Dance Figures Index:English Country Dances, 1700-1827
Robert M. Keller
The Colonial Music Institute, Annapolis Maryland
The Dance Figures Index: English Country Dances, 1700 - 1827 is a guide to the basic figures in major English printed longways country dances in eighteenth and early nineteenth-century sources. This database only includes sources for dances with instruction for country dances, or dances that could be identified as such. It does not include other dance forms, such as Cotillions or Allemand or similar dances. .
This database comprises information from the following collections of English Country Dances, published from 1700 to 1827.
A Summary List of the sources is given below:
|Astor 24 CD||Bishop 6 Min/12 CD||Bland 24 CD||Bland&Weller 24 CD (6)|
|Bland&Weller CD/HP/R||Bland&Weller Sc Dan||Bride 200 CD (3)||Bride 24 CD|
|Budd 14 CD||Cahusac 12 CD (12)||Cahusac 24 CD (11)||Campbell 24 CD (4)|
|Campbell Fav CD (3)||Collett 24 CD||Dale 24 CD||Dodd 24 CD|
|Essex 16 R/CD||Fentum 24 CD||Fentum 8 Cot/6 CD||Fishar 12 CD/Cot/Min|
|Fishar 32 Min/Cot/CD||Gentleman's Magazine||Goulding 24 CD (6)||Goulding Fav CD|
|Goulding&d'Allmaine||Gray 24 CD||Hime Irish Dances||Hodsell CD|
|Imperial Magazine||Johnson 200 CD (8)||Johnson 24 CD||Johnson Cal CD|
|Kauntze CD||Ladies Mirror||Ladies Pocket Book||London Magazine|
|Longman 12 CD||Longman&Broderip 18 CD/td>||Longman&Broderip 200 CD||Longman&Broderip 24 CD|
|Martin Miscellany||Merry Medley||Midwife||Musical Magazine|
|New Dance Fan||Pippard 24 CD||Platt Cot/CD||Playford DM (25)|
|Preston 24 CD (20)||Rolfe 24 CD||Rutherford 12 CD||Rutherford 200 CD (3)|
|Rutherford 24 CD||Sancho CD (2)||Skillern 204 CD||Skillern 24 CD|
|Skillern Cal CD||Thompson 24 CD (45)||Thompson 200 CD (5)||Universal Magazine|
|Voight CD||Walsh 24 CD (27)||Walsh CCDM (11)||Walsh Cal CD (7)|
|Walsh Essex CD||Walsh NCDM (2)||Walsh Self-Instr||Welch Dance Cards|
|Werner Cot/CD||Wheatstone CD||Wills 10 Irish Dan||Willsim 24 CD|
|Wilson Companion||Wilson l'Assemblee||Wilson le Sylphe||Wilson Terpsichore|
|Wright 24 CD|
Three indexes were created from this data: Title
Index, Source Index and Figure Index. The Title Index and Figures Index each have 6 columns of information:
Column 1: Short title of the source.
Column 2: Page of the dance in the source
Column 3: Title of the dance as it appears in the source.
Column 4: Dance figures (coding)
Column 5: Number of couples active in the longways minor set
Column 6: Comments
The Title Index is sorted on Column 3. A sample is given in Table 1 showing several versions of "Prince William." Two basic dance figures can be discerned.
The Figure Index (see Table 2) is sorted on Column 4. Looking under "LLLCO", we see that a similar dance appeared with other titles, sometimes in the same book, sometimes even on the same page! It will be important to look at the original source to see how close the dances actually are to being the same.
The Source Index arranges the sources alphabetically by Short Title. The contents of each is listed sequentially from the first to the last page. Although all dances were coded, only the longways country dances are given in this index, thus there may be some gaps in the paging sequences. (see Table 3.)
21.927 dances from 311 sources were coded. In addition to the usual information such as title, page number, and source name and date, each dance was analyzed for its basic figures and number of active couples in the longways minor set.
Letters were selected to represent basic figures such as 0 for "circle", X for "hands across", and R for "right and left." These letters were then combined to represent the sequential figures of each dance. The codes (see Table 4)provide an outline of the dance, and help to bring like dances together in the indexes.
Numbers were then added as "Comments" to provide clarification or additional information about the figures (see Table 5). These ranged from modifications such as "half-way" to step specifications such as "rigadoon" or "minuet."
Details such as who is dancing with whom were not included. This index is intended to be a research tool to provide access to the choreographies of early English country dance. Although the basic pattern of each dance is clear, dances cannot be accurately reconstructed from this streamlined data.
As an example, the figures for "Prince William" are given in several sources as follows:
The 1st Man Heys with the 2d. and 3d. Wo. his Partner at the same time Heys with the 2d. and 3d. Men.
Then Hey on your own Sides.
The 1st. Cu. cross over and turn. The 2d. Cu. does the same.
The 1st. Man turns the 3d. Wo. with his Right Hand, his Partner does the same with the 2d. man at the same time and then turn your Partners.
Do the same at the other Corner.
First Cu. leads thruogh the 2d. and 3d. Wo. and turn in the 2d. cu. Place.
Then lead through the 2d and 3d. Men and turn again. (Walsh CCDM 1b,1731, p.4)
This would be coded as: "HHVTVTTTTTETET" using
Hey on the other side
Hey on your own side
Cross oVer and Turn
Cross oVer and Turn
Turn corners then Turn Partners
Turn other corners then Turn Partners
LEad out through the Women and Turn
LEad out through the Men and Turn
Interestingly, we can see in Table 1 below, that Walsh and Johnson published four similar versions of this dance, however Bride published it twice with a much different dance (Leads and Casts and cross-oVers and Rights and Lefts)
|Bride 200CD-1,1775||7:70||Prince William||LLLCVR||3||L=85,L/2|
|Bride 200CD-2,1775||7:70||Prince William||LLLCVR||3||L=85,L/2|
|Johnson 200CD-1,1740||17||Prince William||HHVTVTTTTTETET||3||E=L|
|Walsh CCDM-1b,1731||4||Prince William||HHVTVTTTTTETET||3||E=L|
|Walsh CCDM-1c,1735||6||Prince William||HHVTVTTTTTETET||3||E=L|
|Walsh CCDM-1d,1760||6||Prince William||HHVTVTTTTTETET||3||E=L|
|Longman&Brod 24CD,1791||1||Miss Pultney's Fancy||LLLCO||3||L=85,O/2|
|Platt Cot/CD,1791||17||Mask'd Ball,The||LLLCO||3||L=85,O/2|
|Preston 24CD,1791||62||French Liberty||LLLCO||3||L=85+29,O/2|
|Skillern 204CD-1,1776||51||Trip to the Jerseys||LLLCO||3||L&O,O/2|
|Thompson 24CD,1792||46||Pleyels Fancy||LLLCO||3||L=85,O/2|
|Thompson 24CD,1795||73||Mr. Slack's Jigg||LLLCO||3||L=85,O/2|
|Thompson 24CD,1797||3||First of August||LLLCO||3||L=85,O/2|
|Title||The Compleat Country Dancing Master...MDCCXXXI|
|Location||British Library. a.4.a|
|NB||Particularly those perform'd at the several Masquerades|
|New way of wooing,The||1||1731|
|Ladds of Dunce,The||3||1731|
|Trip to the Lawndry,A||5||1731|
|A||Allemand and reverse|
|C||Cast up or down; may include Breza or Brise|
|D||Down the outside and back; may include Chasse, Slip, Slide but does not include a cast.|
|E||LEad out sides, go across set or out or in at sides|
|F||Figure of 8 (Whole figure)|
|G||ChanGe places or Cross over with no movement up or down the set|
|H||Hey, usually for 3 or 4 people moving|
|I||SIding or sides, such as "Sides with partners"|
|J||Honor, with the whole body including Salute, Obeisance, Bow|
|K||BacK to back or Dos a dos|
|L||Lead down the middle and back|
|M||Upper body Movements (Peep, Shake Hands, Clap, Kiss)|
|N||TurN single; may include Pirouette or Brise|
|O||Hands all rOund or Circle and back|
|P||Poussette or Draw|
|Q||Arming or Arms right and left|
|R||Right and left all round|
|S||Stepping in place: Setting, Footing, Jigging, Rigadoon.|
|T||Turn, 2 dancers, by one or two hands|
|V||Cross oVer 1 or 2 couples (up or down the set)|
|X||Hands across all round and back, including Mullinet|
|Y||"Wild Card" or unclear figure, usually amplified in "Comments"|
|Z||"Wild Card" or unclear figure, usually amplified in "Comments"|
|=||Clarification of figure, such as "S = 24" for "balance"|
|+||Steps used during figure, such as "minuet," "hornpipe," "contretemps"|
|/2||½ of the movement only, such as "half figure" or "lead down" without a "and back"|
|&||"Meanwhile" figure if significantly different|
|*||Same movement repeated, such as "M = 2*4" for "clap four times"|
||||Alternate figure, such as "or hands across"|
|\\||Separation of parts of multi-part dance if shown as several parts|
|\||Separation of sub-parts of multi-part dance|
|2||Clap hands, Snap fingers||52||Contretemps|
|3||Stamp, Beat||53||Double Figure|
|11||Pas de bas||61||Promenade|
|14||Pirouette||64||Turn back hands|
|15||Couezi||65||Kick out legs|
|16||Serve hands||66||Hornpipe step|
|17||Cut off||67||Go without/within side|
|20||Slide, Slip||70||Cross partners|
|25||Dos a dos||75||Threaten|
|28||Leap, Jump, Hop||78||Allemand Passes|
|30||La Queux du Chat||80||Hold handkerchiefs to eyes|
|31||Ceremony||81||Meet all four corner ways|
|33||March, Walk||83||Humour the tune, Look down & groan|
|34||Monk's March||84||Staggar as drunkard|
|36||Manulude||86||Present & fire/Dart/Point Finger|
|37||Sesun||87||Make a feign|
|38||Pas de Bouree||88||Hit elbows|
|39||Brise, Breza||89||Feign a cry|
|41||Forward and back||91||Lead abreast|
|42||Go under hands||92||Turn backs|
|44||Bow, Nod||94||Cross all four|
|45||Make your manners||95||Over the head|
|46||Change partners||96||Brush/Wind/Wave hands|
|49||Pass through||99||Corrant Step|
|50||Cast in & out|
Acknowledgements:My thanks to Albert Blank, and George Fogg for their help in locating sources and providing photographs, hand notes or photocopies from which to code the dances.
Finally, special thanks are due to my resident consultant, favorite dance partner and wife, Kitty, for her indefatigable assistance in editing, organizing and formatting. Her bibliographic work was the foundation for this index.
|Introduction||Coding Procedure||Table 1||Table 2||Table 3||Table 4||Table 5||Acknowledgements|