Welcome to the online collection of the collected works of Charles Bolton, which is comprised of Retreads (interpretations of 17th and 18th century English dances) and the nine booklets of Charles’s original dances and tunes.
Charles worked on Retreads from 1985 to 2003. We are presenting the 2nd edition of these booklets, redesigned and rewritten so the presentation is clear, and with revised interpretations in some cases. In addition, we present two previously unpublished dances: Jack’s Health and The Happy Captive.
The booklets of original dances and tunes were originally published 1982 through 2005. The main index can be sorted by booklet name or dance.
All dances are © Charles Bolton and are published here with his permission. The dances and tunes may be printed for your own use, under Creative Commons license (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike: CC BY-NC-SA). This means:
- you must credit Charles Bolton and the CDSS Online Library;
- you may print and redistribute the dances, and build upon Bolton’s work;
- all new work must carry the same license, so any derivatives must also be non-commercial in nature.
Charles Bolton Biography
Charles Bolton was born in 1928 in the North East of England. His first contact with folk dance was at school but later, when living in London, he and his first wife joined the Harrow Folk Dance Club. He soon realized that he enjoyed calling as well as dancing, and eventually became interested in composing his own dances, which he tried out at the club.
His first dance, Dr. Vincent’s Delight (1983), has proved to be one of his most successful dances. Over the years, he has composed a large and varied miscellany of original dances and tunes.
In addition, he has researched nearly 100 dances from the 17th and 18th centuries, with the object of making these “Retreads” more accessible to dancers of the present day.
The Original Dances and Tunes of Charles Bolton
Charles Bolton is a prolific composer and choreographer for English country dancing. He has published nine volumes of original dances, some with original tunes and some with traditional music.
You may search by booklet name, or by the name of the dance. Each dance is presented with music, and the dance instructions. (Note that in some cases there may be multiple tunes or dances on a page).
Many dances now include music tracks, recorded by Peter Jenkins of Kafoozalum Country Dance Band. Many thanks to Linda Simans for arranging the conversion from cassette tapes; to Colin Hume for entrusting CDSS with the files; and especially to John Cornett for recording, separating, and renaming the tracks.
Click the blue music icons to listen to a tune in your browser. To download a tune, right-click (on a Windows computer) or Control-click (on a Mac), then choose Save File As.
- The Optimist (1982)
- More Optimistic Dances (1984)
- Not All My Own Work (1985)
- More of the Same (1986)
- Courtesy Turns (1989)
- Occasions (1989)
- People and Places (1992)
- What’s New (1995)
- Round Robin (2005)
- For Your Pleasure:
Bolton Original Dances Index
|The Band Wagon||5||5|
|The Edmonton Assembly||5||7|
|Nonsuch Cottage (original)||5||8|
|The Sixteenth of November||5||3|
|Courtesy Turns – Book Cover||5||cover|
|Courtesy Turns – Introduction||5||intro|
|Courtesy Turns – Index||5||index|
For Your Pleasure, Volume 1
For Your Pleasure, Volume 2
For Your Pleasure, Volume 3
For Your Pleasure, Volume 4
More of the Same
|The Ashford Anniversary||4||14|
|The Chairman’s Excursion||4||4|
|The Chairman’s Excursion – cont.||4||5|
|Mrs. Pomeroy’s Pavane||4||16|
|The New Year Rag||4||12|
|New Year Rag – cont.||4||13|
|Nick’s Maggot – cont.||4||9|
|The Plaster Cast||4||10|
|The Plaster Cast – cont.||4||11|
|Polygamy, cont. & Fair Exchange||4||7|
|More of the Same – Cover||4||cover|
|More of the Same – Introduction||4||intro|
|More of the Same – Index||4||index|
More Optimistic Dances
|The Felton Rag||2||3|
|Mr. Bolton’s Fancy||2||6|
|Nora’s Christmas Box||2||12|
|A Trip to Hengrave||2||4|
|More Optimistic Dances – Cover Page||2||cover|
|More Optimistic Dances – Introduction||2||intro|
|More Optimistic Dances – Index||2||index|
Not All My Own Work
|Again Sweet Richard||3||5|
|Love and Innocence||3||10|
|Terpsichore – music||3||7|
|A Toast to Gerry||3||4|
|Not All My Own Work – Cover Page||3||cover|
|Not All My Own Work – Introduction||3||intro|
|Not All My Own Work – Index||3||index|
|Beechen Grove’s New Hall||6||10|
|Dr. Vincent’s Delight||6||7|
|A Measure for Margaret||6||6|
|A New Broom||6||11|
|St. George’s Day (The Birthday of the Bard)||6||9|
|Wearside – music||6||5|
|Occasions Cover Page||6||cover|
|The Liberated Ladies||1||5|
|Silver Jig (Bring on the Dancing Searls)||1||8|
|Sue’s Fancy (The Real Needham)||1||9|
|A Trip to Mill Hill||1||6|
|The Optimist – Cover Sheet||1||cover|
|The Optimist – Index||1||index|
People and Places
|The Beggar’s Delight||7||9|
|The Beggar’s Delight – music||7||13|
|Cannock Chase – music||7||13|
|Hatfield House – music||7||14|
|Lanchester Larks – music||7||14|
|Manton Lane – music||7||16|
|Spring Wedding – music||7||15|
|Stately Manor – music||7||16|
|The Stratford Square||7||7|
|A Trip to Hexham||7||6|
|A Trip to Hexham – music||7||15|
|People and Places – Cover Sheet||7||cover|
|People and Places – Index||7||index|
|People and Places – Music Index||7||12|
|King For A Day||9||4|
|The 16th of November (2nd version)||9||8|
|A Southerly Breeze||9||11|
|St. George’s Day (The Birthday of the Bard) (2nd version)||9||9|
|Round Robin – Cover||9||cover|
|Round Robin – Index||9||index|
Charles Bolton's Retreads
Charles Bolton’s Retreads is a collection of interpretations of 92 English country dances from 17th and 18th sources, the majority from volumes of Playford’s Dancing-Master, plus selections from Johnson, Thompson, Walsh, Burbank, Griffiths, and Kynaston.
Each dance appears with music, the original dance instructions, Charles’s interpretations, and notes on interpretative decisions.
The dances are organized in nine volumes, plus two previously unpublished interpretations. You may search by volume number, by the name of the dance or by its number. The dances are numbered consecutively throughout the volumes, so at the top of each dance you will find an identifier, for example: Retreads No. 6 (for the sixth dance in volume 1 and so on, through No. 92).