) to the 'Baroque' or 'French' system, known also as 'La Belle Dance' (bourées, minuets, rigaudons) with some dances keeping the same name but changing significantly in character, such as the courante.  The country dance proved a flexible choreographic formula that could absorb a major change in stepping practice.  Through the continuing editions of Playford's book, now called The Dancing Master, we can trace the shift from the Renaissance system to the Baroque in England.  It is corroborated by the manuscript records of the measures (known as the Inns of Court measures), which indicate the longevity of the Renaissance system from mid-sixteenth century to post-Restoration.

See Appendix below for further information on this important change.

French stepping

The foundation step by 1700 was the pas de bourée, also known as the fleuret.  It comprises three paces, but is completed within one bar.  Tomlinson in The Art of Dancing and Three Dances 1735 says they 'consist of three plain, straight Steps, but a Movement is added to the first of them.' Rameau in Le Mâitre à Danser 1725 calls this 'un pas coulant' — a flowing step.  As this is danced one fleuret to a bar, the relationship with the musical phrase loosens.  It also leads to the use of the fleuret for all dance metres, including triple metres, whereas the Renaissance double step only works with duple or compound duple metres.

Country dances in distinct French dance metres appear alongside dances to English tunes: bourée, minuet, rigaudon, courante.  Also, for the first time, dances in the British metres of hornpipe and slip-jig appear, so the new French steps allow for country dances set to British vernacular tunes.  Additionally, we have evidence of jig steps from dancing masters, that suit country dance figures.

The Georgian Country Dance

The first half of the eighteenth century was the heyday of the longways country dance for as many as will, as good footwork was combined with intricate and challenging figures in a dance genre enjoyed by the highest and lowest of the nation.  Tomlinson includes a chapter on the country dance, saying 'it is become as it were the Darling or favourite Diversion of all Ranks of People from the Court to the Cottage in their different Manners of Dancing'.  The country dance was the staple of the court ball, family parties and the assembly rooms, following in the programme after the high demands of solo couples executing the French dances (in elite circles) and the minuets in assemblies.  French steps continued to be used, and some dances specifically mention steps such as the rigaudon step.  Footing was also called for, typically when setting in place to a partner.  Footing steps are described by Francis Peacock inSketches Relative 1806.  Footing steps or pas anglois were recorded by German masters Lang 1762 and Petersen 1768 (see Minuet to Mazurka 1745 — 1845).  Based on the back skip with variants, footing steps are arguably a native vocabulary of steps in Britain and the foundation for elaboration into complex steps for Scottish, Irish and English step-dancing.  For example, the Irish basic sequence called 'seven and two threes' is a double footing step followed by two single footings.  Now lost to the record, there would also have been a range of hornpipe steps for 3/2 hornpipe tunes and jig or slip-jig steps for 6/8 and 9/8 tunes.

The Regency and Victorian Country Dance

After the 1760s, the country dance underwent another significant change.  The longways form became simpler and less inventive in figuring.  The head couple could devise a sequence of figures just before starting to dance.  Publishers sold music on the back of dances, with very brief instructions at the bottom of a tune.  Popular tunes were issued by different publishers, each adding a different set of figures.

The stepping conventions began to shift too, but the development is more difficult to analyse than that of the 1680s.  There is very little information on stepping in any dance manuals.  The Chassé, now like a forward travelling skip-change, began to replace the pas de bourée/fleuret, and skipping was probably a common move.  Hornpipe steps were used in the common-time hornpipe, and Irish steps were needed for 9/8 tunes (now often called 'Irish jigs').

'Traditional' Country Dances

The shifting relationship between dance figures and tunes in the nineteenth century followed fashion and the whim of the dancer.  However, a constant association between some dances and a tune became popular in certain localities, so that across time the dances were considered so longstanding as to form a traditional practice.  A good example of this is The Triumph, first published in 1790 and still popular today.  Walker 2001 traces the various forms of a dance that is considered 'traditional'.  The figures are those of the late eighteenth century ballroom, and the characteristic figure of bringing the lady up 'in triumph' between two men is an allemande hold for the figure of 'Les Graces' (like the three graces) borrowed from the cotillon.  An insight into the nature of local traditional country dances can be found in Papworth 1984 who discusses the Cambridgeshire Feast Dances enjoyed in pubs up to the Second World War.  The figures come from the Regency and Victorian ballroom, including a progression made by the first and second couples 'dancing around one and a half times', in other words the turning poussette of the cotillon and country dance of the early nineteenth century.  The Cambridgeshire polka was the main step.

The traditional repertoire also includes dances in square formation from the quadrilles and some couple round dances such as the schottische.  This mix of out-of-date nineteenth century fashionable repertoire is also found in the Barn Dance scene and Ceilidh practice.

Near-extinction and revival in the early twentieth century

In England, dancers were avid for the latest foreign fashion, so that ball programmes were shaped by French and Continental dances up to 1900 and then by American dances afterwards.  Country dancing slipped down the agenda, becoming an old-fashioned romp at the end of the evening, and eventually disappearing off the programme.  Around 1900, dancers became tired of the strictures of dancing masters in turn-out, pointed toes and regulated footwork: a revolution brought in natural foot placement, simple stepping and more abandoned energy, as in Ragtime dancing (see Buckland 2011).  Outside fashionable circles, country dancing continued with some dances becoming local favourites and a notion of 'traditional' dances developed.  This was the time when country dancing seemed to belong more to unsophisticated communities than smart fashionable groups.

In Scotland, meanwhile, dancers were happy to enjoy ball programmes with a mix of fashionable and Scottish country dancing.  Yet, to some it seemed that the 'traditional' dances of Scotland were under pressure.

The preservation of national folk dances, including the country dance, became the pursuit of individuals troubled by the degeneration of modern life, so that Cecil Sharp and others for England, Jean Milligan and others for Scotland and the Gaelic League for Ireland investigated, described and promoted their versions of 'folk' and country dancing.  Their investigations and realisations triggered new waves of country dance practice and soon, for England and Scotland, the devising of new dances with inspiration from America and other countries.  Meanwhile in Ireland, a fixed group of dances were established, labelled 'ceilidh dances', and linked closely to training young people in Irish step-dancing. Along the way, the publications of Playford were rediscovered and the rich repertoire of eighteenth century Scotland was explored.  As understanding of historical practice was not available before c. 1950, these sources were not fully understood.  Hence, 'Playford dancing' in the EFDSS tradition neglects the steps of the day for walking through the figures.  Scottish country dancing in the RSCDS tradition uses nineteenth century steps for eighteenth century dances, and consequently ignores those in 3/2 hornpipe or 9/8 slip-jig metres.

After the Second World War, EFDSS promoted country dancing as easy and accessible, a community dance, with no need for mastering special steps.  The notion that the English country dance was identified by its figuring alone, and lacked steps became a truism; sadly, on the back of this has come the notion that the casual and easy style of walking the dance reflects the English national character.  A very false stereotype!  Once upon a time, we were known as 'the dancing English'.

The Spread of the Country Dance beyond England   Top of page


The English country dance was first introduced to Scotland when James, Duke of York (later James II) was sent by King Charles to hold court at Holyrood.  For his second sojourn in 1681, his daughter Princess Anne (later Queen Anne, and a talented dancer) enjoyed country dancing when confined indoors.  The first known Scottish country dance is John Anderson my jo  with choreography and tune found in a manuscript of 1704, yet the dance itself is in the style of the 1680s.  Between 1704 and 1749 the development of a Scottish genre of country dance can be traced through manuscript sources, while Walsh published his first book of Caledonian dances in 1733 in London: an indication of interest in a new genre.  The Scottish country dance is characterised by the use of Scottish tunes, including tunes in common reel, hornpipe and 9/8 jig and strathspey reel, and avoids the French minuet, bourée and rigaudon; further characteristics being the inclusion of the dance figure of the reel and titles referring to Scottish personalities and locations (see also Emerson 1972).

France and Europe

Around 1685, a French dancing master, André Lorin, travelled to England in the train of Le Comte d'Humières to collect examples of the country dance.  He claimed that interest in country dancing had been aroused by a visit to the French court from Mr Isaac, a leading London dancing master.  On his return, Lorin prepared two manuscripts recording his discoveries and as a gift to the king, now preserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale: Livre de Contredance presenté au Roy (BN Francais 1697) and Livre de la Contredance du Roy presenté a Sa Majesté (BN Francais 1698).  The first gives Lorin's own notation and music for sixteen country dances, both figures and stepping, with an explanation of how a country dance works.  Among the dances are several published by Playford, and new ones of his own invention.  The second manuscript, dated 1688, has a preface with fuller detail on the country dance as practised in England, followed by a series of plates using figures in gold and silver, music score, floor diagrams, words, notation, and clear links between the dance and the music for each four-bar stage of Les Cloches ou Le Carillon, dedicated to the King, in other words Christchurch Bells.

Rich with information, Lorin confirms that the English were the inventors of the country dance.  He recounts seeing country dancing at court in the informal balls, at assemblies in town, at dancing schools, at masquerade balls, at balls and comedies, in pleasure gardens and in the country.  He tells the king that people of quality devise country dances, as well as dancing masters, with well-founded figures.  However, to French taste, the stepping is eccentric and diverse, as each dancer does his own thing, for example one doing a jump or caper while his partner does a simple step.  So, Lorin has selected steps that are more suitable, and regulated according to French taste.  Each country dance in notation is presented so clearly that they can be danced today, and they indicate the kind of stepping used in England, although ordered here by a dancing master.  The steps are of the new vocabulary called today 'Baroque' or 'French' steps (modern edition Sutton & Tsachor 2008).

The French interest in English country dancing was further nurtured by Raoul-Auger Feuillet in Recueil de Contredances 1706 published in Paris, using an adaption of the Beauchamp/Feuillet notation to present 32 dances, some familiar from Playford's publications and some new.  An introduction provides a clear overview of how a country dance works.  He states that the steps which best suit country dances are the pas de gavotte, sideways chassés, pas de bourée and skips, and that each figure should be concluded by an assemblé on both feet; a minuet country dance should be done with minuet steps.  Further publications followed.

While it is clear that the French took up country dancing after 1688, knowledge of the English genre can be traced back to the 1620s, when Buckingham and his circle used the country dance as the English national dance.

The Country Dance goes International

The English country dance went to America with each wave of settlement, from the early seventeenth century onwards, mutating into local versions of the genre in multiple locations and every century.  From France, the country dance spread across Europe, leading to a diverse and rich development of the genre in many countries.  German, Danish, Italian and French masters used various notation systems to record dances.

British colonial rule took the English and Scottish country dance to all parts of the Empire, where naturally further mutations of the genre developed.

Conclusion   Top of page

The English genius for inventing figures went alongside skilful mastery of the steps of the day.  Good footwork helps shape the figures of each dance and also develops the intrinsic link between the music, the figure and the steps.  This was absolutely important in Renaissance times, when the double step, the figure and the music strain went together to provide a harmonious experience.  While this loosened with the profound change in stepping c. 1700, steps continued to enhance the dance.  A key to the need for neat stepping is when there seems to be too much music for a figure.  Stepping continued to be the mode of performing a country dance through the nineteenth century, when country dancing was viewed as excellent aerobic exercise.  Only when the genre became degenerate, overtaken by modern forms, did the steps disappear.

Appendix   Top of page

Tracing the Steps in Playford's Country Dances (c. 1650 — 1700)

The significant change in social dance stepping from the Renaissance style to the French or Baroque style can be traced through the country dances as published by Playford: one of the few documents for this period of change in Europe.  It is corroborated by the sequence of Inns of Court manuscripts from c. 1560 — c. 1672 which record the Renaissance system.

I discussed this transition at the DHDS/EFDSS Conference 2001 John Playford and the English Dancing Master in a paper 'Taking the Measure of Dance Steps 1650 — 1700, through the publications of John Playford', pp.  13 — 20.  The chart below is developed from that paper.  The discussion followed investigation of the copies of Playford 1651 — 1701 held by the British Library in conjunction with Barlow (1985).

SIGNS OF CHANGE 1650 — 1700
Evidence of 'Renaissance' system
1.  Use of the term 'double'Ceases from 1675
2.  Inns of Court mss.Last manuscript 1672
3.  Triple honours formula [USA]Old and new versions of this occur, but disappear after 1679
Evidence of transition
1.  New honours formula16651679
2.  New dances in longways for as many as will formation only1675
3.  Many 1651 dances cut1690-1698
Evidence of new style
1.  Dances in French metre1690-1701
2.  Lorin visit & mss.c. 1680
3.  Dances taken to France*1670 — 1690
4.  Hornpipes and slip-jigs1679
5.  Apollo's Banquet **1690
Conclusion:  Change is underway by 1680 and complete by 1700

*Dances described by Lorin c. 1688 & published by Feuillet 1706: their currency in Playford
** 'Tunes of French dances:performed at Court, and in Dancing-Schools'


Arbeau, T.  (1596)Orchesographie.  Lengres: de Preyz.  Facsimile reprint: Geneva, Minkoff 1972.
Barlow, J.  (1985)The Complete Country Dance Tunes from Playford's Dancing Master (1651 — ca.  1728).  London: Faber
Caroso, F.  (1581)Il Ballarino.  Venice: Ziletti.  Facsimile reprint: New York, Broude Bros.  1967
Buckland, T.  J.  (2011)Society Dancing: Fashionable Bodies in England, 1870 — 1920.  Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Daye, A.  (2001)Taking the Measure of Dance Steps 1650 — 1700, through the publications of John Playford in John Playford and The English Dancing Master, DHDS conference proceedings, pp.  13 — 20.
Emerson, G.S (1972)A Social History of Scottish Dance.  Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press
Feuillet, R-A.  (1706)Receuil des Contredances.  Paris: Feuillet.  Facsimile reprint:New York, Broude Bros.  1968
Mellor, H.  & Bridgewater, L.  (1933)John Playford's The English Dancing Master.  New York: Dance Horizons
Minuet to Mazurka 1745 — 1845.DHDS Summer School book 2001.
Morley, T.  A.  (1966)A Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke.  London: Short 1597.  Edited by Harman, r.  London: Dent 1966
Negri, C.  (1602)Le Gratie d'Amore.  Milan: Pontio & Piccaglia.  Facsimile reprint: Bologna, Forni 1969
Nichols, J.  (1823)The Progresses and Processions of Queen Elizabeth.  London 3 vols.
Papworth, C.  (1984)Polka Round: The Cambridgeshire Feast Dances and The Comberton Broom Dance.  Cambridge: Papworth, Crouch & Palmer
Peacock, F.  (1806)Sketches Relative to the History and Theory, but more especially to the Practice of Dancing.  Aberdeen
Playford, J.  (1651)The English Dancing Master.  London: Playford.  Facsimile reprint: Dean-Smith (ed.), London, Schott, 1957
Rameau, P.  (1725)Le Maître à Danser.  Paris: Villette.  Facsimile reprint: New York, Gregg 1970
Santucci, E.  (1614)Mastro da Ballo.  Facsimile and edition: Sparti, B.  (2004) Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag
Sutton, J.  & Tsachor, R.  P.  (2008)Dances for the Sun King: André Lorin's 'Livre de Contredance'.  Annapolis MD: The Colonial Music Institute
Tomlinson, K.  (1735)The Art of Dancing and Six Dances.  London: Tomlinson.  Facsimile reprint: New York, Gregg 1970
Walker, C.  (2001)'The Triumph' in England, Scotland and the United States in Heaney, M.  (ed.) Folk Music Journal, Vol.  8, 1
Whitlock, K.  (1999)John Playford's The English Dancing Master 1650/1 as Cultural Politics in Heaney, M.  (ed.) Folk Music Journal, vol.  7, 5
Wilson, D.  R.  (1987)Dancing in the Inns of Court.  Historical Dance, 1987, 2 (5), 3 — 16

© 2017  Anne Daye, Director of Education and Research for The Historical Dance Society

On Friday, June 28, 2019, Derek Shaw from Cottingham, East Yorks wrote:
A development not mentioned is the appearance of festivals. I think the first one was at Sidmouth. Then in 1963 Kathy Mitchell started one in Whitby (I know as I was there). Since then festivals have blossomed throughout England. 
On Wednesday, July 3, 2019, Colin Hume from Letchworth wrote:
Derek -

Thank you for your comment.  Yes I agree Festivals are part of the history, and indeed there are now many residential Dance Weekends.

Sidmouth is often credited with being the first Folk Festival, but in fact IVFDF (Intervarsity Folk Festival) started in 1951 (see the Wikipedia article) and Sidmouth started in 1955.