The steps used in the traditional Country Dance are few in number and simple in execution. When, in its later developments, the dance became popular in polite society, the usual steps, e.g., the chassé, assemblé, jetté, etc., were used, and taught by the fashionable dancing masters. But these steps do not properly belong to the traditional dance, though possibly they may originally have been derived therefrom. Country folk never point the toe, arch the leg, attitudinize, or affect a swaying or mincing gait. Movements of this kind are quite alien to the spirit of the Country Dance, which is one of rustic jollity and simple good humour rather than one of conventional elegance.

It may indeed be questioned whether the country dancer ever concerns himself, consciously at any rate, with the steps he is dancing. His interest and attention are absorbed in the figures, and in the execution of the progressive movement. This he shows in the extraordinary care he will take to keep his right position, to move in time with the music, and to begin and end each figure precisely with the opening and closing bars of the strain of music to which it belongs.

The normal Country Dance step is a springy walking step, two to each bar - executed by the woman with a natural, unaffected grace, and on the part of men with a complacent bearing and a certain jauntiness of manner, which is very difficult to describe, and which must, perhaps, be seen to be appreciated.

The galop, waltz and polka steps are occasionally used, and there are, in addition, certain steps which are prescriptive in particular figures. These will be indicated and, where necessary, described in the notation of the dances. It must be understood, however, that when no step is specifically mentioned, the normal walking step is to be used.

Some of the steps given in the music diagrams in the notation may, at first sight, look very similar to certain steps used in the Morris dance. The likeness, however is only superficial. The steps used in then Country Dance are performed very smoothly and quietly; the feet should slide where possible, and if raised, should not be lifted more than two or three inches from the ground; while the raised leg must never be thrust forward as in the typical Morris step.

Page transcribed by Hugh Stewart