Cockle shells (down)

Cockle shells (down) is an English Country Dance. It was published by Henry Playford (website) in 1701 in The Dancing Master, 11th ed., London. It was interpreted by Charles Bolton (mod) in 1985 and published in Retreads Vol.1. Found in The Playford Assembly. It is a proper Duple Minor dance. The minor set lasts 32 bars. It is in the key: D minor.

Playford writes:

The 1. man turns the 2. wo. with his right hand, and his Partner with his left The 2. cu. does the same The 1. man changes places with the 2. wo. and the 2. man with the 1. wo. then hands half round and cast off Then the Figure of Eight through the 3. cu. and turn your Partner

This describes a triple minor dance, where the 3s do nothing (except act as posts for the figure 8). Bolton converted the dance to a duple minor and has the figure 8 around the next set of twos below.

The tune, also called Cockle Shells, appeared in Playford with the dance. It was performed by Bare Necessities (Earl Gaddis, Mary Lea, Peter Barnes, and Jacqueline Schwab) on the album By Choice. The music is used with permission from the Country Dance Society, Boston Centre, Inc.

The animation plays at 111 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 (no music plays during this slow set). 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 Charles Bolton (including interpretations like this one) are licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike: CC BY-NC-SA license by the CDSS Online Library.

A11-41st Corners right hand turn
5-81st Couple left hand turn
A21-42nd Corners left hand turn
5-82nd Couple right hand turn
B11-21st Corners change
3-42nd Corners change
5-6Circle left half
7-81s cast down, 2s lead up
B21-41s half figure-8 down (through new 2s)
5-81s two-hand turn to proper

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.

If you wish to link to this animation please see my comments on the perils of youtube. You may freely link to this page, of course, and that should have no problems, but use one of my redirects when linking to the youtube video itself:

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The dance itself is out of copyright, and is in the public domain. The interpretation is copyright © 1985 by Charles Bolton (mod). My visualization of this dance is copyright © 2019 by George W. Williams V and is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website is copyright © 2021,2022,2023,2024 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.