Thanks for sending this, Chris.  I haven't come across the Breton quote before - is the source online?

I don't think the current generation of English country dancers will take to dancing steps, but subsequent ones may.  The current flowing style, unpunctuated by steps, must be very different to the original.  They are both valid, just different.


Heather Clarke
Australian Dance Historian
+61 7 3289 4708

On Tuesday, 29 May 2018, 4:56:33 am AEST, Chris J Brady wrote:

English Dance  Song - Winter 1993 p. 19


In discussing the teaching of "Playford Style," here are some quotations which ought to be more widely known.

" ... How some would dance as though they did but walk;
And some would trip, as though they were lame,
And some would mince it like a sparrowhawk;
And some would dance, upright like any bolt;
And some would leap and skip like a youndg colt!"

Nicolas Breton. 1602

"...the strangeness and diversity of steps used by each dancer according to their fancy..."

Andre Lorin, 1680s, describing the English style which he had witnessed at court, in the towns and in the country.

“Tho' my designe is not to  l'll\ design‘ is not to mark any steps in Country Dances, being willing to leave the dancers ye liberty of composing the same as they please ..."

Raoul Feuillet / John Essex, 1970

(Country dancing) "is become ... the favourite diversion of all t=ranks of people from the court to the cottage in their different manners of dancing.

Kellom Tomlinson, 1720

"The figures are always the same and without any fixed steps. The whole aim of these contre-danses is for the performers to twist and turn their bodies, to stamp their feet as if they wore sabots, and to assume attitudes contrary to decorum."

Pierre Rameau, 1725

So -- What is, or was Playford Style?