Social dancing is dancing for pleasure – your pleasure:
The different styles of folk dance mostly have their roots in traditional country dances from different cultures, not just from the British Isles but also from other places around the world. Country dancing is intended for general participation and the dances usually have a fairly simple, easy to follow, movements. Although some familiarity with the steps might prove useful, it is possible to gain experience whilst still having a great time.
Generally the music for the dance will be either pre-recorded or sometimes there will be a band of musicians playing tunes in the requisite tempo for the dance. For example, Prêt a Danser (the French country dance club) have a wonderful band of musicians who play for the dancers.
There might also be a ‘caller’ whose role is to instruct the dancers how to perform the dance before it starts and to call out useful guidance to remind the dancers what they should be doing at key points throughout the dance.
Playford dance is a form of traditional dance with its roots in England. A music publisher called John Playford published ‘The English Dancing Master’ in 1651. (Later editions were simply called ‘The Dancing Master’.) This was a book of brief instructions for a hundred or so semi-formal dances, based on country dances. However, they were generally danced by educated people as a light relief from the very formal and demanding society dances of the time. Nowadays the term is used to describe any dance in that style, whether it was included in Playford’s books or if it is a newly-composed dance choreographed by a contemporary Dancing Master. While some dances may have originated in rural villages the vast majority were, and still are, written by Dancing Masters and choreographers.
Contra dance (or Appalachian dance) developed in the USA from British roots and is now an up-tempo, fast-moving, intricate dance form made up of long lines of couples dancing ‘figures’. Couples progress up and down the lines as the dance patterns are repeated. It has mixed origins from English, Scottish and French dance styles from the 17th century.
Clubs specialising in Social Dancing:
The Friends Of English Dance
used to meet in Cecil Sharp House but because of space limitations they now meet in a dance studio nearby (the Regents Park area of London). The venue may change from time to time, so please contact Judith for the latest information.
Judith De Witt 07949 147165 firstname.lastname@example.org
Bulmer Folk Dance Club
2.30pm-4.30pm 2nd Mon. of month (not Jul & Aug).
Bulmer Village Hall.
Peter Rowe 01787 375935
Clacton & District Caledonian Society
Conservative Club, Old Road, Clacton on Sea CO15 3AU
Sue Curd 01473 811742
Ingatestone Circle Dance (experienced)
7.30 – 9.30pm 4th Monday of month
Ingatestone Parish Room, Stock Lane, Ingatestone, Essex CM4 9EJ
Jan Shedel 01277 352213 email@example.com
Leigh-on-Sea Caledonian Dancers
7.45pm (7.15pm for tuition).
Meetings every week except July, August & Bank Holidays.
St James Church Hall, Elmsleigh Drive, Leigh on Sea SS9 4DP
Ray Helliar 01702 343019
Sandon Scottish Country Dance Club (Near Chelmsford)
The Sandon School, Molrams Lane, Sandon, CM2 7AQ
Eric Johnston 01245 352373 firstname.lastname@example.org
Southend Irish Association (Set Dancing Classes)
8.15 -10.00pm on Mondays(except Bank Holidays)
Canvey Methodist Church Hall (side door), Waarden Road, Canvey Island, SS8 9AB
(1st visit free)
Ann-Marie 07734 350187
Triangle Folk Dance Club
7.30pm (Except 2nd Mon. of month)
Soken House Community Centre, The Triangle, Frinton-on-Sea CO13 0AU
Liz Bruce 01255 676960
Scottish Country Dancing for Fun
7.30 – 9.30 pm, Specified Mondays.
Rivenhall Village Hall, Church Road, Witham, CM8 3PH
Sue Last 01206 303338
Chelmsford Folk Dancers
8.00pm Except first Tue of month (all year)
WIDFORD VILLAGE HALL, 58 WIDFORD ROAD, CHELMSFORD, CM2 8SY
Frances Clarke 07796 191389
“Chelmsford Folk Dancers enjoy English and other forms of folk dancing. Beginners or experienced dancers with or without partners are welcome at all our club evenings. Club nights £2 including light refreshment – first visit you are our guest”
Chingford Folk Dance Club
Mornington Hall, Green Walk, Chingford, London E4
Suzanne Harper 0208 508 4770 email@example.com
Marks Tey Folk Dance Club
7.30 – 9.30pm First,3rd & 5th Tue of month.
St Andrews Church Hall, Church Lane, Marks Tey CO6 1LW
Sylvia Gaspar 01787 204033
Running Waters Square Dance Club
St Stephen’s Church Hall, St Stephen’s Crescent, Brentwood CM13 2AT
Heather West 01277 261816
Winchmore Folk Dance Club
meets at Winchmore Hill URC, N21 3NU on Tuesday mornings from 10am to 12 noon.
WFDC warmly welcomes all dancers, including beginners. New dancers can have a free taster session. We enjoy dances from a range of styles, with music from the Pride and Prejudice era to modern times.
Experienced callers, recorded music and very sociable. Members £2.50, Associate members £3.00, including refreshments, per week.
Gillian 0208 360 6226
Colchester Folk Dance Club
8.00pm Alternate Weds.
St John’s Green School, St John’s Green, Colchester CO2 7HE
Tom Grady 01206 549176 firstname.lastname@example.org
Romford & Brentwood Folk Dance Group
Chadwick Hall, St Michael’s Church, Main Road, Gidea Park RM2 5EL
Mary Bryan 01708 752057 email@example.com
Prêt a Danser (French & Breton dance and music session) 2nd Wednesday of month.
7.00 – 10.00 pm (Tune Workshop 7pm, Dance Instruction 8-10pm)
Piatto Cafe, 17-19 Priory Walk, Colchester, CO1 2LG
Linda Jones 01206 868654/07952 120227 firstname.lastname@example.org
Barley Leaf Folk Dance Club
Catterall Scout & Guide Hall, Cecil Road, Chadwell Heath RM6 6RX
Sheila Skippins 0208 597 2874 email@example.com
Ongar Circle Dance Group
7.30 pm 1st Thursday of month. No experience necessary, as each dance is carefuly taught.
Zinc Arts Centre, High Street, Ongar, Essex (Old Stoney School, near Four Wantz roundabout)
Jill Hope 01277 363085
Touchstone Folk Dance Club (Wivenhoe)
Congregational Church Hall, High Street, Wivenhoe CO7 9LD
Elaine Wood 01206 822877
Brightlingsea Folk Dance Club
7.30 – 9.30 pm weekly
Brightlingsea United Church, Chapel Road, Brightlingsea, Essex, CO7 0HB
Sue Last 01206 303338 firstname.lastname@example.org
Colchester Ceilidh Club (Langenhoe)
8.00 – 11pm 2nd or 3rd Friday except January and August
Abberton @ Langenhoe Village Hall
Paul Kiff 01621 868219 email@example.com
7.30pm Second Friday of each month.
Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regents Park Rd. London NW1 7AY
0208 8367 2439 http://www.londoncajun.co.uk
Great Parndon Folk Dance Club
St Cuthbert’s Church Hall, Dobbs Weir Road, Nazeing
Jenny Wyatt 01799 550393 firstname.lastname@example.org
South East Essex Scottish Society (Westcliffe)
St Peter’s Church Hall, Eastbourne Grove, Westcliff on Sea
Graham Easton 01702 587808 email@example.com
Southend Irish Association (Westcliffe)
The Lion & Lamb PH,270 Station Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, SS0 7SD
Last Friday of month (*’phone first)
Anne-Marie (Secretary) 07734 350187
Tollesbury Folk Dance Club
8.00 – 10.00pm 3rd Friday of month
“The Centre” (Tollesbury Congregational Church),East Street, Tollesbury CM9 8QD
Jon Naughton 01621 869509 (evenings)
Woodland Wheelers Square Dance Club (Basildon)
George Hurd Centre, Audley Way, Basildon SS16 2SL
Dennis Oakley 01268 455117 firstname.lastname@example.org
Winchmore Folk Dance Club (Enfield)
For more experienced dancers, WFDC meets on the second Saturday of each month in Trinity Church Hall, Enfield EN2 6AN from 7.30 to 10.00 pm. Live music from Chris Carpenter with invited callers. We welcome all dancers from everywhere, the more the merrier!
Entry for members £5.00 and Associate members £7.00 including refreshments.
Contact: Gillian 0208 360 6226