We connect and support people in building and sustaining vibrant communities through participatory dance, music, and song traditions that have roots in English and North American culture.
In March 1915, in New York City, and then in Boston and other cities, groups of people met with Cecil J. Sharp, the English musicologist and collector of folk songs, who was on a teaching/lecture tour, sharing his knowledge of English traditional song and dance. Sharp had founded the English Folk Dance Society (EFDS) in London in 1911, and four years later, he helped establish several American branches of EFDS. The Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS), one of the oldest folk organizations in the United States, evolved from those American groups.
CDSS today is an education and arts service nonprofit, promoting participatory dance, music and song rooted in both English and North American culture, including historical and modern contra, square and English country dance, morris, sword and garland dance, English and American clogging, traditional songs, and the vibrant music which supports them. We are passionate that dance, music and song bring joy and strength to individuals and communities, and we advocate strongly for their vitality and sustainability by offering artistic, educational and organizational support to their participants. Read about our traditions.
Looking for more information about...
- Attending a dance, music, or song camp?
- Finding a dance or song event in your area?
- Folk songs (ballads, sea shanties, rounds, pub songs)?
- Display/ritual dance (Morris, Longsword, rapper, etc.)?
- Organizing traditional dance and song events?
- Calling for square dance, contra dance, or other folk dances?
- Educating young people about traditional dance and song?
- Playing instrumental music for dances?
- Dancing in contra, square, or other folk dance forms?
- The benefits of dance and song in general?
Looking to find books or recordings?
The CDSS online store carries a wide selection of books, recordings, and videos relating to English and North American traditional dance, music, and song, including difficult-to-find imported materials from England.
CDSS thanks the Massachusetts Cultural Council for its generous support.