Jack-a-Lent

Jack-a-Lent is an English Country Dance. It was published by John Playford in 1651 in The English Dancing Master.. It was interpreted by Cecil Sharp in 1922. It is a proper 3 Couple Longways dance. There is no progression in this dance. The dance lasts 304 bars.

Playford writes:
Lead up a D. forward and back · That again : First man change places with the 2. wo. turn S. change with the last man, and turn S. · After lead up the wo. Do the like to every cu. doing the same :

Lead up as before : First Cu. cross over, fall into the 2. place, cross again, fall into the last place · All do this Change :

Lead up as before : First cu. go under the 2. cu. arms, the last come up under the first, this forward and back to your places, cast off · Every cu. do this Change :

Lead up as before : First cu. go down and turn each the last, then each the 2. · Cast off, every cu. doing the same :

Lead up as before : Set and turn S. · That again :

First man turn the last wo. and to his place again ·
First wo. as much with the last man :
The first on each side go down to the last, take them by both hands go once and a half about and stay below, the 2. turning his own · All do this Change :

Sharp appears to have reorded parts V and VI.

The "Jack-a-lent" (Jack of Lent) was an English tradition up into the 17th century. It was a straw effigy, made on Ash Wednesday, symbolically tortured during Lent and burnt on Palm Sunday (or perhaps Easter itself). I'm not sure why.

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 dance contains the following figures: hand turn (allemande), set, turn single, cast, lead (and probably others).

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 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.