The Witches

The Witches is an English Country Dance. It was published by John Playford (website) in 1675 in The Dancing Master, 5th ed.. It was interpreted by Colin Hume (website) in 1995 and published in Playford with a Difference. It is a proper Duple Minor dance. It is a multipart dance. The minor set lasts 88 bars. Someone thought this dance was Easy / Intermediate.

Playford writes

Honour to the Presence. Lead up all forward and back That again The two first men take hands, the two first we. do the same, and put back till the men fall into the we. places, then right-hands to the man, and left to their own wo. then the first man and second wo. clap first their own hands, then each others at the same time; the 2. wo. and the 1. man cast off till you fall in each other's places, then all round in a ring, then the 2. man and 1. wo. cast off while the other clap and round again in a ring, and then the like to the rest

Note that the music for the introductory figure is only AB, while for the progressive figure it is ABB.

All of Colin's interpretations contain explanations of why he made the choices he did, these may be found either in his book, or on his website. I encourage you to examine his reasoning.

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.

The dance contains the following figures: circle, cast, poussette, hey, rights and lefts (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 copyright © 1995 by Colin Hume. My visualization of this dance is copyright © 2022 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.