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Madison English Country Dancers

The Madison (Wisconsin) English Country Dance Society
meets for dancing on the first and third Mondays of the month
from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at the Wilmar Center 953 Jenifer Street, Madison, Wisconsin.
We have moved our summer dance program to the Wilmar Center.

Generally the first hour focuses on new dances or techniques, the second hour on requests.

For more information, contact 
Jean (608-231-1040), or Don or Joanna  (608-238-9951).

Dance Locations including maps
Schedule and Midwest Events
Additional information and Links

Dance Location

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New dancers are welcome
The dances are all taught and called You don’t need to bring a partner,
just a pleasant attitude Wear ordinary casual clothes –
Please wear comfortable, clean soft-soled shoes to protect the floor
ENGLISH COUNTRY DANCE (ECD) - All you (n)ever wanted to know!!

Jane Austin did it.

George Washington did it.
So can you! Providing gentle mental and physical exercise, ECD is now considered to be one of the best alternative health solutions there is. The monthly series is intended to be light-hearted and fun and is specifically geared towards new dancers and dancers of other dance forms such as contra or swing. If you are familiar with any of these, you will find ECD easy to pick up. Of all these, English has the greatest variety of shapes, figures, moods and music, making for a very pleasant and sociable form of exercise. The pace varies from slow and elegant to lively and vigorous. The movement style is the dance walk (walking in time to the music, with a light step and elevated carriage).

So, if you can walk and know the difference between right and left, you have much of the basic knowledge you'll need to do English Country Dancing! ECD is a social and interactive form of dance – we are all dancing with each other, and there is a warm level of acceptance and relaxation because there is flexibility about personal expression and style. It lets us dance without some of the problems or constraints of other forms of dancing and is a wonderful way to ease into dancing if you think you can’t dance. It's also a great alternative for people who don’t have a regular dance partner or who don’t want the pressure of typical couples dancing.

You are encouraged to dance with lots of different partners and newcomers can be paired with experienced dancers so they can rapidly gain skills and confidence. People enjoy ECD for many reasons - romantic, sumptuous, flowing music - easy steps & satisfying figures - the joy of dancing together - dignified flirtation - a genuine community connection - stimulation & relaxation at the same time - the grace and elegance with which you glide as you dance - and lots more. At times, you simply get swept away as you become one with the music. Many people love the beautiful patterns created as you dance and weave. Some people describe it as a meditation in motion.

You will also find a pleasant camaraderie, interacting with a variety of people of all age groups, various personalities, backgrounds, etc. There's an indefinable quality to English Country Dance that makes it energizing, mesmerizing, and just plain fun.

The music is beautiful - haunting tunes that make the heart swell. Some dance tunes are taken from old ballads and political satire; others come from classical music and operas. This gives English country music tremendous variety; sometimes sweet and melodic, sometimes melancholy, and sometimes absolutely driven with a pulsating beat. The leader, or 'caller', teaches each individual dance. Before each dance, dancers learn the dance by walking through the steps and formations, following the caller's instructions. These are sometimes augmented with demonstrations by experienced dancers in the group.

After the walk-through, the music begins and the dance is prompted by the caller, so that each figure and movement is called in time to the music - you don't need to rely on your memory alone to know what to do. Some dances can be as short as 1 minute. Others can last up to 10 minutes. No special clothing is needed, other than clean shoes that won't skid or stick on a wood floor and women usually prefer to wear skirts or dresses. ECD has it's origin in the 16th Century English court and was popular in England and America in the 1600's, 1700's and early 1800's. If you've seen any of the recent Jane Austen movies then you've seen this sort of dance.

However, ECD is not the obscure relic you might think it to be. This traditional form of dance has been around for four hundred years and it's still thriving today.

These days ECD is danced by all manner of people, from royalty to the man in the street; to all manner of music, from string quartets to electric rock bands!

[Thanks to all the many internet authors whose words I have 'stolen' and crafted together. I hope that I have not given any offense. Please let me know if you would rather I did not use your words. MAB] Schedule and Midwest Events


Coming Events

Additional Information and Links

bullet.gif Join the irregular Madison ECD Mail Notification List
bullet.gif Madison Contra Dance Schedule
bullet.gif Madison Scottish Country Dancers
bullet.gif Madison Area Irish Dance Calendar
bullet.gif Madison Folkdance Unlimited
bullet.gif The Isthmus Daily Page
bullet.gif A Guide to Madison Entertainment
bullet.gif Information about the City of Madison
bullet.gif Weather Underground: Madison, Wisconsin Forecast
Tapestry Tapestry Folk Dance Center - Minneapolis
Tapestry English Country Dancing at Fermilab English Country Dancing - Evanston, Illinois Mail Link
Urbana ECD Central Illinois English Country Dancers - Urbana, Illinois Fairfield Folk Arts and Dance Coop - Fairfield, Iowa
St Louis Dancers St. Louis English Country Dancers
cdss Country Dance and Song Society

Celebrating a Living Tradition of English and Anglo-American Folk Dance and Music since 1915

bullet Index of English Country Dances and where they are published
bullet ECD English Country Dance Mailing List
What is English Country Dance? English Country Dance (and Contra) History and Difference English Country Dance Locations in the US How did ECD figures get into contra dancing? How did Early American dance get reconstructed?

Colin Hume Colin Hume's Dance Technique Notes   I've been asked when
  I teach Dance Technique.  I suppose there are three occasions.
In a workshop
  At the start of an evening dance or club night.   During the dancing .
Judi Rivkin's   An Animated Perspective of English Country Dance Terms
Heather and Rose
Heather and Rose ECD Terminology and Gender-free Calling  

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Last update: January 20, 2012. This page created and maintained by Michael Mudrey. .
Please direct all comments and suggestions to
MECD thanks Clint Sprott for providing this service. URL: