English Country Dancing: Rooted in the Past, Dancing into the Future – York University – June 17-18, 2010


The Graduate Program in Dance Studies at York University is pleased to be hosting “English Country Dancing: Rooted in the Past, Dancing into the Future”. We look forward to welcoming a host of international scholars from various disciplines to Toronto. Our theme is the connecting of worlds: community dance, academia, and independent research. They have a great deal to offer one another and we hope that the conference will help each enrich the other through a stimulating and enjoyable meeting-place. Members of the general public and dance community are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Our keynote speakers hail from both sides of the Atlantic: Daniel Walkowitz of the United States and Colin Hume of England. Daniel teaches History and Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University, and has been an English Country Dancer, teacher, performer and researcher for decades. He is also a regular caller with CD*NY. He is the author and editor of several books, including Working with Class: Social Workers and the Politics of Middle Class Identity and Contested Histories in Public Space: Memory, Race, and Nation. His latest, City Folk: English Country Dance and the Politics of the Folk in Modern America, was published by NYU Press this spring.

Colin Hume is one of the world’s most highly regarded English Country Dance choreographers and callers. A musician and composer as well, he has a string of books to his credit – Playford reconstructions and many original compositions – and has called at festivals, weekends and dance camps in many countries including the United States, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands. Known for his strong opinions and detailed approach, Colin will be both participating in the conference and leading the event that immediately follows it, A Weekend with Colin Hume and Foxfire, in downtown Toronto (June 18-20th).

We have an exciting range of international speakers (from Canada, the US, Australia and Northern Ireland), all of whom combine practice and research in some way.

The papers cover both temporal and geographical areas, including community dance in today’s world, Morris, and contemporary and oral history, as well as 17th- through early 19th-century history. All show the wealth of current research in this exciting field, as well as potential for future investigation.

The conference will also feature hands-on workshops and an informal social dance on Thursday evening. 

Special guest Daron Douglas, renowned dance fiddler and composer, will teach an advanced music workshop and lead the band on Thursday night.

Daron is a fiddler in the American and English dance traditions. Classically trained, she also brings a rich repertoire of songs from her great-grandmother, who was one of Cecil Sharp’s informants in the Appalachian mountains. She plays with the dance bands Foxfire and Goldcrest. Daron has been on staff at CDSS dance camps, Ashokan, and the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina.  She now lives and plays music in New Orleans.   For more information on Foxfire and their first recording, click here.