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Music by: Rebecca King, Daniel Beerbohm, Barbara Greenberg: How has English Country Dance changed over the last 40 or so years to arrive at its current state? We’ll look at some old favorites, particularly dances that are the legacy of the great New York City callers like May Gadd, Genny Shimer, and Christine Helwig. The current dance scene will take on new meaning as we explore the old and the new.
Music by: Aaron Marcus, Ethan Hazzard-Watkins: How do we express our unique selves to best effect in the dance? Regardless of your dancing level, how do you find ways to improve your own dancing experience? Come explore options! The dance does not exist unless we dance it: with this class’s refinements, our individual offerings reveal the beauty of each dance.
Music by: Rob Rohr: We will take a detailed look at probably the most complex and influential dance to come from the traditional repertoire, the dance made famous by the Royal Earsdon Sword Dancers. One of the lesser performed dances, we will be going through the original notations with the class to recreate a selection of some of the figures from the performance. For the more advanced participants, there will be an opportunity to explore how these figures were developed into the Swearsdell dance, as notated in Phil Heaton's book on Rapper Sword Dancing. Participants should have danced rapper regularly before and have a strong understanding of the basic structures of a rapper dance. For example, they must be able to adequately understand how to tie and untie a lock from any position, have a grasp of basic terminology (coach and horses, walk round, open ring, curly, etc.) and should be relatively agile with a basic ability in stepping.
Music by: Jonathan Jensen, Barbara Greenberg: Come one and all! Callers and dancers are all welcome to play their part in this network of mutual support for dance leaders of *all* levels of experience, including anyone wishing to step up to the mic for the first time. Our focus will be on striving for a satisfying experience for all -- success for the caller, comfort for the musicians, joy for the dancers, and pride among assembled leaders at each other's accomplishments and growth. This is decidedly not a forum for trying out challenging or new-to-you-and-us repertoire: we will instead work towards the best possible presentation of dances we know well. Callers will receive structured feedback in a supportive environment.
Music by: Gus Voorhees: This class will use a set of activities to explore three 'guiding principles' for Morris dancing. First, that it's an inherently athletic activity and we need to understand how our bodies move to jump higher, move more smoothly, and most importantly avoid injury. Second, that it's a team dance so moving with our partner, corner, or lines is key to a polished aesthetic. Last, that it's a performance and what matters most is what the audience sees and how we connect with them. The class is open to dancers of all ages and experiences from absolute beginners to those with a lifetime of Morris experience.
Music by: Doug Creighton: The hornpipe steps of Bert Bowden are performed in a very different style to the more well-known Lancashire styles of Sam Sherry and Pat Tracey. Bert Bowden was a Liverpudlian dancer who learnt from his father, who used to dance in the pubs of Liverpool. Bert's style was also influenced by music hall performers, such as Dan Leno.
Come with your instruments to play beautiful English Country Dance tunes. We will learn a little music theory to create improvised harmonies and solos with ample time to try them out. Loosen up your playing in a supportive atmosphere, and work at your own level. All are welcome.
Music by: Jonathan Jensen, Daniel Beerbohm: Over the course of the week we'll work on a select few of the most challenging dances in the English Country Dance repertoire, those that reward the hard work of truly learning them, with an eye to performance-level mastery. An aspiration towards that level of mastery and achievement, as well as respect for and commitment to such aspirations among one's set-mates, is an absolute prerequisite.
Music by: Rebecca King, Ethan Hazzard-Watkins: Dances to bring a smile to your face and a lilt to your step. Revel in the glorious variety of English country dance from centuries ago to right now. Dances will be accessible to all, with no lack of fascination and fun for even the most experienced dancers.
All the Scottish songs you wanted to sing, but were afraid to try, or couldn't make sense of. We all get to sing a wide variety of songs together; traditional and recent, dramatic and humorous, sentimental and scathing. Everyone gets a copy of the words, and plenty of social, historical and linguistic background will be provided. If you have a favourite, bring it along, and we'll all have a go at it.
Music by: Aaron Marcus, Daniel Beerbohm, Ethan Hazzard-Watkins: English dancers and ritual dancers make the *best* contra dancers! The poise, the timing, the flow! Come enjoy contras picked to delight those who thrill to a fine figure and embrace community interaction.
Music by: Stefan Read: Arguably the northernmost recording of a longsword dance in England is from the village of Penshaw in County Durham, seen in a wood engraving from the 18th century. It has been argued that this tradition was the basis of what later developed into rapper. Tom will teach a recreated version of this four man longsword dance, as researched by Julian Whybra in 2007. The four person dance is a simple set of figures which would have been performed locally to Penshaw and is a great beginner dance. For those with a more experienced interest in Longsword dancing, there will be an opportunity to develop the ideas in the Penshaw dance into a more complex four dancer performance.
Music by: Doug Creighton: This workshop will provide an introduction to many of the basic steps that form the building blocks for much of the English clog repertoire. Using the 'Ossie Jig' steps written by the Oswaldtwistle Cloggers from Lancashire, we will learn each of the steps and then look at choreographing the dance for a group performance.
Music by: Doug Creighton: North West morris demonstrates the regimented precision of a group performing individually simple movements to create an impressive display as a team. In the 40th year of the Horwich Prize Medal Morris Men, Tom (their current Foreman) will be teaching a selection of simple yet intricate dances from Lancashire. North West morris is historically easy to pick up the basics, yet tricky to perfect, and always great fun!
Music by: Jonathan Jensen, Aaron Marcus: These are the dances you know you want to know: the gems of our repertoire. Attend class, and you’ll be ready for the “for those who know” dances at the start of each evening. Beginners will learn the dance patterns and more experienced dancers will work on some of the subtle refinements that make these dances so beloved.
How do we know what we love and value about English Country Dance? How, as the emerging callers and leaders of The Next Generation, do we share that with other dancers in order to grow our communities? Workshop participants will derive answers to these questions from dancing and calling, as well as discussion. Over the course of the week we will create a set of shared goals for our home communities, a strategy for meeting those goals together, and a network for sharing our evolving ideas and discoveries about the shape of ECD's future.
Here's a chance to share all your favourite songs, and maybe learn a few others. Join us on the Camphouse porch every afternoon for an open sing. Alistair Brown will moderate the proceedings with creativity and humour and set a good example. There will be a daily theme - it will be your job to provide a song or two to suit the topic, however tenuous the connection.