The Thames Valley Diamond

Source: Pat Shaw; published in English Dance & Song, Autumn 1971. Vol XXXIII. No. 3
Formation: Becket; Longways; Quadruple minor: Hands eight from the top

Intro: Top Four Quarter Promenade to face each other up and down the set (4)
Lower couple back up WHILE Bottom Four Slide up slightly to make a Square (4)
A1/A2: All: 4 x [Polka one place AC, face the middle (4), Balance (4)]
On the fourth time through, instead of balancing, the Top Four Polka into each other's place
Now back in Longways Sets, with the top two couples having changed places
B1/B2: All: 2 x [Ladies' Chain across the set; All Four Ladies Chain]
C1: Top Four: Right & Left Through with Power Turn to Face Down WHILE Bottom Four Wheel to Face Up
All: Right & Left Through up and down the set with Power Turn to face AC - keep hold in the Courtesy Turn position
This is your new, progressed Home
C2: All: Promenade to Home - finish by the lady twirling CW under the left hands - face across the set

Own three-part tune with four-bar introduction to start each time through the dance.

In the article below it says "hands 8 from the top" implying that it is longways for as many as will. The final description says that it is a four couple dance. However its C5-8 says, "round their group of four couples" implying that it is actually longways for as many as will.

The Balance could be Step Right, Kick Left, etc. or Setting or any other fancy footwork.

The final description says "two changes of rights and lefts" for C1, but the article says "right and left through" - this courtesy turn makes more sense as it lets you face down more easily.

While the formation at the end of the Introduction is a Square, and described as such in the article, the final description calls it a "diamond", in line with the dance's title.

As mentioned in the article, this longways formation was known in the first half of the twentieth century as the "Rifleman" formation after the Rifleman dance. Sadly, the Americans won the marketing campaign with their 1958 "Becket Reel" and it is now known as "Becket Formation".

Original page from English Dance & Song, Autumn 1971

The Thames Valley Diamond

Pat Shaw was a leading figure in the 20th century dance world. As well as writing his own dances and interpreting dances from the 17th and 18th centuries he also researched traditional dances from the 19th and early 20th centuries. He was a regular contributor to the English Dance & Song magazine.

Pat Shaw

Pat Shaw 1917-1977 gives a flavour of this man of many talents.

The Pat Shaw Collection includes over 60 of Pat's own compositions.

Another Look at Playford has 120 of Pat's interpetations of older dances.

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