English Country Dances (Beta)

Tried and True ECD
Untested ECD
Master List of All Dances

Duple minor longways

Triple minor longways

Three-couple set

Four-couple set

 

After the Storm **
Duple minor longways
July 2017
Tune: After the Storm, by David Smukler

A1 Couple 1:
1-4 Set and turn single
5-8 Take right hands: Assisted half figure-8 down
A2 Couple 2:
1-4 Set and turn single
5-8 Take right hands: Assisted half figure-8 up, continuing around neighbor to end in the middle of a line-of-4 facing up
B1 1-2 Line advance up the hall with two waltz steps
3-4 Fall back, bending the line into a ring
5-8 Circle left all the way around
B2 1-2 Second diagonals (original 1st corners) change places, passing right shoulders
3-4 First diagonals the same
5-8 Twos cast and lead while ones lead and cast

For the assisted half figure-8, the person on the right (whose arm is across own body) “hands” their partner into crossing the set while moving down or up, and then follows up with their own role in the half figure-8.

Written to celebrate the wedding of Jennifer Fuller and Jonathan Avery.

(top of page)


Borrowed Time ****
November 2020
Duple minor longways
Tune: Borrowed Time, by David Smukler

A-parts in 9/8, 3 steps to the bar
A1 1-2 First corners change places passing right shoulders,
Second corners the same
3-4 First corners right-hand turn 3/4 to end in neighbor’s place, while
Second corners dance up or down the outside into neighbor’s place
(ends improper, ones above)
A2 1-4 Repeat B1 with new first corners beginning (all home)
B-parts in 6/8, 2 steps to the bar
B1 1-4 Neighbors back-to-back
5-6 Circle left halfway
7-8 Balance the ring in and out
B2 1-4 Partners 2-hand turn once around, open out to face neighbor
5-8 Three changes of rights and lefts, starting with neighbor on the side

Start and end with A-parts.

(top of page)


The Dandy’s Cravat (formerly “Brooklyn Dandy”) ***
November 2020
Duple minor longways
Tune: Trip to Sligo (Irish traditional)

A1 1-4 Circle left once around
5-8 Ones single file chase clockwise halfway while twos meet and lead up (ones are below and improper)
A2 1-8 Full double figure eight (ones crossing up as twos cast down, etc.)
B1 1-4 Left-hand star with next neighbors
5-8 Right-hand star with current neighbors
B2 1-4 Ones 2-hand turn 1-1/2, face up
5-8 Lead up between the twos, cast back to progressed place
Every other time, couple 2 active:
A3 1-4 Circle left once around (with new neighbors)
5-8 Twos single file chase clockwise halfway while ones meet and lead down (twos are above and improper)
A4 1-8 Full double figure eight (twos crossing down as ones cast up, etc.)
B3 1-4 Left-hand star with next neighbors
5-8 Right-hand star with current neighbors
B4 1-4 Twos 2-hand turn 1-1/2, face down
5-8 Lead down between the ones, cast back to place

The dance alternates who is active. With your first neighbors the ones are active (A1-B2). With the next it is the twos who are active (A3-B4), and you continue to alternate as you progress along the line. You can choose to simplify by dancing only the first two As and Bs, so that ones are always the active couple. Another way to simplify is to use a whole figure-8 for the active couple only in A2/A4, rather than a double figure-8.

This dance began life as a variation on a nineteenth century American contra dance called Dandy’s Hornpipe. Figures evolved from there and ECD styling seemed to suit. By now very little of Dandy’s Hornpipe remains. I created the dance in 2010; the latest revision is from November 2020.

Most of my ECD dance compositions start with a tune, but this one did not, and finding the best sort of tune took years. For a long while it was set to a very beautiful waltz, but eventually I saw reason and chose this jig (which Chris Sackett also used for his dance, The Skin of Our Teeth).

Revised during the COVID-19 pandemic, and dedicated to Jennifer Staples, who made my linen cravat… and tried valiantly to teach me to tie it. Jennifer says that the full double figure-8 resembles the tying of a regency cravat. This version was first danced on Jennifer’s birthday: July 11, 2021.

(top of page)


Doctor Fauci’s Maggot **
June 2020
Duple minor longways
Tune: Territorial Boys, by Debbie Jackson

A1 1-4 Right-hand star
5-8 All dance individually clockwise up or down your own line, wrapping around at the ends (skipping or skip-change step)
A2 1-4 Turn over left shoulder and return
5-8 Original foursomes left-hand star
B1 1-4 First corners change places passing left shoulder; when coast is clear, second corners change places passing right shoulders
5-8 Partners 2-hand turn 1-1/2, open out to face current neighbors
B2 1-4 Neighbors back-to-back
5-8 Partners set and turn single

(top of page)


Entering Becket *****
August 2019
Duple minor longways, identify #1L as “The Becket-izer”
Tune: Entering Becket* by Casey Murray
(*two versions: original in Bb and another in C, which some musicians prefer)

A1 1-4 Ones lead down between the twos and cast back to place
5-8 Ones 2-hand turn 1-1/2
A2 1-4 Similarly, twos lead up between the ones and cast back
5-8 Twos 2-hand turn 1-1/2
B Two 3-hand right-hand stars; second diagonals are in both stars:
1-4 Second diagonal with the other #2: right-hand star once around
5-8 Second diagonal with the other #1: continue to star about 2/3 until Becket-izer is home, easing out of the star to face partner on the side
C1 1-4 Partners back-to-back
5-8 Two changes of rights and lefts, starting with partner on the side; turn over right shoulder such that ones face down and twos up
C2 1-2 All dance up or down the line, face in
3-4 With new neighbors, circle left halfway
5-6 All turn single left (Becket-izer is in progressed place and stands pat)
7-8 Everyone but the Becket-izer: 3-hand left-hand star about halfway to end on own side in progressed place

Repeat as many times as desired, but on the last time through go out after the B-part, honoring partner on the side of the set (because you have just entered Becket).

Here is another way to think about the B-part. As A2 ends, the twos have been in motion. At the top of the B, the Becket-izer joins them to form the first 3-hand star. After the star turns once, the Becket-izer’s neighbor drops out and partner joins. Turn that star until the Becket-izer is home, and–voila!–the set is in Becket formation.

When you reach either end of the set, you will find no one across from you in C2 (3-4). Wait out one turn, and reenter on the opposite line on the next C2. At the top of the set, whoever wants to be the Becket-izer leads back in.

I was delighted that Casey agreed to compose a tune for me. During the time she was working on it, she frequently made the trip between Rochester, NY and Boston, MA. While driving along the Mass Pike she would pass the sign that read, “Entering Becket,” and think about dances in Becket formation. When she presented me with a tune by that name, I found I was intrigued with the idea of a dance that started as duple proper, but then “entered” Becket….

(top of page)


Great and Small ***
December 2020
Duple minor longways
Tune: Roslin Castle (no repeats, 4 steps per bar)

A 1-2 Ones half figure-8 down
3-4 Neighbors mirror back-to-back, ones between twos to begin
5-6 First diagonals change places; second diagonals the same
7-8 Neighbors right shoulder round 1-1/2
B 1-4 Open left-hand chain, as follows:
– First diagonals left-hand turn halfway, partners right-hand turn once
– First diagonals left-hand turn halfway, neighbors right-hand turn 3/4
5-6 Single file clockwise halfway (6), honor partner (2)
7-8 Ones half figure-8 up through the twos while twos cast and lead

For the single file, first diagonals (those who were more active in the chain) lead; neighbors follow.

(top of page)


Hearthstones ***
November 2021
Duple minor longways
Tune: Mr and Mrs Maclean of Snaigow by Dougie MacLean,
published by Limetree Arts and Music

A1 1-2 Ones lead down the center, flip to face up at end of phrase
3-4 Ones fall back (2 single steps) to continue moving down the hall
5-8 Ones lead up to home and cast off one place, twos moving up
9-12 Ones half figure-8 up through the twos
13-16 Ones 2-hand turn 1-1/2
A2 1-16 Repeat A1 for the twos (all are home)
B 1-8 Cross-Stitch Hey” (two half heys-for-4, one on each diagonal; both begin with 1st corners passing each other, and 2nd corners going up or down the outside)
(1-4) First half hey on right diagonal:
– First corners pass left, pass partner right at opposite corner, and cross the set to own side, while…
– Second corners go up or down to neighbor’s place, pass partner right at corner, pass each other left on the diagonal, and end facing out
(1s are now on L-file; 2s on R-file)
(5-8) Repeat to home, same roles but on other diagonal with other shoulders:
– Original first corners pass right on the second diagonal, pass neighbor left at opposite corner, and cross the set to home, while…
– Second corners go up or down one place, pass neighbor left at corner, and each other right on the diagonal
(All are home)
9-12 Circle right once around, drawing in at the end of the phrase
13-16 Ones a large cast to second place while twos lead up the center and turn single away

Aniela Wolkonowski dubbed the figure in B 1-8 a “cross-stitch hey.” The path in each half of this hey is wedge-shaped; one leg of the wedge is on the diagonal, and the other is either straight across (for first corners) or up-or-down the line (for second corners). Each half-hey has three actions: 1) dance one leg of your wedge; 2) loop around someone turning the corner of the wedge; and 3) dance the other leg of your wedge. You pass two people per half, one at a corner (between the two legs of the wedge), and the other in the center whenever you cross on the diagonal. You do not pass anyone on that shorter leg.

As the twos complete their 2-hand turn at the end of A2, an optional cloverleaf turn single may be inserted (ones turning up and twos down) as a lead-in to the cross-stitch hey. Any or all dancers may choose to insert this.

Couples who would prefer not to switch roles in the cross-stitch hey may change sides while waiting out at either end, thereby remaining a first or second corner.

(top of page)


Insurmountable Opportunities ***
Duple minor longways
Tune: Insurmountable Opportunities, by Laurel Sharp and David Smukler

A1 1-2 All set toward your neighbor
3-4 Turn single over right shoulder and take hands four
5-8 Circle left once around
A2 1-4 Neighbors gate clockwise once around
5-8 First corners left-hand turn 1-1/2 in the center; during the last four counts, others pull right shoulder back and cast into neighbor’s place facing into the set
B1 1-4 Half hey-for-4 across the set (partners pass by the right to begin)
5-8 Partners 2-hand turn 1-1/4 and face in
B2 1-2 In a ring-of-4, balance in and out, and…
3-4 (As in the contra dance Petronella) …turn single right, moving into the position of the dancer on your right; immediately face neighbor on the side
5-8 Three changes of rights and lefts, starting with neighbor

At the end of the 2-hand turn in B1 the original first corners (those who turned in the center in A2) end on the right of your partner. Original second corners (who cast into the hey in A2) end on the left.

I originally created this “anglicized” variation of my contra dance, Bingham’s Pie, as an improper dance, but have written these directions without reference to specific gender roles.

(top of page)


Lady Jane’s Maggot; or, Tit for Tat ****
June 2016
Duple minor longways
Tune: Fifty Years of David, by Jane Knoeck (Sept 2001)

A1 1-4 Right hand to neighbor: 2 changes of rights and lefts
5-8 Facing corner, set and turn single
9-12 First corners change places by right shoulders; second corners the same
13-16 Partners 2-hand turn, ease out to line
A2 1-4 Right hand to partner: 2 changes of rights and lefts
5-8 Facing partner, set and turn single, take two hands with partner
9-12 Half draw poussette clockwise (1st corners going forward throughout)
13-14 Partners balance forward and back
15-16 Ones cast while twos cross up the center as if starting a figure-8
B 1-8 Hey-for-3 across, ones pass right to begin
Twos take turns in the hey as follows:
(1-4) The #2 dancer crossing up on the first diagonal at the end of A2 continues in a figure-8 pattern, casting down, and then crossing up on the second diagonal to end in progressed place
(5-8) Halfway through the hey, the other #2 dancer, about to be “displaced” by partner, casts down and crosses back up on the first diagonal to progressed place 
(All are now progressed and on original sides)
9-12 Same four right-hand star
13-16 Left-hand star
(Second corners turn over right shoulder to face next neighbor)

To celebrate my 50th birthday in September of 2001 I organized a free dance for my local community with music by the Groovemongers. Jane Knoeck, their piano player, composed a lovely waltz for the occasion called “Fifty Years of David.” Almost 15 years later, she played the tune at a dance I was attending. “What a nice tune!” I said, “What is it?…” Re-inspired by her music, I composed this dance a few days later.

*Note about the hey: For the 1s, it feels like a normal right-shoulder hey. The 2s have a support role: each in turn does half of a figure 8 pattern, casting down and crossing up, thereby filling a role in the hey as needed.

(top of page)


Little Oak’s Move
May 2022
Duple minor longways
Tune: The Mysterious Guest, by Henry Jankiewicz

A1 1-4 Right-hand star once around
5-8 Partners balance; ones cast down as twos lead up
A2 1-4 Left-hand star once around
5-8 Partners balance; twos cast down as ones lead up
B1 1-8 Left-file dancers chase with #2 leading throughout: #1L cast down to follow #2L who crosses up to do a full figure-8 through right-file (ends with left file progressed)
B2 1-8 Right-file dancers chase, #1 leading throughout: #2R cast up to follow #1R, who crosses down to do a full figure-8 through left-file (ends with all progressed)

(top of page)


Maeve’s Tortoise (pronounced “tour-toys”) **
October 2020
Duple minor longways
Tune: Christy Barry’s

A1 1-4 First corners chase: Top corner dance clockwise around partner while bottom corner follows; both end at home (and take hands-4 in a ring)
5-8 Balance the ring
Petronella spin: Turn single over right shoulder while moving one place counterclockwise
A2 1-4 Other corners (now on right diagonal) also chase: top corner dance clockwise around opposite while bottom corner follows; end where you began
5-8 Balance the ring; Petronella spin
B1 1-4 Ones half figure-8 up through the twos
5-8 Partners all 2-hand turn
B2 1-4 Twos half figure-8 down through the ones
5-8 Partners all set and turn single

The chase figure is borrowed from The Garter (The Dancing Master, 1688). The title was inspired by the very funny comedian, Maeve Higgins. On one of her many appearances on NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, she pronounced the word Tortoise as “Tour-toys,” and this pronunciation became a hilarious topic of discussion.

(top of page)


Muffin Cakes ***
March 2019
Duple minor longways
Tune: Muffin Cakes, by David Smukler

A1 1-4 All set to the center, turn single back to place
5-8 Ones half figure eight down
A2 1-4 All set and turn single again
5-8 Twos half figure eight up
B1 1-8 Those on the right diagonal pull left shoulder back to cast around neighbor, pass by the left shoulder in the center, loop right around partner and end in each other’s place
9-12 With next neighbors, right hands-across star
13-16 With original neighbors, left hands-across star
B2 1-8 Those on the left diagonal pull right shoulder back to cast around partner, pass by the right shoulder in the center, loop left around neighbor and end in each other’s place
9-12 Partners back to back
13-16 Partners 2-hand turn

The corners change figure in the first half of each B-part is the same as in the dance, Barbarini’s Tambourine.

“Muffin cakes” was a term of endearment for my grandson, Isaac, when he was small.

(top of page)


Planxty Nancy Koch ***
September 2021
Duple minor longways
Tune: Miss Hamilton, by Cornelius Lyons (1680-1750), 4 steps per bar

A 1-2 Balance in a ring-of-4, spin one place to the right (as in Petronella)
3-4 Ones half figure-8 across between twos
5-6 Twos half figure-8 across between ones, and take hands-4
7-8 Balance the ring, spin one place to the right (all are progressed)
B 1-2 Two changes of rights and lefts, starting with partner across
3-4 Partners 2-hand turn 1-1/2 to home place, open facing up
5-6 Ones lead up 1 place and cast down 2 while
Twos cast down 1 place and lead up 2
7-8 With new neighbors, circle left once around
(Next round of the dance begins with these)

Possible style points: Turn single right for the Petronella turn. Do not stop between Petronella turn and half figure-8. Make the changes at the top of B1 half turns rather than simply pulling by.

The lead-or-cast in B 5-6 begins with former neighbors, not current ones. Neutral couples do not participate but do allow other couples to lead through or cast around them. Then they re-enter the dance just after, with the circle at bars 7-8.

Cornelius Lyons was harper to the Earl of Antrim and friend of Turlough O’Carolan.

(top of page)


Sorrow’s Reach ****
May 2021
Duple minor longways
Tune: Ritornelle – “Thanks to these lonesome vales”, by Henry Purcell

A1 1-4 All right-hand turn on the right diagonal 1-1/2
5-6 Cross the set by right shoulder, turn right and dance to home
7-8 Partners right-hand turn halfway, ending in partner’s place
A2 1-4 All left-hand turn on the right diagonal 1-1/2
5-6 Cross the set by left shoulder, turn left and dance back to partner’s place
7-8 Partners left-hand turn halfway to home, flip to change hands
B1 1-4 Two changes of rights and lefts, starting with partner
5-8 Partners 2-hand turn 1-1/2 and face up
B2 1-4 Couples up a double, cast back
5-8 Same four, left-hand star

Sorrow’s Reach has an interesting and unusual end effect worth teaching. At each end of the set, one dancer has no one on the right diagonal in A1. This dancer waits in place for 4 bars, crosses over passing right shoulder with opposite, crosses back (chasing that opposite) as part of the entire set moving one place clockwise, and finally does the right-hand turn halfway with partner to change places. A2 is the mirror image for the same dancer, who now has no one on the left diagonal. The same situation occurs both when you and your partner are otherwise waiting out for one turn of the dance, and when you start the next time through, so it happens twice in a row. (At the other end of the set, your partner will have this experience.)

As you change from a one to a two (or vice versa, it is also worth noting that first and second corners have very different transitions from B2 to A1. The left-hand star naturally sends first corners toward a new corner for the right-hand turn. Second corners, however, begin the next round with the same old corner, whose left hand they are holding in that star. So, for them the transition is a little flip to change hands, much like the end of A2.

(top of page)


Surge ***
December 2020
Duple minor longways
Tune by David Smukler

A1 1-2 With partner across: right shoulder side-by-side siding, turn single left back to place
3-4 First corners orbit counterclockwise while
Second corners, facing each other, advance and retire
A2 1-2 With partner on the side: left shoulder siding, turn single right
3-4 Second corners orbit clockwise while
First corners, facing each other, advance and retire
B1 1-3 Circle left once around
4 Turn single left
5-7 Left-hand star once around
8 Turn single right
B2 1-3 Partners back-to-back
4 Partners right-hand turn halfway, tug into . . .
5-8 Four changes of rights and lefts

(top of page)


Tiptoe to Narnia ***
November 2020
Duple minor longways
Tune: La Gueussinette, by Stephen Jones (played without repeats: AB)

A 1-2 Neighbors Petronella turn: All turn single right 3/4 such that neighbors face each other in a line-of-4 across (first corners on the outside facing in, second corners on the inside facing out)
3-4 Two changes of a hey-for-4 across, neighbors passing right shoulder to begin
5-6 Partners 2-hand turn 3/4
7-8 Circle left just 1/4 using 2 single steps (step-close, step-close) (all are in progressed place)
9-10 Balance the ring in and out
11-12 All turn single right
13-16 Partners right-hand turn 1-1/2
B 1-4 Ones split half figure-8 on the left diagonal (see note)
5-8 Twos the same (all are again in progressed place)
9-12 Partners back-to-back
13-16 Four changes of rights and lefts, starting with partner

At the top of the A-part, the Petronella spin is for each neighbor pair separately, rather than being a 4-person move where everyone ends up one place to the right. It may be helpful to teach it by having neighbors 2-hand turn 3/4 to a line across in order to show people where they are going. Then start over and have them turn single instead directly to that spot.

The split half figure-8 in the B-part accomplishes the same thing as a typical half figure-8–changing places with partner. Face on the left diagonal, dance up or down between the couple above or below you, and then loop right around one person. Although you do not go through the same couple as your partner, you will see a shadow. Avoid collisions with the shadow by staying close to the stationary dancer that you dance around. At the ends of the set, either you or your partner will be dancing through an imaginary couple and looping to the right around no one. Notice also that half of the dancers are doing the figure-8 outside their minor set. If you are one of them, be sure you know which neighbor to work with for the final four changes.

I wrote a dance to this evocative tune in 2014 called “Finding the Lamppost.” Several years later, while reworking that dance, I noticed after a while that only the split half figure-8 remained. So, it became a new dance with a new title in 2020.

(top of page)


Trip to Evesham; or, The Weekend That Wasn’t ****
Duple minor longways
Tune: Hatfield House, 1687 (9/8, 3 steps per bar)

A1 Hey-for-3 across for couple two, with the ones taking turns as follows:
1-2 #1L initiates the hey crossing down between the twos and looping left; stop in partner’s place, as…
3-4 #1R takes over, crossing down between the twos and then looping right into partner’s place, as the twos complete their hey at home
(For twos it is a complete hey across the set; for ones it is, in effect, half figure-8 for each dancer in turn, and ones are now improper)
A2 Similarly, a hey for couple one where the twos take turns as follows:
1-2 #2R initiate the hey crossing up between the ones and looping left; stop in partner’s place, as…
3-4 #2L takes over, crossing up between the ones and looping right into partner’s place, the ones completing their hey
(For ones it is a full hey; for twos a half figure-8 for each dancer in turn) A2 ends with ones still above twos, but all are improper
B1 1-2 Two changes of rights and lefts, starting with partner
3-4 Partners 2-hand turn
B2 1-2 Ones lead down through the couple below and cast back to progressed place while twos come up the outside, meet, and lead down
3-4 Ones lead up through original neighbors and cast back to progressed place while twos separate down the outside, meet, and lead up (and then immediately separate again to begin the next round)

Written for the 2020 May Hey Days at Evesham (UK), which event was sadly cancelled because of the COVID 19 pandemic. The dance was finally debuted in Evesham at the festival on May 1, 2022 as one of 8 entries in a dance writing competition.

(top of page)


You’re Sauvain ***
August 2016
By David Smukler and Carmen Giunta
Duple minor longways
Tune: Not … So Vain, by Charlene Thomson

Part I: Siding

A1 1-2 Partners right shoulder siding into line (3 steps forward and 3 back)
3-4 Turn single over left shoulder to face neighbor
A2 1-2 Neighbors left shoulder siding
3-4 Turn single over right shoulder into…
B1 1-3 All four circle left once around
4 Fall back to line
5 First corners meet
6 First corners retire while the second corners meet
7 First corners trade places passing right shoulders
8 Second corners trade places passing right shoulders
B2 1-2 Single file promenade clockwise halfway round to home
3-4 Partners 2-hand turn, end facing neighbors up or down
5-6 Neighbors forward and back
7-8 Ones cast down as the twos lead up
  (optional: twos turn single away on last 3 counts)

Part II: Arming

A1 1-2 Partners arm right
3-4 Turn single over left shoulder to face neighbor
A2 1-2 Neighbors arm left
3-4 Turn single over right shoulder
B1 & 2 1-16 As above

Part III: Up a double

A1 1-2 All up a double and back
3-4 Turn single away from partner to face down
A2 1-2 Down a double and back
3-4 All turn single right
B1 & 2 1-16 As above

Carmen Giunta and I collaborated to create this dance in honor of Richard Sauvain, a wonderful dancer and organizer who has nurtured the English country dance community in Rochester, NY for many years. The dance unveiled at an event in Richard’s honor on September 18, 2016, called “Salute to Sauvain.” The dance’s title was given to us by Lisa Brown, the president of Country Dancers of Rochester. My wife, Laurel Sharp, came up with the idea of having an “SAU” (rather than “USA”) structure for the dance. And the tune was composed especially for this dance and event by Charlene Thomson.

Carmen, Charlene and I have collaborated on two other dances: Lisa’s Maggot, and Long Live Pat Shaw.

(top of page)


New Laces ***
2020
Triple minor longways
Tune: A happy jig such as Brendan Tonra’s

A1 1-4 #1L does 2 changes to end in third place as follows:
Right diagonal by right hand; left diagonal by left hand
5-8 Similarly, #RL does 2 changes to end in third place:
Left diagonal by left hand; right diagonal by right hand
A2 1-4 Bottom four (ones and threes) two changes of rights and lefts, starting with partner
5-8 Top four (ones and twos) the same (all are home)
B1 1-2 Ones lead down the center
3-4 Ones set
5-8 Ones return (skipping) and cast down one place, twos moving up
B2 1-8 Top four full double figure-8, ones cross up and twos cast down to begin

New Laces is my variation of an early American dance called Elegance and Simplicity. I have made several changes to the historical dance. The original A1 consists of stars halfway (moulinet), first by right hand and then by left. Down the center in B1 included a rigadoon step, and B2 would have been four changes of rights and lefts. The changes are mostly intended to make timing and flow more appropriate for modern dancers.

(top of page)


Now and Then ***
December 2018
Triple minor longways
Tune: Barbour’s Cordial, by Keith Murphy (published in Black Isle Music Three; please email me for a copy of the tune, or use another smooth jig as a substitute)

A1 1-4 Couples 1 and 2 turn neighbor by the left hand 1-1/2
5-8 Parallel half heys-for-3 on the side (1s and 3s begin by passing right shoulder)
A2 1-4 Partners all set and turn single
5-7 All six circle left halfway, and…
8 Partners cross the set passing right shoulders
B1 1-4 Lines-of-3 fall back a double
Then come forward and cross the set, passing right shoulders (face partner throughout)
5-8 Partners 2-hand turn twice around (see note)
B2 1-4 Again (but improper this time): Lines-of-3 fall back a double
Come forward and cross the set, passing right shoulders
5-8 Couple 1 with the 2s above, right hands-across star

Time the half hey so that you face in for the set and turn single. Some dancers will need to extend one loop of the hey to make that happen.

In B1, resist starting the two-hand turn early (from your proper side). Cross to improper at the end of one phrase, and start the turn at the top of the next. You may wish to use crossed hands and a bit of a buzz step to get around twice. It’s also fine to do a more expansive turn and just go around once. Whichever way you do it, time your turn to flow into the fall-back just at the top of B2.

Out of the star, couple 1 looks down and others look up. This being a triple minor dance, the original threes start as twos with their same active couple.

I originally called this dance “Passages,” but changed the title when I learned that Kalia Kliban had already created a lovely English country dance by that name.

(top of page)


The Barnacle Waltz / David’s Triplet #6 **
December 2006
Three-couple longways
Tune: The Barnacle Waltz or another 32-bar waltz of your choice

A 1-2 Couples one and two balance in a ring
3-4 Drop hands and spin one place to the right (as in Petronella)
5-8 Repeat
9-16 Couples one and three the same: balance and spin twice
(Ones are now proper at the bottom; twos and threes are improper)
B 1-4 Ones slow sashay to the top (4 steps)
5-8 Ones do a long cast to the bottom WHILE twos and threes balance forward and back and trade places with partner (as in Duke of Kent’s Waltz)
9-12 Bottom four (couples one and three) right-hand star
13-16 Top four (couples two and three) circle left

The inactive couple may choose to waltz in place during the A music. Couple three can waltz for the first 8 measures, and couple two for the next 8 measures. End where you began by facing up or down into the set.

This was composed as a triple minor longways dance for Tom Bannister of Rochester, NY, a fixture on their dance scene for many years. It was first danced on June 18, 2006. Tom loved triple minors, and loved to waltz. Later that year I made a few small changes to re-create Barnacle Waltz as a three couple dance, which then became “David’s Triplet #6“. Despite Tom’s love for triple minors, I decided I preferred the 3-couple choreography, and I no longer use the original version.

(top of page)


Because We Care ****
November 2016
Three-couple longways, mixer
Tune: Flatworld, by Andy Cutting

A1 1-4 Top foursome circle left once around
5-8 Same four single file “serpentine” to move top couple to bottom (see notes) while
Bottom couple chase CCW halfway to end at top
(End in 3-2-1 order, original threes at the top are improper)
A2 1-4 New top foursome (couples 3 and 2) circle right
5-8 And single file serpentine while
Bottom couple chase CW halfway to end at top
(End back in 1-2-3 order, both end couples improper)
B1 1-4 Top 2 neighbors on L-file and bottom 2 on R-file: set and turn single
5-8 Same neighbors right-hand turn 1-1/2 to change places
B2 1-4 All six, circle left two-thirds of the way around (i.e., halfway and one place more; all are on original side in a new position)
5-8 Set to new partner across and turn single

Mixer: left file ends in 3-1-2 order, and right in 2-3-1 order. Repeat twice more to place.

Notes for serpentine figure:

  • After the circle, as the foursome releases hands, a designated leader (the #2 dancer who crossed the set at the beginning of the circle) crosses the set again, and then turns left out of the circle left, or right out of the circle right. The turn is always down.
  • The other three follow in single file, staying behind the same person they followed in the circle. Meanwhile, the bottom couple gets out of the way with a chase to the top of the set, one of them casting and the other following.
  • The twos’ role is key. The leader creates the S-shaped path by circling in one direction at the top and the other direction at the bottom. The other #2 is at the tail of this train (those roles switch in A2). Unlike the other couples, twos end each A‑part where they began: circle once around at the top, and then single file once around (at the bottom for the leader, or again at the top for the tail). The other couples can depend on the twos to know where the serpentine ends.
  • Unlike other dancers, #2L (the first “tail”) does not have a natural transition into the circle right in A2. Finish the serpentine in time to be ready to change direction.

(top of page)


Half Remembered ***
January 2022
Three-couple longways
Tune: Miss Carmichael’s Minuet, 18th century Scottish

A1 1-4 Ones and twos set right and left; 2 changes of a circular hey, partners pass right to begin
5-8 Ones and threes the same
A2 1-2 Ones cast up to middle pace while threes lead down and turn single away, into…
3-8 Right shoulder heys-for-3 across, ones pass left diagonal by right shoulder to begin (ones end proper in middle place, face right diagonal)
B1 1-4 Right diagonals left-hand turn ~3/4; ones pass each other left, into…
5-8 Modified partial right-shoulder hey-for-4 on 1st diagonal:
Ones pass corner right and then orbit the set clockwise to end in middle place improper, while long 1st diagonals pass the #1 by right shoulder, each other by left shoulder, and loop right into opposite corner
B2 1-4 Left diagonals right-hand turn ~3/4, ones pass each other right, into…
5-8 Modified partial left-shoulder hey-for-4 on 2nd diagonal:
Ones pass corner left and then orbit the set counterclockwise to end in middle place proper, while long 2nd diagonals pass the #1 by left shoulder, each other by right shoulder, and loop left into opposite corner

Ends in 3-1-2 order. Repeat twice more to original places.

The ones’ path in the B-parts is expansive to use up all the music. #1R’s corners are above each time, and #1L’s are below.

After the hand turn in B, the corners reorient to offer the other shoulder for the hey.

(top of page)


John-a-Dreams ****
August 2021
Three-couple longways
Tune: Moss Rose and Yarrow by Nadine Dyskant-Miller, © 2021

A1 Ones chase, alternating leads:
1-6 #1L, followed by partner, cast down outside to the bottom and up the center while follower goes counterclockwise around one and into center facing up, taking over the lead; now chase up through the top and cast right around one (middles moving up) to end with ones in middle place improper
7-8 Ones right-hand turn halfway (dancers now in 2-1-3 order)
A2 Threes chase similarly:
1-6 #3R, followed by partner, cast up outside to the top and down the center while follower goes counterclockwise around one and into center facing down, taking over the lead; now chase down through the bottom and cast right around one (middles moving down) to end with threes in middle place improper
7-8 Threes right-hand turn halfway (putting dancers in 2-3-1 order), releasing hands at the end of the phrase to move directly into . . .
B1 1-4 Middles (original threes) orbit clockwise halfway around outside of set
Meanwhile long right diagonals change places passing left shoulders (bars 1-2), and long left diagonals change passing right (3-4)
5-8 Middles, following momentum from the orbit, go individually out to their left for a right shoulder hey across with the end couple; the last loop of the hey sends middles into . . .
B2 1-4 Middles orbit counterclockwise halfway around outside of set
Meanwhile long left diagonals change places passing right shoulders (bars 1-2), and long right diagonals change passing left (3-4)
5-8 Middles go individually out to their right for left shoulder heys across

Ends in 2-3-1 order. Repeat twice more to place.

The figure in the first half of each B-part is borrowed from Philippe Callens’ dance Costumer’s Delight. I started work on this dance a few weeks after learning about Philippe’s death, and I wanted to acknowledge the dance community’s loss by including something from one of Philippe’s dances.

A few additional, potentially helpful, cues for the B-parts:

  • Long right diagonals always change by the left, and long left diagonals always change by the right. Another way to think about this is that corners stay near the side they begin on (L file or R-file) as they arc past each other.
  • B1 begins with both the orbiters and right diagonals moving; in B2 it is the left diagonals
  • “Active” dancers (original threes, now in middle place) go the same way, be it up or down, for both heys. If the first (right-shoulder hey) is up, the second (left-shoulder) one will be up as well, and vice versa. Because corners have crossed, the second hey is with new people.

Composed March 2021, and revised August 2021. Changes not yet road-tested.

(top of page)


The Justice *****
September 2020
Three-couple longways
Tune: The Almond by James Oswald

A1 1-3 Partners left-hand turn
4-5 All turn single right
6-8 On right diagonal, those who can change places as in “Hole in the Wall”
9-12 Circle left six hands halfway
13-16 Opposites back-to-back
A2 1-3 Opposites right-hand turn
4-5 All turn single left
6-8 On left diagonal, those who can change places as in “Hole in the Wall” (still passing right shoulders)
9-12 Circle left six hands halfway
13-16 Opposites back-to-back
B 1-4 Middles cast clockwise up or down into half right shoulder hey-for-3 on the side
5-6 Middles continue trajectory of the hey to dance outside (left shoulder) around one to middle position of lines-of-3 facing up and down (original L-file dancers above, R-file below); take hands
7-8 Lines balance forward and back
9-12 Similarly, middles cast clockwise into half hey-for-3 across
13-14 Middles dance outside around one to the middle position of lines-of-3 facing across (all are halfway round from where they began the B-part); take hands
15-16 Lines balance forward and back
17-19 Opposites “swirly” siding, 6 steps to cross by left shoulder, 3 steps back, then keep moving into . . .
20-24 Single file clockwise until all are home across from partner
25-28 Partners 2-hand turn; ones face up, others retain hands
29-30 Ones cast to bottom while others sidestep twice to move up one place
31-32 Ones turn single down while others turn single up

Ends in 2-3-1 order. Repeat twice more to place.

Middles (original long second corners) are actives during the first half of the B-part. To get into each half hey they pull right shoulder back. They can catch partner’s eye on the first cast, but they pass the one who is not their partner to begin the half hey right shoulder. Measures 9-16 are a repeat of measures 1-8, with the figure turned 90°. Both heys begin with the same “trail buddies” passing by right.

Bar 20 is the end of a phrase, but the single file circle does, in fact, begin here. Think of the siding as a slingshot into the chase. The single file circle has 5 bars to go 5 places around the set, ending with everyone in home places.

Composed after the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

(top of page)


Long Live Pat Shaw ****
June 2017
By David Smukler and Carmen Giunta
Three-couple longways
Tune: Remembering Pat Shaw, by Charlene Thomson

A1 Top four:
1-4 Back to back with partner
5-6 Turn single right
7-8 Right hands across star halfway
A2 Bottom four:
1-2 Left-hand star halfway
3-4 Turn single right
5-8 Partners back to back
B1 1-8 Crossover mirror hey: 2s and 3s face down, 1s at the bottom start the hey by crossing up between the 3s
  (couples are now in 2-3-1 order, all improper)
B2 1-4 All six circle left, one time around
5-6 Partners cross the set passing right shoulders
7-8 Partners set, right and left

Charlene Thomson created this evocative waltz to honor Pat Shaw in 2017, the 100th anniversary of his birth. She asked Carmen Giunta and me to create a dance for it. Here’s the result.

(top of page)


Ruth’s Journey ***
November 2018
Three-couple longways
Tune: Ruth’s Journey, by Jane Knoeck

A1 1-8 Mirror hey-for-3 (couple 1 splits couple 2 to begin)
A2 1-4 Partners set and turn single
5-8 Partners right-hand turn once around
B1 1-4 Couple 1 half figure-8 through the couple below
5-8 Then, cross the set and go below one place, middles leading up
9-12 Bottom four right hands-across star
13-16 All six circle left halfway (couples now in 3-1-2 order, all improper)
B2 1-4 Couple 3 at the top half figure-8 through the couple below 
5-8 They cross the set and go below one place, middles leading up
9-12 Bottom four right hands-across star
13-16 All six circle left halfway

Ends in 2-3-1 order, all proper.

I prefer the flow if both half figure-8s are right shoulder.

Written to honor Rochester dancer, Ruth Hyde, and first unveiled at a celebration for her, held Sunday, December 9, 2018, a few days after her ninetieth birthday.

(top of page)


Never Better ****
October 2020
Four-couple longways
Tune: Laurel’s Triumph, by Jane Knoeck

A1 1-4 Middle four join hands and make arches all round: ends cast down or up, dance into the side arches and out the ends to return to place
5-6 Within foursomes, couples exchange places with a half draw poussette clockwise
7-8 Those now in middle (original ends) circle left 3/4 while
New ends continue the draw poussette to orbit the entire set 1/4 and re-form as a line of four couples across the hall
(original ends are now middles and vice versa)
A2 1-8 Repeat A1 from new positions and roles (end at home)
B1 1-4 Partners set and turn single
5-6 In fours, circle left halfway, face neighbor along the line
7-8 Two changes of rights and lefts around the (flat) ring-of-8 (second change is up or down set for middles, and around end for ends)
B2 1-4 Next neighbors 2-hand turn 1-1/2, open out to face partner across
5-6 Neighbors fall back and come forward
7-8 Partners 2-hand turn once around
(New ends face out; middles make a ring-of-4)

Ends in 3-1-4-2 order. Those who began as ends are now middles. Those who began as middles are at opposite end and crossed over. Repeat 3x more to place.

At the top of each A-part, those starting at the ends are actives. They cast, take hands with their counterpart from the opposite end, duck into the side arch, immediately release the neighbor, and take partner’s hand to duck back out the end arch to home places. If the middles are not tall enough to make those arches conveniently high, they can make “virtual” arches instead, lifting hands toward partner or neighbor, rather than connecting.

The action in measures 5-8 of the A-parts can be disorienting. It may be helpful to visualize the draw poussette as equivalent to circling halfway.

Composed September 2017 and revised October 2020. Changes not yet road-tested.

(top of page)


Woodland Shadows ****
December 2021
Four-couple longways (1s and 2s facing up, 3s and 4s facing down)
Tune by Aaron Marcus

A1 1-4 Cast and lead / lead and cast from both ends, all moving
5-8 Keeping inside hands, partners promenade to the right (CW) down or up outside the set, and then face in to re-form as a “Becket” set
A2 1-4 Opposites back to back
5-8 In fours, join hands in a “U” that opens at each end of the set; long first corners draw their U out into a line by dancing across the set and all the way up or down the other side; at the end of the phrase first corners (within each new foursome) change places passing right shoulder to finish across from partner (centers are facing each other up or down and others are facing out their end of the set)
B1 1-8 Parallel heys-for-4: centers pass right shoulder and ends turn over left shoulder to begin; the hey ends with one extra change, centers passing right and ends looping left
B2 1-4 Wide left-hand turn with the one you meet, those facing out do a little flip and change hands so all face partner across; finish with all coming in close and taking hands in line
5-6 Lines-of-4 fall back, come forward
7-8 Partners 2-hand turn once around and face up or down toward near end

Ends in 2-4-1-3 order. Those who began as a middle have moved to the nearest end. Those who begin at an end finish as a middle, crossed over and facing the opposite end. Repeat 3x more to original places.

The same people (those beginning on the left of partner) are always first corners in their foursomes at the end of A2. Encourage them to change on an arc rather than a straight diagonal line. Meanwhile, second corners (those not making the change) can “track” their partner, turning to the right in place to match partner’s orientation so that partners begin the parallel hey together.

(top of page)