Open the Door to Three - Menzies ~ Williams is an old Scottish Country Dance. It was devised by Castle Menzies in 1749 and published in The Register of Dances at Castle Menzies. It was interpreted by George Williams in 2023. It is a proper Triple Minor dance. The minor set lasts 32 bars. It is in the key: G major.
Quoted from The Register of Dances at Castle Menzies (as transcribed by Jim Healy) writes:
1st & 2d women leads forward then falls back then leads through the 1st & 2d men; then repeats the same & the 1st & 2d man leads through them back to their places again; then the 1st pair crosses over two pair down, & crosses up one pair & falls into their places then the 1st man leads the 2d & 3d man forward, while the 1st woman does the same on the woman's side, then the 1st man turns the 3d woman & falls in between her & the 2d woman, the 1st woman in the meantime turns the 2d man & falls in between him & 3d man & leads forward as before & turns his partner, then they go six hands round with the 2d and 3d pair then back again to their own places.
It may seem presumptuous for me to attempt to interpret this dance from Scotland when the RSCDS has already done so, but their interpretation pretends the dance is a modern Scottish Country Dance, while I see it as a Country Dance of the eighteenth century. I shall attempt to interpret it as I would any other country dance from that period.
The first question which must be answered is the music. There is a traditional tune called Open the Door for Three which I presume is the intended music. This is a slip-jig, not a jig as the RSCDS would have it. There are several versions of this tune. Playford published a single strain 4 bar tune back in 1652, but by the eighteenth century a B strain had been added so I believe this should be danced to AABBAABB.
I assume that 1st & 2d women leads forward then falls back then leads through the 1st & 2d men should all take 4 bars or 12 counts. With the women advancing for two steps, falling back for two, and then leading through the men and casting back in eight steps.
I assume, as the RSCDS also has done, that then repeats the same is a misprint. There is no indication that the men repeat their version of the move. So I throw that line out.
Then then men do what the women did.
then the 1st pair crosses over two pair down, & crosses up one pair & falls into their places. "crosses over two pair down" probably means "cross, and cast down passing two couples". Then cross again, probably by the other shoulder, and cast up one couple whereupon the 2s will move up. I suspect this takes 8 bars (24 steps) but it might be intended to take only 4, we'll see how the rest of the dance times out.
then the 1st man leads the 2d & 3d man forward, while the 1st woman does the same on the woman's side, then the 1st man turns the 3d woman & falls in between her & the 2d woman, the 1st woman in the meantime turns the 2d man & falls in between him This seems a long-winded way of saying "lines of three on the sides lead in and fall back then 1s turn their 1st corners ending improper." Again I assume this all takes 4 bars, with the forward and back being 2 steps forward and 2 back followed by 8 steps for the turn. The RSCDS rightly uses a left hand turn as that will be easiest for ending improper.
leads forward as before & turns his partner Generally dance instructions from this period are addressed to the 1st man, so "turns his partner" probably means that the M1 should turn W1. RSCDS seems to think it is addressed to L1 and that she should turn the partner of the 2nd man (whom she just turned), and that the 1st man should turn the partner of the 3rd woman (whom he just turned). Again this should take 4 bars.
Then circle left and back to the right. Presumably this involves 4 bars in each direction.
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 this one) are licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike: CC BY-NC-SA license.
|A1||1-1||Top women join hands, lead toward for two counts men and fall back|
|2-4||Top women lead through top men and cast back to place|
|A2||1-1||Top men join hands, lead toward women for two counts and fall back|
|2-4||Top men lead through top women and cast back to place|
|B1+2||1-8||1s cross cast below 3s, cross again (by left) to 2nd place as the 2s lead up|
|A3||1-1||Lines of three on the sides lead in for two steps and fall back|
|2-4||1s turn 1st corners by left ending in 2nd place improper|
|A4||1-1||Lines of three on the sides lead in for two steps and fall back|
|2-4||1s two hand turn once and a half|
|B3||1-4||Circle six left|
|B4||1-4||... and back to the right|
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.
The dance itself is out of copyright, and is in the public domain. The interpretation is copyright © 2023 by George Williams. And is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. My visualization of this dance is copyright © 2023 by George W. Williams V and is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
This website is copyright © 2021,2022,2023 by George W. Williams V
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.