|A1||Pass your Partner by the Left Shoulder (4); Set to the one you meet (4); Swing (8)|
|A2||Pass your Partner by the Right Shoulder (4); Set to your Partner (4); Partner Swing (8)|
|B1||#1s keep Swinging (16) (second time through #2s, etc.) - time to show your skills!|
|B2||#1s Promenade AC inside the Set visiting the other couples then returning Home (16)|
|A3||#1s & #3s: Cross Over, #1s between #3s (8); Cross Back; #3s between #1s(8)|
|B3||All Eight: Circle Left (16)|
|B4||Promenade Home (16)|
I'd love to hear from you if you know anything more about this dance, its composer, its style, or its history.
Feedback is very welcome on any aspect of these dances or Web pages.
Please contact John Sweeney with your comments.
As Others See Us... Princess Margaret is in the fashion in knowing and liking folk dancing. No longer is it confined to a few remote districts, or to ladies on North Oxford lawns. The English Folk Dance and Song Society says that in London and the industrial districts, the Midlands particularly, the community or square dance has boomed in popularity since the end of the war. “People are glad of the friendly atmosphere of the community dance and they are not absolutely stuck with one man, as in ballroom dancing,” says an expert. La Russe, or the English Quadrille, which comes from the North of England, is one of the most popular numbers to-day. Princess Margaret danced it at the Society’s Anglo-Scottish Folk Dance party at the Dorchester Hotel last night, and it will be seen at the forthcoming annual festival at Straford-on-Avon. —EXTRACT FROM THE ‘‘BIRMINGHAM GAAZETTE,’’ JULY 8TH.
LA RUSSE QUADRILLE Intro. Honour partners, Honour corners. A.1. All pass partners (gentlemen pass behind partners to meet ladies on right who advance to meet them with four balance steps). Balance and swing corners (set to right and left and pivot-swing with ballroom hold). A.2. Pass back; balance and swing partners. B.1. (Leading) couple swing. B.2. Promenade inside the ring (balance step moving slowly round counter-clockwise visiting the other three couples). A.3. Leading couple cross over with opposite couple (passing between them, partners change places) and cross back (as before) (balance step. The opposite couple can make an arch for the leading couple). A.4. Repeat cross over and cross back. B.3. All join hands and circle left (reel or flat hop-step). B.4. Promenade partners back to places (counter-clockwise with reel or flat hop-step). (This figure is performed four times, B.1 and B.2 being done by each couple in turn acting as leading couple.)
TWO SIMPLE ENGLISH QUADRILLES FROM THE BORDER Throughout the country there is a growing interest in the Old. Dances. In the towns this interest is Teeny in the Old-Time couple dances performed with a rather conscious “olde Tyme” style. These are mostly composed dances to composed tunes which have never been through the “Folk Mill” to have their crudities softened. These tunes compare unfavourably with the traditional melodies of the still older community dances. Ballroom Dancers are now beginning to show interest in these older dances, many of which have survived in the villages. At village dances the ice is often broken by a spirited and unconventional performance of the Lancers danced to traditional tunes. The effect of this is to bring back memories to the older people of the Quadrilles of their young days and their faces light up at the very thought of dancing the Quadrilles once again. In America, of course, considerable public interest is being shown in these Square Dances as well as in the Country Dances and the Old Circle or Round Dances. The Quadrilles were once extremely popular in American and in England, where they were danced with a natural grace, vigour and skilful footwork which was passed on by tradition in the villages and fostered by dancing-masters in the towns. In addition to various Square Eights, two local versions of which have been published by the Society, and to the many local versions of the Lancers, there are two other simple quadrilles still popular in the Border villages which I think will be of interest to folk dancers. I passed them on to members of the Vacation Schools at Exmouth and Felixstowe and I have since had many requests for the details and tunes. Like the Lancers, there is much variation in the way they are danced in different localities, but I think the versions given here are the most usual. Although specific tunes have been given for both, any traditional tune of a similar nature can be used. Many people will still remember La Russe, which is danced in the Border Country and also, I believe, in Canada. The dance is simple as there is only one figure which is repeated by each couple in turn without pause. It can also be danced by sets of two, six, eight or more couples. The other simple quadrille, the Spanish Waltz, is also popular in the Border villages. No village dance is complete without it. The movements are similar to the Guaracha or Waltz Country Dance. Any old-fashioned waltz or slow 6/8 tune can be used of regular length. The dance can also be performed in a larger set with more than four couples so as to bring a new partner for each waltz (this is called The Family Circle Waltz). PETER KENNEDY. NOTES ON DANCE TITLES 2 — “DARGASON” This dance has a name full of mystery and romance. It conjures up visions of a remote castle on the Rhine, still dreaming of the last visit of the Crusaders. It would appear that “Dargason,” or, to use its older form, “Dargison,” was a mythical town or country, but where we don’t know. In Ben Jonson's “Tale of a Tub” a character says: “But if you get a lass from Dargison what will you do with her?” In the “Isle of Gulls,” played by the Revels in the Black Fryars in 1606, they sang:- “On an ambling nag, a-down, a-down, We have borne her away to Dargison.” And that is all we know, except that it is a lovely name. (Note.—The Editor would welcome suggestions for further titles to be included in this series.) “THE PSYCHOLOGIST” I asked one of the Bacup Coconut Dancers at Harringay why it was that only married men were allowed in the team. He replied: “We practice once a week on Mondays except when we have a show on, when we practice twice. If we had single men and their girls asked them to go to the pictures, they would have to say ‘yes.’ If our wives ask us, we can always say" ‘no’!” A. H. S.
The “Drops and Raises” in Folk Music I HAVE often been asked for an explanation for the grace notes inserted in my manuscript of “La Russe ” which was published in the Magazine. People have complained that they not only make the music difficult to read but that they also spoilt the tune. I must confess that I put them in with my tongue in my cheek in an endeavour to show that there is more in the playing of so simple a tune than just the bare notes that form the basis of the tune. When I first heard “La Russe” played by four Shepherds near Alnwick, Northumberland, practically every note was preceded by a grace note as well as other forms of melodic embellishment. The players used no harmonic accompaniment. Two fiddles were accompanied by two melodeons but the bass notes and chords provided on their instruments were not used. The result was a melody possessing not only an irresistible dance lilt but also full of expression. The particular character of the tune was brought out in a song-like and lyrical manner by means of this skilful technique. These country musicians do not have in their minds a conception of a tune in terms of notes played on specific beats; rather they pour out from their hearts a continuous melodic line which is continually pulsating. This is achieved mainly by what we erroneously call grace notes, decoration or embellishment, and is part of the inherited technique of both the traditional dance musician and folk singer. They are often so neatly introduced that they may not be noticed even by a trained musician if no attempt is made to sing or play with the countryman. This same means of expression is part of our normal speech, though here again the countryman obtains great effect by the “drops and raises” in his talk. This “lilting" technique is not simply lack of training and cultivation. It is achieved not only by inheritance from father to son, but also by long hours of practice and listening to older musicians in the farm houses through the winter evenings. In the remote country districts, folk music is the main leisure-time occupation of the people, whether singing, dancing, story-telling or playing. Although this 1s self-education, the traditions of country gatherings and dances has until recently enforced an extra- ordinarily high standard of technique. Much of the artistry is spontaneous and peculiar to individual character: It is, I think, a eat pity that this technique of melodic expression is not considered an essential part of modern musical education. The science of harmony with its keyboard instruments and tempered scale has led musicians into other fields of expression where moods are expressed by a series of planned chords and dischords. The radio crooners have, however, to adopt something of the technique for close microphone technique. Soloists are free of the bonds of mechanical time and tempered scale. This technique is, however, not allowed in modern orchestras, even by instruments which were originally designed to be played in this manner. We must remember that the composers of the 17th and 18th century and before that time wrote for musicians who had been trained in this technique. The grace notes were seldom indicated in the music as embellishments were taken for granted. This can be seen in various handbooks that were written for musicians, such as John Playford’s “Introduction to the Skill of Music,” where a table of graces is given for viols. We are also indebted to Arnold Dolmetsch for his “Interpretation,” which is a scholarly study of this special technique of expression. Perhaps it is a failing of our Society and others that we have only passed on the notes of the folk tunes, not realising the skilful technique possessed by the countryman, which was often concealed for the collector by the failings of old age. No wonder we have grown tired of the “Irish Washerwoman,” as it is often played mechanically as recorded in the music. We must humble ourselves and appreciate that much skill and practice is necessary to play the dance airs or sing folk songs so that they will survive as popular music, The necessary appoggiaturas, shakes, slides, turns, elevations and “tuts” were not only the technique of trained musicians of the 17th and 18th century, but also of folk musicians of the present day, whether in England, Ireland or India. Peter KENNEDY.