Selected dances from the 11th Chestnut Costume Ball / Cécile Laye & Brad Foster

Saturday, April 10, 2021

19h00 (Paris Time) / 6.00 pm (London Time) / 1:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (10:00 a.m. Pacific Time)


As part of New London Assembly / AEM Week-End Online ClassesAmherst Early Music, largest presenter of Early Music workshops in North America :

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Selected Dances from the 11th Chestnut Costume Ball

with Cécile Laye & Brad Foster


Chestnut 11ème bal en costume

Cécile Laye and Chestnut have prepared a number of practice videos for their next Ball. This workshop will cover most of the dances in those videos and will add additional instructions. Dances presented will be selected from the historic dances Punk’s Delight, Parson’s Farewell and Staines Morris, all from the 1st edition of Playford in 1651, plus the modern dance Preston Almaine by Brian Wegbury. The workshop will include further discussion on dance steps and Cécile’s interpretations. The videos we cover are also separately available for sale from Chestnut.



Chestnut Cécile Laye

Cécile LAYE is CHESTNUT’s artistic director.

She studied old dance forms in England with the Dolmetsch Historical Dance Society,  Nonsuch History and Dance and EFDSS (English folk Dance and Song Society). She worked in particular under such famed teachers and researchers as  Anne Daye, Anne Cottis, Peggy Dixon, Ethyl Anderson, Marjorie Fennessy, Tom Cook and Alan Davies. In France she studied with Francine Lancelot, Andréa Francalancci and Barbara Sparti.

At the end of the eighties, she founded AMARILLIS, a dance company meaning to bring to the public figure dances of the Stuarts’ time and the English inheritance, as well as some aspects of history and literature, with the collaboration of musicians and singers. AMARILLIS was replaced by CHESTNUT in 1998. CHESTNUT took over its predecessor’s artistic activities (creating dance and theatre shows), its teaching (preparing dancers for Balls through a rich program of workshops and classes) and its publication ones (CDs, dance descriptions, articles on Playford and modern dances).

Over the years, Cécile LAYE has build up a strong experience as a dancing master and ball caller (French Renaissance balls/ English figure dances balls, or a mixture of both). She can pass on her taste for and pleasure in elegant dancing to beginners as well as seasoned dancers.

Besides her activities in the field of dancing, Cécile Laye studied dramatic art and staging, graduating at Cours Florent. She also graduated at Eva Ruchpaul’s Yoga Institute and the Paris school of Gestalt-therapy. She played Shakespeare, Molière and Marivaux in Paris and elsewhere in France and takes part in creating new plays and shows, for children in particular.

She draws on both sides of her extensive training, physical and artistic, to develop her teaching method.

Her constant aim is to understand the needs of a given group and of each person making up the group, to build up a class so that each person gradually understands the dance, becomes aware of his/her body and its expressive capacities, be it during a lesson, a ball, or on stage.

For nearly 40 years, BRAD FOSTER has been calling and sharing his love of dancing with people of all ages. A caller of English country dances, contras and squares, Brad is known for his clear and concise teaching as well as his community building. Brad started country dancing while in high school in Pasadena, CA. Soon thereafter he started teaching, and has been at it ever since. Brad travels extensively, holding workshops throughout the U.S., Canada and overseas. A frequent staff member at many North American dance weeks and weekends, Brad is now Executive and Artistic Director Emeritus of the Country Dance & Song Society (CDSS) after serving for 28 years. 

Besides teaching, Brad runs New London Assembly, a week-long program in English dance that is part of the Amherst Early Music Festival; the New Home Ball, a historical-style English ball; and 1794 Meetinghouse, with a summer concert series and year-round community chorus. 

Amherst Early Music, Inc.

P.O. Box 229 Marilyn Boenau, Director
MA 02476 Arlington
United States


Organisation which organizes the yearly Amherst Early Music Festival read more read more


P.O. Box 229 Marilyn Boenau, Director
MA 02476 Arlington
United States