Halfe Hannekin

Sun, 10 Sep 2017, 16:29
Historical sources
Set formation

Relatively uncontroversial this one but it's been fudged in various ways over the years for aesthetic reasons.

A1,2 (8) Lead up a double and back twice
B (8) Side right with your partner (4)
Two-hand turn and move onto the next person on your left, with a person standing out at the top and bottom alternate times through (4)

For a circle, everyone faces anticlockwise, men on the inside, leading forwards and back around the circle to begin.

The progression for this is unusual and is the only reason for it not being rated Easy. After one change there's a man standing out at the top and a women standing out at the bottom. After the next change they join in again on the other side, but now there are two men dancing at the top and two women at the bottom. After a bit, all the men are dancing together at the top and all the women at the bottom. After as long again, you're with your partner again on the other side. You can stop there or keep going to get everyone back to where they started.

There's no inherent problem with men and women dancing together (indeed, for some, this dance's gender neutrality is one of its attractions), but if you have plenty of people, want to meet more of them and have less confusion, it also works well in a circle. Start with everyone facing anticlockwise, men in the middle, and move on one partner each time. They almost certainly didn't normally dance with those sort of numbers when Playford published the English Dancing Master!

Alternatively, you can progress two people at a time – this means dancing with fewer people but avoids people standing out at the end of the set.

Rhodri Davies has noted that in the original instructions, Sides all  ·  is shown for the second strain of music played once, and turne your owne  :  for the strain repeated, making a 24-bar dance overall. I'm not too concerned by this because:

  • Dot markings are not always accurate, and if it's a choice between assuming that the dots are wrong or assuming the words are wrong (and therefore adding extra stuff to make the dots right) then I'd assume the dots are wrong every time.
  • Musically, this is actually correct, even though it's not how it's written out. The B music is written out as 8 bars of music, but in practice it's the same 4 bar phrase twice, with the second 4 bars being a variation on the first. It actually feels wrong to play the B music twice as written, for this reason. So I think the author wrote the repeats assuming that the B music would be written out as 4 bars long. I've used a similar argument to justify my interpretation of Sellenger's Round.