Black Jack

Black Jack is an English Country Dance. It was published by John Playford (website) in 1670 in The Dancing Master, 4th ed.. It was interpreted by Cecil Sharp (website) in 1911 and published in The Country Dance Book (Part 2). It is a proper Duple Minor dance. It is a multipart dance. The minor set lasts 16 bars.

Playford writes:
Lead up all, and down That again; Set to your own, and fall back That again.
The first man casts off and goes round, the 2. man and 2. wo. follows him into their own places, the 2. wo. and 2. man does as much The 1. cu. leads down the middle and back again, then casts off into the 2. place and foots it Do this to the last.
The 1. man takes his wo. in his left hand, and the 2. wo. in his right, and lead to the wall and back, then turn about and take the 2. man and lead to the wall and back Take all hands and go half round and foot it, go back again, the 1. cu. cast off into the 2. place Do this to the last.
The 1. cu. cast off into the 2. place, take hands and lead up all abreast and back The 1. cu. being in the 2. place, take hands and turn, the other cu. set the men, then they turn, and the other set Do this to the last.

I have taken two liberties with Sharp's adaptation:

  1. In the introduction I have added a turn single to the fall back.
  2. In part 2 I have dancers setting into the middle of the minor set rather than to partner.

The animation plays at 120 counts per minute normally, but the first time through the set the dance is slowed down so people can learn the moves more readily. Men are drawn as rectangles, women as ellipses. Each couple is drawn in its own color, however the border of each dancer indicates what role they currently play so the border color may change each time through the minor set.

(Intro).A1-4Up a double, and fall back
5-8That again
(Intro).B1-4Set forward to partner and fall back turning single
5-8That again
I.A1-4M1, followed by W2, cast left below M2 return up center to places
5-8W1, followed by M2, cast right below W2 return up center to places
I.A21-41s lead down, turn alone and lead back
5-61s cast down as 2s lead up
7-81s set
II.A1-4M1 moves between women, take hands, all three move out, and fall back
5-8W1 moves between men, take hands, all three move out, and fall back
II.B1-2Circle left half
3-4All set
5-6Circle right half
7-81s cast down as 2s lead up
III.A1-41s cast down into the middle of a line of four between 2s
5-8Line of four up a double, fall back, bending the line
III.B1-41s two hand turn as 2s set twice
5-82s two hand turn as 1s set twice

If you find what you believe to be a mistake in this animation, please leave a comment on youtube explaining what you believe to be wrong. If I agree with you I shall do my best to fix it.

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The dance itself is out of copyright, and is in the public domain. The interpretation is out of copyright, and is in the public domain. My visualization of this dance is copyright © 2021 by George W. Williams V and is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website is copyright © 2021,2022 by George W. Williams V
Creative Commons License My work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Most of the dances have more restrictive licensing, see my notes on copyright, the individual dance pages should mention when some rights are waived.