Ribbon Dance

Ribbon Dance is an English Country Dance. It is a traditional dance with no clear origin. It was interpreted by Cecil Sharp (website) in 1909. Originally a 5 Couple Longways this version is a proper Longways as many as will dance. In this dance the couples are permuted by: 23451. The minor set lasts 24 bars.

This is a whole-set dance for as many couples as will. If there are an odd number of couples the last couple does not do the first figure.

Partners hold a ribbon between them, during the cast figure the man retains the ribbon and the woman drops it. Sharp says the ribbon should be held in the right hand, but I display it as in whichever hand seems appropriate.

This was a dance actually being danced in the English Counties about 1908 when Cecil Sharp recorded and published it

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.

An online description of the dance may be found here.

A1-4Dividing the long set into 2 couple minor sets: 1s make an arch, 2s duck under, then 2s make an arch and 1s duck under
5-8That again
9-191s cast, all but bottom couple follow, bottom couple make an arch, 1s make arch above to bottom couple, 2s above 1s, and so forth
B11-81s cast, all but bottom couple follow, bottom couple make an arch, others pass through to places
B21-81s swing in the middle, moving down the set to the bottom under arches made by the other couples as they move up

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 is out of copyright in the US, but I'm not sure of other jurisdictions. The interpretation is out of copyright, and is in the public domain. My visualization of this dance is copyright © 2020 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.