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17th and 18th Century Country Dance

English country dance has a long and colorful history, with one of the first mentions in a historical text during the early childhood period of Queen Elizabeth I.  Many of the country dances performed by Atlanta Baroque Dance were originally cataloged and published by John Playford in 1651, with subsequent volumes published through his successors, initially Henry Playford (his son), and then John Young, publishing the final edition of The Dancing Master (containing 358 dances) in 1728.  Other dances date from the same period through the mid 19th century, when the waltz (and other couple dances) supplanted country dancing as the popular form of dancing at group affairs.

Country dancing can best be described as a group of two or more couples performing a series of easy to moderately-difficult steps to repeating strains of music.  The group performs the dances either longways (two lines, men on one side and women on the other), in square formations (four couples, one couple on each side), or in circle formations (usually for "as many [couples] as will").  Primarily a social endeavor, country dancing
emphasizes the interaction between the dancers, including the (often) interweaving patterns as couples dance with each other and with other couples throughout the set.  Many country dances also often involve the concept of "progression", where couples move through the set of dancers, eventually serving in the lead dance position.

Members of Atlanta Baroque Dance reconstruct and perform country dances from Playford's The Dancing Master, as well as many dances performed during the Revolutionary War period.  We are able to both perform and teach dances of varying difficulty, depending on the event or venue.  Contact us for your event today!