English Country Dance — Friday, November 9, 2012

Mid-Missouri Traditional Dancers are very pleased to offer our second dance in a series of English Country Dances, thanks in part to the City of Columbia Office of Cultural Affairs.

  • Friday night, November 9, 2012, at our usual time and place (First Christian Church, 7:00 to 10:30 pm).
  • Admission $7.00 ($4.00 for ages 16–25 or with student ID; free for children 15 and under)

If you have not tried this form of dance before, you are in for a treat! Jim Thaxter will be teaching the figures, many of which will be familiar to contra dancers or square dancers, although the names or the styling may differ. You’ll likely encounter circles and stars,  two-hand turns, figure eights, allemandes, and other familiar figures. But instead of a dosido, the caller will say, “back to back.” Instead of “forward and back,” you might hear “up a double.” Another difference you might notice is the wide variety of “heys” that are done in English Country Dance, including circular heys and heys for three. (For an idea of how some of these figures go, check out this animation of some common dance figures.)

Thom, Marcie, and Rebecca will play for the English Country Dance on November 9, 2012.

As always, we will be dancing to live music. Members of 32 Bartenders will be playing for the dance (Rebecca Logan on flute and whistle, Thom Howard on mandolin and guitar, and Marcie McGuire on keyboard).

One of the great joys of English dance is the wide range of musical styles represented in the broad repertoire. From Early music to bluesy contemporary compositions, elegant Classical excerpts to driving jigs and reels, musicians and dancers have the opportunity to experience a great diversity of moods and flavors. Unlike most contra dances, each English country dance is danced to a specific tune.

Despite what some people might say, English Country Dance is not inherently “slower” than contra dancing or square dancing.  In fact, some of the dances can get quite lively. True, there are few, if any, opportunities to swing in English Country Dance, which many contra dancers find disturbing, but there is plenty of interaction between partners and corners, and the dancing can be as joyful or as flirty or as elegant as the dancers desire.

Watch this medley of dances from the Germantown Country Dancers to get an idea of the variety of expressions you can expect from English Country Dance. And then join us this Friday night for an evening of dance and music.

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