Old Dominion Dance is the only English Country Dance group in Omaha, Nebraska. We strive to create an opportunity to dance for those who are “Immoderately fond of dancing.”

Old Dominion Dance began in December of 2009 with the purpose of providing family friendly social dances for our community. When we started dancing in 2009, we had only a one CD and no microphone! Our focus is primarily on historical English Country Dances. Our name, “Old Dominion Dance” is a reference to the roots of English Country Dance (ECD), that emerged in medieval England and advanced through the Renaissance.

ECD History

English country dance is a technical art form that has been around for hundreds of years. Adam and Eve probably danced with their kids! The Bible talks about dancing as the opposite of mourning. Some of our earliest written resources for ECD are the works of John Playford, 1623-1687. Playford was a printer who published music books, Psalters, and dance books. Apparently one of the best known and widely used English music publishers of his day. He published “The English Dancing Master”, a collection of dance tunes and instructions which is still one of the most available original ECD resources. Many of the dances are suspected to be much older than Playford’s 1651 book, and he was simply the first person to collect and commit them to paper, though it does seem like ECD came more into popularity as society moved out of the renaissance and away from the formal, just-for-show type of dancing then seen in court.

By the American Revolution ECD was starting to go out of style, though it is well known George Washington loved a country dance. People moved on to quadrilles, an early form of square dance, and then to ballroom dances-waltzes, polkas, etc.

Then in 1911 an English music teacher named Cecil Sharp(1859-1924) founded the English Folk dance society, and ECD started coming back into style as a social activity. ECD seems to have held steady since then, with revivals happening during the 1970’s hippie movement, and the rise of homeschooling in the past twenty years.

People continue to choreograph new English country dances, but unless you have regular access to the new sheet music and a band, it’s much harder to use new dances. New dances also tend to be more stylistic and slow, I’m guessing because they’re being composed by older people. Other influences on our dances include Scottish country dance(Gay Gordon), and Irish Ceilidh(Waves of Tory).

The dances are organized and called by our faithful dance callers.

Monthly Events:

Our monthly events are held on Friday evenings in Omaha, Nebraska. Our events usually take the form of informal, just-for-fun dances, with a few formal events annually. (What is the difference between a formal and an informal dance?) Drinks are provided.

There is no alternate room for younger children, so all children must stay in the basement. We have observed children under the age of ten can have a hard time following the instruction: parents are welcome to bring their children so long as they are able to listen, observe, and participate.

Doors open at 6:30pm, dancing starts promptly at 7, and generally ends around 9. You can see the dates for future events here.

We were blessed to have been renting St. Mark’s Gym since August of 2012. Due to various reasons in 2020 we had to find a new permanent location. We have been grateful to be meeting in the basement of Northwest Hills Church, 9334 Fort St, Omaha, since 2021.

Cost to Attend:

Cost to attend an informal dance is $3 per person or $15 per family.

Cost to attend a Formal dance is $7 per person, or $35 per family, to be paid at the door by cash or check.

Old Dominion Dance is a volunteer-run, board-led, independent organization, unaffiliated with any church or group. We are not a registered 501 c3, though we make no personal monetary profit from Old Dominion Dance.

For regular updates, follow our Facebook page.

To be added to our email list or to contact us with any questions, email us at olddominiondance@gmail.com

2 thoughts on “About OldDD

  1. I’m not seeing any “donate” or “contribution” link.

    I watched all you have on youtube, and this is great work, deserving of public support.

  2. I’ve been participating with with Scottish Country Dance with the Scottish Society of Nebraska. I’m going to try to make it on 2/17 and check this out. Looks like fun.

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