The Triumph ~ Sharp

Lady's Triumph Dorset Triumph The Triumph ~ Preston The Triumph ~ Sharp The Triumph La Triomphe

The Triumph ~ Sharp is an English Country Dance. It was devised by Thomas Wilson in 1809 and published in Treasures of Terpsichore, 1st edition. It was interpreted by Cecil Sharp (website) in 1909. It is a proper Triple Minor dance. The minor set lasts 32 bars.

Modern dance adapters look at historical sources (and try to understand historical verbiage) to figure out how dances were intended to be danced. In part 1 of The Country Dance Book Cecil Sharp used a different approach: He went to country villages and noted how dances were still danced. Thus Sharp's version of The Triumph contains a hundred years of local evolution from the original publication of the dance.

Sharp offers two different versions of the lead down and back: 1) the couple takes left hands in left and raises them, they move down below the 3s (4 bars), release hands, turn and take right in right to lead back up, return to places and bow (he says "bow", but surely the women would curtsy?) or 2) the couple takes left in left, go down, at the bottom the man turns the lady under and they lead back up with crossed hands (what I would call "promenade position").

If I understand Sharp aright he intends the "swing and cast one" to mean the couples trade places while swinging. I'm almost certain that "swinging" was not part of the dance repertoire of 1809, but it seems to have been in 1909, and not just in the US.

Sharp describes the swing as "Partners meet, engage in waltz fashion, and dance round in a small circle between the lines of the General Set. At the beginning of the last bar they disengage, return to places and bow.

The 3s do absolutely nothing, it's easy to see why a modern adaptations use duple minor sets.

Wilson writes:

3 PARTS

Single Figure.

The second Gentleman leads down the top Lady, at the same time the top Gentleman crosses over and leads down outside on the Ladies' side, the two Gentlement then lead the Lady up in triumph to her place ··, then the top Gentleman leads down the second Lady, and the second Gentleman crosses over and leads outside on the Ladies' side, the two Gentlemen then lead the Lady up to her place in triumph ··, lead down the middle, up again, and right left .

Or thus:

Set and change sides ··, the second Gentleman leads down the top Lady, at the same time the top Gentleman crosses over and leads down outside the Ladies' side, the two Gentlemen then lead the Lady up in triumph to her place ··, down the middle, up again, and right and left .

Before him, Preston wrote in 1793:

The 1st. Lady set to the 2d. Gentn. & turn The 1st. Gentn. set to the 2d. Lady & turn The 1st. Lady take the 2d. Gentn. by the right hand & lead him down to the 3d. Cus. place · The 1st. Gentn. cast off & his Partr. all 3 lead up to the top together ·· the 1st. Cu lead down the middle up again & cast off ··

Graham Christian, in The Playford Assembly says there is an even earlier version in Thompson's annual of 1790 (called La Triomphe), but, as yet, I have not found a copy of that work.

The animation plays at 80 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.

A11-4W1+M2 join left hands and lead down, turning to face up, as M1 cross set clockwise around W2 to join in a line of three facing up
5-8M1 joins right hands with partner, left to M2('s right) in an arch over W1, dance up, M2 cast home as 1s right turn half to home
A21-4W2+M1 join left hands and lead down, turning to face up, as M2 cross up clockwise around W1 to join in a line of three facing up
5-8M2 joins right hands with partner, left to M1('s right) in an arch over W2, dance up, M1 cast home as 2s right turn half to home
B1-81s lead down, turn and lead back
C1-81s+2s swing and cast one

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 © 2020 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.