[SCA-Dance] Grimstock Hay

Alex Clark alexbclark at pennswoods.net
Tue Sep 11 11:43:47 EDT 2007

At 08:53 PM 9/9/2007 -0500, tmcd at panix.com wrote:
>We've tried to do Grimstock locally, but it's been a while since we've
>done it with others (Gulf Wars), and the sources we had to hand were
>vague enough, that we almost got into an argument on how *precisely*
>to do chorus 3 in Grimstock.  At the risk of embarrassing myself by
>looking like a dansn00b:

Nothing wrong with not being an expert. The experts especially like less 
knowledgeable dancers who want to know more.

>     W1    W2    W3
>     M1    M2    M3
>M1 and W1 are supposed to exchange places.  We do walk into each
>other's place, right?  (One time we tried it as a crossover as in
>Female Sailor or during the mushrooming in Whirlygig: W1 walks between
>M2 and M3, and M1 walks between W2 and W3.  It works and saves a few
>beats, but I wouldn't call it a hay.)
>Which shoulders do M1 and W1 pass when crossing over at the top?
>At the bottom?  -- I suspect that it doesn't matter, that the
>crossovers don't count as part of the hay.

Playford says "First [couple] change places, and goe downe the [single] 
Hey". Presumably the author did not think it necessary to specify which 
side to change places on, perhaps because they expected people to learn the 
dance in a lesson and read the book for a reminder, or perhaps because 
everyone knew the rule for which way to pass.

My preference is to begin by passing right side by right side, though I'm 
kind of ambivalent about this. If that side is accepted as the default, 
there is something to be said for beginning the heys on the sides this way 
instead of having the first couple pass right by right. OTOH, the first 
couple's figure is also a sort of hey (possibly an adaptation of the 
mysterious double hey), so I don't want to assume that the heys on the 
sides should take precedence for this purpose.

I have probably taught the version where the first couple crosses 
diagonally between the second couple once or twice for the sake of 
convenience, and perhaps also because I hadn't just consulted Playford at 
the time, but at the present time I have serious doubts about it. It seems 
to be in relatively clear disagreement with the Playford instruction to 
"change places", so I suspect that it is not accurate.

>Having crossed:
>     M1    W2    W3
>     W1    M2    M3
>Which shoulders do M1 and W1 start passing with?  (We tried all three
>obvious candidates -- mirrored starting inside, mirrored starting
>outside, both normal -- but they're each awkward in different ways.)

I recommend alternating all the way, so that if they have passed each other 
by the right then they pass the second man and woman by the left, though 
there is something to be said for both the first woman and the first man 
going on the outside after having crossed over. The latter could have come 
naturally to period dancers who were accustomed to similar figures in such 
dances as Lady Cullen, though not necessarily because in this dance it 
would be done in a different context.

>The other four people walk the hay, not stand as posts, right?
>(Someone had a vague memory of a "sheepskin hay" involving posts, but
>others said that everyone does move in Grimstock.)

AFAIK the sheepskin hey comes from a dance named The Three Sheepskins, 
which is not in the first edition of Playford. However, that name is often 
applied as a misnomer to the heys at the end of Picking of Sticks, where 
the men do a somewhat elaborate hey among the women, and then the women do 
likewise among the men. In those heys, those not doing the current hey 
stand still.

In Grimstock it is not clearly specified who, other than the first woman 
and man, moves during the heys at the end. But by comparison with the 
previous figures I assume that all dancers are supposed to be moving, 
especially since this can result in a figure that is easily identifiable as 
a kind of single hey.

Alex Clark/Henry of Maldon

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