Dances for Four

Cuckolds all a row.

This is a dance for two couples facing each other. Note that the music on this tape is too short for the dance as described. (re-check this???)
Chorus 1:
Lead up and back a double left to meet,
Repeat.
Verse:
Back to back with your opposite,
Repeat the other side,
Repeat the above with your partner.
Chorus 2:
Sides left with your partner,
Repeat with your opposite.
Verse:
Lords change places (one double),
Ladies change places (one double),
Hands all and go round to your places (two doubles),
Repeat the above with the ladies starting.
Chorus 3:
Arms left with your partner,
Arms right with your opposite.
Verse:
Take both hands of your opposite,
(This bit is wrong!) Back to back with the other couple ending on the other side of the couple (two doubles),
Men cast off to their right and their ladies follow (two doubles),
Repeat.

Hearts Ease.

This is a dance for two couples facing each other.
Chorus:
Forward and back a double left to meet,
Repeat.
Verse:
Back and forward a double with your contrary,
Turn your contrary,
Repeat with your partner.
Chorus 2:
Side with your partner,
Side with your contrary.
Verse:
As before.
Chorus 3:
Arm with your partner,
Arm with your
Verse:
As before.

Rufty, Tufty. (from Playford)

This is a dance for two couples facing each other. Note that the music on this tape is different to the music on the Lochac dance tape so the two dance versions are also different. (See "Dances for as many as will" below for the Lochac version.)
Chorus 1:
Lead up and back a double left to meet,
Repeat.
Verse:
Set and turn single left,
Repeat on the right foot,
Turn around so you hold your partner with the left hand forward a double left,
Turn around forward a double right to your own place, holding other hands,
Turn single left,
Take your corner and go up/down a double right,
Turn around and double left to your own place,
Turn single right.
Chorus 2:
Sides all left,
Repeat.
Verse:
as before
Chorus 3:
Arms all left,
Arms all right.
Verse:
as before
Points of Style.

When turning around: (drop hands and) turn in the direction of your current partner (it's impolite to show them your back).


The Spanish Jeepsie.

Even though this dance says it is for eight, the music and description seem to indicate that the dance is done by groups of four. I have seen it dances by long lines of people in groups of two couples.

This description is for two couples behind each other facing the front of (up) the hall.

Chorus 1:
Lead up and back a double left,
Repeat (end facing your partner).
Verse 1:
Turn out to double left away from your partner,
Double right back on the same path to your places,
Back-to-back left,
Back-to-back right,
Double left (forwards) to your corner,
Double right (backwards) to your place, (end facing your partner)
Turn out to double left away from your partner,
Double right back on the same path to your places,
Back-to-back left,
Back-to-back right.
Chorus 2:
Sides all left,
Repeat.
Verse 2:
Turn out to double left away from your partner,
Double right back on the same path to your places,
Back-to-back left,
Back-to-back right,
Double left (forwards) to your corner,
Double right (backwards) to your place,
Turn out to double left away from your partner,
Double right back on the same path to your places,
Take hands all and go left for eight slip steps,
Go right for eight slip steps.
Chorus 3:
Arms all left,
Arms all right.
Verse 3:
Turn out to double left away from your partner,
Double right back on the same path to your places,
Back-to-back left,
Back-to-back right,
Double left (forwards) to your corner,
Double right (backwards) to your place,
Turn out to double left away from your partner,
Double right back on the same path to your places,
Right hands across and go left for eight steps,
Left hands across and go right for eight steps.
Variation in the verses

In each verse after doubling to your corner and back "Turn out and double away from your corner" instead of your partner.

Points of Style.

At the end of the Back-to-backs end facing your corner.

At the of the forwards and back from your corner face your partner.


Dances for Six

The Beggar Boy.

This is a dance for three couples behind each other facing up the hall.
Chorus 1:
Lead up and back a double left,
Repeat the above on the right foot.
Verse 1:
First and third couples double to to wall (away from your partner)
while second couple double to meet,
Double right back to your place,
Men Hands all and go half round,
the women do the same at the same time (the set is now reversed),
Repeat the above ending back in your places.
Chorus 2:
Sides all left,
Repeat.
Verse 2:
First and third double left to meet then double right to change places
while second couple double left back and forward to meet,
First and second couple Hands all and go around
while third couple set and turn single,
Repeat.
Chorus 3:
Arms all left,
Repeat. (for some reason you change hands but not feet.)
Verse 3:
Back and forward a double,
Do half a hay (i.e. reverse the order of the set),
Repeat.

Grimstock.

This is a dance for three couples behind each other facing up the hall. In this dance the dancers do a number of variations on a mirror hay.
Chorus 1:
Lead up and back a double left,
Set and turn single left,
Repeat the above on the right foot.
Verse 1:
In 4 doubles do a mirror hay with the first couple going first between second couple and outside third couple.
Chorus 2:
Sides all left,
Set and turn single left,
Repeat the above on the right foot.
Verse 2:
All hold both hands with your partner. Doing slow slip steps first couple go under second couple, over third.
Third couple then go over second.
Repeat this back to your places. You have sixteen beats to do this in.
Chorus 3:
Arms all left,
Set and turn single left,
Repeat the above on the right foot.
Verse 3:
Do a mirror Hay with the first couple crossing over to the others side. That is, second and third couples do a three person hay as in the first verse. Meanwhile the first couple change places and join the hay on their partners side, crossing back to their own side when they get to third place. See diagram.

Grimstock (Elspeth Penrhiner version)

The differences between this interpretation of the dance and the last interpretation are in the verses. The whole interpretation is given here.
Chorus 1:
Lead up and back a double left,
Set and turn single left,
Repeat the above on the right foot.
Verse 1:
First double - first couple change places with second couple, going between the second couple;
Second double - first and third couple change place, with first couple going outside third couple;
Third double - first and third couple change place, with first couple going outside third couple;
Fourth double - first couple change places with second couple, going between the second couple.
Chorus 2:
Sides all left,
Set and turn single left,
Repeat the above on the right foot.
Verse 2:
First couple double down under an arch formed by the second couple while second couple go to first place,
Third couple double up under an arch formed by the first couple while first couple go to third place,
Third couple double down under an arch formed by the first couple while first couple go to second place,
First couple double up under an arch formed by the second couple while second couple go to second place.
Chorus 3:
Arms all left,
Set and turn single left,
Repeat the above on the right foot.
Verse 3:
Do a mirror Hay with the first couple crossing over to the others side. That is, second and third couples do a three person hay as if couple one were doing the same as them. Meanwhile the first couple change places and join the hay on the other side. See diagram.

Jenny Pluck Pears. (from Playford)

This dance is for three couples in a circle, although it can be danced with as many as will. Before you start number each couple as 1, 2 or 3 around the circle.
Chorus 1:
Hold hands in a circle and do two doubles to your left (end facing your partner),
Set and turn single left,
Hold hands in a circle and do two doubles to your right,
Set and turn single right.
Verse 1:
First man set his woman in the middle with her face to him (this takes four beats),
Second man set his woman,
Third man as much,
Honour all (i.e. everyone reverance to their partner),
Men walk around the women for 16 beats going left showing off (graceful reverences to each lady, "strut", or some such) and ending in front of your partner,
Turn around and walk for sixteen beats right to your own place showing off in a similar/appropriate manner.
First man get his woman from the middle to his side (this takes four beats),
Second man take his woman,
Third man as much,
Honour all (i.e. everyone reverance to their partner).
Chorus 2:
Sides all left,
Set and turn single left,
Repeat the above on the right foot.
Verse 2:
Same as Verse 1 except the women place their men in the middle and walk around.
Chorus 3:
Arms all left,
Set and turn single left,
Repeat the above on the right foot.
Verse 3:
Same as Verse 1.

Jenny Pluck Pears, a la Lochac (from Margaret Mullings?)

This dance is for three couples in a circle, although it can be danced with as many as will. Before you start number each couple as 1, 2 or 3 around the circle.

This version is much more energetic that the other version.

Chorus 1:
Hold hands in a circle and slip left for eight,
Slip right for eight,
Slip left for eight,
Slip right for eight.
Verse 1:
First man set his woman in the middle with her face to him (this takes four beats),
Second man set his woman,
Third man as much,
Honour all (i.e. everyone reverance to their partner),
Men slip left for 16 showing off,
Men slip right for 16 back to their places,
First man get his woman from the middle to his side (this takes four beats),
Second man take his woman,
Third man as much,
Honour all (i.e. everyone reverance to their partner).
Chorus 2:
As chorus 1.
Verse 2:
Same as Verse 1 except the women place their men in the middle and slip around.
Chorus 3:
As chorus 1.
Verse 3:
Same as Verse 1.

Upon a Summers Day.

This is a dance for three couples behind each other facing up the hall. Upon a Summers Day was taught to the St. Aldhelm’s dance class and at the CREMS Renaissance dance classes within weeks of each other.
Chorus 1:
Lead up and back a double left,
Set and turn single left,
Repeat the above on the right foot.
Verse:
Take hands down your line, (i.e. all men, all women)
Double left to meet your partner,
Double right back to your place,
The third and second person on each side make an arch with their hands while the first couple turn out, go under the arches and join the end of the line (you have 8 beats to do this in),
Repeat the above until you are back in your original order (i.e. three times in all).
Chorus 2:
Sides all left,
Set and turn single left,
Repeat the above on the right foot.
Verse:
Chorus 3:
Arms all left,
Set and turn single left,
Repeat the above on the right foot.
Verse:
Points of Style.

On the last turn of each Chorus move slightly away from your partner so you have room to double to meet in the Verse.

Take smaller steps for the last double back in the Verse this makes it easier to do the next Chorus since you are nearer your partner.

In the Verse when you have gone under the arches
1) touch hands with your partner as you come out of the arches, and
2) do not turn your back on the person you are going round.
Variation for a small space. In the second Verse the third couple move first.


Dances for Eight

Nonesuch.

This is a dance for four couples in a line.
Chorus 1:
Lead up and back a double left to meet,
Repeat,
Set and turn single left,
Repeat to the right.
Verse:
.
Chorus 2:
Sides left,
Repeat,
Set and turn single left,
Repeat to the right.
Verse:
.
Chorus 3:
Arms left,
Arms right,
Set and turn single left,
Repeat to the right.
Verse:
.

Dances for as many as will

The Fryer and the Nun.

This dance is for as many couples as want to dance. It is done in a long ways set facing the top of the hall. Many of the long ways dances are processional. In this dance you do stay with your partner but you never get to touch them. I have modified the dance so that almost everyone is dancing most of the time. It appears from Playford that if, for example, 30 couples were dancing this dance only 2 couples would be doing something at any one time.

Before starting number each couple as 1 or 2, starting from the front.

Chorus 1:
Lords forward a double and turn single to ending facing the way you came,
Ladies likewise,
Ladies double back to your place and turn single to end facing the front of the hall,
Men likewise.
Chorus 2:
Men fall back (from your partner) a double and turn single (end facing in to the set),
Ladys likewise,
All, double to your place, (DL)
All, double to your partners place, (DR passing left shoulders)
Couple 1 and 2 change places, with one double left,
All change places with your partner.

(You should now have progressed one place. If you are doing this as a progressive dance, this verse is repeated until the first couple is back at the head of the line. When a couple 2 is at the head of the line, they miss one round and then come in as a couple 1. Similarly when a couple 1 reach the end of the line they miss a turn and come in as a couple 2.)

Chorus 3:
Men (couple 1 and 2) take both hands and change places,
Women likewise,
All double sideways into the set to meet your partner,
Turn single,
Take hands in a ring and go half around,
Turn single,
Hands across and go half around,
Turn single.

If this is being done as a progressive dance this is repeated until the first couple is back at the top of the dance.


Halfe Hanikin.

This dance is for as many couples as want to dance. It is done in a long ways set facing the top of the hall. Many of the long ways dances are processional. In this dance you do not stay with your partner but get to dance with everyone.
Chorus:
Forward and back a double left,
Repeat,
Side with your partner,
Turn your partner.
Progression 1:
First man ends the turn on the right of the women's line and misses one round,
All the people on the men's side move up one partner,
And the last lady moves to the left of the men's line and misses one round.
Progression 2:
First man comes back in on the ladys side,
All the people on the ladys side move down one partner,
And the last lady comes in on the men's line.
Variation

As the lady and lord step out they hurry to the head/end of their line and join in on the progression. This way you are always dancing with the opposite gender.


Major Sources:-

The following are all secondary sources for the dance steps and music.

Books

John Playford's "The English Dancing Master" 1651
Edited by Hugh Mellor and Leslie Bridgewater
Dance Books Ltd, London, 1984

Magazine

The Letter of Dance
Edited by Mark Waks (I said this document was old)

Musical Recordings

After each tape or CD is a list of some of the dances to be found on them.
"Country Dances"
The Broadside Band
directed by Jeremy Barlow
on the "Harmonia mundi" label HM40.1109 (tape)

Contains
The Spanish Jeepsie
Rufty, Tufty
Upon a summer's day
Grimstock
Jenny Pluck Pears

Only side one of the tape contains full dances the other side has only fragments of dances and is aimed at musicians. This gives ten dances to interpret or give variations on. We have interpreted 7 dances, one, "The Fryer and the Nun", is played too fast to be danced (we recorded our own music based on the arrangement in "Early Playford for Early Instruments - English Country Dances arranged by Marshall Barron"). Another, "Bobbing Joe" is too slow and is not included in this manual.

"Danses Populaires Francaises"
The Broadside Band
directed by Jeremy Barlow
on the "harmonia mundi France" label HMC 901152 (CD)

Contains
The simple branles - double, simple, gay & de Bourgogne
Three of the cutte branles - Cassandra, Pinagay, and Charlotte
"Jouissance vous donneray" - the known world bassa danse and tourdion
Grimstock
Upon a summer's day
The Spanish gypsy
Rufty, Tufty

"English Country Dances"
The Broadside Band
directed by Jeremy Barlow
on the "Saydisc" label CD-SDL 393 (CD)

Contains
Cuckolds all in a row
Newcastle
Beggar boy
Picking of sticks
Gathering Peascods

"Airs Populaires Anglais DU XVIIe Siecle - Popular tunes in 17th Century England"
The Broadside Band
directed by Jeremy Barlow
on the "harmonia mundi France" label HMA 191039 (CD)

Contains
Cuckolds All in a Row
Merry Milkmaids We
Newcastle
Parson's Farewell

"The Tape of Dance Vol. 1"
Being a collection of music for dancing, to accompany the dances described in the first volume of "The Letter of Dance".
This tape can be copied as long as the acknowledgments are also copied.
Contains
Black Nag
Juice of Barley
Hole in the Wall
Hyde Park
Parsons Farewell (slow and quick versions)
Return of Spring

Music

John Playford's "The English Dancing Master" 1651
Edited by Hugh Mellor and Leslie Bridgewater
Dance Books Ltd, London, 1984

"Early Playford for Early Instruments" Books 1, 2 and 3
arranged by Marshall Barron

"A Country Dance Companion"
from the Monaro Folk Music Society's Dance Series,
December 1987 to November 1991
Compiled by John Garden
Contains
Gathering Peascods
Grimstock
Hole in the Wall
Mayden Lane
The Merry Milk Maids
Newcastle
Nonesuch
Picking of Sticks
Rufty, Tufty.