Longways circular

These dances are effectively circle dances but start as longways dances, starting with just the top couple dancing, and with one additional couple joining in each time.  They were moderately popular in the early Playford collections, and since largely died out – although circle dances themselves are alive and well, and of course it's possible that these were originally corruptions of circle dances in the first place, as a convenient way of teaching the dance to one couple at a time in a setting where the company didn't know the dance already!

The dance is described for a single couple.  After once through the dance, that couple have changed places.

  • The first time through, the first couple dance with each other.
  • The second time through, 1M dances with 2W, 1W with 2M, on the sides of the set.
  • The third time through, 1M moves on to 3W, 1W with 3M, while the second couple meet at the top and dance with each other.
  • The fourth time through, 1M dances with 4W, 1W with 4M, 2M with 3W, 2W with 3M.

It continues until all are dancing.  Whenever you get to the end of the set you dance with your partner once to change sides and then carry on on the other side.  If you're being strict, you carry on until all are home, but in practice, unless the dance has another figure (rare), once you're dancing, I would tend to keep going – I tend to run until the original bottom couple are back at the bottom.

A diagram is available, from Essex's translation of Feuillet.