English Country Dancing in Williamsburg


Earlier this summer my daughter, who’s been working at Colonial Williamsburg, found out that each Tuesday night, CW sponsors a group of English Country Dancers at Newport House, a bed and breakfast, in Colonial Williamsburg. Anyone can attend for a nominal fee ($1.00 donation). It’s two  hours each Tuesday, from 8:00 pm until 10:00 pm.

So for the past few weeks we’ve been going. And I’ve been dancing!

This is fantastic for several reasons. First, it’s great exercise. Every night I go, I make my goal of daily steps. Next, I got to spend time with my daughter who will only be home for a few more days before leaving for college. And third, it is AWESOME for historical romance research purposes!

FullSizeRenderThe dancers don’t wear period costumes, although I’ve been told they do hold a costume ball at least once a year here in Williamsburg. And last night three balls were announced in nearby and not-so-nearby locales. I’d love to go to one, but will need to get my Regency gown made first.

The dances, however, are almost all period dances from the colonial period, many of  which were carried on into the regency. Last week I danced one called  “Mad Robin,” the first week one called “Lord Fuddington.” Last night I videoed one of my favorites, although I didn’t get the name of it.

The first hour are rather simple dances, the second hour more difficult ones. Since I’m a rank novice, I only dance the during the first hour and that’s work-out enough. But I love it because it’s exercise where you have to be thinking all the time.

One of the most interesting things I discovered immediately was that the room where we dance is much smaller than I would have thought you needed for such dancing. These dances are done usually in longways sets, so a long, narrow room works well for even as many as 15 or 16 couples. And the variety of dance steps you can do in such a space is also surprising.

They’ve announced that starting in September, there will be lessons for beginners starting 1/2 an hour before the dancing begins. You can bet I’m going  to be there!

Have any of you danced English Country Dances?

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4 Responses to English Country Dancing in Williamsburg

  1. Melissa Keir says:

    One of my favorite field trips was to Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. We had an overnight trip with 3rd, 4th, 5th graders and it was so much fun. They taught us dances through the years and of course, I loved the Charleston. This sounds like a fun event and I wish I lived closer!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Marie says:

    How fun! I’m not able to watch the video, because it’s asking me to log in, which is odd. But this sounds like something I want to do, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna Jaxon says:

      It’s really a fun time–you hate for the evening to end. And I keep thinking about how it would have been for young ladies in the Regency to attend and dance. So exciting! 🙂


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