Core Dances

We select a set of core dances each year, and ask callers to include them where possible so that people dance them frequently and get to know them. The core dances for 2018 are:

The core dances for 2019 are also available.

Notes:

  • A normal longways set organised by "hands 4" is called a duple minor set, because the main (major) set consists of small (minor) sets of two couples. A triple minor set, organised by "hands 6", consists of minor sets of three couples.
  • A becket set is similar to a duple minor set, but with both members of each couple standing on the same side of the set facing across. The name comes from Becket contra, which is in this formation.
  • A semicolon marks the end of 2 bars, a colon marks the end of 4 bars and a full stop marks the end of 8 bars. One bar corresponds to a single right-and-left step, usually.
  • Turns, circles, stars etc are once round unless stated otherwise.
  • Turns single, crosses, back-to-backs etc are right-shoulder unless stated otherwise.

Childgrove

Source: The Dancing Master 1701. Formation: longways duple minor set. Music: own 32-bar tune.

A1Side with partner: back-to-back partner.
A2Side with neighbour: back-to-back neighbour.
B1Two-hand-turn neighbour one-and-a-half to change places: two-hand-turn partner.
B21s figure-8 up through 2s.

Note: This is often danced with the 1s improper so that more of the interaction is with members of the opposite gender.

Heptathlon jig

Composer: Alan White 2003. Formation: 7 people of any gender in a longways 3-couple set with an extra person in the centre. Music: 7 x 32-bar jigs.

A1Centre and top two people on the right right-hand-star: centre and top two people on the left left-hand-star.
A2Centre and bottom two people on the right right-hand-star: centre and bottom two people on the left left-hand-star.
B1Centre passes right middle person right shoulder to start a reel-of-3 across the set with the middle two people.
B2Centre and top-right person right-hand-turn one-and-a-half to change places: all set; outside people cast one place clockwise while new centre person sets.

The Merry Andrew

Source: Maggot pie 1932. Formation: longways 3-couple set. Music: own 3 x 32-bar tune.

A1Top two couples half right-hand-star; turn single left: half left-hand-star; turn single right.
A2Bottom two couples as A1.
B1On the right diagonal set; pass right: man 2 followed by man 1 cross the set below man 3 and cast up to men's side while woman 2 followed by woman 3 cross the set above woman 1 and cast down to women's side.
B2On the left diagonal set; pass left: man 1 lead man 3 while woman 3 lead woman 1 as in B1.

Notes: Change partner each time through. The original version had dancers passing right in B2.

The nice combination

Composer: Gene Hubert. Formation: longways duple minor improper set. Music: 32-bar contra reels.

A1Balance and swing neighbour, ending in a line of four facing down.
A2Lead down the hall; turn as couples: come back; bend the line.
B1Circle left three-quarters: swing partner on the side.
B2Ladies chain across: left-hand-star.

Sun Assembly

Formation: longways duple minor set. Music: own 32-bar tune.

A1Circle left halfway; fall back on sides: 1s gate up through 2s.
A21s half figure-8 up through 2s, 2s cross: all set to partner and turn single.
B11s right-hand-star with the 2s below: 1s left-hand-star with original 2s.
B21s lead down one place; cast up: all two-hand-turn partner.

Turning by threes

Composer: Gary Roodman 2003. Formation: round 3-couple set. Music: 3 x 32-bars Tourner รก trois.

A1Circle left; turn single left: circle right; turn single right.
A2Back-to-back partner: two quick changes of a grand chain around the set; right-hand-turn the next.
B1Men left-hand-star: women right-hand-star.
B2Men lead in; women lead in as men fall back: women look over right shoulder to gypsy right one-and-a-bit with the man on their right, who becomes their new partner.

Notes: Change partner each time through.

Core Dances for 2019

The core dances for 2019 will be:

The hole in the wall

Source: The Dancing Master 1695. Formation: longways duple minor set. Music: own 16-bar triple-time tune.

A11s cast down; lead back.
A22s cast up; lead back.
B1st corners cross; 2nd corners cross: circle left halfway; 1s cast down while 2s lead up.

Notes: In the B music the original just says that the corners "cross over", but the modern interpretation is for them to sweep round each other to stand close and then fall back.

The Indian Queen

Source: The Dancing Master 1701. Formation: longways duple minor set. Music: own 32-bar tune.

A11st corners set and turn single: two-hand turn.
A22nd corners as A1.
B1Right-hand star: left-hand star.
B2Back-to-back with partner: 3 changes starting with partner.

The Shrewsbury lasses

Source: Thompson 1780 interpreted in The Apted Book of Country Dances 1931. Formation: longways 3-couple set. Music: own 3 x 40-bar tune.

A11st man step and honour to 2nd woman: two-hand turn her.
A21st woman as A1.
B11s cast down to middle, 1s and 3s circle left, 1st man goes up round 2s while 1st woman goes down round 3s, 1s 1/2 two-hand turn in middle place.
B23s cast up to middle, 2s and 3s circle left, 3rd man goes up round 2s while 3rd woman goes down round 1s, 3s 1/2 two-hand turn in middle place.

Spring fever

Composer: Tony Parkes. Formation: longways duple minor improper set. Music: 32-bar contra reels.

A1Lines forward and back: swing neighbour.
A2Men allemande left one-and-a-half: swing partner.
B1Circle left: left-hand star.
B21/2 promenade across: ladies chain across.

Top of the deck

Composer: Gary Roodman 1992. Formation: 4-couple becket set. Music: 4 x 32-bar jigs.

A1Balance and swing partner.
A21/2 promenade across: all four ladies chain across (to the same man each time).
B1Lines forward and back: pass through; ends cast away from line to meet their opposite while middles turn in with neighbour to form a square set.
B2Heads forward and back, pass through, wait while sides wait, forward and back, pass through.

Wakefield Hunt

Source: Thompson 1779. Formation: longways triple minor set, triple progression. Music: own 48-bar tune.

A11st man cast down (2nd man move up); set to 3rd woman: two-hand turn her.
A21st woman as A1.
B1Circle left: circle right.
B21s gate down through 3s: 1s gate up through 2s.
C11s and 3s right-hand star: 2s and 1s left-hand star.
C21s and 3s dance 3 changes starting with partner, 1s change with neighbour below to triple-progress.
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