English Country Dancing


“English country dancing is lively, it’s very sociable and the music is wonderful,” explained Sara Lawson, who will be offering classes in English country dance beginning February 5. “This is exercise for the mind and body that people will really enjoy.”

And classes are starting up just in time for participants to join in the festivities surrounding the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 in Ontario. 

“One of our goals is to take part in the Regency Ball which will be held on Canada Day, July 1, this summer,” Lawson said. 

English country dancing originated as far back as the 1700s. By 1812, the slower and more elegant styles were performed in the drawing rooms of the gentry, while the livelier dances of the country people took place in barns and fairgrounds. Accordions, flutes, fiddles and violins still form the music. 

British officers were regular participants at the dances in the communities where regiments were stationed. “Military re-enactors are today among those eagerly taking up English country dance for the Regency Balls all over Ontario.” 

There has been a tremendous revival of interest in this type of dance in the last 10 years in North America.

Lawson, who has been teaching English country dance for 15 years in Ottawa, Montreal and Ogdensburg, will be starting classes at Allen Hall in Morrisburg for adults over 18. She expects famed caller, Nigel Kilby, known as “Mr. English Country Dance” to come to Morrisburg to ‘call’ for local dancers later in the summer. 

“These are walking dances rather than dances needing special steps. Everyone can do them,” Lawson said, “and they will have a wonderful time.”

For information about classes call 613-652-4010 or contact skgl@sympatico.ca

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