August 13 - 20, 2016



English Dance Leadership Training in Music is an intensive course designed to meet the needs of English country dance teachers who feel constrained by their lack of formal musical training. These leaders recognize the paramount importance of music in English dance and wish to uphold the long-standing tradition of using live music whenever possible. Consequently, they desire the knowledge and tools necessary to understand the relationship of dance and music more fully, to plan superior programs, and to communicate with musicians more effectively to produce music that is danceable, appropriate, and enjoyable for all.

Held during Early Music Week in order to share the fabulous musical resources of that program, the course includes three major components:

  • daily class in playing the recorder and reading music (for those who do not play an instrument or read music)
  • daily seminar
  • participation in the planning and leading of the week’s dance programs (evenings and “open mic” sessions)

The classes in reading music and playing the recorder are a key to the success of the course for those leaders who do not play an instrument at all. The recorder is an ideal instrument for adult beginners. It has a long history dating back to the Renaissance, and a varied repertory of folk and art music. Yet it is possible to learn to play fairly well very quickly. Registrants who already play an instrument and read music may elect to join a different class during the first-period morning session.

The daily seminar is based on a Resource Guide containing numerous articles, examples, and exercises by various authors. The Guide provides a focus for discussions and practical exercises in a supportive atmosphere among peers. The major topics include: determining a dance tune’s style, tempo, and character; the historical context of the English dance musical repertory; coordinating music and movement (issues of structure and meter); planning programs; and working with and communicating with musicians.


At the conclusion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. determine the structure, meter and rhythmic character of an English dance tune from the printed music alone or a recording, and be able to “doodle” at least a reasonable facsimile of the tune
  2. properly align the movements described in the printed dance directions with the music
  3. determine the correct tempo for the music and communicate it effectively to the musicians
  4. determine the correct character of the music, based on the dance and appropriate historical context, and communicate these elements effectively to the musicians
  5. properly coordinate the mechanical elements of teaching and prompting dances to live music
  6. design a program of English dancing that reflects important musical, as well as choreographic and other considerations
  7. play very simple dance tunes on the recorder and be able to progress further on the recorder with the aid of a teacher or through self-instruction
  8. oversee the engagement and direction of musicians for a class, dance party, or ball in a manner that produces enjoyment and satisfaction for the dancers and musicians alike

This program, held concurrently with Early Music Week, is designed and led by Gene Murrow.


Registration will be limited to 8 to ensure maximum participation. If the class is oversubscribed on March 14, preference will be given to those with calling experience and to applicants supported by their local community. Strong indicators for CDSS are our Group Priority and Matching Scholarship processes, where a CDSS affiliate vouches for a participant and may offer some scholarship, asking CDSS to match that amount ( This is a statement by people who know the individual, that the person is deserving of assistance and would benefit the local community by attending camp. That can count highly in this and in our scholarship considerations.


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