The Phoenix

The Phoenix The Phoenix

The Phoenix is an English Country Dance. It was published by John Playford (website) in 1670 in The Dancing Master, 4th ed.. It was interpreted by Cecil Sharp (website) in 1912 and published in The Country Dance Book (Part 3). Found in The Playford Ball. It is a proper 4 Couple Longways dance. There is no progression in this dance. The dance lasts 128 bars.

Playford published two dances named The Phoenix, the first was first published in 1670 (in editions 4-10 of the Dancing Master), the second first appeared in 1718 in the third edition of the second volume of the Dancing Master. This is an interpretation of the first dance (for the second see Bolton's work.

Playford writes:

Lead up all a D. forward and back That again Set and turn S That again

First man go down on the outside of the wo. to the last, the rest following. Take every man a wo. by both hands Put the we. a D. backward and forward Back all, change places That again

We go down and do as the men did Back all, change places That again

First cu. cross over and go to the lower end, the 2. cu. following and cross the 3. cu. cross and follow, the 4. not cross, take hands all in a ring Go all round Set and turn S That again

Turn the co. wo Men hands and go round We. meet and turn S Men as much

Turn your own We. hands and go round Men meet and turn S We. as much

Four on each side the S. Hey Set and turn S That again

As before, four cross and four not cross Lead up, cast off and come to your places Set and turn S That again

The whole dance should be done at a running step.

In III.A2 Sharp says "All hands-eight, once round", and Playford "Take hands in a ring, Go all round". It would be difficult to do a complete eight person circle in only four bars, even at a running step. Pat Shaw (in Phoenix Rejuvenated) specifies two circle fours at the ends, which seems sensible. On the other hand, the Phoenix only lays one egg, so mythological ornithology suggests that having two circles is impossible.

In Part II the dance will shift toward the woman's wall by a lot. In the animation I adjust for this during the balancing to bring the dancers back to places but this will be difficult in practice.

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.A11-4Partners up a double and fall back
I.A21-4That again
I.B11-4Partners set and turn single
I.B21-4That again
II.A11-4M1 followed by other men, loop behind women ending with M1 behind W4, women turning to face them at end
II.A21-4Couples take two hands, men push women to men's line, then pull back
II.B11-4Balance back and forward and change with partner
II.B21-4That again
II.A31-4W1 followed by other women, loop behind men ending with W1 behind M1, men turning to face them at end
II.A41-4Couples take two hands, women push men to men's line, then pull back
II.B31-4Balance back and forward and change with partner
II.B41-4That again
III.A11-44s followed by others lead down center to invert the set, 4s+2s cross
III.A21-4Circle eight once
III.B11-4Set and turn single
III.B21-4That again
IV.A11-4Men face right, women left, two hand turn
IV.A21-4Men circle four
IV.B11-4Women forward a double, fall back turning single
IV.B21-4Men, the same
IV.A31-4Partner two hand turn
IV.A41-4Women circle four
IV.B31-4Men forward a double, fall back turning single
IV.B41-4Women, the same
V.A1+21-8Each line linear hey for four (right shoulder parallel)
V.B11-4Set and turn single
V.B21-4That again
VI.A11-44s followed by others lead up center to invert the set, 4s+2s cross
VI.A21-44s followed by others cast to bottom (Now everyone in original places)
VI.B11-4Set and turn single
VI.B21-4That again

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 © 2021,2022 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.