Cuckolds All A Row, Cuckolds All Arow (1651)

Original Publications:

tlbull1 The [English] Dancing Master 1st edn, published by J. Playford, 1651, London (and included in all subsequent editions)

Images:

tlbull1 Click Here

Modern Interpretations:

tlbull1 Country Dance Book, Cecil J. Sharp, published by Novello  and Company Ltd, London 1911

Comments:

tlbull1 Cecil Sharp published his interpretation of the dance with the title "Hey Boys Up Go We".  Many words have been written as to how Sharp misunderstood what Chappell had said and believed that the titles were interchangeable or that, alternatively, the word "cuckold" was inappropriate for his prudish audience/time.  The truth is that we do not know whether either, neither or both these reasons were correct.
tlbull1 Samuel Pepys in his diary entry for 31 December 1662 refers to King Charles II dancing a country dance with the name Cuckolds All Awry.  This may, or may not, have been the dance published in the Dancing Master.  Again, we do not know.
tlbull1 Sharp's interpretation of both the 1st and the 3rd part is questionable.  In the first figure Sharp uses the same choreographic unit (whole-gip, more usually referred to as a gypsy these days) twice, merely reversing the direction.   The original text, however, clearly requires different choreographic units.  His 3rd part suffers from the problem that it seems rushed and requires significant changes of direction which when danced in accurate representations of contemporary clothes results in the clothes going in one direction and the dancers in another!  An alternative interpretation of both parts is offered below which it is hoped addresses these points and which follows the original words

Formation:

tlbull1 Two couples (each couple facing the other and with their backs to one of the sides of the room)

Music:

tlbull1 ABC Format
tlbull1 MID Format

Notation:

Bold text represents original instructions and light text represents interpretations by Michael Barraclough

A1 1-4 Meet all a double forwards and back this could be couples going forward, with or without holding hands, or it could be all four dances advancing on a central point and retiring (my personal preference).
A2 1-4 That again
B1 1-4 Turn back to back to the contrary women, faces again facing your corner, imagine yourself to be at the centre of a figure of eight with one loop behind you and the other loop in front of you with your corner standing in the middle of that loop. Leading with your right shoulder, do a turn single to the right using two doubles rather than the usual one double for a turn single, then
B1 5-8 Go about the contrary women not turning your faces passing your corner by the left do a gypsy counter-clockwise around your corner, ending facing your partner.
B2 1-4 Turn back to back to your own, faces again facing your partner, imagine yourself to be at the centre of a figure of eight with one loop behind you and the other loop in front of you with your partner standing in the middle of that loop. Leading with your right shoulder, do a turn single to the right using two doubles rather than the usual one double for a turn single, then
B2 5-8 Go about your own not turning your faces passing your partner by the left do a gypsy counter-clockwise around your partner, ending facing your partner.
A3 1-4 Sides all with your own by the right shoulder using straight/oblique/Shaw (whatever you want to call it) siding, ending facing your corner
A4 1-4 Sides all with the contrary by the right shoulder using straight/oblique/Shaw (whatever you want to call it) siding.
B3 1-4 Men change places with two doubles women change places with two doubles
B3 1-8 Hands all, go round could either be take hands and circle left once around (usual interpretation) or take right hands and do a right hand star
B4 1-4 Women change places with two doubles men change places with two doubles
B4 1-8 Hands all, go round could either be take hands and circle left once around (usual interpretation) or take right hands and do a right hand star
A5 1-4 Arms all with your own Arm right with partner, ending facing corner
A6 1-4 Arms with the contrary Arm left with corner ending facing corner and taking both hands with corner
B5 1-4 Men put the contrary women back by both hands men move forward a double into their corner's place, the corners moving backwards fall even on the contrary side men then help their corner into where the corner's partner was by wheeling them round (men's left hand and woman's right hand) to face back into the set.  All are now one place round the set to the left, facing inwards and holding nearest hands with their original corner.
B5 5-8 Men cast off to the right hand, your women following, come to the same place again before letting go hands and casting off round their right shoulder, men give a small "tug" so that their corner follows them.  Using two doubles, the man casts off behind his current position, through his corner's current position and back to this position, ending facing his partner (who is in his original place).  The ladies follow the men round this track back to where they are now and finish facing their partner and take two hands with them.
B6 1-4 Put them back again, men move forward a double into their original place, their partners moving backwards fall on your own side men then help their partner back into their original place by wheeling them round (men's right hand and woman's left hand) to face back into the set.  All are now in their original place, facing inwards and holding nearest hands with their original partner.
B6 5-8 Men cast off to the left hand, and come to your places, the women following before letting go hands and casting off round their left shoulder, men give a small "tug" so that their partner follows them.  Using two doubles, the man casts off behind his current position, through his partner's position and back to his position.  The ladies follow their men round this track back to their original position.

© Michael Barraclough 1975

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