Cast a Bell is an English Country Dance. It was published by John Playford (website) in 1651 in The English Dancing Master, London. It was interpreted by George Williams in 2021. It is a proper Duple Minor dance. It is a USA dance. The minor set lasts 72 bars. It is in the key: D Major.
Lead up all a D. forward and back, set and turn S That again First cu. change places, set and turn S. First man lead you own and the 2. wo. forward and back, bring the 2. wo. under your arms, leave her and turn your own Do thus to the last, the rest following and doing the like Sides all, set and turn S That again First cu. change places, set and turn S. First cu. meet the 2. cu. lead each other's wo. to each Wall, meet your own and turn them, Do thus to the last, the rest following. Arms all, set and turn S That again First cu. take both hands, slip down between the 2. cu. cross and turn each one of them with your right-hands, fall to your own side in the 2. place Do thus to the last, the rest following.
This dance has three sections each of which is divided into a standard introduction and a progressive sequence. Presumably in Playford's day each introduction was done once, then its figure was done until all dancers we back in their original places, then then next introduction once followed by its figure many times, and the last introduction, with its figure done many times. In my animation I only show each figure twice.
The introductions are the standard up a double/siding/arming with some sets and turn single added for good measure. No difficulty in understanding Playford here.
The first figure is pretty clear too. The only thing I've added to Playford is having the line of three be on the diagonal. Playford doesn't specify. I suppose it could form facing down the set - that would be a little awkward for W2 but it could be done. I prefer having the forward and back being directed at M2 rather than the bottom of the hall.
The partner change has 8 counts which is rather a lot for just crossing the set. I've turned it into a "cross the set and loop right".
The second figure doesn't specify how progression happens. I suppose you could have the couples two hand turning around each other, but I think it makes more sense for. Playford doesn't say "fall back" after the lead out, only "meet your own". "Meet your own" usually involves going forward to meet, so I'm going to assume there is an implied "turn as a couple" after "lead each other's wo. to each Wall". That progresses and leaves you facing your partner, ready to "meet" them.
In the third figure First cu. ... slip down between the 2. cu. cross and turn each one of them with your right hands. I was initially a little confused by "with your right hands" - if you are doing a mirror image, as is usually the case, then surely one couple will use left hands? But then I realized that if the 1s cross when they are between the 2s, then they will pass right shoulder. They can just continue on and they will be right shoulder to the 2s. Not a mirror image, but a 180 degree rotation.
Hmm. Should the 2s slip up outside when the 1s slip down inside, so they meet in the middle? I think not in this case.
There are 32 counts of music in each part. But the third part only has about 20 counts of movement: slip down: 4, cross: 4, turn: 8, fall back: 4. Scott Pfitzinger throws in having the 1s left turn partner as part of the fall back. That would be awkward the way I envision things.
Playford says slip down between the 2. cu. cross and turn each one of them with your right-hands. My first thought was that each 1 would turn a 2. But perhaps he means that both 1s should sequentially turn both 2s.
The image shows the interior of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, a company which cast bells from 1570 until 2017. They might be what Playford had in mind...
The animation plays at 120 counts per minute normally, but the first time through the set the dance will often be 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.
The dances of George Williams (including interpretations like this one) are licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike: CC BY-NC-SA license.
An online description of the dance may be found here.
|Up A Double
|Figure 1 repeats 2 times
|Figure 2 repeats 2 times
|Figure 3 repeats 2 times
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 © 2021 by George Williams. And is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. 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.
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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.