Gathering Peascods

Historical sources
Set formation

This is a great fun dance which I often like to use as a finishing dance. The main points of its interpretation are fairly straightforward but there are a number of smaller decisions to be made that affect how it feels.

In 2023 I was involved in making a Youtube video showing how to dance it!

Part 1
A1 (6) All join hands and two doubles to the left, starting with the left foot (4)
Turn single left (2)
A2 (6) All rejoin hands and two doubles to the right, starting with the right foot (4)
Turn single right (2)
B1 (6) All the men take hands and circle to the left back to place (slip step recommended)
B2 (6) All the women take hands and circle to the left back to place (slip step recommended)
C1 (8) All the men go forwards a double, and clap on the 4th beat (2)
The men fall back a double while the women go forwards a double and clap (2)
The women fall back a double while the men go forwards a double and clap again (2)
The men turn single over their right shoulder back to place (2)
C2 (8) Repeat C1 with the roles swapped.
Part 2
A1 (6) Face your partner: side right shoulder, starting with the left foot (4)
Turn single left (2)
A2 (6) Side left shoulder, starting with the left foot (4)
Turn single right (2)
B1-C2 As in part 1, but with the women going first.
Part 3
A1 (6) Face your partner: arm right, starting with the left foot (4)
Turn single left (2)
A2 (6) Arm left, starting with the left foot (4)
Turn single right (2)
B1-C2 As in part 1, with the men going first again.

If repeating, continue alternating the men and women lead roles.

T:Gathering Peascods
"G"d2dd | "G"B>cdd | "C"edcB | "D"A3B | "C"AG "D"GF |1 "G"G4 :|2 "G"G3 ||
|:G | "D"FDFG | "D"A2BA | "G"G/2A/2B "A"AG | "Bm"F3F | "Em"ED "A"E>D | "G"D3 :|
|:d | "G"BGG A/2B/2 | "C"c3c | "G"BGG A/2B/2 | "C"c3c | \
"G"BGG A/2B/2 | "C"c>de d/2c/2 | "G"B c/2B/2 "D"A>G |1 "G"G3 :|2 "G"G4 |]
Gathering Peascods in the first edition of the Dancing Master

This is a typical pre-Restoration 3-part dance, but it's in a round, so instead of starting with a lead up a double and back, you go round in a circle. And it's quite explicit that it should be 2 doubles in each direction – something which I think is likely to be the norm when done as the introduction for a round (see also Sellenger's Round). 

The footwork for this sequence adds up really nicely. If you start on the left foot then two doubles (first starting left, second starting right) leaves you on the left foot again. A turn single, which is in footwork terms another double, leaves you with your right foot free to repeat the same sequence in the other direction on the other foot. Note the 6 bar phrases!

The middle figure directs the men to take hands and goe round in the inside – no reference to doubles here, and unless your circle is very small, you're going to want to be able to move fairly fast if you're going to come to your places. I think a sideways slip step works well, or whatever else pleases you. I don't advocate a separate move to come forwards and take hands (although that can make sense in a smaller circle), but instead to just go forwards and immediately start circling.

Then the men go in and clap. On which beat? I firmly prefer beat 4, where there is a gap in the music, which is where I generally like to put the clap. Some people like beat 3, the third step; for me that kills the movement, and if you're being moderately energetic about your doubles (as this dance encourages, if played well) then the 4th beat is where you land your bodyweight.

Another minor controversy I've come across is whether there should be a third clap: the men go in a double and clap, then the women do the same, but when the men go in again should they clap before turning single? The instructions don't explicitly say so, but you could consider it semi-implied by meet againe. I've always done it, and if you were to teach the dance to a bunch of people who've never done it before, I reckon they'd quickly invent it unless you specifically told them not to clap there, which goes somewhat against my ethos of how I think dancing should be – embellishments should in general be encouraged, not stymied! So I put it in.

Regarding turn single direction, if you go forward a double on the left foot, then back a double on the right foot, then forward again on the left foot, you have your right foot free for the turn single right. I use the same footwork for the repeat.

This dance has been much loved since the Playford Revival in the early 20th century and it is common to do it in a large circle for everyone in the room. That can certainly be done but it makes circles fairly unsatisfying as you can only go as fast as the slowest person in the circle. It also means there's no chance of getting all the way around in the middle figure. I personally like to do it in smaller circles so that people can get all the way around as per the original instructions; I find about 5 couples to work best, although 4 is also fine, as is 6 if the set is moderately agile.

Once through the dance feels a bit short, so I usually do it twice. If you're doing that then it feels most natural to keep alternating who goes in first, rather than have the men go in first for two successive times.

If calling it gender neutral, as I more commonly do these days, you probably do need to define alternative role names just so that you can be clear on who's going in first each time. Currently I simply use 1s in place of men (as they go first initially) and 2s in place of women as there's no need for couple numbering, but your preferences might differ.