Bryden Allen's Website

The Running Set



The Running Set is a unique, special and wonderful dance. The version we do lasts a whole hour and provides all its performers with a superb workout - in the most enjoyable way possible. The dance has 17 different figures - all of which are very different from each other. Thus, in the fifth figure “The Wild Goose Chase”, the line of dancers weaves through each other in a fast and spectacular manner. Then in “The Old Chuck Basket” figure, the women fly. Then the last figure, “Windup the Ball Yarn”, brings the whole dance to a brilliant climax. So, when a person finally completes the dance, then they really feel they have accomplished something very significant indeed. To me this dance is definitely something special.

 

Cecil Sharp collected this dance at the beginning of the 20th century in the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky. He described the dance in the fifth of his English Country Dance books. This is how I mainly learnt the dance. This means that most non-American people learn his version. So I first did a figure from the dance with the Playford dance group in Sydney. I was immediately enchanted by the dance and determined to form a group to perform the whole dance. It took me a little while to gather a group of people to do the whole dance – but after a year I finally assembled a keen group to do the dance. (The dance does not need much dance training – all the dance mostly requires is perseverance and a sensible degree of fitness.)

 

Although I have rarely done this dance with American people, I consider this dance to be very much an American dance. The form of the dance is very similar to American Square Dancing and the style of the dance is very similar to American Contra dancing. (Both these forms of dancing I have done often and I like them very much. The style of the dance is similar to Contra dancing because it is done at a faster pace with a running step. Also the dance is more flamboyant like Contra dancing.) So this American aspect ought to be maintained.
            The dance ought to be done to American music i.e. fast Bluegrass reels. But I unfortunately don’t know this music very well. The standard tune people quote for the dance is Cripple Creek – which I don’t know. The standard reels I know are - Davy Knick-Knack, Soldier’s Joy, Sally Gardens and The Merry Blacksmith. But I can’t play these tunes fast enough. I find it to be an electrifying experience to hear the Soldiers Joy tune played on a fiddle at pace that is suitable for the Running Set. How a good fiddler can play all those 8 notes per bar in less than a second, with perfect clarity, is beyond my comprehension. I get excited as soon as I hear the sound and I immediately want to break into the Running Set. So the primary instrument to accompany this dance must be a fiddle.
            The American tunes I have heard that have sounded good are: Boil That Cabbage Down, Cumberland Gap and Turkey In The Straw. Other tunes (but which aren’t really reels), which go well and support the American image, are: Oh Susanna, Polly Wolly Doodle, Liza Jane, Campdown Races etc. The advantage of these tunes is that the audience know these tunes and can join in with some singing. This interaction with the audience can all add to the excitement of a performance. After all, an audience is not going to hang around for a whole hour unless they can join in some of the action. The idle performers must encourage this interaction by clapping and singing whenever possible.

 

The way I organised performances was to first contact all the people who could be interested in doing the dance. Then we would have a meeting to decide on a suitable venue to perform the dance in about 4 or 6 months time. We would then practise weekly (usually at the Bush Music hut in Marrickville). This was sufficient practise for our different groups to put on a good performance.

 

our first performanceOur first performance was at Tumbalong Park in Daring Harbour (as shown in the photo) in 1981. The Sun-Up Bush Band supplied the music (they were brilliant). But it was an incredibly hot day. Our audience had to seek the shade beneath trees miles away. So this performance wasn’t really appreciated. But this performance at least got us all started.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

performing the running setWe then had great performances at the National Folk Festivals in Sydney University in 1982 and in Sutherland in 1988. We also gave some performances at various Bush Music Festivals (the given photo is from here). Finally I was invited to give a series of workshops on the dance at the 1994 National Folk Festival in Canberra. We started with 5 sets (8 people per set) learning the dance. And we ended with two sets performing the first 10 figures on the small central stage they have for less formal performances. So this workshop was very successful. A large number of people over the years have become quite familiar with the dance.

 

If anyone was keen to do the dance again, I could tell such a person about people who could help them. (It is hard for me to do anything now with my current broken back. But I could explain any movements you don’t understand.)

 

the running set positionsThe dance has a very standard format.
The four couples start in a square as shown.

 

            Then, each of the 17 figures starts with,
all couples doing a “Grand Promenade” item.
            Then the first couple leads the current figure,
all couples do a “Little Promenade”,
            then the second couple leads the current figure,
all couples do a “Little Promenade”,
            then the third couple leads the current figure
all couples do a “Little Promenade”,
            then the fourth couple leads the current figure,
all couples do a “Grand Promenade” again, which leads into the next figure.
            So there is a lot of repetition in the dance – which is relaxing. Also, if the first couple really know what they are doing, then often the other couples can partially copy what they do.
            But, for just two figures, this format is not appropriate.

 

Before we can go any further we have to talk about a crucial subject – namely: Beats, Bars and musical Phrases.
            All music is naturally formed of smaller elements. A bar of music is the smallest element. 2  bars of music makes a “short phrase” (often corresponding to a line in a song). 4 bars of music make a “normal phrase”. And 8 bars of music make a “long phrase” (this is easy to recognise because it usually ends with a strong key-note, held for half a bar, and this gives a clear resolution to the music). A dance tune usually contains two long phrases, which are usually called A and B. And then a normal tune (of 32 bars) consists of 4 long phrases played A, A, B, B. (Each tune is usually repeated.)
            In my version of this dance, I make sure all my important elements fit to long phrases. So “the Little Promenade” takes 1 “long phrase”, “A Grand Promenade” takes 3 “long phrases” and all various figures take several “long phrases”. This means that the music itself will tell a dancer when a figure ought to be ending (and so when a new figure ought to start).

 

Within a long phrase, the shorter phrases are also designed to fit with the dance. So, in the “Little Promenade”, both “Turn your Partner” and “Turn your Corner” take a “Short Phrase”. Then the “Promenade Home” takes a “normal phrase”. And then these elements all add up to a “long phrase” (2 bars + 2 bars + 4 bars = 8 bars). So the whole dance is designed to fit with the phrases of the music.

 

Within one bar, there are two strong beats, which correspond to two running steps. When describing a movement then it is often easier to describe this in beats. So, for example at the start of figure 1, the person in charge might call “circle right for 8 beats” and you will naturally count 8 steps. This movement with take a “normal phrase” of 4 bars. To begin with I will describe movements in both beats and bars. But later on I shall only talk in bars. You must remember that there are two beats (steps) to every bar, if you want to count naturally in beats.

 

So now we are ready to learn the dance. We shall naturally start with the little and the grand promenades. I shall describe everything in terms of words and diagrams. You will need to follow both these forms.

 

 

A.        The Little Promenade

 

the little promenade.14 beats (2 bars)   With 2-hands, turn your partner clockwise halfway round.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the little promenade.24 beats (2 bars)   With 2-hands, turn your corner clockwise halfway round  and then return to your partner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the little promenade.38 beats (4 bars)   With crossed-hands, promenade your partner home to place (anti-clockwise).
            You will find that, during the turning, you will progress a little around the circle of couples . This is good because the promenade is fairly fast. (This is why I show the men touching shoulders.)

 

 

 

 

 

            The Little Promenade takes 1 long phrase.

 

 

B.        The Grand Promenade

 

(8 bars = 1 long phrase)          Do a “Little Promenade” as described above.

 

the grand promenade8 beats (4 bars)    On the last bar of the above Little Promenade, turn individually still holding hands. Then promenade back to home clockwise.

 

 

(12 bars = 1½ phrases)    Do an “extended Little Promenade” back to home.
            If we just did a normal “Little Promenade” then this “Grand Promenade” would be out of phrase (because of extra clockwise promenade). So we extend this item. Thus we make the return circle in this little promenade slightly larger and so it takes 12 beats (12 steps). Then we all “Clog for 4 beats”. We could do anything. Most of us just stamp as - Stamp, Stamp, stamp-stamp, Stamp. People, who can do the shoe-scuffle step, do this. Others of us might just clap. Whatever you do it must fit the music and show your fun in doing the dance.
            So the Grand Promenade takes 3 long phrases.

 

 

C.        Do-si-Do and Promenade Home

 

There is one movement, which appears at the end of many of the figures. So it is best to learn this movement now as well.
            In the first figure, led by the first couple, this movement occurs between the first and the fourth couple. So this is how we shall learn the movement. These two couples are facing each other when the movement starts.

 

Do-si-Do and Promenade Home.14 beats (2 bars)   Partners turn by the right-hand and men cross back-to-back to change places.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do-si-Do and Promenade Home.24 beats (2 bars)   Opposites turn by right-hand and men cross back-to-back to return to places.

 

 

 

8 beats (4 bars)   Repeat all this.

 

8 beats (4 bars)   Both partners swing each other.

 

Do-si-Do and Promenade Home.3The two couples promenade around each other to their correct places.

 

But there must be two different versions of this promenade to ensure that the whole figure finishes on a “long phrase”. So the two versions are:
8 beats (4 bars).   A simple promenade. (The total movement is then 16 bars.)
16 beats (8 bars)    A larger circle 12 beat promenade and a “4 Beat Clog”. (The total movement is then 20 bars.)
            I will describe which version is required in each figure. (Usually the longer version is required.)

 

 

 

We are now ready to go through all the 17 figures. But I ought to tell you that there is actually an introduction movement to the whole dance. But this introduction is hard to remember because it takes a different format. I will describe it at the end. (And sometimes we just forget this introduction.)
 

 

Figure 1                                              Hands 4

 

Hands 48 beats (4 bars)   Couples 1 and 2 circle clockwise holding hands (this is called a “hands 4”).

 

8 beats (4 bars)   Couples 1 and 3 do a “hands 4”.
8 beats (4 bars)   Couples 1 and 4 do a “hands 4”.
20 bars                Couples 1 and 4 do an extended “Do-si-Do and Promenade Home”.
            So the individual figure takes 32 bars = 4 long phrases. The total figure then takes (including little and grand promenades) 3 + 3x1 +  4x4  =  22 long phrases.
This is a nice straightforward figure to start with. The rest of the figures will not be so easy. But of course you will still be learning how to do the “Grand Promenade” and all the “Little Promenades” and “Do-si-Do and Promenade Home”s. This will be enough work for your first practise. You need to get all these standard movements as slick as possible.
            (But you might just like to look at the “Wild Goose Chase” now – just to inspire yourselves about something else more exciting - which is coming up in the future.)

 

 

Figure 2                                              Hands 3

 

Hands 3.12 bars              Couple 1 left-hand turn to face couple 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hands 3.22 bars              Man-1 and couple 2 do a “hands-3”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 bars    Couple 1 left-hand turn and man-1 does “hands-3” with couple 3, while woman-1 does a “hands-3” with couple 2.

 

Hands 3.34 bars    Couple 1 left-hand turn and man-1 does “hands-3” with couple 4, while woman-1 does “hands-3” with couple 3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 bars    Couple 1 left-hand turns.
            It needs quite a lot of practise to fit all these turns and hands-3 to the phases of the music. So this last turn of 4 bars gives some time for the dances to catch up.

4 bars    Couples 1 and 4 do a “hands 4”.
20 bars  Couples 1 and 4 do an extended “Do-si-Do and Promenade Home”.
            So the individual figure takes 40 bars = 5 long phrases.
            The total figure then takes  3 + 3x1 +  4x5  =  26 long phrases.

 

 

Figure 3                                          Shoot the Owl

 

Shoot the OwlThis figure is very similar to the “Hands 3” figure. But here, in all the hands-3 movements, the circle only does halfway round. Then the leading number 1 person then pops under the raised hands of the other couple. (This couple then return to their position). Strangely this makes the figure slightly easier than the “Hands 3” figure because this “popping-under” operation can take less time.

 

 

 

 

            The total figure also takes 26 long phrases.

 

 

Figure 4                                         Chase the Squirrel

 

Chase the Squirrel4 bars    Woman-1 leads partner in a figure of 8 through couple 2.
              Halfway, she leaves her partner facing woman-2.
2 bars     Woman-1 continues the figure of 8 while man-1 “clogs for 4”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chase the Squirrel 22 bars     Couple 1 do a 2-hand turn.

 

 

 

 

4 bars     Couples 1 and 2 do a “hands 4”

12 bars     Repeat with couple 3.
12 bars     Repeat with couple 4.
20 bars     Couples 1 and 4 do an extended “Do-si-Do and Promenade Home”.
            So the figure takes 56 bars  = 7 long phrases.
            The total figure then takes  6 + 4x7 = 34 long phrases.

 

 

Figure 5                                              The Wild Goose Chase

 

The Wild Goose Chase.112 bars     Man-1 leads partner in a figure of 8 through couple 2, except halfway he leads an extra backwards loop (inside the dance circle). See diagram. At the end, man-2 runs clockwise around his partner (this is often forgotten).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wild Goose Chase.24 bars       Couples 1 and 2 do a “hands 4”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wild Goose Chase.316 bars                 Man-1 leads partner and couple 2 in the same figure through couple 3 ending with a “hands 6”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wild Goose Chase.416 bars      Man-1 leads partner and couples 2 and 3 in the same figure through couple 4 ending with a “hands 8”.
                 (This time the party must really travel fast to finish on time.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wild Goose Chase.58 bars       Man-1 doubles back outwards to lead party in an outer circle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 bars        Man-1 turns in leading the line back to their places and all do a “4 beat Clog” to finish.
            When you get all the speed and timing correct, this is a superb figure.
            So the figure takes 64 bars  = 8 long phrases.
            The total figure then takes  6 + 4x8 = 38 long phrases.

 

 

Figure 6                                              Box the Gnat

 

Box the Gnat4 bars       Couple 1 move to face couple 2 and then they turn each other: first with the right-hand  (2 bars) and then with the left-hand (2 bars).
4 bars      Then couple 1 does the same thing with their opposites in couple 2.

 

 

 

8 bars      Repeat with couple 3.
8 bars      Repeat with couple 4.

 

4 bars       Couples 1 and 4 do a “hands 4”
20 bars     Couples 1 and do an extended “Do-si-Do and Promenade Home”.
            So the figure takes 48 bars  = 6 long phrases.
            The total figure then takes  6 + 4x6 = 30 long phrases.

 

 

Figure 7                                              Going Down-Town

 

Going Down-Town.12 bars      Couple 1 goes forward to meet couple 3.
2 bars      Couple 1 retreats while couple 3 advances.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going Down-Town.22 bars      Couple 1 advances while couple 3 splits and moves to the sides
2 bars      Couple 1 split and cast outwards to their places.

 

 

 

 

 

8 bars       All do a little promenade, except all people stay with their corners.

 

Going Down-Town.316 bars     This is all repeated and it is lead by the man 1 with woman 2 from position 2

16 bars     This is all repeated and it is lead by the man 1 with woman 3 from position 3
16 bars     This is all repeated and it is lead by the man 1 with woman 4 from position 4
            At the end this, all people are back in their correct positions.
            So the figure takes 64 bars  = 8 long phrases.
Between these large figures, there are no extra “Little Promenades” are needed because they occur naturally.
            The total figure then takes  3 + 4x8 = 35 long phrases.
This might all sound very boring. But I assure you it is not. It is just fun to do the same thing with different women, from different positions. This is the nature of life – and it is relaxing.

 

 

Figure 8                                              Bird in the Cage

 

Bird in the Cage.14 bars       Woman-1 moves to the middle and man-1 and couple 2 do a “hands 3” around her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going Down-Town.24 bars       Couple 3 join the circle to do a “hands 5” around woman-1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going Down-Town.36 bars       Couple 4 join the circle to do a “hands 7” around woman-1. Woman-1 now shows off – turning around to the right, clogging, showing her legs - whatever she likes to do.
2 bars       Couples 2, 3, and 4 clog while woman-1 leaves the circle and man-1 comes in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 bars       Repeat with man-1 in centre. So all circle while man-1 shows off.
2 bars       Finally all return to places and “clog for 4”.
            So the figure takes 24 bars  = 3 long phrases.
            The total figure then takes  6 + 4x3 = 18 long phrases.

 

 

Figure 9                                              Treat ’em All Right

 

Treat ’em All Right.14 bars     man-1 turns partner by the left-hand and then woman-2 by left-hand.
4 bars     man-1 repeats with partner and woman-3.
4 bars     man-1 repeats with partner and woman-4.
4 bars     man-1 repeats this again with partner and woman-4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Treat ’em All Right.24 bars     man-1 turns right-hand with woman 3, left with woman-2,
4 bars     man-1 turns right-hand with partner and all “clog for 4” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                        All people are now back in their place.

 

24 bars     Repeat all this with the women leading in the opposite direction with the opposite hands. (This is an addition of mine because I think women should lead just as often as men. But this part of course is optional.)
So the figure takes 48 bars  = 6 long phrases.
            The total figure then takes  6 + 4x6 = 30 long phrases.

 

 

Figure 10                                            Grand Chain

 

8 bars     A standard “Grand Chain”.

 

Grand Chain.1So all people face their partner and then do a right-hand half-turn with them (1 bar). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grand Chain.2Then all do a left-hand half-turn with the next person (1 bar).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Repeat this till all are back into their places.

 

8 bars     All turn their partners fully by the right and then all “clog for 8 beats”.

 

Grand Chain.324 bars   Another Grand Chain except everyone now turns everyone one-and-a-half times (taking 6 beats (3 bars)).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 bars     All turn partners fully by the right and all “clog for 8 beats”.

 

So this figure is not a standard figure. This figure itself takes 48 bars = 6 long phrases. Together with the Grand Promenade then the whole figure takes 9 long phrases.

 

 

Figure 11                                            The Old Shuck Basket

 

The Old Shuck Basket.14 bars     Couples 1 and 2 form a square with the women holding both hands and the men holding both hands above them. They circle clockwise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Old Shuck Basket.24 bars      The men raise their hands over the heads of the women, so their arms are behind them. All circle more quickly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Old Shuck Basket.34 bars     Women put the hands on the men’s shoulders and, with sufficient speed, the women can fly. (Or else just form a tight basket with their arms around the men.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

            With a little bit of practise it is not hard to fly. The women can even do waves going higher and lower as they rotate. One problem is how the men can hold hands without their handgrip’s sticking into the women’s backs. I find the best solution is for the men to hold the women’s waist with the left hand - and to use the strong right hand to grip the other man’s left wrist. This is the most comfortable way of holding each other.
            If people wish to fly then they might require more time. The timing then must be adjusted to make sure the figure then finishes on a long phrase.

 

The Old Shuck Basket.44 bars      Opposites do a 2-hand turn (there may be time to clog).

 

 

 

 

 

 

16 bars    Repeat with the couple 3.
16 bars    Repeat with couple 4.

 

16 bars    Couples 1 and 4 do a short “Do-si-Do and Promenade Home”.
So the figure takes 64 bars  = 8 long phrases.
            The total figure then takes  6 + 4x8 = 38 long phrases.

 

 

Figure 12                                            Figures of 8

 

Figures of 8.14 bars     Couple 1 does a half a figure-of-8 through couple 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figures of 8.22 bars     Couple 1 turn each other by the right-hand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figures of 8.34 bars     Couple 1completes the figure-of-8.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figures of 8.42 bars     Couple 1 turn each other by the left-hand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figures of 8.54 bars     Couples 1 and 2 do a “hands 4”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16 bars   Repeat with couple 3.
16 bars   Repeat with couple 4

16 bars    Couples 1 and 4 do a short “Do-si-Do and Promenade Home”.
So the figure takes 64 bars  = 8 long phrases.
            The total figure then takes  6 + 4x8 = 38 long phrases.

 

 

Figure 13                                            Ladies in the Centre

 

Ladies in the Centre.12 bars      Men turn their partners into the centre. This can be done in many ways. I have shown it in a long way (but consistent with later turns).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ladies in the Centre.26 bars      Men circle anti-clockwise 1 + ¼ times around the circle to the next woman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 bars      Repeat the turn and circle movement to the next position.
8 bars      Repeat the turn and circle movement to the next position.
8 bars      Repeat the turn and circle movement to your home position.

 

8 bars      A Little Promenade

 

Ladies in the Centre.332 bars    Repeat the first moment with the women turning the men into the centre. The women now travel clockwise and the turns should be in the opposite direction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So this figure is also not a standard figure. Both the men’s and the women’s figures take 32 bars = 4 long phrases. So the whole figure takes 3 + 1 + 2x4 =  12 long phrases.

 

 

Figure 14                                            The Big Swing Around

 

This figure is a glorious extended version of Figure 2 (Hands 3). It starts as before with:
4 bars    Couple 1 left-hand turn and man-1 does a hands-3 with couple 2

 

The Big Swing Around12 bars     As before, but after couple 1 turn (and the two “Hands 3” groups have been formed with couples 3 and 2), the two groups, as they turn round, also revolve around each other (as in the diagram). This is not as difficult as it might seem because different people act as stationary pivots. So in the diagram, man-3 will act as a pivot for his group, and woman-1 will act as a pivot for her group. It is fun when you finally learn how get it all right. (This movement now takes another 8 bars).

 

 

12 bars    Repeat the whole movement with couples 4 and 3.

 

4 bars      As in “Hands 3”, couple 1 left-hand turns.
4 bars      Couples 1 and 4 do a “hands 4”.
20 bars    Couples 1 and 4 do an extended “Do-si-Do and Promenade Home”.
            So the individual figure takes 56 bars = 7 long phrases.
            The total figure then takes  6 + 4x7  =  34 long phrases.

 

 

Figure 15                                            Cutting Off - 3, 2, 1

 

Cutting Off - 3, 2, 1.12 bars     Couple 1 advances to couple 3.
2 bars     Couple 1 falls back and couple 3 advances.
4 bars     Couple 1 advances, splits the ring and returns (quickly) on the outside.
4 bars     All turn their partner and clog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cutting Off - 3, 2, 1.212 bars   As above but couple 1 return above couple 4 and couple 2 (cutting off 2 people).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 bars     As above but couple 1 now only cut off 1 person (their corner). This time there is no time for turning and clogging.
            So the individual figure takes 32 bars = 4 long phrases.
            The total figure then takes  6 + 4x4  =  22 long phrases.

 

 

Figure 16                                            Stars

 

Stars.14 bars     Couples 1 and 2 do a right-hand star.
4 bars     Couples 1 and 2 do a left-hand star.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stars.24 bars     Couples 1 and 2 do a “hands 4”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 bars   Couples 1 and 3 repeat as above.
12 bars   Couples 1 and 4 repeat as above.
20 bars   Couples 1 and 4 do an extended “Do-si-Do and Promenade Home”.
            So the individual figure takes 56 bars = 7 long phrases.
            The total figure then takes  6 + 4x7  =  34 long phrases.

 

 

Figure 17                                            Windup the Ball Yarn

 

Windup the Ball Yarn4 bars     Man-1 leads the complete line (holding hands) and goes under the raised hands of couple 4. At the end of this man-4 is “locked out” (i.e. his arms are crossed and he is looking outwards.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Windup the Ball Yarn.24 bars     Repeat between the raised hands man-4 and woman-3. At the end of this woman-3 is “locked out”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 bars     Repeat “locking out” man-3.
4 bars     Repeat “locking out” woman-2.
4 bars     Repeat “locking out” man-2.

Windup the Ball Yarn.34 bars     Repeat “locking out” woman-1 and at the same time woman-4 and man 1 turn and join hands so that a tight locked ring has now formed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Windup the Ball Yarn.44 bars     All clog in position.
8 bars     All circle clockwise (twice around if possible). (Each person’s right-foot must be behind so that people are not stepping on their neighbour’s feet.)
4 bars     All clog in position.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To unwind, we now need to reverse all this.

4 bars     Man-1 and Woman-4 drop hands and turn out. Man-1 then unlocks woman-1 by going under her arch with man-2.
20 bars   Man-1 continues doing this till everyone is unlocked. (4 bars for the 5 people.)
8 bars     The full circle then finally does a “hands 8” finishing with “clog for 4 beats” to finish.

 

I think “Windup the Ball Yarn” is a very special figure. The “locked out” position of 4 couples is a very unique tight situation. So the movements that can make and unmake this position in a flowing manner become something special. It is good when you manage to get all the timing correct. It is figure that is worth working on.
            So the individual figure takes 72 bars = 9 long phrases.
            The total figure then takes  6 + 4x9  =  42 long phrases.

 

 

                                                            Starting and Finishing

 

The introductory figure consists of:
6 bars     Holding hands, everyone circles left (i.e. a hands 8). But men’s left-hands are help low and men’s right-hands are held high (so women’s hands do the opposite). So this action makes this movement slightly different.
2 bars     All clog for 4.
8 bars     A Little Promenade.
48 bars   Couples 1 and 3 so a “Hands 4” and an extended “Do-si-Do and Promenade Home”.
48 bars   Couples 2 and 4 so a “Hands 4” and an extended “Do-si-Do and Promenade Home”.
            So this item takes 112 bars = 14 long phrases.

 

After the dance, all people (dancers and audience) should sing “Get out the way, old Dan Tucker;  You’re too late to get your supper.” I am very much in favour of the dance finishing with a good song for everyone. But for me, this song doesn’t mean too much. So we have never song it. It would be good if a more relevant song could chosen – perhaps something about stopping climate change, simple community activities or a return to more equality. But this song also must be clearly American. So this is a difficult task. (I am vaguely thinking about some new words to “Coming Round the Mountain” myself. This is a nice simple enjoyable tune, which could support a large amount of improvisation.)

 

By my calculation, there are 501 long phrases in the dance. If you allow a speed of 1 second per bar, this would give a total time of 67 minutes. So the dance definitely takes an hour to perform.

            So this dance is very unique in how long it is. Also all the figures of the dance are very different - but there is a great cohesion in the way everything fits together. Also this dance is very much a folk-dance simply on the basis of its age. So this is why I think this dance as great claims to being something very special. Please think about performing it. This will be a very worthwhile project. (You will then have something really worth boasting about. And you don’t need to be a brilliant dancer to do it.)

 

 

You might now also like to look back at:

either my "Home Page" (which introduces this whole website and lists all my webpages),

or “My Life(which introduces this major set of webpages).

 

My next normal webpage is Musical Activities.

 

Updated on 17/11/2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can click on any of the following pictures and this will send you to the relevant webpage.