The Dancing Master's Ball


The Dancing Master's Ball

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 Saturday 13 January 2024


  At the Weston Library

  Free, booking required

Join the waiting list

About the event

Join us at the Weston Library for an evening of live music from The Warleggan Village Band and dancing led by Andrew Swaine, to celebrate the dances of Playford’s The Dancing Master.

What to expect

Music and dances

The dances you'll be dancing at the ball are taken from the various editions of The Dancing Master, starting with John Playford's The English Dancing Master of 1651. They'll use the original steps and music, although the music won't be historically accurate.

What to wear

Comfortable shoes are recommended! Blackwell Hall has a polished limestone floor, so please don't wear stiletto heels or dance in socks.

Dressing up is not required – this is an inclusive event. If you'd like to dress up, you're very welcome to do so. As a guide, the relevant time period is 1651 to 1728.   


We'll have a bar selling alcoholic and soft drinks. You're welcome to bring your own food, and we recommend bringing a bottle of water.

Dance experience

Beginners are welcome; no previous experience is necessary. You don't need to have attended any of our Playford dance workshops to come to the ball, although you may find it helpful!

If you'd like to try some dance steps yourself at home, our story about Playford's The Dancing Master includes video dance tutorials for 'Gathering Peascods' and 'The Indian Queen'.

We'll be running dance workshops on the following dates:

  • Sunday 5 November, 12–1pm (Blackwell Hall)  Fully booked
  • Sunday 19 November, 12 – 1pm (Blackwell Hall)  Fully booked
  • Thursday 30 November, 7 – 8pm (Cherwell School)  Fully booked
  • Wednesday 6 December, 7 – 8pm (Cherwell School)  Fully booked
  • Saturday 13 January, 3.30 – 4.30pm (Blackwell Hall)  Fully booked

All workshops are now fully booked, but you're welcome to come and watch the workshops in Blackwell Hall.

About the performers

The Warleggan Village Band

Richard Heacock (violin), Matthew Coatsworth (violin and concertina) and Chris Green (guitar) formed The Warleggan Village Band to play for dance sequences in BBC TV’s Poldark, and later in the hugely successful Netflix series Bridgerton. The band is renowned for its exceptionally inventive playing of English country dance music from Playford to Regency times, bringing joy and energy to dancers and listeners alike. 

As well as performing for The Dancing Master’s Ball, The Warleggan Village Band have provided audio examples of music displayed in our display in Blackwell Hall, The Dancing Master.

Andrew Swaine (caller)

Andrew Swaine is one of the most respected callers in the country, whether for ceilidh, American contra or Playford. His research into early Playford dances made him an obvious choice to lead dancers at our Playford Ball. Andrew runs Playford in the Pub, a monthly music and dance session held in The Shakespeare Pub in Sheffield. 

 Booking, tickets and cancellations

Booking for this event is via Eventbrite. When you have booked your place, Eventbrite will send you an automated confirmation.

We can only admit ticket-holders to the ball.

Maximum 2 tickets per person.

You can join the waiting list in case any spaces become available.

Join the waiting list

Ticket availability

If all tickets are booked,

If you're no longer able to use your ticket, please cancel it on Eventbrite as soon as possible. This will allow us to pass it to the next person on the waiting list.


Blackwell Hall, Weston Library, Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BG

 Wheelchair access

The Weston Library is wheelchair accessible.


The Bodleian Libraries Learning Programme is generously supported by The Helen Hamlyn Trust:

The Helen Hamlyn Trust logo

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