History of English Country Dancing
The history of English Country is more murky the above essays imply. What was meant by a
"Country Dance" in the time or Queen Elizabeth I? Three possibilities: A village dance such a done by
peasants at fairs; A dance form unique to the country manor houses; A dance composed by a dancing
master to resemble a village dance. We have no way of knowing, but period paintings of village dancers
indicate crude, rowdy behavior hardly compatible with the most casual court activities. I suspect that
the country dances performed by or for the queen had been greatly sanitized. The system of precisely describing
dance movement (Labonotation) was not developed until around 1720. It was used only for serious dances
at that time, not the trivial country dances.
The Dancing Master first published by John Playford in 1651 is called a collection of country dances. "Collection" in this sense does not necessarily imply a "collector" as understood in the early 20th century. John Playford was a printer; there is no indication that he was a dancer. There appears to have been several individuals who contributed to the Playford collection. Most likely these were dancing masters who contributed their repertoires: Dances which they arranged and taught. While unlikely, it is possible that some of the Playford dances had never been danced before they were published.
Please do not use perfume or other heavy fragrances before dancing. Living Fragrance Free contains tips for avoiding objectional fragrances.