Contrafusion
Monday Evenings — Ashford
Tuesday Afternoons — Maidstone
Saturday Evenings — Ashford & Maidstone

St John's #4

Home || Dance Videos || Contra Dancing || Your Ceilidh/Barn Dance || Contra Waltz || Dance Index || About Us || Contact Us || Links

St John's #4

Source: Composed by John Sweeney
Formation: Square, Numbered AC

Figure
A1 Into the Middle & Back (8)
Partner Two Hand Turn (8) - Sides* only turn 3/4 & make single-handed Arches across* the room with the Man on the outside
A2 #1s* Gallop Down; Separate; Return through the Arches (16) WHILE
#3s* Dance Up individually through the Arches and Gallop Down to Home
B1 Heads*: (Using Left Shoulder In and Slip): Men Cross (4); Ladies Cross (4); Circle Left Halfway (4); Fall Back into Place (4)
B2 Sides* the same (16)

Break
A1/2 Lock Chain Swing (Start Partner Allemande Right 1 & 1/2) to Opposite Place (four changes)
B1/2 [Men Roll Back, Ladies Roll Back] x2

Music:
Dull Sir John or any suitable 32 bar tune. I use a medley of Auretti's Dutch Skipper, An Adventure at Margate and The Spirit of the Dance.

Notes:
There are lots of great figures in the 17th century Square Dances. But the usual format is three different figures with three different choruses, This means that it can take a long time to teach a single dance. The modern style of doing one Figure and one Break in the format BFFBFFB means that you spend far less time teaching and far more time dancing. So I have taken some of the figures I like and cast them into a 21st century format.

The * indicates a call that changes each time through the figure.

The fun part of the main figure is taken from St. Johns. This appears to be an early variant of Playford's Dull Sir John. St. Johns just say "goe through the midle" but since the same document has words such as "the first man shall take his woeman by both hands and shall leade her down side long, allmost to ye bottome, very quickly" I have made it a Gallop.

Lock Chain Swing: This is taken from Playford's Newcastle: "Arms all with your We. and change places _._ Arms with the next and change places _:_". The name "Lock Chain Swing" is the name given to the move in Appalachian Big Set (Kentucky Running Set). I recommend a forearm hold with your fingers hooked just above your partner's elbow. You turn by the right, next by the left, next by the right, next by the left, then square the set - each couple should be opposite their starting position.

Men Roll Back, Ladies Roll Back: All the men cast to their left passing back to back with their partner and finishing beside the next lady. The ladies cast to their right behind their new partner. How close you get to your partner as you roll behind them depends on how well you know them! There is plenty of time to acknowledge your new partner before taking your place beside them.

Although the original numbering was clockwise, I have had more success with modern dancers, who are used to anti-clockwise numbering, if I use anti-clockwise numbering.

Any 32 bar break can be used, preferably using moves from the 17th century.

Back to Dance Index

I'd love to hear from you if you try this dance.

Feedback is very welcome on any aspect of these dances or Web pages.

Please contact You must enable JavaScript to see this e-mail address. with your comments.

Home | Dance Videos | Contra Dancing | Your Ceilidh/Barn Dance | Contra Waltz | Dance Index | About Us | Contact Us | Links