Today I finally attended an English Country Dance at Cecil Sharp House. The two hours were really fun and accessible and friendly (it was the end of term Christmas special which may have helped too). People were really welcoming and it seemed pretty easy to pick up the basic steps (I think my dance training made this less scary) with a caller and obliging partners, although I imagine there are many refinements that take much longer to learn. I enjoyed the democracy of it – anyone can dance (I joined on the last day of term) or come along and play an instrument and choreographies are held and shared by the whole group. There seemed to be a charming process of asking people to partner so we switched around frequently. The group was generally older than me (mostly in their 60s I would guess) although there were about ten or so people in their 30s so it was pretty mixed by most standards.
There was also a dance called Byron’s Mallet which I though was amusing.