Victoria English Country Dance Society

Callers and . . . Dance Calling


The Invitation


For any local dancer -- a dance calling Feedback Book has been placed in the hall. Please feel free to enter requests or timely feedback of any kind (a dance or figure really enjoyed, a presentation or teaching approach enjoyed, or one that left one confused or uncomfortable, it's all fodder)

One may also write the webmaster or speak with any caller to submit feedback

VECDS callers may suggest/request posting of material thought useful for this page. Send suggestion or material to the webmaster 

VicECDS Calling schedule - public

Caller events:
    Callers Dance Party    next Sat 24 Mar 2018 1400-1600 @ Schaus
    Caller meeting             next 01 Mar 2018 prior to social dance, 1845 (6:45 p.m.)

Music for VECDS callers

Dance info/indexes - lists, dance directions, video links

Local Resources - directions, books

Sound advice

E-mail messaging listserver

Music: When considering inclusion of a dance in one's program it is nice to ensure that our lovely musicians have the music available,  to support the dance and for their practise prior to the event

Please advise the band leader (Ann S.) of your program at least a week prior to the event you're calling, earlier is better. When calling on an Open Band evening (Fourth Thursday) please submit music two weeks prior to the evening

Some other callers also appreciate word of your program choices. 

Please advise the webmaster and mail list manager of your program as dancers have requested it posted to the web site and mailed

Music Formats

- For the webmaster and news list manager, only the date, caller and list of dance names are desired

- For band and callers there is no standardised format, and at it's most basic need be no more than the dance name, tune name if different from the dance, which Barnes vol. it is in, tempo (if known/available) and if it's NIB ("Not in Barnes")

Indian Queen, B1

however some examples of a program (for band,  or other callers) are below

Indian Queen                   L2    2/2    D                AABB    B1.57 / PB53
Hambleton's Round O    L3    3/2    [Am]Cm    AB          B1.47 / PB43            TDP-Am

or perhaps

Indian Queen                   DM    2/2    D                AABB    B1.57 / PB53
Hambleton's Round O    TM    3/2    [Am]Cm    AB          B1.47 / PB43            TDP-Am

These  are longways sets, duple & triple minor, time signature, musical key (in Barnes, other publications) [local key], music parts pattern, music for both is in Barnes I & The Playford Ball. HRO is on the second CD of The Dancehall Players, in Am.

Below is one possible entry for a Whole Set dance for 3 couples, longways, 2s improper

Mrs. Pomeroy's Pavane    3L(2i)    2/2    Gm  AAB    B1.82 / CDSS Ch. Bolton coll.

Mrs. Pomeroy's Pavane    3cpl long(2i)    2/2    Gm  AAB    B1.82 / CDSS Ch. Bolton coll.

VECDS holds copies of Peter Barnes books of music for ECD Vol. I & II, also The Playford Ball - 103 Early English Country Dances

Is the music in Barnes? Don't have your own copy of Barnes? Need an index to them? Elderly Instruments posts both book I & II indices. I keep a copy of them, in text form, on my own computer (for "off-line planning"! One can have the computer do word searches)

Some entries for country dance music show NIB, Not In Barnes. If it's not it's up to us to find it, check it with the band leader and then provide enough copies (5) for the first Thursday evening it is played. After that they'll be filed in the binder collection where we can look for them later. Please do that, vs printing and printing and re-printing that which is in there.

A new dance?

If you are calling a new-to-us dance/piece of music please provide the music to the band leader. A soft copy at least two weeks in advance, five hard copies the night of dance. Please check in our NIB collection of binders

It is a kindness to discuss what that piece may be, earlier than might be the case with familiar program material

Music for the Charles Bolton Collection, and Sheffield Collection, along with the dance directions are hosted at

Some music decoding tools:

The amazing Dolmetsch - Music Theory Online pages, much by Dr. Brian Blood, may prove useful. It is likely overkill for many callers, however there is a good coverage of musical keys (circle of fifths), time signatures, etc.

I use this Circle Of Fifths diagram quite a bit (found in a discussion about changing key signature at

Dance info:

A table of 500 dances with name, set format, key and tempoScott & Jenny's English Country Dance list. A local copy of this file annotated with our band's musical key annotations in square brackets

CDSS has books, many books. You may wish to check out the ECD offerings. They also have several on-line libraries of folk and country dance direction & music, many hosted at the Univ. of New Hampshire. One ECD oriented one is the The Dancing Master, 1651-1728: An Illustrated Compendium, by Robert M. Keller. It has dance direction entries with interesting coded figures. Others are the Charles Bolton Collection, and the Sheffield Collection, hosted at the CDSS site.

Collections of dances abound at the web sites of Colin Hume and Colin Wallace.

The Lambertville Country Dancers host a useful index of linked dance videos

If you're attempting to deduce what that dance or music in a popular film or show was try the Old Dominion Dance listing of English Country Dance in Film.

Our locally held collection of dance calling/teaching resources

VECDS holds copies of the following. Please submit any suggestions for inclusion in a future purchase, or information or material we hold that has been overlooked:

Dance sheet music:

The Barnes Book of English Country Dance Tunes ("Vol 1", "Blue Barnes")
Barnes Book of English Country Dance Tunes, Vol 2 ("Red Barnes")
The Playford Ball - 103 Early English Country Dances (uniquely contains historical context & directions, interpreted directions and music notation)
A large, six binder local collection of NIB music. This is only partially indexed. Barbara B. is the music librarian directions: (new material)

A Finite Set of Calculated Figures, Vol. 6 : A Set of Fifteen English and American dances, by Gary Roodman (x2)
A Number of Calculated Figures: Dances from Gary Roodman
The Apted Book of Country Dances
Dance and Danceability : A Programme of Dances Published in Jane Austen's Time
Dances from Barnes Two
Fast Friends: Gary Roodman Dances for Vol. 15 of the CDS Boston Collection
Multiple Calculated Figures: Dances from Gary Roodman
New Friends: A Second Selection of Dances from Gary Roodman< br> Old Friends: A Selection of Dances from Gary Roodman
Pat Shaw Collection, Book 3
Gift of a collection of dance books/directions & other material donated by David Gallop -  list  [PDF]

Calling notes:

Dances for a Crowded Hall : Self-Contained English Dances
Notes on Teaching Country Dance, by Bruce Hamilton

Dance music recordings:

Compact Cassette tapes:
A large collection donated by David Gallop - index [PDF], now searchable

CD format:
The Apted and Other Country Dances : EFDSS Archive Series #1 (set of 2 CDs)
The CDS Boston English Dance Collection, Vol. 1: Favorites (aka Bare Necessities, Boston Centre Dance Series)
The CDS Boston English Dance Collection, Vol. 2: More Favorites
The CDS Boston English Dance Collection, Vol. 3: Simple Pleasures
The CDS Boston English Dance Collection, Vol. 4: Modern Treasures
The CDS Boston English Dance Collection, Vol. 5: At Home
The CDS Boston English Dance Collection, Vol. 7: By Request
The CDS Boston English Dance Collection, Vol. 9: Strong Roots
The CDS Boston English Dance Collection, Vol. 10: New Shoots
The CDS Boston English Dance Collection, Vol. 12: The Playford Ball
The English Dancing Master, 2 CD set - EFDSS, formerly 4 LPs (PLA 1, 2, 3 & 4), Music: Orange & Blue, The Ranchers (donated to us by Diane)
Impropriety: Vol 1: English Country dances of Brooke Friendly and Chris Sackett 
Persons Of Quality: Farnickle Huggy, & Next of Kynaston (for Andrew Shaw dance reconstructions)

Caller shared resources:

A few local callers are quite willing to loan publications or recordings that someone may learn to call a dance or build a dance program. Look for a possible listing here this year, or ask/post on the caller mailing list


Stuck doing sound, along with calling? 1. Why? Get some help!, or 2. What is really required here?

Wondering how to respond to crys for change or soto voce suggestions that "Something is wrong", "We can't hear you", or the classic, "Turn it up."?

It's less likely an issue with volume, more likely frequency adjustment or more appropriate microphone handling or alignment is required, by you. Speak closely and clearly into it, speak along it's long axis, aka "Don't hold it like an ice cream cone."

A new microphone (and some sound board control info) tutorial provided by Trevor is available [PDF]

See Bob Mills' book All Mixed Up for some more ideas. Text for the revised ed. is freely available on-line, or for purchase from CDSS

Looking for some more technical info? Check out the Contra Sound (Contra SF) list/Group on Yahoo! (once a member one may search the useful material in the archives.)

Local dance  community "sound reinforcement" folks include Trevor I., Doug B., David C., Jeff M., David K., Alan L., Molly N., JD and others. Several have gear for rent or use

Dance Caller E-mail messaging list-server

Our collective "address book". It's info page may be found here. Subscribe there, go NOMAIL during a vacation, change your address and so on, all from that page. Links to the list adminstrators may be found there as well

If you're a caller and the above makes your eyes glaze and head spin, then just write the webmaster