pryanksters2.gif (100681 bytes) The Merrie Pryanksters

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The original inspiration for the version of English Country Dance as done by the Merrie Pryanksters can be found in the notations of John Playford's THE ENGLISH DANCING MASTER (see below).  This has evolved into its own living history and dance form.  Provided is a summary of the current Pryanksters dance repertoire:

  • Basics - calls and vocabulary for dance movements
  • Configurations - orientations and arrangements for various dance
  • Instructions - current notations of dances
  • Music - a summary of dance music notation
  • Words - many of our dances tunes are songs as well



Plaine and easie Rules for the Dancing of Country Dances, with the Tune to each Dance, by John Playford.

playford.gif (2795 bytes)

Editorial notes: In the following, the spelling and grammar reflects the original publication.  As such, it may seem strange, unusual, or just plain wrong - it isn't.
If Playford printed more that one name for a dance all the names are listed individually in the Table of the Dances below.
Comments by the editor, both here and on the dance pages, are enclosed by parenthesis ()

To the Ingenious Reader

The art of Dancing called by the Ancient Greeks Orchestice, and Orchestis, is a commendable and rare Quality fit for your Gentlemen, if opportunely and civilly used. And Plato, that Famous Philosopher thought it meet, that yong Ingenious Children be taught to Dance. It is a quality that has been formerly honoured in the Courts of Princes, when performed by the most Noble Heroes of the Times! The Gentlemen of the Inns of Court, whose sweet and ayry Activity has crowned their Grand Solemnities with Admiration to all Spectators. This Art has been Anciently handled by Athenaeus, Julius, Pollux, Caelius Rhodiginus, and others, and much commend it to be Excellent for Recreation, after more serious Studies, making the body active and strong, gracefull in deportment, and a quality very much beseeming a Gentleman. Yet all this should not have been an Incitement to me for Publication of this Worke (knowing these Times and the Nature of it do not agree) But that there was a false and surrepticious Copy at the Printing Presse, which if it had been published, would have been a disparagement to the quality and the Professors thereof, and a hinderance to the Learner: Therefore for prevention of all which, having an excellent Copy by me, and gentle censure of all ingenious Gentlemen lovers of this Quallity; not doubting but their goodnes will pardon what may be amiss, and accept of the honest Intention of him that is a faithfull honourer of your Virtues, and

Your Servant to command

J. P.

A TABLE of the Dances contained in this Booke

(A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z)


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Revised: 03/01/02