Step Stately

Step Stately ~ Hume (3 in 7) Step Stately ~ Hume Step Stately ~ Duple, Hume (Old Style Progression) Step Stately ~ Palmer Step Stately

Step Stately 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 (website) in 1916 and published in The Country Dance Book (Part 4). Found in The Playford Ball. It is a proper 3 Couple Longways dance. There is no progression in this dance. It is a multipart dance. The dance lasts 192 bars.

In the Lovelace Manuscript the instructions for this dance are incomplete.

This dance needs more room between sets than most.

Playford (and Sharp) say this can be done for 3, 5, 7 or 9 couples. This is a 3 couple version. Colin Hume recommends 5 couples. Personally I don't think the three couple part of the dance works with either 7 or 9 (and Colin Hume agrees), at that point you run into the difficulties of triple minor double progression.

Lovelace writes:

Leade up, and downe agayne then the man and woeman slip between each other, the man above the woeman then the first man shall leade soe round about to the bottome holding the other man by the hand and his woeman doeing the like at the same time, then they all shall leade upwards, in the shape of an halfe moone, and downe againe then the 3 woemen quitting of the 3 men shall slide upwards towards the right hand, and the men towards the left, and soe they are all in their places;

The first couple shall leade upwards, and the second downwards, the last couple standing still, and then turne about, and leade each to other, and then take hands, and goe rounde — (the dance's instructions are terminated by the bottom of the page and do not resume on the next)

Playford writes:

Lead up all a D. change places each with his own, keeping your races still to the Presence, the men slipping behind the we. and the we before the ment, face all to the wall Men hands, and we. hands, 1 man and 2. wo. lead all the rest round to the bottom facing all to the Presence The first man and wo. being in the middle, lead up all abreast a D. and back We. slip before the men to the right, and men behind the we. to the left going a compass to their places as at first

The first cu. lead up a D. change hands and lead down a D. Take hands with the 2. cu. and all four half round, 1. man and 2. wo. change places The 2 we lead up between the 2 men, then crossing over, the 1. wo. go behind the 2. man, and the 2. behind the 1. Men change over by the right hands, then giving left hands to their own we. turn the 1. cu. into the 2. place, and the 2. into the 1.

First cu. cross over, meet in the 2. place, change places The three uppermost men and the three we. hands, fall a D. back, 2. and 3. cu. change each with his own while the 1. cu. meet, then fall a D. back again three and three Now standing as in Greenwood, the 1 man between the 2 and 3. wo. and the 1. wo. between the 2. and 3. man, the 1 cu. lead up, cast off and meet below whilst the 2. and 3. we and the 2. and 3. men change places The 1. cu. being in the 3. place, arms, whilst the other four take hands and go half round to the left

The version in The Playford Ball is slightly different from what Sharp wrote. In part 2 B 1-4, the Ball has the women lead up left hand in left with W2 passing W1 in front of her, while Sharp simply says they lead up and cross (and to Sharp, "lead up" usually meant right hand in right).

Although Playford published a tune for this dance, Cecil Sharp choose to use the tune from Jack Pudding instead. The music was synthesized by Colin Hume's software

The animation plays at 120 counts per minute. Men are drawn as rectangles, women as ellipses. Each couple is drawn in its own color.

An online description of the dance may be found here.

I.A11-2Partners lead up a double
3-4Men slip 4 steps right, women left, men behind women
5-8Join hands in same sex lines facing out, 1s lead their lines in a half circle to meet at the bottom of the set
I.B11-4Lead up a double and fall back
5-81s again lead same sex lines back to place, women in front
I.AB21-16That again
II.A11-4(duple minor set) 1s lead up a double, turn, lead back
5-61s+2s circle left half
7-8M1+W2 change
II.B11-4W2 leads W1 up, crossing to end with women behind opposite men
5-5Men right hand pull-by
6-8Partner left hand turn to progressed places
II.AB21-16That again: 1s+3s
II.AB31-16That again: 2s+3s
II.AB41-16That again: 2s+1s
II.AB51-16That again: 3s+1s
II.AB61-16That again: 3s+2s
III.A11-4(triple minor set) 1s cross go below, cross again, 2s move up
5-8Lines of three on the sides fall back, come forward, end couples crossing
III.B11-41s (in center) lead up and cast down to bottom as 2s cast down, lead up and cast down to place and 3s cast down and lead up to top
5-81s arm right while others circle four half
III.AB21-16That again
III.AB31-16That again
IV.A1-2Partners lead up a double
3-4Men slip 4 steps right, women left, men behind women
5-8Join hands in same sex lines facing out, 1s lead their lines in a half circle to meet at the bottom of the set
IV.B1-4Lead up a double and fall back
5-8Lines cross, reform semicircle, forward and honour presence

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 itself is out of copyright, and is in the public domain. The interpretation 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 © 2021,2022,2023,2024 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.