[SCA-Dance] "Drive the Cold Winter Away"

Garden, John (DPS) John.Garden at aph.gov.au
Mon Feb 16 01:01:36 EST 2015

A few curiosities in Playford's dance instructions led me to reconstruct the dance as once intended as not being  'for as many as will' as the Playford's text states, but as for 3 couples.  It solves some of the problems and creates a great effect.

In '1B1': First man backe a D. [possible to take hands with 2M] then [with other men trailing behind him] goe downe between the rest and [left hand] turne the last Wo but one [i.e. 2 woman] then [right hand turn] the last [woman, i.e. 3W, and fall into last place on man's side], and stay there while the other men [led by the 2nd man follow 1M and] go between the 2. and the third We. [i.e. through the same gap the 1st man went] and goe toward the left hand [i.e. up the outside of woman 2 and in an acw arc across the top of the set] and fall downe to the first man [so the men's line is inverted] .

Then do it 'upside down' in 1B2, then have the women do the counterpart in 2B1&2 etc.

There are four reasons for seeing  a three couple set as the appropriate (and time saving) formation.

Firstly, the feature figure doesn't really involves the same 2 end couples leading most of the action.

Secondly, there is no progression of leadership called for down the line.

Thirdly, if the line is any longer than 3 couples you are struggling to fit the whole-set figure the whole-set figure into a single playing of the tune.

Fourthly, and most importantly, you can then capture an element which I think is intended but unstated-that is have the 1st man go through the same 'gap' in the woman's line as the 2nd and 3rd man (and ditto for the women when it is their turn to weave). This is stated at one point and some commentators have thought it a mistake, but when you do this, with the 1st man (or woman) going first, the others of the same gender can dance as if following them-indeed can even start out holding hands in a line with them. When the 1st dancer goes around the first corner, the others all follow but then 'sling' off to continue on the outside of the set on that same trajectory while the 1st dancer doubles around on the inside and goes back through the same gap to turn the end dancer on the opposite hand and end up coming in from a different direction to meet the 2nd dancer. It becomes a bit like the sheepskin hey in Picking of Sticks.

The only puzzle remaining is the one you've just alluded to:  why the first man needs to preface his weave with a fall back. Could this be an invitation for him to momentarily take near hand with the second man so as to lead him through the gap and then catapult him onward as he turns the middle lady? Is it perhaps a relic of the back and forward that often precedes a hey on one's own side (though here the weave is on the other side)?

Anyhow, I've led this reconstruction to very good effect and it will appear in Volume IV of the new edition of my Historic Dance series due out next month. (P.S. Not to be confused with my Christmas Carol Dance Book which has a 'Drive the Cold Winters Away' dance I wrote in a later style to go to the carol-which is usually sung with just one B, where the Playford dance needs two Bs).

Have fun and however you do the dance I hope it helps drive the winter away (here in Australia I tend to do a dance to the tune more at Christmas time.... and we have to imagine the cold winter).

John Gardiner-Garden.

-----Original Message-----
From: sca-dance-bounces+john.garden=aph.gov.au at sca-dance.org [mailto:sca-dance-bounces+john.garden=aph.gov.au at sca-dance.org] On Behalf Of Tim McDaniel
Sent: Monday, 16 February 2015 4:20 PM
To: sca-dance at sca-dance.org
Subject: [SCA-Dance] "Drive the Cold Winter Away"

On Mon, 16 Feb 2015, White,John <john.white at drexel.edu> wrote:
> So, it's not "Drive the Cold Winter Away"?


Oooer!  A Christmas carol that dates to 1625 (hey, only 24 years out
of period!), though I don't know whether the Playford tune is the same
as at

The leading around might look very nice when we dance the candle dance
at Candlemas: the dancers hold candles and have the only light in the
hall, so whirling geometrics work well.

It's USA, so the verses are no prob (and not setty-turny, bonus).
The choruses are (1) men do it, (2) women do it, (3) same as 1.

Except I can't figure out one bit, the instructions for the first man
/ woman.

"First man backe a D. then goe downe between the rest and turne the
last Wo but one then the last, and stay there while the other men go
between the 2. and the third We. and goe toward the left hand and fall
downe to the first man _._"

- They can't all be facing the head of the hall as after "Leade up all
a D. forwards and back", because they do it after siding and arming
too when they're facing their partners.

- If man 1 is facing his partner and backs a double from her, I don't
see how he could then go down the middle (I interpret "btween the
rest" as being between the line of men and the line of women), because
it doesn't say that he goes forward again and especially because the
entire line of men are, I think, filing along in the way.  Unless they
don't move until he's all the way at the bottom, which is kind of
implied by the wording, but we'd want to speed that up for a

- So a zero-time turn left to face the head of the hall + left 30
degrees, back a double between the two lines (couple 2 warning/shoving
him if he got the angle wrong), then the men start moving while the
first man completes the turn to walk down to woman N-1?

Anything seems awkward if not impossible.  What am I missing?
Any live-fire notes?

Danyell de Lyncoln
Tim McDaniel, tmcd at panix.com
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