English Dance Leaders Course

Tentative Schedule

7:45-8:15 Hot Breakfast served cafeteria style
8:15-8:45 Cold Breakfast Coffee/Tea available
8:45-9:00 Vocal Warm-ups
11:30-12:25 Swimming, Bookstore staffed
12:30 Lunch
3:15-4:15 English Dance Leaders Course: Workshop
4:15-4:45 Tea
4:45-5:45 English Dance Leaders Course: Calling Practice
5:45-6:25 Swimming, Bookstore staffed
6:30 Dinner
8:00 Staff Concert
9:15 Evening Dance Party
11:00 Late Night Activities

July 21 - 28, 2012

Held during Harmony of Song & Dance at Pinewoods.

Is there still room?
For up-to-date info about availability and wait lists,
see our main Dance & Music Camps page.

Program Director

Program Description

This English Dance Leaders Course is an intensive workshop designed for intermediate to advanced teachers who are ready to get to the next level. The focus is on two important topics: teaching skills (understanding choreography and crafting a concise teaching vocabulary) and leadership (getting, and keeping, the dancers’ attention, often through non-verbal techniques, learning how to handle mistakes or unexpected situations and collaborating with musicians). The course will build skills in teaching methods, non-verbal communication, vocal technique, using rhythm and phrasing with your instructions, programming, working with musicians and more. There will be a workshop covering these topics plus an afternoon calling practice session (open to the full camp as dancers). A central part of the course will involve observation of other leadership techniques, including both song and dance leadership, with a discussion on how to borrow these techniques for your own calling. All this with positive critiques and a supportive atmosphere!

This program, held concurrently with Harmony of Song & Dance, is designed and led by Brad Foster. Brad has been calling country dances for 40 years and has pleased dancers all over the U.S. and in Europe with his clear teaching and enthusiastic presentation of a great variety of dances. One of Brad’s primary goals is sharing the joy of country dancing; this course will help you find ways to share that joy with your dancers.

The course includes two afternoon periods with Brad: one a workshop on leadership and the other a time to practice calling. Musicians Anna Patton and Karen Axelrod will play for one or both classes, schedule permitting. These afternoon sessions are designed to allow for plenty of opportunity for callers to practice new skills. Each caller will be encouraged to design a personal project/goal to accomplish by week's end. In addition, all students are expected to take the morning All Camp Choral and one of the Dance Classes in order to observe different leadership styles.

During the 1:30 period and evening, participants can choose from among the activities available at Harmony of Song & Dance.


All registrants will be expected to have copies of The Playford Ball, Notes on Teaching Country Dance, and the Barnes Books of English Country Dance Tunes for any dances you wish to teach; all are available from CDSS and at the camp bookstore.


This course is limited to 10 participants to ensure plenty of opportunity for active participation. If it is oversubscribed on March 19, there will be a lottery, with preference given to those who fit the criteria listed below. Please clearly indicate if you would like to attend Harmony of Song & Dance, if you did not get a space in the course. Scholarships are available.

Requirements for Registrants

In order to attend the course you must:

  • Be familiar with the AABB structure of contra dance music;
  • Know the difference between a jig, a reel and triple-time;
  • Know how to cue the first figure of the dance;
  • Know how and when to signal the band to go out;
  • Have called at least 2 evenings of English dancing in a real dance setting;
  • Have a repertoire of at least 3 dances you know and feel comfortable teaching and calling;
  • Attend English dances regularly so that you are familiar with the moves, the culture and the music;
  • Be prepared to receive and incorporate feedback, even if you have a lot of calling experience.