Regency Week

Regency Week: Playford Dancing

The evening will start with a dancing workshop, followed by a break, then a chance to try the dances for real, part of Jane Austen Regency Week 2018

Trevor Dando will be leading this session of Playford dancing. The dancing session will include light refreshments at the interval.

This style of dancing predates the more formal dancing displayed at the Regency Ball, and is easier to learn and participate in. Although referred to as country dancing in their day, they were in fact dances of the educated society.

The origins of what is now known as Playford Dancing can be traced to 1651, when a music publisher called John Playford published ‘The English Dancing Master’. This was a book of brief instructions for a hundred dances. This book proved to be a success and a second edition was issued the next year, and a third three years later. Successive editions were published until 1728, with John Playford’s son, Henry taking over in 1684, and then John Young in 1709. Later editions ran to three volumes and over the years dances were added and dropped so that over a thousand distinct dances were published. Various other publishers got in on the act and books of country dances were published at frequent intervals through to about 1850. Throughout this time country dances were regarded as light relief from ‘real dancing’ and we get various letters and journals saying things like “and afterwards we set to and danced country dances till four in the morning” where it was clearly not worth going into details.

Although Playford dancing has its origins in the seventeenth century, the style of dancing continued to be published into the Victorian era, and was eventually picked by Cecil Sharpe in his series of country dance books. This led to the country dance revival and their continuation by members of the English Folk Dance Society.

Event Details


Saturday 23 June 2018, from 6.30pm until 10.30pm


Alton Assembly Rooms, High Street, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 1BA



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Regency Week

About Regency Week

The Jane Austen Regency Week is run on a non-commercial basis by a group of volunteers and participating organisations. It is funded through ticket sales, grants from Alton Town Council and East Hampshire District Council, and by advertisers in our programme.

Details of all Jane Austen Regency Week events are available on the website


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Event details may be subject to change.