Six & Sixpenny Rant
6/6d Rant
Varsity Rant

Source: University of Manchester Folk Dance Society; published in English Dance & Song, Winter-Christmas 1970, Vol. XXXII No. 4
Formation: Three Couples; Longways; Proper

A1 Ends give Right Hand to Partner to Pull By into:
First Long Corners: Orbit the Set CW to Place WHILE
Second Long Corners: Full Figure Eight through the #2s
A2 Ends give Left Hand to Partner to Pull By into:
Second Long Corners: Orbit the Set CW to Place WHILE
First Long Corners: Full Figure Eight through the #2s
B1 #1s Lead Down - #2s Follow - #3s Cast and Follow #2s
#3s (at Home) make an Arch - #2s and #1s dance up through the Arch (now 2, 1, 3)
B2 Bottom Four Swing & Change (1 & 1/2 AC) WHILE Tops dance all the way around them to Place (now 2, 3, 1)

32 bars, suitable for rants.

Colin Hume has the dance here with a different B1, and some more background information.

Colin Towns says:
"At Manchester I remember ďSix and Sixpenny RantĒ was a firm favourite at the weekly meets, and Iím sure down in London whether introduced by myself or Colin Hume, I canít remember. We might even have dancing it in the Royal Albert Hall when in London Folk Ė the directions of straight lines and accuracy still resonate.

"Now in Australia since 1985, Iíve used the dance at several workshops, but probably not for 20 years. This week I was unable to remember the B-parts correctly, so was amazed to find 2 versions on Contrafusion, and Colin Humeís websites. Looking at the instructions, esp B1, I can now recall dancing it both ways. But Iíve never known it as Varsity Rant Ė when I was at Manchester University Folk Club it was always 6/6d Rant (as written in the old currency!). I was told it was composed for the Inter-Varsity annual festival (i.e. folk dance clubs from various Universities), which might have been held in Manchester in 1970(?), and that it won some award Ė but Iíve never known the details."
Thanks, Colin.

Denise Bearon says,
"The summary of the facts on Colin's website are correct as to the origin and background to the dance. Norman & I were at MUFDC 1968-1972, and I was chair of the club for part of that time. As to slightly different versions of the B1 figure I am afraid I cannot remember the detail. As explained by Colin, we would have preferred it to be called "Varsity Rant" - but that is water long since gone under the bridge!

"We considered it a display dance. The timing of the Figures of Eight while the middles were posts, was crucial, so that a line of six was created halfway.

"That meant a change of pace for the dancers. It also meant enough space was needed for the width of the set. It was interesting to find out years later that it was indeed used as a display dance. I don't recall MUFDC doing a display of it."
Thanks, Denise.

Original page from English Dance & Song, Winter-Christmas 1970

Six & Sixpenny Rant

Original update from English Dance & Song, Summer 1971

Six & Sixpenny Rant

Back to Dance Index

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.