[SCA-Dance] How do we know Playford is largely proper?

Gwommy 'Bill' Holderman gwommy at gmail.com
Wed Feb 1 12:54:22 EST 2012

> I was ready to chalk it up as a typo, but then I looked at a few other
> dances.
> Heart's Ease: matches Argeers.

Heart's Ease can at least be done improper. The second move in Argeers has
the dancers moving to the (assumed men's) left, which would cause the
dancers to run into each other.

> Faine I would: There's none of that possible ambiguity.  The couples
> are numbered with lines joining the members of the couple, and they're
> shown improper.
I dance this improper as stated. If the dancers begin facing out of the set
since that is the direction of the first move, then they are standing

> The Fryar and the Nun / The Bath / Halfe Hanikin versus
> Boate Man / The Beggar Boye / Bobbing Joe: longways.
> They have crescents facing opposite directions, so it looks like some
> have to be improper.
It looks to me like the curvy side of the moon was meant to be the
front. Although after page 32, it looks like Playford changed his mind and
made the pointy side of the moon to be the front. Nonesuch (page 29) also
appears to use the pointy side as the front.

> How do we know that, in English country, proper is proper, and that
> there was some number of errors in the placement of crescents and
> circles in the diagrams?  You can argue away most of the cases above
> as "no, it's only that the direction of the crescents doesn't matter",
> but that falls down at Faine I Would, where couples are shown
> improper.
My argument for Faine I Would is above. But I'm sure that mistakes could
have made. Why would the center man in Picking of Sticks start the dance
facing backwards? Or in Hit and Misse, it doesn't make sense for the men to
be on the same side of the when you're doubling to meet and then you need
to lead each other's women out when she's standing diagonally away from

Perhaps Hearts Ease really is supposed to be done improper? But it doesn't
really make sense for Argeers to be improper. Since Hearts Ease is only a
few pages before Argeers, perhaps Playford just copied the diagram from
Hearts Ease for Argeers? Or he could've noticed that he made a mistake,
realized he couldn't erase it, and didn't feel like re-writing it.

Yay! Dancing!

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