Dull Sir John

Dull Sir John is an English Country Dance. It was published by John Playford (website) in 1651 in The English Dancing Master, London. It was interpreted by Cecil Sharp (website) in 1911 and published in The Country Dance Book (Part 2). It is a Square dance. There is no progression in this dance. It is a multipart dance. The dance lasts 96 bars. It is in the key: G Minor.

Playford writes:

The first cu. lead in and cast off to your places, the man going between the 2. cu. and the wo. between the 4. and 3. cu. as much The 2. as much, and the 4 as much The 1. and 3. man change places across, their we. as much, hands all four either round or across, and go round to your places The 2. and 4. cu. as much And fall the last four the men behind the we.

The 4. and 2. man standing behind their we. the first cu. pass into the 3. place, the man going between the 2. cu. and the wo. between the 4. whilst the 3. cu. lead right over and fall into first place, this back again to your places, the first cu. doing as the 3. did, and the 3. as the first, the 4. as much Then the 1. and 3. cu. the S. Hey twice to your places, the we. who stand before their men leading it The other four as much

Men cast off, and going on the outside your own we. fall into each others place, we. as much, men as much again, we. as much
First and 3. cu. meet, go about each other, we. back to back, not turning your faces, give right hands to the co. we. and left hands to your own, and so stay in your own places as at first, the other four doing the like ·:

This dance, along with Hide Park and Faine I would, is described by Playford in 1651 as "A Square Dance for eight". On the other hand Newcastle , Mage on a Cree, If All the World Were Paper, etc. are described as "Round for eight".

Playford (and Sharp) number couples clockwise. I have changed their nomenclature to match that of modern square dances with couples numbered counter clockwise.

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

I.A11-41s lead between 4s, loop around them, and back to place
5-83s lead between 2s, loop around them, and back to place
I.A21-44s lead between 3s, etc.
5-82s lead between 1s, etc.
I.B11-2Head men change places
3-4Head women change
5-8Heads right hands across half
I.B21-8Sides the same (side men ending behind their partners)
II.A11-4M1 cross between 4s ending in W3's place as W1 cross between 2s ending in M3s spot and 3s cross the set to the 1s' places
5-8M3 cross between 2s ending home, as W3 cross between 4s ending home and 1s go home (head men stand behind their partners)
II.A21-4M4 cross between 3s ending in W2's place as W4 cross between 1s ending in M2s spot and 2s cross the set to the 4s' places
5-8M2 cross between 1s ending home as W2 cross between 3s and 4s cross home
II.B11-8Heads dance a right shoulder linear hey for four, women starting
II.B21-8Sides dance a right shoulder linear hey for four, women starting
III.A11-4Men cast left pass behind partner to next man's spot
5-8Women cast right, pass behind neighbor to next woman's spot
III.A21-4Men cast left one place again
5-8Women cast right again
III.B11-4Heads back to back
5-6Heads right hand pull-by opposite
7-8Heads left hand pull-by partner (rights and lefts, heads are now home)
III.B21-4Sides back to back
5-6Sides right hand pull-by opposite
7-8Sides left hand pull-by partner

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 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 © 2021,2022,2023,2024 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.