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Instruction and music for the "Irish Washerwoman."

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  • ...

    Ian Brockbank April 18, 2006, 12:04 p.m. (Message 45072)

    Hi All,
     
    I've just had this request.  Although I know the tune, I'm not familiar with
    the dance.  Can anyone help?
     
    Thanks,
    
    Ian Brockbank 
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    xxx@xxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxx 
    http://www.scottishdance.net/
      
    
     
    
      _____  
    
    From: Olga Schimmer [mailto:xxxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx] 
    Sent: 13 April 2006 19:24
    To: xxx@xxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxx
    Subject: Instruction and music for the "Irish Washerwoman."
    
    
    Hi, 
     
    I had instructions and music on how to teach the square dance "The Irish
    Washerwoman," but I have lost both.  I am teaching children square and folk
    dancing from international country, and I always remember how much I enjoyed
    this parrticular dance.
     
    Will you send me any information on how to get the music and steps for this
    dance.
     
    Thanks,
     
    Olga I. Schimmer
  • ...

    Alasdair Graham April 18, 2006, 12:56 p.m. (Message 45073, in reply to message 45072)

    Ian / Olga,
    
    There is music at
    
    http://www-leland.stanford.edu/~wrinnes/bagpipe.tex/samples/Washer.pdf and
    http://www.sheetmusicdigital.com/pdf/5/8/2/19000285.pdf and
    http://www.blackflute.com/music/tunes/jigs/irishww.html and
    http://www.fionasplace.net/Irishmusic.html and
    http://www.users.csbsju.edu/~eknuth/mandotab/washerxx.html
    
    Also instructions for the round-the-room version are at
    http://www.lloydshaw.org/Catalogue/cue%20sheets/Washerwoman.htm
    
    I have only heard of this dance as a "mixer dance" and not a "set dance".
    
    Alasdair Graham
    Dumbarton, Scotland.
    
    Looking for a dance?
    Call up http://ceilidh.members.beeb.net/  to see if something suits.
    Ceilidh Dance Pages
    Country Dance Page & Newsletter.
  • ...

    Thomas G. Mungall, III April 18, 2006, 5:05 p.m. (Message 45075, in reply to message 45072)

    Ian,
    
    We do this dance in our "vintage class", however, for the life of me I
    cannot remember exactly how the dance goes. It is danced in a longwise set.
    I'll ask tonight and try to get all of it down and post it here.
    
    What I remember is as follows: first all couples count off 1, 2, 1, 2, etc.
    All men and women cross sideways across the set using Irish side steps, step
    forward and back, cross back to own side, step up and back. #1s chasse
    sideways downs the set for four counts, then back and cast off around the
    #2s who step up. #1s rights and lefts and repeat having passed a couple.
    Well it is something like that and ya'll get the general idea.
    
    Tom Mungall
    Baton Rouge, La, USA
  • ...

    Patricia Ruggiero April 18, 2006, 9:12 p.m. (Message 45076, in reply to message 45072)

    Source: A Choice Selection of American Country Dances of the Revolutionary
    Era, 1775-1795.  Collected and edited by Kate Van Winkle Keller and Ralph
    Sweet.  Published by the Country Dance and Song Society, Massachusetts,
    1976. (3rd edition: 1993)
    
    Irish Wash Woman 32J/3cpls
    Longways for as many as will
    Play AABB
    (Original instructions from Asa Willcox)
    
    1-2:  All chasse'  across the set, W facing up, M facing down
    3-4: All rigadoon
    5-8: repeat to places
    
    9-16: 1s and 2s allemand; then allemand reverse (that is: allemand R, then
    allemand L)
    
    17-24: 1s down the center and back, cast off
    
    25-32: Circle 6 hands round and back.
    
    Modern dancers convert this to a duple minor, with circle 4 hands round and
    back.
    
    Note that the allemand is the "behind the back" handhold.
    
    Pat
  • ...

    Thomas G. Mungall, III April 18, 2006, 9:21 p.m. (Message 45077, in reply to message 45076)

    That's the part I forgot! We call it something else though.
    
    Tom Mungall
    Baton Rouge, La, USA
  • ...

    Patricia Ruggiero April 18, 2006, 9:26 p.m. (Message 45078, in reply to message 45077)

    Is it the same figure? What do you call it? 
    
    Pat
  • ...

    Thomas G. Mungall, III April 19, 2006, 3:52 p.m. (Message 45081, in reply to message 45078)

    Pat, It is the same figure only we call it "Back to Back". Easier to
    remember than Allemande which to me denotes something completely different.
    ;-)  Of course, this nomenclature is very confusing to a Scottish country
    dancer! The first time our vintage dance teacher said "back to back" I took
    him literally and danced a do se do.  :-D
    A back to back allemande is difficult when attempting this dance with either
    an inexperienced dancer or, when the height of the dancers are disparate. I
    once danced this dance with a young lady (high school age) who isn't even 5
    feet tall and I'm 6'4". It was difficult for both of us but not as difficult
    as attempting the "Claire Lancers" with a couple with disparate height!
    YIKES! Try the "big christmas" figure when the man is tall and the woman
    very short, she could be dangling all the way around!
    
    I got the instructions for the Irish Washerwoman last night and it appears
    that the dance is basically the same as the one you posted only with
    slightly different nomenclature.
    
    Irish Washerwoman
    March
    
    Long line of dancers, Gents on one side of set and Ladies on other, Gents
    face down set and Ladies face up set, number couples as odd and even (1-2)
    
    All dancers chasse across set L (smile at your partner) and balance (step up
    and back),
    return with chasse to R and balance
    16 Counts
    
    "Back to Back" -- R hand allemande (R shoulders touching)
    to L hand allemande (L shoulders touching)
    16 Counts
    
    Odd-Couples (1s) chasse down set, balance to each other
    8 Counts
    
    Chasse back up the set and cast around even couple (2s)
    8 Counts
    
    Four hands around (circle) to left and return to R
     16 Counts
    
    Continue down the set
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------]
    Yours aye,
    Tom Mungall
    Baton Rouge, La, USA
  • ...

    Thomas G. Mungall, III April 19, 2006, 4:21 p.m. (Message 45082, in reply to message 45081)

    I know some may be asking, what the heck is a "big christmas"??? Well here
    is a photo of a whole dance hall doing the figure in the Clare Lancers.
    http://www.setdancingnews.net/news/photos/onews22/P2280147a.jpg
    
    Tom Mungall
    Baton Rouge, La, USA
  • ...

    Patricia Ruggiero April 20, 2006, 4:13 a.m. (Message 45085, in reply to message 45081)

    Tom wrote:
     
    > I got the instructions for the Irish Washerwoman last night 
    > and it appears that the dance is basically the same as the 
    > one you posted only with slightly different nomenclature.
    
    The source for the version I gave is "Asa willcxs book of Figures" [Ms.
    collection of dance figures] 1793. Newberry Library.
    
    I know nothing further about this Asa Wilcox; but, if this is his book of
    familiar dances, it's not surprising that the figures are slightly
    different.  He and his friends probably liked doing the rigadoon; whereas
    the folks who created your version obviously preferred simply to set forward
    and back.
    
    Your version has "down the center and balance." There are many Early
    American dances that have "down the center and rigadoon."  A ubiquitous
    combination, so much so that many dancers nowadays substitute that for the
    plain vanilla "down the center and back."  And vice versa, if they don't
    like doing the rigadoon.  Small groups of folks who danced only to please
    themselves got to make up whatever versions they liked of a dance!
    
    Pat

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