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Interpreting Old Dances - Michael Barraclough

Reconstructing Old Dances

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Many of the dances we dance at English Country Dance Clubs (USA) or Folk Dance Clubs (UK) were originally published in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. What we do today are modern interpretations. In many cases, these interpretations differ, sometimes significantly, from how the dance might have been done originally. This is quite understandable - today's audience is very different from the original audience for whom the dance was written. What might have been very desirable then, eg doing nothing for a long time (except for having a chance to talk to one's partner unchaperoned), would be considered boring today. Sometimes, however, a 'correct' interpretation is required. Perhaps for a period ball. Perhaps in a play or a film where great attention has been payed to getting other historical details correct in the music, language, clothing, mannerisms, etc.

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