by Graham Christian
In 2015, our Centennial year, CDSS will be publishing a major new collection of historical English dances. The Playford Assembly, a successor volume to 1990’s seminal The Playford Ball (CDSS, 1990) will gather 120 historical dances, edited for use by the modern dancer and dance leader. The Playford Ball, while remaining a crucial resource, is an indicator of the taste and repertoire of the English dance from the heyday of Cecil Sharp until the 1980s; in the years since, new interpretations have revived many more older dances. The new book will include dances which made their first appearance from the broad period 1650-1815. The majority of the dances will reflect popularity and perceived need, as some beloved dance interpretations have never been formally published, or are now in inaccessible or scattered publications. Christian, a dance historian, has convened a committee of advisors and, in consultation with them, has chosen the best versions of each dance, from among hundreds considered. Editorial material will include mini-essays, the history of English country dance in England and the United States as it pertains to the selection, aspects of the culture of the times in which the dances were first created (theater, fashion, politics, etc.), music, step work, and historical dance interpretation.
Graham Christian has a doctorate in 17th century English literature (UMass, Amherst 2012); Masters of Library and Information Science (Simmons College, 2011); Master of Theological Studies (Harvard University, Divinity School, 1991), BA, English and Classics (Swarthmore College, 1986). He is a dance historian, English dance leader, and musician. Until recently and since 1999, Graham was a columnist for Library Journal, writing on titles in spirituality and religion; 2005-2011 was adjunct faculty at the University of Hartford, teaching English literature and writing. Graham was Head, Monograph and Serial Acquisitions at Andover-Harvard Theological Library, at Harvard Divinity School, from 1989-1999.