Rose is White, and Rose is Red

Roses White, and Roses Red

Rose is White, and Rose is Red or Roses White, and Roses Red is an English Country Dance. It was found in the Lovelace Manuscript (written somewhere around the 1640s) and later published in The English Dancing Master. It was interpreted by Cecil Sharp (mod) in 1922 and published in The Country Dance Book (Part 6). Originally a 6 Couple Circle this version is a Circle as many as will dance. There is no progression in this dance. It is a USA dance. The dance lasts 96 bars.

Lovelace writes:

A rounde dance; If you please leade all into the middle once, then every one turne round his mate, then they shall stand all still except the couple that leade the dance, and that couple shall leade unto the next man holding of hands, then that man shall passe through under hands, and then the man shall turn his woeman about by putting his hand behind her backe, and then leade up unto the mans woeman and then she shall goe through, and then both couple shall turne round, and soe they shall goe round after that same manner, until all come to their places;

You shall leade up againe after the same manner, once unto the next man, and then take hands, and goe round, all thrice, until the man come about you; and then leade up unto his woeman, and then take hands as before, and goe round, and soe goe on after the same manner, until all are as before

You that leade, shall leade up againe unto the same man, just after the same manner, which being done, you three shall dance your hayes, turning your woeman in first, and then being come to her yourselfe, you shall turne her round, and soe goe on to the next, all doing after this manner, until they shall all come to theire places

Playford writes:
Hands and meet all a D. back again, set and turn S. That again First cu. lead forwards and back to the man on your right hand, then all three hands and go round ·: Then as much to his wo. Then as much to the next man, and so to all till you come to your own places, the rest following and doing the like.
Sides all, set and turn S That again ·: Then lead forwards and back as before and go the S. Hey all ·: Do this Change to all, the rest following and doing the like.
Arms all, set and turn S That again ·: First cu. lead forwards and back as before, let the man go under your arms, turn your own ·: Do thus to all, the rest following.

Playford shows this as a three part dance, each part having an introduction and a progressive part. If I understand aright, Playford wants the first couple to be the only active couple, and they progress until back home, then the 2nd couple does the same thing. It is not clear to me how Sharp expects the progression to work, my first assumption was that each couple in the circle would be either a 1 or a 2, but Sharp draws a diagram with a 5 couple circle.

Playford's progression just seems too dull for modern dancers, and I have no clue what Sharp intends so I have made up mine own.

Sharp claims the last part is progressive, but at the end everyone is where they started. He seems to have added movements which Playford did not specify. I cannot see how to make his interpretation work, so I am falling back on what Playford says.

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.A11-4Take hands, lead in to the center and back
5-8Partner set and turn single
I.A21-8That again, in to the center and back, set and turn single
I.A31-41s lead forward and back to M2
5-81s+M2 circle three
I.A41-41s lead forward and back to W2
5-81s+W2 circle three
II.A11-4Side right
5-8Set and turn single
II.A21-4Side left
5-8Set and turn single
II.A31-41s lead forward and back to next man
5-8M1 starts a half a hey for three with him
II.A41-41s lead forward and back to next woman
5-8M1 starts a half a hey for three with her
III.A11-4Arm right
5-8Set and turn single
III.A21-4Arm left
5-8Set and turn single
III.A31-41s lead forward and back to next man, 1s arch and he passes under
5-81s two hand turn
III.A41-41s lead forward and back to next woman, 1s arch and she passes under
5-81s two hand turn

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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I do not have a publication date for the dance and not know whether it is under copyright or not. The interpretation is out of copyright in the US, but I'm not sure of other jurisdictions. 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 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.