Williamstown Set

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Category: Irish, Set


This set comes from the Roscommon Galway border area. It has been revived by Mary Whyte, who grew up in Lowberry. Mary has dedicated the set, which was originally danced at crossroads and house dances in the Lowberry and Williamstown areas, to the dancers of previous generations who kept it alive. Recently she has taught it to the Williamstown Set Dancers. My thanks to Mary for giving me the set and also to P. J. Gorevan, who originally told me about it and put me in contact with her.
Notes from The Flowing Tide by Pat Murphy.
Additional notes from Bill Lynch

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Figure 1: Slow chain

Reel, 112 Bars + 8 bar lead-in

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1Everyone
Lead Around All couples lead around anticlockwise, holding crossed hands, and dance the last two bars facing their partners.
8
2Swing All couples swing in waltz hold.8
3Tops
Slow chain Top ladies dance the slow chain. They dance to the centre, take right hands low and turn once around each other, then give their left hands to the opposite gent and turn once around him. The gents turn too. They repeat the movements back to home.
16
4Swing Top couples swing in place.8
5Sides
Dance 3 and 4
24
6Everyone
Turn the ladies around the set All gents join left hands in the centre and take their partners right hand in right. Gents keep their left hands in the centre while all dance anticlockwise to the next position on the right, where each lady turns clockwise once under her partner’s right arm (4b). These movements are repeated as all dance around the set to home (12b).
16
7Advance, retire, house across. Repeat home Facing into the set, gents place their right arm around the lady’s waist as she places her left hand on the gent’s near shoulder. All advance, retire and house to the opposite position. Then they advance, retire and house back to their own positions.16
8Swing All couples swing in place.8
9House All couples house around.8

Figure 2: Arches

Reel, 104 Bars + 8 bar lead-in

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1Everyone
Lead around All couples lead around anticlockwise, holding crossed hands, and dance the last two bars facing their partners.
8
2Swing All couples swing in waltz hold.8
3Swing with your corner All dancers turn away from their partners to face the person on the other side in the corner. They dance towards each other into waltz hold and swing in the corner.8
4Advance & retire Taking their new partner’s right hand in their right, with the lady on the right-hand side of the gent, all advance and retire twice to the centre.8
5Turn the ladies Still holding right hand in right and facing each other, each lady turns clockwise twice under the gent’s right arm.8
6Swing with your partner All dance back to their own positions (2b), passing right shoulder to right, and swing their partners in place (6b).8
7Tops
Advance arches across Both top couples dance to the centre, with first top couple holding right hand in right. First top couple raise their right hands to make an arch and second top couple pass under the arch, with the lady leading. At the other side, the second top lady turns clockwise into place while the second top gent turns anticlockwise into place. When second top couple have passed under the arch, first top couple lower their hands and turn clockwise, side by side, into the opposite position.
Pat Murphy taught in 2000 that dancers should dance out under the arch and turn into place as if each was dancing around the edge of a heart, starting at the bottom point.
Mick Mulkerring, in contrast, had the couple passing under the arch keep hands held, the lady ahead of the gent, and fall back to the opposite place with a half turn anticlockwise.
8
8Advance arches to home Top couples repeat to they dance back to their own positions. This time, second top couple make the arch and first top couple pass under it.8
9Swing Both top couples swing in place.8
10Sides
Dance 6 to 9
24
11Everyone
House All couples house around.
8

Figure 3: Chain

Reel, 112 Bars + 8 bar lead-in

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1Everyone
Lead around All couples lead around anticlockwise, holding crossed hands, and dance the last two bars facing their partners.
8
2Swing All couples swing in waltz hold.8
3Tops
Ladies chain Top ladies chain, taking right hands low in the centre to turn twice around each other, then dancing back to their own places to face their partners.
8
4Swing Top couples swing in waltz hold.8
5Sides
Dance 3 and 4
16
6Everyone
Back to back All face their own partners and dance back to back. They dance forward, passing their partner right shoulder to right, dance sideways to their right, reverse back, passing left shoulder to left, and dance the last two bars facing their partner.
8
7Swing All couples swing in waltz hold.8
8Advance and retire around the set Taking their partners right hand in right, top couples face the side couple on their left and side couples face the top couple on their right. All couples advance and retire once, then pass through to change places with the other couple. Each lady passes between the opposite couple while the gents pass on the outside.8
9Repeat to home Repeat the previous movement three times with top couples dancing clockwise around the set and side couples dancing anticlockwise around it. Each top couple meets each side couple twice as they dance around to home,24
10Swing All couples swing in place.8
11House All couples house around.8

Figure 4: Swing opposites

Jig, 120 Bars + 8 bar lead-in

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1Everyone
Lead around All couples lead around anticlockwise, holding crossed hands, and dance the last two bars facing their partners.
8
2Swing All couples swing in waltz hold.8
3Tops
House House around each other.
8
4Gents swing opposite ladies Gents cross, passing right shoulder to right, and swing opposite ladies.8
5House House inside with new partners.8
6Gents swing partner Gents cross, passing right shoulder to right, and swing their own partners.8
7House House inside with their own partners.8
8Sides
Dance 3 to 7
40
9Everyone
Full chain & swing Taking their partner’s right hand in their right, all chain around the set, gents anticlockwise and ladies clockwise (12b), then swing their partners (4b).
16
10House All couples house around.8

Figure 5: Strip the willow

Polka, 128 Bars + 8 bar lead-in

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1Everyone
Advance & Retire Taking hands in a circle, all advance and retire twice.
8
2Swing All couples swing in waltz hold.8
31st Tops
House inside First top couple house inside.
8
4Tops
Strip the Willow As first top couple finish their house, second top couple move apart from their partners, each dancer joining the nearest side couple in a line of three. First top couple take right hand in right as they face each other and pass each other by, with the top lady giving her left hand to the nearest person in the line on the left hand side of the first top couple, while the top gent gives his left hand to the nearest person in the line on the right-hand side of the first top couple. Each of them turns anticlockwise around the person in the line and continues to turn clockwise, right hand in right around each other in the centre (4b). They repeat the movements, turning with their left hand around the second person in the line and with their right hand around each other again (4b). They then turn with left hands around the third person in the line and, taking waltz hold, house back to home and move apart to line up with the nearest side couple (8b).
16
52nd Tops
Dance 3 and 4: With second top couple leading.
24
61st Sides
Dance 3 and 4: First side couple leading, while second side couple line up, each dancer with the nearest top couple.
24
72nd Sides
Dance 3 and 4: Second side couple leading, while first side couple line up, each dancer with the nearest top couple.
24
8Everyone
Swing All couples swing in place.
8
9House All couples house around.8

Added on 2015-07-20 19:33:56.
Modified on 2017-05-20 12:45:03.
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