History of CDSS

The Country Dance and Song Society was founded in 1915 in Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, New York City, Pittsburgh and Boston by enthusiastic Americans, inspired by the work of English folk song and dance collector and lecturer Cecil J. Sharp.

Four years earlier Sharp helped found the English Folk Dance Society in London, and we began as a branch of that organization.

Over the next 25 years, our interests in the American versions of the English traditions grew. In 1940, the groups in the US merged, designating the New York branch as headquarters and reorganizing as the Country Dance Society. In 1967, “and Song” was added to the name. CDSS headquarters moved to Massachusetts in 1987.

Today, with expanded services and programs, CDSS serves its membership as well as the greater English and Anglo-American traditional dance, music and song community. Early in 1915, Sharp had written home to England: "The people (in America are) really most enthusiastic." We still are, and we say “The more, the merrier” as we move into our second 100 years.