Mon, 18 Mar 2019, 23:32
Historical sources
Set formation

Lively and fairly straightforward 3-part dance.

For some reason people got into the habit of doing this one really slowly. I don't – I ask the musicians to play it like they'd play any lumpy jig in a ceilidh, and it's great fun.

Part 1
A1 (8) Lead up a double and back (4)
Set and turn single left (4)
A2 (8) Lead up a double and back (4)
Set and turn single right (4)
B1, B2 (8) “Grimstock hey”: 1C facing down, 2C and 3C facing up, dance a mirror hey on each side, with the 1C going down between the 2C to begin, and taking inside hands with your partner as you meet at each end.
Part 2
A1 (8) Side right (4)
Set and turn single left (4)
A2 (8) Side left (4)
Set and turn single right (4)
B1, B2 (8) “Dip and dive”: same path as in part 1, but raise joined hands to let the other couple under the arch at each end rather than simply letting go.
Part 3
A1 (8) Arm right (4)
Set and turn single left (4)
A2 (8) Arm left (4)
Set and turn single right (4)
B1, B2 (8) “Crossover heys”: 2C and 3C take the same path as in part 1, while 1C cross down between 2C to hey down the opposite side, then cross up between 2C again to hey back up on their own side.

Repeat twice more, each time during the initial lead up a double and back 1C cast to the bottom to let a new couple lead the dance the next time through.

I'm not contributing anything particularly new here but it's of general interest.

The first two figures are fairly unambiguous. For some reason Cecil Sharp interpreted the second figure as a sideways gallop with both hands joined, but I don't see any justification for that, given the number of single-handed arches elsewhere in the repertoire. And of course the “dip and dive” has survived through to modern country dancing.

The third figure has plenty of alternative solutions, some of them unexpected:

  • Cecil Sharp's solution has the first couple cross left, then half a hey on the other side (passing right then left shoulders), cross over right with each other at the bottom, then half a hey home. This is excessively fiddly to teach, not particularly satisfying, and crucially doesn't sit well with the mirror hey theme of the rest of the dance. However it is consistent with Sharp's decision on the meaning of the term Single hey in a longways set for three: 1C face down and on each side and pass right shoulders to start the hey. This is actually an interesting data point onto the meaning of Single hey more generally.
  • Crossover heys, as I've put in the instructions – this is the most common modern suggestion, and it works well. In particular, it's consistent with the theme of the dance, the second and third couples doing exactly what they did in the first part. And crossover heys (albeit not ones crossing at both ends) became a really common country dance figure in triple minor sets a hundred or so years later, although we shouldn't get too carried away with transplanting between time periods! This mirror definition of Single hey begs the question of why Single hey wasn't used to describe the first figure, however there it arguably feels somewhat different due to meeting your partner at each end to lead in.
  • First couple pass right shoulder to start a snowball circular hey (suggested by Anne Daye). There's some precedent for this sort of figure in Nonesuch (although there hands are given), and it very clearly involves a cross over at the top of the set. However experimentally it seems to be very tight for time, and I don't think it's as good a fit thematically as crossover heys.
  • First couple only cross over, cast around 2C, cross down through 3C, cast back up around 3C on their own side and come up through 2C back to the top. The justification for this is that the instructions are directed just at 1C, not at the other couples. As I discuss in my article on heys, a hey can be just a weaving figure, not necessarily for everyone. However, I don't think this makes for a better dance and in this case it's only really justified by linguistic pedantry.

The dance is very short, and well worth making progressive so that everyone gets a go as top couple.