Speed the Plough

Speed the Plough ~ Chestnuts Speed the Plough ~ Howe Speed the Plough

Speed the Plough is an English Country Dance. It was published by English Traditional in about 1909 in The Country Dance Book (Part 1). It was interpreted by Cecil Sharp (website) in 1909. It is a proper Duple Minor dance. The minor set lasts 32 bars.

The Regency Dance site lists two dances with this name, both triple minors, and neither with much in common with this dance save that the 1s lead down the middle and return. One is in Wilson's Treasures of Terspichore of 1809, the other in Platt's Popular & Original Dances of ~1815. There is a fourth version in Elias Howe's The Complete Ball-Room Hand Book of 1857 (published in Boston).

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.

A11-41s join hands, move down to face W2 and honour (W2 also honours)
5-8Face M2 and honour (M2 also honours)
A21-81s lead down left in left, turn (man may twirl woman under), lead back
B11-4Cross over with partner by the left shoulder and loop round to face back in
5-8Cross back by the right in
B21-8Partner swing, half-way around the minor set, counter-clockwise to progress

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 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 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.