What image do you have in your head when you think of the Most Popular Types of English Dances? Is it a huge ballroom full of kings, queens, princes, and princesses? Is that barn full of happily dancing peasants? Is that a picture of Tolkien’s hobbies dancing at the pub table? Or do you have in mind ballet or some other form of contemporary dance? No matter what kind of dance you just thought – you’re not far from the truth.
After all, most of the dances are danced in England. But here’s a brief look at some of the Most Popular Types of English Dances – and some of them are still danced to this day!
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English country dancing
If you’ve watched movies like “Pride and Prejudice,” you’re already familiar with one type of English dance: English country dance. While it looks like a dance of the past, it is still surprisingly popular today – even in the United States! English country dance can be practiced with a wide variety of music, and it’s also pretty easy to learn (even if you think you have two left legs).
These two factors may well be the reason why this type of dance has been popular through the ages. The dance was first mentioned in the 16th century (when Queen Elizabeth I ruled England).
The dance was mentioned in connection with the queen. He saw people dancing on the ground and expressed his joy. And of course, people today were always eager to please the queen, so it should come as no surprise that other people used English country dances to develop similar dances to please the queen.
1. Rapper Sword
Sword dances were practiced all over the world – not just in England. But of course, England had its own sword dances, like the rapper sword dance. This is a dance with a short sword coming from the North East of England.
It took five people to perform this dance, and the successful completion of this dance required quite a bit of agility – both mental and physical. Rapper sword dancing has changed over time, and you can even find rapper sword dance competitions these days. The traditional team of five dancers can still be found, but now there are also different contemporary lineups and styles.
2. Ceilidh in England
Although Ceilidh is generally more connected to Scotland and Ireland, the English also have Ceilidh (i.e., social gatherings with Celtic music and dances). They’re a little different in England, but basically, it’s the same idea: celebrate the Celtic heritage, be social and have fun.
Of course, dance cannot miss such an event. One thing you may notice is that the dances during English Ceilidh are a little slower than in Scotland and Ireland.
3. Morris Dance
Morris dance is a dance performed by a group of dancers. It was first mentioned in 1448 and is still performed not only in England but also in countries far from New Zealand. The dance is performed in front of or next to a few passing cigarettes. The dance is performed without accessories (ranging from simple napkins to knives).
4. Barn dances
In the past, not everyone had access to ballrooms or other suitable dance venues, so it was not uncommon for ordinary people to meet in barns and hold few social gatherings there. The dances were less formal than in the great hall, and everyone was invited.
So barn dances were sometimes pretty chaotic dances, and sometimes you can see square dances (or at least attempts at it). Nowadays, barn dances are seen less often – mainly because people don’t usually seduce much in the barn.
5. Square Dance
The square dance was popular in many European countries. It is a dance in which four couples (i.e. a total of eight dancers) dance in a square ensemble (hence the name). During English-language pots, you can often see that square dances are part of the event.