I dearly love to dance!

Let me teach you how to dance
Let me lead you to the floor
Simply place your hand in mine
And then think of nothing more

Let the music cast its spell
Give the atmosphere a chance
Simply follow where I lead
Let me teach you how to dance

-Miss Potter

Sigh. I wish I could dance like Ginger Rogers. She was amazing. And so was that dress of hers. Swoon. Just. Head over heels swoony. Enough about the dress. Enough swooning. I shall proceed.
Although I don't follow any lessons, can't tap dance (sad, that), don't have a dancing partner, don't have dancing shoes and am by no means professional, I can dance. A little. On my own.
That last paragraph sounded very self-pitiful, but never mind. I'm not sad about it or anything, it's just the truth. Truths sometimes sound sad. It's the truth. Ahem. Anyway, what kind of dances do I dance? Well, I dance English Country Dances. Yep. It's not something spectacular like Fred Astaire and his high-heeled, feathered partners. It's not like Gene Kelly and his breath-taking performances. Nope. It's a simple, pretty, fairly easy Regency ballroom dance style, and it's addicting. Seriously addicting.
I love dancing English Country Dances (I don't know why I'm Capitalizing All My Words), and I shall bore you by telling you which ones I can dance, which ones you can see in which movies, and how I taught myself.
Too low waistline. SIGH.
I always (I still do) loved watching the dance/ball scenes in movies. In Pride and Prejudice (1995) we have some lovely long ones - including the loved Darcy//Lizzy dance (Mr Beveridges Maggot) - and the little ones like those times when Kitty and Lydia roll the carpet away and dance with a few officers. In Sense and Sensibility, we have the packed, sweaty ball (not my favourite- it's over in a jiffy). In Wives and Daughters, we have some delicious waltzes. And in Gone with the Wind - when Rhett and black-garbed-Scarlett dance the Virginia Reel. Oh, and the sweet waltz in Sound of Music. All those ball-scenes. I love those scenes. Definitely my favourite scenes in movies - I could re and re-watch them.
Sigh. Sweetness.
Then I read about people learning how to dance such dances. I realised they were called 'English Country Dances' (goodness, was there once a time when I didn't know what those dances were called?) Then, thank goodness, I came across this very useful site and I watched the clips of random people dancing the dances. If you are one of those random people of the 'Old Dominion Dancers', I thank you with all my heart. Because that, people, by watching those little clips, is how I learnt (rather quickly- I flatter myself) how to dance many of the dances.
I started with 'The Comical Fellow', which is a very good one to start with. It has an extremely nice, catchy tune (here) and it's fairly easy. The dance is in 'Pride and Prejudice 1995' in the first dance assembly (in episode one) and is also played in one of the Northanger Abbey 2007 balls. This is probably one of my favourite dances. Is darling! They dance it in this gif:

In Northanger Abbey (2007), you can hear 'Lord Byrons Maggot' (also great fun to dance! It's rather similar to Comical Fellow) as Mrs Allen and Catherine come inside the crowded ball. Ironically, later, in another ball, when someone calls out 'Comical Fellow!' the 'Lord Byrons Maggot' tune is heard again. They thought no-one would notice, but I did. Haha.
Henry and Catherine also dance 'Upon a Summers Day,' but I haven't taught myself that one yet.

Then I tried some others. First, I learnt the ones that looked fairly easy. These include 'Juice of Barley' which is, I believe, in the Kate Beckinsale version of 'Emma', Lord Byrons Maggot, and 'Hole in the Wall,' which I will go in on a deeper level as it's one of my favourites. :D

'Hole in the Wall' is danced in Becoming Jane...

Wives and Daughters...

And in Emma (1996)

As this a slow, romantic, gentle waltz, it is often used in romantic important dancing scenes. It's one of those dances that can look all steamy and romantic, and sometimes they alter it in order to make it EVEN more steamy and EVEN more romantic. Oh me. In Becoming Jane, for instance. First, Jane and the tall blond guy dance it the right way. Then, Jane suddenly bumps into Tom Lefroy (this also, is one of the right dance movements.) But then, they have Tom and Jane walking down... and I'm like um, WHAT. This is not how the dance goes. They mushed it up and made the ending very... different. 

But anyway, 'Hole in the Wall' is a lovely dance, and not too hard.

Juice of Barley is another simple, very fun one. It is also danced in the 1996 version of Emma, and in the Cynthia flashback (Wives and Daughters)

Then we also have harder ones such as 'Shrewsbury Lasses' (otherwise entitled as the 'Other way Mr Collins!' dance) and 'the Laendler' (It's not an English Country Dance, but yet it's one which I'd love to learn- the 'Maria von Trapp waltz') and, of course...

 Ah and finally, of course, we have 'Mr Beveridges Maggot', which is the dance Lizzy and Darcy dance together - their first dance. Now, this one is rather tricky and I still don't have the complete hang of it. (Maybe this is because the Dominion Dance Website doesn't have one of their clear, good videos of it.)

I love it. The rhythm, the unique sound, the almost march-y effect, and yet ... it's romantic. Another version of this danced is danced in the Gwenyth Palrow version of Emma - it's Emma and Knightley's dance.

Now, just to end off this boring excessively diverting post, I shall show you some lovely Period Drama dancing-scene pictures. Because they are the best. I wish people had balls in Belgium. I wish people had balls like every week. Like instead of disco parties and all that rot.


 Dancing scenes are just the best. :-) I can't tell you how taken away I am by them. Swoon.
Do you like dancing?
Which English Country Dances can you dance?


  1. I took a tap-and-ballet class when I was in first grade,but I only remember a little. However, my family can fake it pretty good :D I love Gene Kelly dances and Donald O'Connor and Dick van Dyke... I haven't seen many Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, but I did see their roller skating one. LOVE!!!

    I learned the Virginia Reel when I was younger, and my friends and I loved dancing that. I really need to refresh myself!!

    Have fun!!!

  2. Isn't dancing the best!?! I know some Contra Dancing, which is like English Country Dancing but more fast pace. Plus I also know some basic Swing and how to waltz. I taught myself how to waltz and a few other basic ballroom steps on YouTube. Last year I took a Lindy Hop class (think fast pace swing dance), but since I haven't been able to practice it I've forgotten a bit of it.

    I don't get to dance every often (unless doing steps in the kitchen counts!), but I do enjoy it oh so very much. And all these photos are so delightful!

    Do you know what movie this photo is from? http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Tpa1BtaF17w/VDaXQwkaB5I/AAAAAAAAE5s/TwN_qeVvNMo/s1600/babb426e3c6039dfe0abd6f6b98efab2.jpg It look so pretty!

  3. Ashley,
    Wow! Is tap dancing hard? Could I like teach myself? I expect it can't be too hard as you learnt in first grade. :-)
    Ooh, yes, the Virginia Reel! It's danced in Gone with the Wind. :-)

    Oooh- waltzing and swinging-dances... sigh. Sounds lovely. Are Lindy Hop dances hard? They sound so nice. :-)
    The picture is from the movie 'Anna Karenina'. I haven't seen it, so I don't know how good it is. But you're right- it's very pretty indeed!

    ~ Naomi

  4. Naomi,
    It was a four week class, an hour a week, and I was able to pick it up pretty good. I did find it more challenging than other dances I've learned, though. :)

  5. I'm afraid, dear Naomi, that I do not like to dance. So sorry. Often in period films I wish they would do something other than dance, but I suppose that is how it was done...
    I do like tap dancing in films though. In 'Signin' in the Rain' I always wish I could tap dance like Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor. And of course the dances in 'Hello, Dolly!' are so well done and wonderful. Oh, and Ballet (But not that awful modern/contemporary/lyrical stuff). I LOVE ballet. I love to watch it, and took classes for quite a few years before I stopped. I now wish I had continued with them... But apart from that I'm simply Not A Musical Person, and I don't really go in for all that dancing stuff.
    Sorry if this is a rather negative comment on such a beautiful post... I loved those pictures! :)

  6. Oh, I love this!! I wish I knew how to dance like this! :-)

  7. Tap dancing's not that hard. I've heard you can make tap shoes if you tape quarters to the heels and toes of your shoes. Also, once you know the beginning steps, you can pretend that you know more than you do and fake it :D

  8. I absolutely love to dance English Country Dances! In fact...My older siblings taught them :)

    My favorite dance is "Barbarini's Tamborine"
    I also love "Duke of Kents Waltz".

    One of my brothers can dance (I think it was) "Comical Fellow" just like Mr. Collins :)


  9. I went to an English Country Dance on Saturday! We danced:
    -Mari's Wedding/another name I can't remember
    -A rectangle dance with 2 men and 4 ladies which I think is called Grimstock? Or maybe not
    -The Virginia Reel
    -A round dance that one of the dancers had written
    -The Duke of Kent's Waltz

    I think The Virginia Reel and the Duke of Kent's Waltz are my favourite!

  10. I simply ADORE the 'Hole in the Wall' dance. Definitely my favorite. *sigh*

    I know some of the ones you've mentioned, but some I've never heard of. Can I just say again how awesome it is that you've been able to pick these up on your own? I've gotten confused with people actually walking me through it, so I'm quite impressed with what you've done.

    OH, so many beautiful pictures of beautiful couples! The one of Fancy and Dick made me smile. Don't know exactly why, cause I don't like Fancy. But I like Dick. Maybe that's why.

    I love the dancing in Wives and Daughters-- it's some of my favorite dancing in period drama. And of course Emma too. And I LOVE the little dancing scene in Miss Potter in her bedroom, because it's just the two of them, and he's singing to her, and it's just so stinkin' romantic....*Emma swoons* Where was I again?

    Anyway, I enjoyed this muchly. And I can tell how much you really love dancing just by reading it. :-)


  11. Danielle,
    That's allright, dear - everyone, after all, is entitled to their own opinions. :-) Haha, I personally think the tapdancing scenes in some movies are a little *too* long. :-)

    Miss Elliot,
    I know! But you might be able to learn!

    Sounds easier than I thought!

    Heehee - no, the Mr Collins dance is 'Shrewsbury Lasses'. Oh, 'Duke of Kents Waltz' is a nice, simple and pretty dance... I love that one too. :-)

    Oh yes!! You went to dance! Oh the Virginia Reel is daaaaarling! I LOVE the Virginia Reel. Actually, I was just dancing that one, on my own. :-P

    Hole in the Wall is definitely romantic. *Sigh* Remember when you once put a clip up of Jane and Mr Lefroy dancing that one and asking what the name of the dance was? I was SO proud that I could answer that question - I remember my proudness vividly.
    Thanks honey, I love your praise and flatterings. It wasn't much. *waves hand cooly - tries not to blush*
    Hey, I love Fancy. I don't quite like Dick - the way he falls in love with Fancy in one second, just by seeing her in a distance is ridiculous. And the way he invites Fancy to the party by simple saying, 'Par-y' is rather ridiculous too. Anyway, am I upsetting you? I hope not! (and I think not:)
    Yeeees *long, dreamy, squealy sigh*. That was SO stinkin' romantic.
    Oh and the Wives and Daughters dance scenes - definitely the best ones. I can't tell you how aggravated I was not to find pictures of them. Pinterest is stupid. (Ahem. I take that back.)

    ~ Naomi

  12. So I see that this post was more than a year ago...but I must comment.
    I absolutely LOVE English Country Dancing, and finding anybody who equally adores ECD makes my day.
    I agree with you that Hole in the Wall is completely elegant and romantic. And Juice of Barley is one of my favorites, too! Mr. Beveridge's Maggot... <3 Have you ever done Jack's Maggot? A ton of fun.
    Too bad you live in Belgium and not the U.S.! (Not that Belgium isn't a lovely place to live, it certainly is.) My group dances monthly, and loads of fun ensue.
    I've been dancing for almost 7 years now, and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I can't count how many I've learned, but among them is: Duke of Kent's Waltz, Barbarini's Tambourine, The Virginia Reel, the Martha's Quadrilles, Red House, Jack's Maggot, Mr. Beveridge's Maggot, Ship's Cook(I believe they did it in Emma...but it's NOT my favorite), Postie's Jig, the Weaving dance(I don't know the official name, but it requires 6 couples, and it's deliciously complicated) The Scottish Polka, Hull's Victory.
    And I have about 6 of them tied for my absolute favorite. :D
    So this comment is by now ridiculously long(I think, it's hard to tell in this little box-thing) so I hope I'm not being boring or self-important.
    Anyway. Seeing this post made me so happy. Thank you for that. :)
    HOLY COW, It's amazing!!! I LOOOOOVE it!!!

    1. Wow, you do know a lot of dances! How impressive! I SO WISH I COULD FOLLOW DANCE LESSONS. Gosh, it's such a dream of mine - you're making me so jealous.(Hehehe.)
      I haven't danced for ages - but I think I still know quite a few. Jack's Maggot is not one of them, though. =)
      Thank you for commenting! I love it when people comment on my old posts. :-)

      ~ Naomi


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