Faithless Nancy Dawson

Source: Anna Bidder; published in English Dance & Song, August 1964, Volume XXVI No. 4
Formation: Longways; Duple Minor; Proper

A #1s Lead Down, Cast Up to Place (8)
#2s Lead Up, Cast Down to Place (8)
Partner Dosido (8)
B Set or Balance Backwards; Turn Single Forwards (8)
Three Changes without hands, start Right with Partner (8)

"A-Roving": 12 bar verse and 8 bar chorus.

In English Dance & Song Volume 1 Number 5, April 1937, there is an article which starts:
"An evening of "Invented" Dances at Cecil Sharp House provided an opportunity of seeing several item of considerable interest. The dances shown were divided into two classes, Country Dances and Ballets. The country dances were generally more successful that the ballets, and the most satisfactory of all was Margaret de la Hey's "Now is the Month of Maying". Anna Bidder's three dances were very enjoyable, and the Kensington Club offered tunes and dances composed by Kathleen Carroll."

Unfortunately the rest of the article focuses on the ballets and musical philosophy, with no further details about these new country dances.

Antony Heywood's card for this dance notes that Faithless Nancy Dawson was written in 1936, and Nic Broadbridge claims it was written for The Round, the Cambridge University dance club, which was founded in 1928. Hugh Stewart tells me that The Round minute book records Anna Bidder calling Faithless Nancy Dawson at a Round party on June 7th 1937 (she having been invited as an EFDSS Branch committee member). It is quite possible, therefore, that Faithless Nancy Dawson was written in 1936, even though it was not published until 1964, and that it was one of the dances mentioned in the article.

I found this to be a great fun dance for beginners, apart from the Three Changes, especially for the #1s who have to start the next move straight away. So I do the dance with First Couples Improper and replace the Three Changes with a Half Poussette (Ladies Pull), then #1s can just release one hand and face down ready to start again.

This dance was also published in "Everyday Dances" by Nibs Matthews.

Original page from English Dance & Song, August 1964

Faithless Nancy Dawson

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