18th century dancers

Central Illinois English Country Dancers

What is ECD? Who are we? Our Schedule Our Email List Our Newsletter Dances Our Band FTWK Useful Files Other Links

Welcome to the Central Illinois English Country Dancers' home page

What is English Country Dance?

English Country Dance is the dance form that was popular in England and America in the 1600's, 1700's and early 1800's. It is one of the dance forms from which modern contra and square dance are descended. If you've seen any of the recent Jane Austen movies then you've seen this sort of dance. We also do some early American dances from the Colonial and Revolutionary War eras. Follow this link for more information.

Who are the CIECD?

The Central Illinois English Country Dancers are a group of local dancers who do English Country and Early American dances. We are affiliated with the Country Dance and Song Society and the the Urbana Park District and we hold monthly dances at the Phillips Recreation Center at 505 W. Stoughton in Urbana. (MAP) We also hold special dances twice a year, a Christmas Ball in December and a Playford Ball in June. In the summer we often have a pool party and dance in the water. Our dances are primarily social and recreational. All dances will be taught and we always have live music provided by our band, The Flatland Consort. Partners, costumes and experience are not necessary. Beginners are always welcome. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Some dancers like to dress in period costume at the balls. This can be fun and is encouraged, but is certainly not required. Admission at our regular monthly dance is typically $3.00. There may be a higher admission charge for special events.

In the spring we hold a special Weekend of Traditional Dance and Music in cooperation with the Urbana Country Dancers and the Illini Folk Dance Society. This is great opportunity for dancers in our area and we hope that everyone will make plans to join us.

Pictures from past dance weekends

CIECD Email List

To receive the latest news on CIECD activities you may want to subscribe to the CIECD email list. We have a Groups.io email list. Visit the list web site or subscribe below. Contact ciecd-list-owner@centralillinoisecd.org if you have any trouble with the list or if you wish to be invited to join the list.

CIECD on Facebook


Join us on our Facebook group

CIECD Schedule For 2019

Most of the dances are at the Phillips Recreation Center, 505 W.Stoughton, Urbana. We typically ask for a donation or $3 at our regular dances to help pay for the use of the hall. Special events may have a higher admission price.

CIECD schedule for spring 2019 to download and print (PDF - 87 KB)

July Sunday 14 English Country Dance 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. Phillips Recreation Center
August Sunday 11 English Country Dance 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. Phillips Recreation Center
September Sunday 8 English Country Dance
The first hour will feature an introduction to English Country Dance. This is a good opportunity to get started in ECD, or review the basics if you haven't been for a while.
2:00 - 5:00 p.m. Phillips Recreation Center
September Sunday 22 Dancing in the Garden
We will be meeting at the Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden by the Museum of the Grand Prairie in Mahomet.
In case of rain or excessive heat we will dance in the education center in the museum.
3:00 - 5:00 p.m. Botanical Garden
October Sunday 13 English Country Dance 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. Phillips Recreation Center
November Sunday 17 English Country Dance 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. Phillips Recreation Center
December Sunday 15 25th Annual Christmas Ball
The ball will include refreshments and carol singing
Suggested donation $7
2:00 - 5:00 p.m. Illini Union

CIECD Newsletter

CIECD Newsletter Back Issues

The Dances We Do

Lists of dances done at previous CIECD Balls

The Flatland Consort

Flatland Consort logo Our band is called The Flatland Consort. There are a wide variety of instruments in the band, from violins and piano, to flute and harp.

If you would like to hire the band to play for your event contact Tom Anderson at:




A Dance For Those Who Know

For the past few years we have been experimenting with including one dance at the Ball that is done without any teaching or calling. This is sometimes referred to as "For Those Who Know", that is those people who know the dance, or who are experienced and can easily pick up a new dance can join in. People do this all the time at contra dances and it is also possible to do this with English country dances. We do want to make our dances as inclusive as possible, so we will still be teaching all the rest of the dances at the ball, but it is also enjoyable to occasionally do a dance with no teaching or calling.

We will be doing the dance we have selected at each of our monthly dances this fall and then it will be done without teaching or calling at the Christmas Ball in December. The dance is fairly straightforward and will be quite accessible for anyone with even a modest amount of experience in English country dance.

The Northdown Waltz

Duple Proper Longways Waltz
A1 1st corners take right hands, balance forward and back (1-2),
Same two trade places, turning the ladies under (3-4),
2nd corners the same (5-8)
A2 Repeat to return to original places (1-8)
B 1ís lead down the center (1-4),
Lead back to 2nd place, 2ís leading up (5-8)
C Whole poussette CCW, 1st gent and 2nd lady pushing to start (1-8)

A video of some people doing this dance. Be aware that our local styling may be a bit different than that seen in the video. In particular we will be doing a full pousette at the end, rather than the waltz-around shown. However, this should give you a feel for how the dance fits the music and some ideas for how to make your own dancing elegant and graceful.

Northdown Waltz Video

Useful Files To Download

Other links of interest

For more information contact

Subscribe to the CIECD email list to receive schedules and special dance announcements.

For a related dance form try contra dance, traditional American country dance, with the Urbana Country Dancers. They do contras and squares which are the dance forms that English country dance evolved into here in America in the late 1700's and early 1800's.

For some additional variety you might want to check out the International Folk Dance Society. They do dances from all over the world.

The Central Illinois English Country Dancers is affiliated with the Urbana Park District and the

CDSS logo  

Country Dance and Song Society

CCCC logo  
and is a member of the Champaign County Cultural Consortium.

StudyWeb Award Our website has been awarded the StudyWeb Excellence Award

Central Illinois English Country Dancers' web pages are maintained by webmaster@centralillinoisecd.org, last update June 16, 2019