[SCA-Dance] SCA Created Dances - Hole in the Wall

Niki janeeve2001 at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 30 13:06:52 EDT 2010

Okay – it’s late 17th century, so I have to put in my 2 cents, and a dance I’ve done a ridiculous amount of personal research on!
Hole in the Wall (the dance) first appeared in the 9th edition of (Henry) Playfords, Dancing Master (1695).  However, the music, dates back further – though musical historians and theorists continue to debate on how far back.  The music is actually called Hornpipe in B flat Major, and was composed by Henry Purcell as incidental music for Aphra Behn’s play Abdelazer, or The Moor's Revenge, which was presented by the Duke’s Company at Dorset Gardens on 3rd July 1676.
The only copy of the actual dance that I can readily get my hands on is from the Illustrated Playford compendium – which means it’s not necessarily the earliest version available, in fact it is the same as the 1721 version posted on this thread earlier.
 ¾ is the standard minuet time.  So, yes, it most likely would have been danced with a minuet step.  According to the The art of dancing explained by reading and figures; whereby the manner of performing the steps is made easy by a new and familiar method: being the original work, first design'd in the year 1724, and now published by Kellom Tomlinson, dancing-master .., the basic minuet step is: 
A movement or sink and Rise, being added to the first step of the three belonging to the Minuet Step, produces a Bouree; and the like to the fourth and laft a Half Coupee, which together compose what is commonly called the Englifh Minuet Step.
In addition to the music and steps, another factor to take into account is both men and woman’s fashion of the time. 
Women were no longer wearing the bell shaped hoop skirts.  Instead, the front of their dresses was flat, allowing for more of a crescent moon shape, or as more commonly know – a bustle, which supported their skirts on the side and back and later paved the way for paniers.  In addition, beneath their dresses they were wearing a chimese, petticoats (underskirt), a waistcoat (similar to a man’s ½ shirt), and drawers.  Their over-corsets were richly embroidered and had gems applied to them.  Skirts were embroidered in simple lines and also accented with jewels.  Long sleeves had the option of being tied into ¾ length sleeves.
Men’s underclothes consisted of a shirt, half shirt, crevatt, and drawers. 
Stockings of both men and women (of noble class) were made of linen or silk.
Pictures of various over garmets – both men and women’s - can be found here: http://www.costumes.org/classes/fashiondress/17thCent.htm
Shoes also played an important factor.  
Mens Shoes: Stiff, 1" - 2" heeled, closed top shoes, with long tongues and long square ended toes, constructed of leather, with wood, leather or cork soles, and closed with a metal buckle.  (In the French Courts the heels were painted red, to show that the courtiers had shoes specifically for Court.  Basically, they were used as proof of money/status.  Thigh high boots were also fashionable for men – especially soliders.  The hide was typically made from cowshide. 
Womens Shoes: Similar to high heeled slippers, made of leather or stiff brocade, with ribbon to tie them.  The soles of these shoes were made of leader or cork.  
More detailed information on shoes can be found here: http://www.kipar.org/baroque-costumes/costumes_male_footwear.html
So, I told you all that to say this: 
The fashion of the time directly influences the way people were able to move, hold themselves and dance.  Small steps were probably normal, because they couldn’t move their feet very far without pain.  They were also moving a considerable amount of  weight in regards to fabric and trimmings – on average of 45 lbs for either men or women.  
So, crossing face to face makes sense to me, but turning your back on your partner (or opposite) does not.  It’s more movement than is necessary, in clothing that was difficult to move.  However, since bowing/curtsying and the like were common social aspects of the time, I could plausibly see a short bob or acknowledgement being done as a sign of respect for the person you are about to dance with.  The hands being up seems to be more of a 19th century addition, especially since women in the 17th century still had limited motion in their arms.
If you have any other questions about Hole in the Wall, Female Sailor or any other way the heck out of our period dance, look me up!
Lady Jane Milford


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