Learn English country dancing at St. Paul's in Bloomsburg

Participants in English country dancing classes at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Bloomsburg go through their steps under the watchful eye of their instructor, Deacon Jim Jenkins. 

If you like square dancing or contra dancing, you might like the dance form where those dances originated — English country dancing.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Bloomsburg is offering classes on English country dancing on Friday evenings at the church, located at East Main and Iron streets.

The sessions are from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Drop-ins are always welcome, said Deacon Jim Jenkins, the class instructor.

According to information Jenkins provided, English country dancing, or ECD, dates back to at least the 1500s, and the earliest books with dances and music date to the mid-1600s.

He noted ECD is constantly evolving. New dances are being written every year.

According to Jenkins:

Most of the steps involve three or more pairs of dancers. The dancers dance a set pattern in which the pairs interact with both each other and with the other pairs. There are literally thousands of dances.

Most are danced in what is called a longways set where two lines of dancers face each other; however, there are also circle dances, square dances, and single line dances.

The patterns range from the simple to the intricate.

English country dancers dance to a variety of music, such as classical, folk, opera and other forms. 

Jenkins noted the dance is not complicated, but the most important thing to remember is that it’s fun. 

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