About English Country Dance (Dance Tutorials!)

Scroll down for Dance Steps and Video Tutorials!

Q:  What kind of Dancing do we do at the Pride & Prejudice Ball ~ Winnipeg?  Why?

A:  The kind of dance that we will do at the Pride & Prejudice Ball is called English Country Dance, and is also known as Contra Dancing.  Our goal at the Ball is to immerse ourselves in the time of Jane Austen (c. 1815) which is known as the English Regency Period (c. 1800 – 1820).  Ballroom dancing, as we know it, did not yet exist, and people of the time would attend Balls (private parties) and Assemblies (public parties) to dance all of the favourite English Country Dances.  Jane Austen was a great fan of dancing, and wrote often of her enjoyment of this pastime.

At the time, dancing was one of the only ways to spend time with and be close to a member of the opposite sex and even the small connection of hand holding was very exciting!  People employed the services of a Dance Master to teach them the dances, so that everyone attending a ball would have known all of the footwork.

English Country Dance groups continue to be active worldwide.  It is a kind of dance that is very accessible to people of all ages and abilities.  Some dances are more active, while others are elegant and sensual.

There are a lot of terms like “set” and “corners” and “casting” … For clarification (and comprehensive descriptions of English Country Dance terms…

Click HERE for a Glossary of English Country Dance Terms!

or HERE for a simpler list

Of course, the best way to learn the dances and get to know all the lovely people who will be at the Ball is to GO TO THE DANCE CLASSES!!!  🙂

 

Here are the steps and video tutorials to our dances!

The Indian Queen  (Duple meter, Proper Contra)
(1-2-3-4) First corner (M1 + L2) sets
(4) First corner turns single
(8) First corners right hand turn

(4) Second corner (M2 + L1) sets
(4) Second corner turns single
(8) Second corners right hand turn  (hold on!)

(8) Right hand Star
(8) Left hand Star

(8) Back to back with your partner
(8) Three changes in a circular hey

Progressed

VIDEO DEMO FOR “THE INDIAN QUEEN”

The Indian Queen:  (the tutorial is in German, but has English subtitles)

 

 

The Duke of Kent’s Waltz  (Triple Meter, Proper Contra)
In triple meter (123.223.323.423)
(4) Right hand star
(4) Left hand star
(2) First couple side steps down the centre – two hand hold
(2) First couple side steps back up the centre
(4) First couple casts down / Second couple leads up
(4) All couples– Right hand “Balancé”
(4) All couples–Left hand “Balancé”
(4) All couples–Right hand turn with your Right corner
(4) All couples–Left hand turn with your Partner
–Progressed

Duke of Kent’s Walz – DEMO VIDEO

The Duke of Kent’s Waltz: (The dance starts at 0:45)

 

The Hole in the Wall  (Triple meter, Proper Contra)
(4) First couple casts down and leads up the centre
(4) Second couple casts up and leads down the centre
(2) First corners “Hole in the Wall” crossing
(2) Second corners “Hole in the Wall” crossing
(2) Half circle Left (clockwise)
(2) First couple casts down / Second couple leads up
–progressed

 

The Hole in the Wall:

 

The Haymakers’ Jig  a.k.a. “Haymakers”  (Duple meter, Proper Contra)
A1
(8) First corners cast up / down (Man1 casts down, Lady2 casts up)
(8) They meet in the middle joining LEFT hands, then return to their place
A2
(8) Second corners cast up / down (Man2 casts up, Lady1 casts down)
(8) They meet in the middle joining RIGHT hands, then return to their place
B1
(4) All join hands with neighbours and take four small steps back (fall back)
(4)  All chassée (skip) forward twice
(8)  First couple does a CLOCKWISE two-handed turn down the set to the second position (proper) — Second couple casts up
B2
(6+2)  Half-Right Hand Star (ending at 1st / 2nd position – ending improper) + two steps back
(8)  Two changes in a circular hey (Right hand to pass neighbour + Left hand turn with partner ending proper)
—-
Progressed

(N.B.  “Proper” denotes positioning where M1/M2 are on “their” side and L1/L2 are on “their” side, and “Improper” denotes position where M1/M2 are on L1/L2’s side and L1/L2 are on M1/M2’s side.)

 

Zephyrs & Flora  (Duple meter, Proper Contra)
(8) First corners back to back
(2) Right hand
(2) Left hand
(4) First corners switch places

(8) Second corners back to back
(2) Right hand
(2) Left hand
(4) Second corners switch places

(16) First couple (1’s) Cast up and do a half figure eight
(Second couple steps down on “5-6” of second count of eight.)

(16) Second couple (2’s) Cast up and do a half figure eight
(First couple steps down on “5-6” of second count of eight.)

Progressed

 

 

The Spaniard  (Duple meter, Proper Contra)
(4) Man 1 sets to Lady 2 (First corners)
(4) First corner turn single
(8) First Couple two hand turn

(4) Man 2 sets to Lady 1 (Second corners)
(4) Second corner turn single
(8) Second Couple two hand turn

(8) First Couple walks down the set
(4) First Couple skips up the set
(4) First Couple casts down / Second Couple leads up

(8) Circle Left
(8) Circle Right
——————–
Progressed

 

Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot  (Triple meter, Proper Contra)
(6) First Couple half Gypsy Stare
(6) Neighbours Back to back
(3) First Couple turn single
(6) Neighbours Right hand turn
(3) First Couple comes together
(6) First Couple casts down / Second Couple leads up
(6) First Couple Back to back / Second Couple casts down (All end in a line facing up)
(6) Three steps forward (small lift), Fall back three steps
(6) First Couple crosses (Ladies first) and cast down / Second Couple leads up
———–
Progressed

Mr. Beverige’s Maggot:

 

 

 

Well Hall (Triple meter 12/8, Proper Contra)

A1
(4) First couple R hand turn – one and a half turns
(4) First couple casts down – Second couple leads up; First couple crosses to end proper in 2nd place

A2
(16) Second couple repeats, all ending in original place

B1
(2) First corners cross
(2) Second corners cross
(2) Half-Circle L
(2) All turn singly (cloverleaf – 1s turn up and out, 2s turn down and out)

B2
(2) Second corners cross
(2) First corners cross
(2) Half-Circle L
(2) First couple casts down, Second couple leads up

— Progressed —

This is a lovely video of the dance.  Please note, that they do B2 a little differently–we will have second corners cross at B2 as written.

 

Many thanks to the volunteers who assisted with filming and dancing for the DEMO videos!
A extra special thank you goes out the the Village Green English Dancers.
Thank you so much!