Cockleboat Jig

Source: J. E. Smart; published in English Dance & Song, April May 1954. Vol XVIII. No. 5
Formation: Longways; Proper

A1 Circle Left (8)
Circle Right - #2 Man releases #2 Lady and Leads to a Line of Four Facing Down - #1 Lady raises her arm so that #2 Lady can go under it into the Line (8)
A2 Down the Hall in Lines of Four, Turn Alone (8)
Up the Hall in Lines of Four, #2s Gate the #1s into Progressed Places (8)
B1 New Second Corners: Set Right & Left (4)
Full Figure Eight around First Corners - start by Passing Partner by the Right Shoulder - Pass your Corner by the Right Shoulder when you meet (12)
B2 New First Corners: The same but Left Shoulders each time - then flow into the next Circle Left

Any 32 bar jig or reel. The Country Dancer, November 1954 suggests "Billy Patterson's Jig".

Is it Proper or Improper? Are those Casts actually Gates? Which way do you head to start the Figure Eights? Why is it only the first woman who is exhorted to arrive on time, when the second man is doing the same moves? Does the listing of only six elements instead of eight mean that it is a 24 bar dance and you have to dance the Figure Eights in two bars? I was wondering about all these elements when I found that the dance also appeared in The Country Dancer, November 1954. Would my questions be answered? Sadly no, it is a verbatim reprint.

So, let's assume Proper (it could be Improper, dancing the Figure Eights up and down the line). I think the flow is slightly better if you start the figure eights by passing your partner. I like the Gate as it leaves everyone facing the right way and allows the #2s to help the #1s rather than getting in the way. Definitely 32 bars.

From Colin Butson of the Otford Folk Dance Club: I lived in Essex in 1954 and Mr. & Mrs. John Smart ran Circassian Circle Folk Dance Club based in Thundersley. They were good musicians too and they formed the Blue Jays band; John was also a Morris Man dancing with the Benfleet Hoymen. Benfleet at that time was a small village next to Leigh on Sea which was the centre for fishermen collecting cockles. Whenever we had a day of dancing in Leigh, most of us were rather unsteady at the end of the day as there were six pubs along the sea front in about half a mile!"

Original page from English Dance & Song, April May 1954

Cockleboat Jig

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