Speed the Plough ~ Howe

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

Speed the Plough ~ Howe is an American Country Dance. It was published by Elias Howe in 1858 in Complete Ball-Room Hand Book. It is an improper duple minor longways dance. The dance 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 Cecil Sharp's The Country Book Part 1.

Howe writtes...

First couple cross over, first lady balance to second gentleman and turn (at the same time) first gentleman balance to second lady and turn - first couple down the centre (on opposite sides) back (cast off) - ladies chain - half promenade, half right and left.

This leaves couple 1 improper. So I am choosing to interpret the "First couple cross-over" as meaning the dancers should start improper. Then everything works

The animation plays at 120 counts per minute normally, but the first time through the set the dance is 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.

A11-81s balance to opposite sex neighbor, two hand turn
A21-81s down the middle, turn alone, come back up, and cast off
B11-8Ladies chain, over and back
B21-4Promenade across
5-8Right and left through

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. 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.