English & Scottish Country Dance — and more!

Today’s pro­gramme focus­es, rather broad­ly, on the Eng­lish Coun­try Dance (ECD) – in par­tic­u­lar on the work of John Play­ford (1623–1686/7) — and its Norther­ly cousin, Scot­tish Coun­try Dance.

The ECD pieces you’ll hear today range from the per­for­mances of spe­cialised musi­cal groups like the Bal­ti­more Con­sort and Bare Neces­si­ties, whose music is intend­ed to be danced to by wide­spread groups of mod­ern expo­nents of the art, to the folk dance and Mor­ris Danc­ing groups with their exu­ber­ant take on the pieces and their inclu­sion of mod­ern instru­men­ta­tion. Then, too, there are Ear­ly Music groups who treat the works as authen­ti­cal­ly as they pos­si­bly can to recre­ate the sound that might have been heard when these dances were first per­formed. And there are many oth­ers.

In this pro­gramme we are also fea­tur­ing Scot­tish Coun­try Dance (SCD). Scot­tish Coun­try Danc­ing as we know it today has its roots in an 18th cen­tu­ry fusion of ECD for­ma­tions with High­land music and foot­work. It has become the nation­al ball­room dance form of Scot­land, part­ly because ‘Cale­don­ian Coun­try Dances’ became pop­u­lar in upper class Lon­don Soci­ety in the decades after the rebel­lion of 1745.

When it first became pop­u­lar around the 18th cen­tu­ry it was as a short­er, quick­er form of dance that was a light relief from the more court­ly dances nor­mal­ly danced. Derived from ear­ly British forms of coun­try danc­ing, SCD is relat­ed to Eng­lish coun­try danc­ing, con­tra danc­ing, cèilidh danc­ing, Old time danc­ing and Irish set danc­ing due to the com­bi­na­tion of some of these dance forms in ear­ly Coun­try dance forms and lat­er cross-over intro­duced by their over­lap­ping influ­ences via dancers and dance mas­ters. For more about SCD, see this arti­cle.

Today’s pro­gramme is pre­sent­ed by Elrik Mer­lin. If you are in the Unit­ed States, please click here to launch the Stream Licens­ing play­er. 

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