This page - currently under development -  describes common variations in the interpretations, reconstructions and local variations in dance choreography as depicted  in the videos list, Those recording most suitable for learning each variation will be marked with an asterisk*.  These will generally be videos in which the music and dancing are clear, the camera tends not to wander, showing at at least one full iteration of the dance in which dancers exhibit competence and grace. We begin with those dances for which there are the most videos

Auretti's Dutch Skipper
Black Heath aka Black-Healh, Black Healh, Blackheath
The Black Nag
The Comical Fellow
The Duke of Kent's Waltz
The Fandango
The Hole in the Wall
Indian Queen
Jack's Maggot
Jenny Pluck Pears
Juice of Barley
Mr Beveridge's Maggot
Parson's Farewell
Rufty Tufty
Sellenger's Round
Upon a Summer's Day
Well Hall

Next- tentative
Barbarini's Tambourine
Freeford Gardens
Knole Park
Mr. Isaac's Maggot
My Lord Byron's Maggot
Physical Snob, The
Ragg, The
Softly Good Tummas
Yellow Stockings

Mr. Beveridge's Maggot  (EDM 1695-1728)

[links to video list and tune]
A 3/2 tune in G minor with an A strain of 4 measures and a B strain of 8 measures.

Mr. Beveridge was an English dancing master plying his trade at the end of the 17th century and the early years of the 18th. This dance was written for and/or by him. The composer of the compelling music is unknown. There have been four major reconstructions of the dance.

Cecil Sharp apparently considered there to be insufficient music for the choreography as he interpreted it and so included a second B - allowing the line of four to move up and back 6 steps and to dance “go the Figure through “as a full figure of 8 by the 1's. This reconstruction was included in The Playford Ball (Keller and Shimer,1994) which included suggestions for how the 1’s move above the 2’s at the end of B1 and the need for some skipping steps in B2.  Pat Shaw’s reconstruction  honored the admonition to play the B strain once only by having the line of four advance but 3 steps and interpreting “go the Figure through” as a half figure of 8. The two reconstructions are essentially the same for the first 8 measures.

In videos reviewed to date, no first couple has successfully fit all the figures into the allotted A music. The figures choreographed for those 8 measures in the A’s seem to add to 9 measures:

Dancers have found one or more variations to save a beat. For example:

The choreography most often used in our video list was a TV version of the dance, now removed. The A figures consisted of a full right hand turn by the partners followed by a full left hand turn. This gives the protagonists plenty of face time for “conversation” with good camera angles, and it makes the dance a much easier challenge for relatively inexperienced dancers.

Colin Hume’s reconstruction is consistent with the original description and danceable to the music - all the parts fit together, an achievement resting on the interpretation of the “cross over” in A1 to mean “cross over and go below”.  Only one video demonstrates this reconstruction;. it does include both couples in the meet and turn single in A2 (the Hume reconstruction has just the 1's meeting and turning) - an embellishment added by Victoria Bestock to give the 2’s an added chance to get involved.

The Duke of Kent's Waltz (Cahusac, 1801)

[Links to video list and tune.]
A triple time tune in the key of G with an 8-beat "A strain" repeated and a 16 bar "B strain" played once in modern interpretations. The score indicates a repeat of the B strain but how that would now work is not clear.

The dance was published in William Maurice Cahusac’s “Twelve Favourite Country Dances… for the year 1801”. Copies of the book disappeared for a time until a copy was found  (without a cover ) and later identified, by Jacqueline Schwab in London, where she was assembling a bibliography of dance sources. The book is now apparently under lock and key

Prince Edward Augustus, (11/2/1767 - 1/23/1820) was the 4th of 6 sons of King George III.  He'd spent most of the 1790’s in Canada.. After a fall from his horse in 1799, he returned to England for convalescence and it was at that time he received the title "Duke of Kent". This dance commemorated his new title.   In 1817, at the age of 50, the Duke separated from his mistress of 28 years and married for the first time, joining a frantic family effort to provide a successor to his father since none of his 12 siblings had succeeded and the only heir apparent, Princess Charlotte, had died in childbirth. . The future Queen Victoria was born the following year; Edward died of pneumonia 8 months later, a week before the death of his father.

There are 3 identified constructions of this dance as well as a few variations for which the sources are unknown


The Hole in the Wall (EDM 1698)

[Links to video list and tune.]

A  tune in G minor with a repeated  "A strain" of 4 measures followed by a single "B strain" of 8 measures. Its signature is 3/4 in Playford and  scored as 3/2 in "The Barnes Book of English Country Dance Tunes".  Depending on the musician's interpretation,  it may be danced with a waltz step emphasizing the first beat or without  the emphasis 

This is quite a simple dance on its face - 16 bars in which the 1's and then the 2's cast and lead through back to  place. 1st corners cross then 2d corners cross followed by all hands around half way and the 1's cast as 2's move up.   When danced at all but the quickest tempos, there seems to be too much music for the Playford notation  and that may have been the key factor in generating a number of reconstructions/ interpretations:

While the track for the cast and lead up might be lengthened in order that what might be danced in 4 steps can be accommodated in 6 steps, the corner cross can be harder to manage.  How that was accomplished in 1698 is left to speculation - the instructions above, taken from the 12th edition of Playford (1703),  would not be expected to note more than the essentials  The Berea dancers demonstrate that a simple head bob here and there may be sufficient. 


Gathering Peascods (EDM 1651)

[Links to video list and tune.]

A  4/4 (or 2/2) tune in the key of G (Playford) or A (Barnes)  with three parts -  each part having repeated 6- measure  A and B strains plus a repeated 8-measure C strain.  One time through takes 240  beats.   

Cecil Sharp reconstructed the dance in 1911.

The Comical Fellow (Thompson, Twenty Four Country Dances for the Year 1776)

[Links to video list and tune.]

The original dance music was a  6/8 tune in the key of D with a 4 bar A strain  and 12 bar B strain each repeated -  for a total of 32 beats.   What we see in the videos is a number of stylistic variations  based on a reconstruction by W.S  Porter, Marjorie Heffer and Arthur B. Heffer in their work, The Apted Book: "Twenty-four Country Dances from the Last Years of the Eighteenth Century with Tunes and Instructions" published in 1931  The music is expanded from 32 to 40 bars by doubling the A strain.

All of the videos to date (Feb 2016) follow the structure of the Apted reconstruction but some include variations that alter the narrative a bit.

The Black Nag (Dancing Master from 1657 to 1728)

Links to video list and tune.]

“The Black Nag”, as it is now known, first appears in the 3rd edition of The Dancing Master in 1657 under the name “Black Nagg”, changed to “Black Nag” in the 7th & 8th editions (1686-1690), then to “The Gallopping Nag” in editions 9-11(1695-1701), finishing its run as “The Galloping Nag” (editions 12-18. 1703-1728). The choreography did not change; the music did wander from the key of Bm to Dm.  The 6/8 tune has an 8- bar A strain and 2 repeated 8-bar B strains in each of three sections.

Cecil Sharp includes The Black Nag in part 2 (1911) of his "Country Dance Book" setting the name as ”The Black Nag” and basing his description of the dance as published in the 4th edition (1670) (shown above). The construction is consistent with the original, adding appropriate detail. “The Playford Ball (Keller and Shimer 1994) essentially restates Sharp’s directions.

Siding.  This is the first dance commented on here which includes "siding" and that warrants a review of  the modern history  of the figure The Dancing Master (1670) notes in Part II (A strain) “Sides all: That again“. But nowhere in the Dancing Master is a “side” or “siding” described. Sharp explains the challenge of interpreting those words in the introduction to part 2 of the Country Dance Book:

         "The rest of the figures described by Playford are, so far as the majority of them are concerned, fairly easy to interpret. Of those which occur in the dances given in the text, the only about which I feel any doubt is the Side. "Sides all," "Arms as you Side," "First man Sides with first woman," are expressions which recur with great frequency. Although I have consulted all the sources of information at my disposal, I have been unable to find any authoritative definition of this figure. Nor have I been able to find any one of the above expressions, used in precisely the same way, in any of the dance collections subsequent to "The Dancing Master." I should have preferred to have omitted from the dances noted in this book all those in which this expression was used, but owing to its frequent occurrence, this was quite impossible."

     "Some solution had, therefore, to be made. The one given in the text was arrived at by comparing the several ways in which the term was used in various dances. This made it quite clear (1) that the figure was a four-bar movement; (2) that it was executed by one dancer to another, or by two dancers, usually partners, to each other simultaneously; (3) that it was a movement of courtesy similar to the Set; (4) and, lastly, that it consisted of two movements of equal duration, half to the right and half to the left. This latter attribute, which is a very important one, was deduced from "Nonesuch" (see p.116), where the figure in question is described as "Side to the right" and "Side to the left," with a turn Single added after each movement, thus converting the movement into one of eight instead of four bars. "

    "The most that can be said in favour of the solution I have ventured to give, is that it fulfills all the above requirements; and that it is difficult to think of any other movement which will do so. Nevertheless, I am aware that, although the margin of doubt has been materially reduced, I have not succeeded in eliminating it."

Here is Sharp's formal description:     "THE SIDE. This is performed by two dancers, usually partners, but not necessarily so. They face each other, and move forward a double obliquely to the right, i.e., passing by the left. On the third step they make a half-turn counter-clockwise, completing the turn on the fourth step as they face one another (two bars). This completes the first half of the movement, and it is called side to the right. In the second half of the movement, side to the left, the dancers retrace their steps along the same tracks, moving obliquely to the left (passing by the right), turn clockwise, and face each other on the fourth step. The whole movement occupies four bars of the music."

At the same time (1922), in the introduction to part 6  Sharp expresses serious reservation"

“We have now, I think, arrived at the meaning of all the technical terms, used in the notations, with one exception - the Side. Further evidence which has come to light with respect to this very troublesome figure seems to throw doubt upon the accuracy of the half-turn in each portion of the figure, in the form in which I reconstructed it. Now if, instead of turning, the dancers were to "fall back to places" along their own tracks, the Side would be identical with the Morris figure of Half-hands, or Half-gip. And this, I suspect, may prove to be the more correct interpretation; but until it is supported by far more definite and conclusive evidence that we at present have, it would, I think, be unwise to make any alteration in the figure as now executed”.

Hugh Stewart, in writing on this subject observes "In his notes for lectures (in the VWML) Cecil Sharp implies that he was convinced that into line siding was what Playford intended, but that the EFDS members who had been drilled into Cecil Sharp siding refused to make the change":   (VWML refers to the Vaughan Willliams Memorial Library)

In the 1970’s, Pat Shaw argued for the proposition that siding historically would have partners moving forward 4 steps to meet by the right shoulder, retreat to place and then repeat the move to meet by the left shoulder - more or less what Sharp had suspected. This is often referred to as setting “in-line”, when it is not called "Shaw" siding. Shaw’s interpretation was strongly supported by the work of Raoul-Auger Feuillet a Frenchman who, in the early 18th century diagramed figures of English country dancing. His work was translated into English by John Essex‘s For the Further Improvement of Dancing.  Below are Feuillet's siding diagrams illustrating the opening figures of La Jalousie. Sharp had seen these same diagrams but thought they represented a later development in siding.

“The Playford Ball" (1994), a  collection of 103 dances from 1651-1820, recognized the historical authenticity of in-line siding, but favored the Sharp construction while leaving it up to community leaders to decide how they would dance the siding. A review of 46 videos may give a sense of which versions of siding are being danced. Note that the tempo in the videos range from 78 to 140 beats per minute with a median on 120. The Payford Ball suggests 116 bpm. Nearly all of the dances with Sharp siding are in the lower end of the range. At higher tempo, dancers may have difficulty completing the move in time.

Two videos may be of special interest. A nicely danced Finnish reworking of the order of sections and the design of the slipping steps, and a dance which features a smooth way to tag in and out and a sound track of The Village People's' "In the Navy".

Childgrove (Dancing Master 11th edition 1701)

[Links to video list and tune.]

This is a 2/2 tune in Dm. with 32 bars: a repeated 8 bar A strain followed by a repeated 8 bar B strain.  The source of the name of the tune is unknown.  Patricia M. O'Scannel in her book,  "The Complete Scottish and English Country Dance Master for Recorders, Part One" (2002) suggests that it may come from an archaic definition of "childgrove" as a second blossoming after the vibrant Spring bloom has faded; a melancholic event suitable for D minor. An estate owned by the Baldwyn-Childe property in Worcester, UK was well-known for it's ancient Yew tree and adjacent Oak grove  Yews, are one of the few tree species which are capable of a substantial  regeneration in growth after they appear to be fully mature.   While there are at present 25 videos of the dance on this site there are over 200 mentions of the term :"Childgrove"-  as Paul Ross' video channel, Bob Green's website, a long-standing St. Louis dance group, and a band.


*The typo:.  The Playford 1701 notes for A2 calls for the “the woman to side to the 2nd man and the 1st woman to the 2nd woman at the same time. The “woman” must have been meant to be the “1st man. We currently don’t have access to the later Playford editions –12  through 18 (1728) to know whether a later correction was made,  but, in 1735, in Walsh’s “Caledonian Country Dances” the corrected text appears albeit with a different tune and new title - "Scornfull Nancy".

The Indian Queen (Dancing Master 11th edition 1701 - 18th Edition 1728 )

[Links to video list and tune.]

The tune is in D. with two A's and 2'Bs. An earlier form of the tune was published in the 9th edition of the English Dancing Master (1695) with a dance titled "The New Bore (#1"), and was given over to the Indian Queen in 1701 with slight differences in cadence in the 4th full measure of each strain. 

Cecil Sharp included the dance in part 6 of his "Country Dance Book"   (Duple minor-set.)


Newcastle  (Dancing Master 1st edition 1651 - 1690)

[Links to video list and tune.]
A 4/4/ tune in the key of G with 3 verses (each a repeated 8-beat strain} and 3 unique choruses, Each verse and chorus has a repeated 8- beat strain

Newcastle appeared in the English Dancing Master 1st edition in 1651 and continued through the 8th edition(1690). Cecil Sharp published his reconstruction in Volume II of the Country Dance Book (1911). The dance was included in “The Playford Ball” (Shimer and Keller, 1994) with some modification of the choreography. It is  the version which appears most frequently in the video list. The dance offers many opportunities for embellishment. We look at the Playford text in some detail as a vehicle for describing reconstructions and variants. 

Verse 1:  Meet all, back again, set to your own, and to the next * That again **
Chorus 1:  Arms all, with your own by the right, men fall with your left hands into the middle, Women go round them  to your places * Arms again with your own and women left hands in, men go about them towards the left to your places**

In the verse "Meet all” is taken to mean all dancing a double to the center of the set. "Next" is generally interpreted in this dance as the dancer on the other side of you from your partner. It has been danced as a set to partner then corner, (first right than left for the Sharp reconstruction and left then right for others), or a set to partner and then to the circle.  In the chorus,  "round them"  is ambiguous. Sharp's interpretation was that the men turn a left hand star once around counter clockwise while the woman circle “them” (the 4 men) clockwise around to get back to place.

Verse 2:  Sides all with your own, and change places with them * Sides with the next and change places with them** Chorus 2:. The 1st man and 3rd Woman take hands and meet the 1st woman and 3rd man, lead out again then holding up hands; the other four cast off and come under your arms to their places* The other four the like**

Variations of siding used: Cecil Sharp swirly siding, in-line siding. back to back instead of siding accompanied by a variety of options for moving from partner to another.   For purposes of this discussion we refer to “odd “ and “even” couples – the odds are the four dancers who began the dance at the top or bottom (1 & 3 ) the evens are the dancers who started as side couples (2 and 4). (Numbering  is clockwise).  After the verse, the "odds" are on the sides and the "evens" at the head and foot though no one is with their original partner. The Chorus begins with the sides meeting in the center, then leading back to place where the "odds" each creates an arch. The Playford description indicates the moves of the “odds” and “evens” but leaves open whether the their movements are sequential or overlapping. Sharp clearly leaves the first four bars in each B to the “odds” and the next four to the ”evens”. Other reconstructions call for all to be in motion in bars 3 and 4 – the “odds” lead back to place while the “evens” cast, creating, in the overlap two parallel lines – a precursor to the chorus in Part III. 

Verse 3 Arms all with your women and change places* Arms with the next and change places** (Now every man is with his own woman in the contrary place).
    Chorus 3:  Fall back from each other, four and four abreast to each wall, turn and change places with your opposites* Fall back from each other four and four along the Room, turn single change places with your opposite** (So each falls into his place as a first.)

And, Ju Gosing reimagined Newcastle for wheelchair-bound dancers.


Rufty Tufty  (Dancing Master 1st edition 1651)

[Links to video list and tune]

This 2/2 tune is in the key of G, with 3 parts - in each of which there are  A and B strains of 8 measures and a C strain of 6 measures played twice.   The dance and music appeared only in the first edition of the English Dancing Master. Cecil Sharp reconstructed it for The Country Dance book part 2 (1911) and It was included in Keller & Shimer's "The  Playford Ball" (1994)

Here's Sharp's reconstruction:

First Part.
A 1-4 Both couples move forward a double, meet, and fall back a double to places (r.s.).
5-8 That again.
B 1-4 Partners set and turn single.
5-8 That again.
C 1-2 First man, with his left hand, leads his partner a double toward the left wall; while second man, with his left hand, leads his partner a double toward the right wall (r.s.).
3-4 Both couples turn round and face each other; the men, with their right hands, lead their partners a double to places (r.s.).
5-6 All turn single.
7-10 First man, with his right hand, leads second woman up a double, turns round and, with his left hand, leads her down a double to her place; while second man, with his right hand, leads first woman down a double, turns round and, with his left hand, leads her up a double to her place (r.s.).
11-12 All turn single.

Second Part.
A 1-4 Partners side with each other.
5-8 That again.
B 1-8 The same as B in First Part.
C 1-12 The same as C in First Part.

Third Part.
A 1-4 Partners arm with the right.
5-8 Partners arm with the left.
B 1-8 The same as B in First Part.
C 1-12 The same as C in First Part.

At first glance the dance looks to be fairly simply but the videos show that it is the  rare group which performs it flawlessly . That may be due to the  frequent changes in direction. There are times when it is not clear if dancers are intentionally following a unique choreography or are unintentionally finding  new paths. We have omitted videos in which a substantial segment of the dance - e.g. a verse - have been omitted.   The median tempo is 112 beats per minute from a low of 109 to a high of 129.

6 versions are identified below.  


Upon a Summer's Day  (Dancing Master 1st edition 1651)

The dance occupied a place of distinction on page 1 of the 1st edition of of The English Dancing Master in 1651 (above). It was "demoted" in subsequent editions changing it's position and name as shown below in the 4th edition).

[Links to video list and tune]

A tune in the key of F minor in  6/8  time (Barnes)  or D minor in 6/4 (Barlow)  with 3 parts each with 2 A's of  8 measures and 3 B's of the same length (240 beats for the full dance).

The dance as described in Playford leaves uncertain the path the couples take in the chorus on their way to passing through the arches: "the first of each side to go under the Arms on their own side and meet below". Sharp interprets this as follows: "Second and third men keep hands joined and make an arch; while second and third women do the same. First man casts off, passes under the arms of second and third men and moves to the lowest place; while first woman does the same on her side".  Sharp clearly states that to "cast off" is to turn outward and dance outside the General Set. "Country Dance Book", Part 3 - p.8  thus passing through the arches from the outside. 

In "Elizabeth Country Dances" (1986)  John Fitzhugh Millar followed Sharp's lead while noting that Pat Shaw had earlier advanced a revision of  the dance to  have the top couples lead down through the middle and then out through the arches. (This is also an SCA interpretation of Playford ). "The Playford Ball" (1994), while it cites Playford and Sharp, directs the 1st couple to lead through the middle of the line, going out though the arches on their way to the bottom of the set.  That makes two distinct variations and then, somewhere along the way, the "casting" version of the dance was associated with having the lines begin the chorus by falling back and then meeting; that version has been danced in a number of venues in the U.S.  One SCA group adjusted the gender line movements in B1 having the men move forward while the women move  back and vice versa. This has an advantage in maximizing available space in a crowded hall. 

The videos thus far available display a narrower range, noted below. None incorporate a cast and none are outside-in.  The median dance tempo for the videos is 115, ranging from  92  to 120. A number of the videos omit beginnings, or endings, or parts in the middle; these are noted as "incomplete in the listing.


Nonesuch:  Dancing Master 1st edition (1651) through the 3rd (1665)

A close variant of Nonesuch with a similar tune appears  as "A La Mode de France" (with variant spellings over time)  in the 1st Edition through the 18th (1728).  The image below is from the 4th edition (1670)

[Links to Video list and tunes for (Nonesuch)  and (A la mode de France)

The music is 2/2 in the key of D minor, consisting of 8-bar A’s and B’s. In the most common variants there are an A and B strain for each of 5 parts of the dance with an added AB for each iteration of the progression in part 2 and an extra A for the hey at the end. A version with 5 iterations has 152 beats. There are videos in hand of Nonesuch danced with 3 ,4, 5 ,6 and 8 couples and from 0 to 9 iterations of the progression.

The present day Nonesuch, reconstructed by Cecil Sharp in 1911, began as two similar dances with similar tunes: Nonesuch was published from 1651 to 1625 and A la Mode de France from 1651 to 1728 with periodic modifications of the spelling of the title.

While the Playford choreography is organized in three parts, “up a Double”, “Siding” and “Arming”. Here we divide the dance into 5 parts, give an overview of the figures and follow by identifying specific variants.

Part I:  Partners lead up a double and back (2x) and set and turn single (2x). In some variants, the set and turn single take a different form.

Part 2: The progression. The first couple meets, leads down to be between and a bit below the 2’s. The 1st man and 1st woman each turn outward to face their neighbor, moving them out and up pushing back and maneuvering the 2’s to a position in line above the 1’s. The couples, in line, then fall back, come forward and two-hand turn their partner once around.

      There are variations with respect to each element:

successive iterations of the progression in a 4-couple set:  .

Part 3:  Partners side and turn single, either in-line siding (side to the right turn single, repeat to the left), or half side (left shoulder) across the set then turn single right and repeat right shoulder back to place and turn right. In some cases, the turns single is omitted and the time saved is used elsewhere.

The first man now springs to the center and faces down; the first women springs to the center and faces her partner and so on down the line.

The only variation here is whether the move to the center is a spring or not.

Part 4:  Partners arm right and then left; still facing each other along the center line, four slips out to their own left and return to place then slip out to their own right back to place. (Nonesuch 1651) Sharp adopts this figure and clarifies what is left and what is right by directing the men to slip first to the right wall while the women slip to the left wall (see below). The terminology used in A la Mode de France is ambiguous with respect to the direction of the slipping. It seems more likely than not that the men slip first to the left wall (to their own right hand) and, after a return to center, slip to the right wall and back.

Part 5: . The center line will now split to return to two gendered lines. In the Playford Nonesuch the men serially move to the right wall (improper) and the women move the left. The1’s begin a hey to their proper side talking hands down the line (all others are facing up) and up the other side.

A la Mode de France calls for the dancers to move to their proper (initial) position. The 1’s initiate the hey by giving hands to each other, as the others face up, until all are back in the place from which they began the hey.  In summary, Sharp adopted the slipping steps in part 4 from Nonesuch (A la Monde de France may be the same but is ambiguous) and part 5 from A La Monde de France. In some variations the hey begins at both the top and the bottom; in others, it is a half hey


  • The Playford Ball (Keller & Shimer, 1994)
  • This is the Sharp reconstruction with two modifications: First, In Part 2 “With a light spring 1st couple set forward to meet” replaces “First man and first woman face and move forward” and second, the number of iterations is specified at 5 which leaves the 4th couple at the top.
  • SCA1 Cynnabar
  • This appears to be a faithful reconstruction of the 1651 “Nonesuch”. There are 9 iterations of the progression, bringing the couples back to their original order. The hey begins with the couple improper 1’s face down, others face up and ends with the couple proper in the order in which they began the dance.
  • SCA2 Northwoods
  • This is a reconstruction based on A la Mode de France (the hey begins with couples proper and 1’s crossing by the right hands and then proceeding down the lines until they return home) and with - we observe with great respect- contributions inspired by the Department of Silly Walks. There are two iterations of the progression which bring the 1’s to the bottom, the couples in order 2-3-4-1
  • Texas Renaissance fair
  • Another reconstruction based on A La Mode De France. Similar in ways to the Northwoods variant but with 3 couples.
  • ilballarino.
  • Nonesuch emphasizes lines - moving up and back a double, creating a center line one dancer at a time and, later, returning to gender lines in the same fashion; the dance concludes with a hey along the lines. In this variant – danced at 89 bpm - the progression is altered to be closer in style to the rest of the dance. The odds (first and third couples) meet and slip down the center while the evens slip up. The odds, moving forward poussette diagonally up and out with their neighbors then into lines. Partners fall back, come forward and turn two hands once and a half with their neighbor bringing everyone back to original place. The set and turn single in part 1 is replaced by the lines twice coming together and falling back.
  • Tanzgruppe von Eulenspiel
  • This variant goes a step further than Ilballarino by eliminating the progression altogether. Following the up and back a double, couples continuing to hold hands facing up, step left together, right together and turn single left, and repeat and start the siding. There are 3 videos - aerial and floor level perspectives of a performance at the Military History Museum in Vienna -and a demonstration at a Vienna pub.
  • Passeggio Dance Group
  • This variant uses the same figure described above (Tanzgruppe von Eulenspiel ) for part 1 as but rather than eliminate the progression, this variant makes it the centerpiece. The ones dance with the 2s, 3s and 4s; this part ends with the couples in the order 2-3-4-1, It begins with the 1’s passing by the right shoulders to be improper and then side slipping down between and below the 2’s, turning up and in to face their opposite-gendered counterpart. The initial movement is diagonally up and out as expected but the dancers are connected by their eyes and not their hands. The first man then turns inward halfway maintaining eye contact with 2nd woman who is pivoting and he then “moves” her back to place, passing her with a last glance before meeting his partner (who has been following the same track). They turn two hands once around and move on to the 3’s.

Parson's Farewell  (Dancing Master 1st edition 1651 - 1690) 

.[Links to video list and tune]
The music is 2/2 in the key of D minor, consisting of 8-bar A’s and B’s.  The dance is in  three parts with an A strain for the verses and two B strains for the choruses  for a total of 144 beats

The dance description changed little during its Playford tenure:  1) In its last publication "Farewell" shows as "Farewel":  2) In the chorus of  B, a third comma is added and may be clarifying:  "Men meet, cross right hand, then left, pass over; and  3) In the third chorus, "Turn your own with your right hands ,,,, Turn your own  with the  left hands " becomes "Turn your own with your right hands ;  Turn your own  with the left hand " whhich  appears to be a careless change.

The verses and choruses display a progression of increasing interchanges between the couples. In the first verse, the couples, holding inside hands. meet their opposites, slip away from them back away and return to place.  In part 2, the couples, each taking inside hands meet, then lead their opposite out and back and return to place. In part 3  the couples, taking two hands,  slip to meet then , taking both hands with their opposite slip out and back and lead their partner to place, The progression of engagement of opposites is: no hands, one hand and to hands. 

In the first chorus, the dancers, from their corners, acknowledge the others  - with a rise and/ or a twist, or a nod, or a shake or doff of the cap  and then turn two hands with their opposite.  In the second chorus, the men (in B1 and women in B2) cross the set passing each other with some form of acknowledge (see montage below) and then proceed to take a turn with their opposite  at her/his home..  The third chorus is a more elaborate movement engaging all the dancers.  Beginning and ending with a partner turn, it includes some form  of  hey. in which the interactions are among all the dancers at once, The choruses progress from a greeting at a distance to a  visit across the set to a a figure  in which all are in motion.  



  • While there are a number of stylistic variations in the dance,  there are essentially only  two variations in the figures. 
  • Part 3 Chorus: has been interpreted to include either a straight hey across  the set  with the couples crossing to the opposite side of the set at the end of B1 and back to place in at the end of B2, OR to include  two changes of a circular hey which results in temporary  change of the set's orientation.  If couple begins with their backs to the top of of the set, they will finish the strain with their backs to the right wall, facing the other couple.  Original  positions are  restored at the dance's end.
  •  Part 2 Chorus: calls either for the men (in B1) and women (in B2)  to meet and cross right hands and then left hands, or to cross with one hand turn  on without hands 
  • Cecil Sharp
  • Sharp's reconstruction, published in Part 2 of his Country Dance Book,  include two changes of a circular hey, rather than a straight hey. and, calls for a right then left hand cross in the Part 2 Chorus.
  • SCA reconstruction
  • This reconstruction differs  from Sharp's only in the third chorus  which is danced as a straight hey rather than two changes of a circular hey.
  • Performance variant
  • This variant call for the straight hey in Part 3 and  for one hand turn the Part 2 chorus, and  on their return may omit the hands altogether. We have been unable to identify the source of this variant and so, as a place holder, it is referred to as the "Performance variant". Note, there is one SCA reconstruction which  calls for taking hands once in Part 2 but it  contains the "two changes of a circular hey" in the Part 3 chorus. There are no videos displaying this combination
  • Eugenia Eremina-Solenikova reconstruction
  • In the part 1 chorus there is a minor variation in that in each strain the same gender dancers acknowledge their neighbor and partner followed by rises to each of the other dancers.  The Parrt 3 chorus begins with a half turn to partner instead on a full turn with a compensating turn and a half at the end., .    .
  • ilballarino reconstruction
  • This variant generally follows Sharp's reconstruction, except that: 1) the Part 1 chorus calls for half turns instead of full turns at the end of B1
  • and B2 and uses the extra time for additional rises, and 2) In the Part 2 chorus, in the first passing  there is a clap of left hands and, on the return a clap first by the right then the left..    

The Fandango:   Thompson 1774 

.[Links to video list and tune]
The music is 6/8 time in the key of D minor, consisting of two parts  each with 2 A’s and 2 B’s.  (128 beats for each of the 3 progressions). While the dance was originally a triple minor in a longways formation, it was reconstructed as a three couple set by  W.S. Porter in The Apted Book of Country Dances (1931). This version also interpreted the turn of the active couple at the end of B2 in Part I as a cloverleaf turn, i.e., the man turns clockwise and the woman counter-clockwise.

All of the videos to date demonstrate the Apted version of the dance.  The median tempo is 116 beats per minute ranging from 107 to 125 

Auretti's Dutch Skipper:   Rutherford's Complete  Collection vol 1. 1756 and Thompson's Complete Collection vo1 1 (1757)


[Links to video list and tune]

The choreography and tune in the Rutherford and Thompson editions are identical. Where choreography calls for "foot it all four" in B2, Pat Shaw (1950) defined this as "partners set twice". The music is 5/6 time in the key of B-Flat, with 2 A’s and 2 B’s. It is included as such in "The Playford Ball" (1994) which suggests dancing at a tempo of 108 dotted quarter notes per minute.  Of the first 19 posted videos, the median tempo was 117 beats per minute ranging from 84 to 123. 


  • In two of the Russian videos the setting in B2 begins to the left which is common for regions that have not taken their cues from Cecll Sharp.
  •  In a third video from Russia the settings are replaced by right shoulder siding.  The siding seems to work well, keeping the lines in order and anticipating the 3 changes that follow. Note the music is an alternate tune though it's not clear if this was the tune danced. or simply used in the video. 
  • In one video B1 is danced as a set and turn single launching  a  circular hey ,
  • A variation in which the dancers take hands along the lines for B1 may also help to keep the long lines well ordered.

Juice of Barley:  Dancing Master 1686-1690


[Links to video list and tune]

The music is in 6/8  time in the key of C, with  2 4-bar As and 2 8- bar B’s. . The Playford text leaves ambiguous the timing of the clap - there are 4 bars for the men (in B1) to go around their corner and 4 bars to circle; the clap is between" those two figures.  Cecil Sharp provided a reconstruction (1916)  placing it at the 5th bar and this is the choreography that appears in "The Playford Ball" (1994) which suggests dancing at a tempo of 116 dotted quarter notes per minute.  Of the first  posted videos, the median tempo was 117 beats per minute ranging from 90 to 129. 


  • The basic Playford Ball version is shown in dances from Michigan and Nebraska
  • This dance packs a lot of movement into about 25 seconds. Some groups pare down the figures to help the dancers keep up, e.g. by eliminating the clap (reinstated by the same group 4 years later)  or dropping the hands four around in the B's
  • A Finnish group opts to clap on the last beat of B1
  • A variation from Austria begins the  B1 figure as a solo for the 1st man - who dances around his corner to the 2nd man's position, As he arrives, the 2nd man dances around his corner to he first man's original position. There is neither clap nor circle. The women do the same in the 2nd B. The origin of this version is, as yet unknown

Jenny Pluck Pears:  Dancing Master 1651-1690


[Links to video list and tune]

The tune consists of 8-bar A and B strains, In each of 6* parts of the dance the A-bar is played twice and the B bar once. The A bar in 6/8. time; the B in 3/4   *(The Playford  description above describes 4 sections, Cecil Sharp's reconstruction sets out 6 sections and a Russian reconstruction from the Rondino Dance Ensemble organizes it into three verses.  In describing the tempo in this site's video list, the A tempo is based on a dotted quarter note and the B is based upon a quarter note, used by The Playford Ball, which adopts the Sharp reconstruction and suggests a tempo of 126 for the A strains and 104 for the B.  In the 25 videos reviewed, the median tempo for the A strain  was 116 bpm and 92 for the B. The B strain was, in a couple of instances, at a higher tempo than the B. Leaving aside the interpretation of the "double" which begins the dance, the  choreography consists of the partners doing a double with a set and turn single, followed by the men placing the women into the center, honoring them   skipping around  the women one way and then the other and fetching their partner back into place.  That series is repeated beginning with a siding, this time gender roles reversed, and finally with arming.   Th  


  •  While there are many small variations in how Jenny Pluck Pears is danced,  the  major distinction is based on the first figure, set out in Playford as "Hands and 2. D. round, set and turn S"  Sharp's calls for directs reconstruction beginning the dance with Hands-six, eight slips clockwise while the Russian reconstruction begins with two doubles  meaning 3 steps and a step together . The difference  doesn't compel a particular narrative  but it makes it more likely that when the dance begins with a slipping step it will look like this  as compared with the use of two doubles see here
  • The B Strain - placing the partner in the center  etc.
  • Sharp directs the man to take the lady by right hand and place her into the center facing him and later return her to place by taking her by the left hand.  Most commonly seen in the videos,  the man will take his partner's right hand in his right, moving her forward  and -  after the skip = return her to his side using the same hands.   Or, man takes partner's right hand in his left  (as he steps to his right and she to her left to face him or he holds his position and as she moves   Generally, the partners continue to hold  hands til all three couples are in place then honor with a step step back or to the side.  Often  the man will twirl the lady under his arm either when being placed in the center or return to position or both.
  • Having placed  their partners in the middle,  men skip clockwise around the women , then  reverse direction until they face their partner.(instead of a turn the men may stop and foot it with their partner  During the skipping, the women may keep the beat by clapping, or acknowledge their  partner and or neighbors as they pass, or link arms and do their own turn facing.  The Zesty version of this dance turns the skippers loose to roam the hall and corridors.    ,
  •  Siding and arming display have the usual variety,
  •   Number of couples: written for 3 couple, the videos show groups of  4, 8 and 16


Sellenger's Round: Dancing Master 1670 (4th edition) -1690 (8th edition)


[Links to video list and tune }

The music is in 6/8  time in the key of C, with one 8-bar A strain and 2 8-bar B strains for each the 4 or 5 sections. The Playford Ball version, danced with 5 sections suggests a tempo of 116 bars per minute.  Of the 23 videos posted at the time of this writing the tempos ranged from 83 beats per minute to 131 with a median of 118.


  • The dance instructions in Playford above  are simple and sparse.  Cecil Sharp's  reconstruction  (The Country Dance Dance Book Part IV) adds some detail, calling explicitly  for slipping steps in the first figure,  specifying here and there how to one's use hands and feet.   It did not include a 5th section  When Volume Part 4 was republished by H. Stiles in 1985,  it incorporated an undated  list of corrections and additions  that had been prepared by Novello & Co the publisher in 1916,  including, for Sellenger: "It is customary to conclude the dance with a repetition of the First Part.".  
  • In "The Playford Ball", Keller and Shimer adopted the Sharp reconstruction, incorporating a repeat of the first section at the end of the dance. While they express a preference for the Sharp swirly siding, they leave the choice of siding up to the dance leader. The double into the center and fall back in B is to be without hands. These videos are annotated as "Playford 1670; Sharp; The Playford Ball". In the Berea video the dancers sing along to the music in the last slipping circle. (La-la-la-la-la, la... ), John Ramsey recalls that the first time heard this was in 1971 when his 15 year old son "asserting his adolescent exuberance and independence and a greater appreciation: burst out singing.
  • Other variations which resemble the basic Playford structure are divided by how the first figure is danced - either with a slipping step *variation A ": or walking/double *variation B"  The style in which other figures are danced will vary. .
  • Variation C, The overall structure remains the same but a variety of new A strain figures fill in for the double,  arming and siding, These include one and/or two hand turns with partner,  men and later women  dance into the circle, around their partner then around their neighbor back to place, men, then women advance to the center on a diagonal and back to move to the other side of their partner,     The slipping circle may begin to the right, and in the B strains the dancers advance and fall back holding hand,  This choreography is shown in videos from the Netherlands, Italy and Argentina. No written source has been unidentified.
  • Variation D  This  three couple variation is danced to an alternate tune.. It uses a number of the figure used in variation C and is the only variation in which the partners change. .  

Well Hall:  Dancing Master,  Vol 1:  1679 (6th edition) -1728 (18th edition)  


[Image above from DM1(12th edition) 1703
Links to video list and tune]

The music is in 3/2  time in the key of G, with 2 8-bar A and B strains. The Playford Ball suggest a tempo of 108 beat per minutes based on a dotted  quarter note. The mean tempo for videos was 112. The Playford  description covers all the figures as currently danced. The variations focus on the detail.


  • "Cast down": Frank Van Cleef's interpretation "24 Country Dances from the Playford Editions" c.1982, as published in The Playford Ball,  calls for the initial turns to be by the right hand followed by a "cast down" 'as the 2nd couple moves up, The Playford Ball definition of "cast down" in a progressive longways dance is "the 1st (or active) couple face up, separate and move down outside one place". See this illustration   
  • "Move down".  An interpretation by Burtukova Svetlana  and Morus Stratalatov  - decribed shown here in a somewhat awkward Google translation from the Russian - directs the first couple at the end of the 1-1/2   to turn through their outside shoulder coming to second place, while the second couple is moving upward.
  • As the the top couple casts below, the bottom couple moves directly  up the set except in this Czeck variant in which the bottom couple  turns up .
  •  In a Louisiana variation the changes ii place of couples in A and corners in B are all danced passing by the left .
  •  A (Bert) Simons' Kentish Hops collection (c. 1965) specifies the turns in the A strains as two--hand turns;  no video has been found with that variation.    

For addtional notes on Well Hall see Andrew Carnies,Folk Dance Musings


Jack's Maggot:  Playford 1702; Dancing Master Vol. 1:  1703-1728


(Image above from DM1(12th edition) 1703
Links to video list and tune]

The music is in 4/4  time in the key of D, with 2 8-bar A and B strains. "The Playford Ball" suggest a tempo of 116 beat per minutes based on a half note. The mean tempo for the videos was 111. The Playford  description covers all the figures as currently danced. The variations focus on the detail.


  •  Cecil Sharp's 1922 interpretation clarifies the hey in A as"  First man crosses over and goes the hey with the two women (passing second woman by the right" (illustrated here)..
  • There is a variation in which the  hey is danced on the diagonal. The :Regency Dancers notation states for A1:  "First man hey on the first diagonal with the two ladies passing second lady right, First lady moving to first man's place as hey starts"  .See, for example this demonstration, which employers the Flueret step   although the diagonal choreography is used with  with a walking step as well.,
  • A Russian variation uses  pas de bouree  with the heys on the sides but adds this suggestion from the Rondino ensemble : for the last two bars: "The first pair - caste, the second goes forward (in this figure, you can let go of the hands of only the partners of the first pair - then it turns out that the first pair pulls the second through the "hole in the :wall::"). .


Playford 1695-721; Walsh 1718-c.1760, The Neal Collection c. 1726; reconstruction by Douglas & Helen Kennedy (1929) upon which "The Playford Assembly" relies,  and a variant by Victor Skowronski (2003)

[Links to video list and tune]

The music is in 2/2  with A, B, and C strains most often in the key of Am. Victor's variant  is in Gm. which has been a frequent alternative. As yet we have found no video this version.

Red-House encourages variations.  Perhaps three distinct parts may encourage  alternative narratives. Below is a summary of the variations found in the literature and/or the videos.

Blackheath  Walsh 1701-c.1728

[Links to video list and tune]

The music is in 4/4  in the key of Bb.

The dance, as it appears in the Dancing Master, is a longways dance with three active couples. There are presently no known videos of the dance using this choreography.  Note that couple 3's only activity is to cast up as the 1's progress.  

An interpretation of the dance is included in "Kentish Hops", country dances with roots in Kent, collected  by A. (Bert) Simons and published shortly after his death in 1990.  (BlackHeath, now a district in London was in earlier times a hamlet in Kent). Simons identified the dance as "Longways for three couples".  His interpretation provides a slightly enhanced role to the 3rd couple by involving them with the 1's figure in B5-6. Until such time as a video of this version  is available we focus on two reconstructions:: by Fred de Metz Herman (Choice Morsels, 1989) and Kalia Kliban (2011)
Each choreography begins with 8 bar A1s and A2's. The Dancing Master choreography calls for the 2 men to lead round their Partners, into their own place, the 1st couple then leads through the 2's and back to place. In A2, the 2 women and then the 2nd couple are active. Fried calls for the men to lead through the women; Kalia has the men dancing clockwise around their parnter and 1's then lead through the 2'.s. In bars 5-8, the Ladies dance counter clockwise around their partners and the 2s lead through the 1's and cast back.

Setting to corner
B1-2 (Fried  All set to his/her corner diagonally across the way, not coming forward
B1-4 (Kalia) 1st corners balance forward and back; then 2d corners the same

B3-4 (Fried)  1st cu cross w/partner, go below 2nd who move up.
B5-8 (Fried) 1st cu dance 1/2 figure of 8 thru 2nd cu (sk. ch step)
B9-12 Fried) 1st wo passes the wo above her by the right shouder while 1st man goes right shoulder around the man below him so both are progressed
   (Going around the woman above or man below at times "borrows" a dancer from another set, taking the roll of the third couple in the original)
B13-16 (Fried) All 2-hand turn once around partner

B5-12 (Kalia) 1's whole figure of 8 (down)  : Choreographers note: B 5-12 can be a double figure of eight if the 2s wish to join in,
B13-16(Kalia) 1's meet and 2-hand turn down while 2s cast up

[Links to video list