Blue Breeches

I'le love no more

I Loved Thee once, I Love no More/Blew Breeches

Blue Breeches or I'le love no more is an English Country Dance. It was published by John Playford (website) in 1652 in The Dancing Master, 2nd ed.. It was interpreted by George Williams in 2022. It is a proper 4 Couple Longways dance. There is no progression in this dance. It is a USA dance. The dance lasts 216 bars.

Playford writes:

Lead up all forwards and back That again Men turn S. we. as much, men go about your we. to your places We. turn S. men turn S. we go about your men and to your places

Sides all That again First man set to the 2. wo. and fall back, while your wo. turns the 2. man, as much to the 3. as much to the 4. turn your own below

Arms all That again First cu. being below take both hands, slip up between the 4. cu. cross and turn each one of them with your right hands; as much to the 3. as much with the 2. turn your own above

Playford says the dance is Longways for as many as will., but the instructions indicate a 4 couple dance with the 1s active, so we just assume he made a mistake. Or perhaps Playford meant that if you had more than 4 couples you'd play the B part a third time? That would make parts 2 and 3 longer than part 1... so probably not.

It's a standard USA dance in three parts.

The first part is fairly straight forward, everyone interacts with their own partner and no one else.

Now the second part is confusing. The 1s must move down the set because they end at the bottom.

I'm going to call the movement from one couple to the next a mini-progression. Presumably each mini-progression takes 4 bars. (that gives us a standard AABB tune)

But how do they get there? If M1 set to the 2. wo. and fall back you'd assume he'd end where he started. And how can W1 be turning M2 at the same time? If they are proper they both need to be in the middle of the minor set.

The only thing that makes sense to me is that the 1s somehow become improper. Do they start improper? In the few early Playford dances which are improper the 1s cross over the first time through the dance (see A Soldier's Life from 1651). So I'm going to assume they don't start improper.

Do they go back to being proper at the end of the mini-progression? I don't think there is time. Perhaps they alternate between proper and improper? I find the idea attractive, but I doubt it is what Playford did. I'm guessing that the first mini-progression is different than the others.

Hmm. Could the 1s become improper in the siding? (while everyone else does a normal side) That would break the symmetry of the dance, so I doubt it.

Let's look at W1, she might be easier. She has to: (cross the set), turn M2 and progress. Presumably she only turns him halfway, which takes 2 bars and progresses leaving her 2 bars to cross the set.

M1 has to: (cross the set), set, fall back and progress, which looks like 8 bars. Suppose M1 has his back to W2, then "fall back" and progress could be the same move.

For the third part... Again we have 4 bars for each mini-progression. Playford says slip up between the 4. cu. cross and turn each one of them with your right hands. At least this time he indicates that the 1s do become improper, which is consoling. But we have three things: "slip up", "cross", and "turn" each of which takes at least 2 bars. Perhaps the cross happens the first time and the slip the next two?


This dance is only for the 1s, but there is no progression so no way for other couples to dance. However if you do the second part four times and the third part four then everyone gets a chance. It isn't what Playford described though.

The animation plays at 120 counts per minute. Men are drawn as rectangles, women as ellipses. Each couple is drawn in its own color.

The dances of George Williams (including this one) are licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike: CC BY-NC-SA license.

I.A11-4Up a double, and back
I.A21-4Up a double, and back (again)
I.B11-2Men turn single right
3-4Women turn single right
5-8Men loop right shoulder around partner
9-10Women turn single left
11-12Men turn single left
13-16Women loop left shoulder around partner
II.A11-4Side right
II.A21-4Side left
II.B11-21s partner change
3-4M1 face away from W2 and fall back as W1 two hand turn half M2
5-8M1 set to W3, face away and fall back as W1 two hand turn M3 once and a half
II.B21-4M1 set to W4, face away and fall back as W1 two hand turn M4 once and a half
5-81s two hand turn once and a half to proper
III.A11-4Arm right
III.A21-4Arm left
III.B11-21s two hand turn half ending between the 4s
3-4M1 right turn W4 as W1 left turn M4
5-61s slip up between the 3s, as 4s move down
7-81s mirror turn 3s
III.B21-21s slip up between the 2s, as 3s move down
3-41s mirror turn 2s
5-81s two hand turn once and a half to proper, as 2s move down

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 copyright © 2022 by George Williams. And is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. My visualization of this dance is copyright © 2022 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.