The Health

The Merry Wassail

The Health or The Merry Wassail is an English Country Dance. It was published by John Playford in 1651 in The English Dancing Master. It was interpreted by Cecil Sharp in 1916. Found in The Playford Ball. It is a proper 4 Couple Longways dance. There is no progression in this dance. The dance lasts 96 bars.

Playford writes:
Lead up a D. and back, set · That again :
First cu. and last meet, turn back to back, cast off, and going on the outside, the other four to come to your places on the inside, the other as much ·
Hands all backwards, and go half round to the right, set · That back again :
First Cu. and last meet, turn back to back, hands backward round to your places · The other 4 as much ·
Change places with your own by both hands, then 1. and 2. the 3. and 4. men change, so the we. doing the like, set · Change back again to your places ·
First and last Cu. meet, clap hands, hands across round to your places · The other four as much : (or this last passage this) First man and last wo meet and give right hands, first wo. and last man the like, then holding hands across go round to your places · The other four as much :

Playford published another dance with this name in 1728.

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

The dance contains the following figures: hand turn (allemande), set, circle, cast, lead, hands across (and probably others).

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. 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 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.