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Contra and English Country Dancing Links

Articles About Contra Dance and What is English country dance? plus links on this page.

Contra and English country are members of a class of dances often called team or pattern dances
To participate in a team dance everyone must understand the same basic steps that are called or prompted. These pages cover the basic steps;
     Elements of English Country Dancing
     English Country Dance Terms
     Terms You Need to Know

The Washington, DC area has many dances held all year round and most with live music. The major Contra events are at the Spanish Ballroom, Glen Echo, MD, and major English country event is at the nearby Glen Echo Town Hall. Gadsbys Tavern in Alexandria, VA has been holding 3 or 4 balls a years and series of lesson in English country dancing. There are some smaller groups that hold dances irregularly and do not have web pages.
To find out about these events go to a dance at Glen Echo and pick up flyers.

Local Area Information - Washington, DC

FSWG Dances, Washington DC:
Folklore Society of Greater Washington schedules contra and English Country dances in Washington DC area.

The Baltimore Folk Music Society:
Sister Site to FSGW, co-sponsor or allow member admission for each other. Events include contra and Zydeco dances.

English Country Dance Every Wednesday, Glen Echo, MD
Dances are every Wednesday at Town Hall, in Glen Echo, MD. Other information at  dance niche.

Gadsby's Tavern Museum, Alexandria, VA
Four Balls are staged a year, most with specific themes. 18th century period clothing is not required, though a modern coat and tie minimum is suggested. Ball are preceded by classes in English Country dance.
134 North Royal Street, Alexandria, VA (703) 838 4242

CDSS 18th Century English Country Dancing, Herndon, VA
"Through the years, dancers from all over the area have delighted in Harding Hall's sprung wood floor (an ideal surface for English Country Dancing). Calling is provided by Barbara Harding, a long time dance teacher and enthusiast in the Washington area."
Dance 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of every month with live music. 7:45 - 10 PM    $3
Free dance on 4th Saturday with recorded music.
Harding Hall, 730 Jackson Street, Herndon, VA Phone 703 437-3615

Friday Night Contra Dance at Glen Echo Park, MD:
Contra dance every Friday, 8:30 to 11:30pm. Free beginner's class at 7:30pm. Sponsored by the Friday Night Dancers. Excellent web page with information of contra dance.

Annapolis Traditional Dance Society
Monthly contra dances are on the third Saturday of the month. Dances held at Fraternal Order of Police Hall, Crownville, MD.

The Colonial Dance Club of Richmond
The Colonial Dance Club of Richmond is dedicated to the promotion and preservation of English Country Dancing. Established in 1977, the club has been busy introducing young and old to English Country Dancing. Every Wednesday 7:30 p.m to 10:00 p.m Colonial attire not required. $1
Overbrook Presbyterian Church, 2605 Dumbarton Road, Richmond, VA

         National Information

English & American Country Dance in Western Europe, Round Dance, Country & Western Dance, has a sales division with all kinds of dance material (folkdance, Cajun, country dance, children dance, senior dance)

Dancing for Busy People:
Instructions for an array of dances, including contra dancing, square dancing and quadrilles. The site also has listings of national dance events and articles about dancing.

Country Dance and Song Society:
Celebrating a Living Tradition of English and Anglo-American Folk Dance and Music since 1915 The Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS) is an association of people and groups with a common interest in English and Anglo-American folk dance, music and song. Our members are recreational dancers, musicians, singers, teachers, callers, dance historians and people just having fun. The activities of our affiliated groups include dances, concerts, song gatherings, festivals and residential camps

         Instructional Information and Articles

The Dancing Master, 1651-1728: An Illustrated Compendium By Robert M. Keller
"For this publication every dance was reduced to a code enabling comparison with similar dances. The unique or “Ur” dances were identified and collected into a database where each dance’s printing history and other information is summarized and a facsimile of the dance and its music is included. The Index presents every item by title with links to the Ur Dance Index. The Title/Link takes the reader to a bibliography of the sources. Searches can be made on all text entries as well as on the dance coding to find instances of specific dance figures in juxtaposition with others."
1)Table of Contents (2)Title Page (3)Introduction (4)Browse Title Index (5)Browse Source Index (6)Search the Database (7)Acknowledgments(8)Data Collection (9)Bibliography (10)Sign the Guestbook (11)Order Database

Definitions of Elements of English Country Dance
Definitions of steps can also be of interest to contra and sqaure dancers.

English Country Dance Terms

English Country Dance Notes
This page is a collection of notes and comments by various dance caller/instructors about teaching English Country Dance to beginners.

Terms You Need to Know and Understand For English Country Dancing
Page from New York English Country Dance web site.

English Country Dance Archive
"The aim is to produce a resource of dances in what I interpret as being in the Ceilidh and Barn Dance style. The majority of the dances are ones I have used when calling for dances. Some of the dances originate outside England but I would suggest that has always been the case and the dances selected are ones which I believe fit well into the programme for an English barn dance or ceilidh"

The English Country Dance Mailing List:
ECD, with members from the US, Canada, Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, is a list for the discussion of all aspects, including the aesthetic and the social, of English Country Dance, historical, traditional, and contemporary. See articles about the dance, including definitions of basic terms.

ECD programs. Diagrams to help beginners learn basic figures and a few dances. They show the dynamic geometric postions of dancers in a set. These are seen by spectators and probably have great influence in defining the dance.

Contra dancers might be interested in trying the new computer program at contra game . The program runs on your browser and shows moving display of contra dancers position for patterns in longway set.

Some Books:
The Playford Ball - 103 Early English Coutry Dances, K,V. Keller and G. Shimmer, ISBN,0-917024-07-9 ,
English Country Dance Tunes, P.Barnes      Canis publisher

         Links from Viewers

English Country Dance in Washington, DC (Georgetown):  (202) 337-2288
English Country Dance in Washington, DC 

Blacksburg Historic Dance Society:  540 382-2056
English Country Dance
Meets 7pm most 2nd & 4th Wednesdays.
at Sapphire Ballroom 30 West Main Street, Christiansburg, VA 

New River Valley Historic Dance Society:  none posted
English Country Dance
Meets 7pm most 2nd & 4th Wednesdays.
at Sapphire Ballroom 30 West Main Street, Christiansburg, VA 

De Danann Irish Dance Shoes:     000 000 0000
fficial home of the De Danann brand of Irish dance shoes which brings you quality Irish dance shoes at affordable prices.  

Tapestry Historic Dance Ensemble:  contact info on website
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AADS (Anglo-American Dance Shop):  +32 9 3729635
We promote English & American Dances in Western Europe. We have a large sales division. 

Instant Dance Kit- Preparation~Organization~Performance:
Pre-loaded Dance Kits filled with the essentials in a compartmentalized bag for the easy grab and go! 

Glen Echo Park:
Social Dance and Dance Lessons 

Kiran Wagle National Web Page:
A collection of information about contra dancing on the World Wide Web, Usenet, and other parts of the net.

Charlie Seelig's Links:
Contra Dance / Contradance in the United States, Canada, and the World.

Old-Time Music and Dance:
In and around Chester County, Pennsylvania, USA

Princeton Country Dancers (PCD):
Each week, traditional dances of the United States and England (usually contra dances, occasionally English country dances) are taught, with live music provided by various bands. We also hold occasional 4th or 5th Saturday dances. Weekend dances usually run 8-11 pm. For more info call Carol at (609) 683-7956 or Steve at (609) 924-8813, or e-mail

The Philadelphia PLACES to DANCE flyer website:
Seven Day Guide to Folk, Swing and Traditional Dancing In and Around Philadelphia

The National Dance Grid :
Schedules of Contra dances and English country dances across the country.

Rensselaer English Country Dances :
Troy, NY

Festival and Dance Links:

Bill Tomczak's Pioneer Valley Contra and English Dance Page :

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