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Picking Up Sticks

Source: Playford (1651), TPB.

Setting: A longways set of three couples.

Version: 1.0

 1- 8  Forward and back a double, and again.

 1- 2  First man changes with second woman, passing right shoulders
         and going back to back,
 3- 4  first man changes with third man,
 5- 8  Take hands with person across from you, all forward and back a double.

 1- 4  First woman changes with second man, and then third woman,
 5- 8  Forward and back a double.

 1-16  Repeat changes and forward/back from new positions; note that
        throughout this sequence, half of the time you will be dancing
        with someone of the same gender.

 1-16  Repeat changes a third time from new positions, ending up where
        you started the dance

 1- 8  Siding.

 1- 4  Couple 3 crosses and skips once around the entire set, while
        Couple 1 sashays down to 2nd position, while
        Couple 2 steps back and up to 1st position, then
 5- 8   Couple 2 sashays back to place, while
        Couple 1 steps back and up to place.

 1- 8  Repeat with Couple 1 going `around the world' and couples
        2 and 3 changing places, starting with Couple 2 sashaying down.

 1- 8  Arming.

 1-24  Men sheepskin hey.

 1-24  Women sheepskin hey.

Transcription (Picking of Sticks):

Leade up all a D. Forwards and back ?u?.? That again ?u?:? First man changes with the 2. Wo. then with the last man ?u?.:? Leade up as before, then the Wo. change as the man did, every Cu. doing thus.

Sides all ?u?.? That again ?u?:? The first Cu. slip down betweene the 2. they slipping up, then th 2. slip downe, and the first slip up ?u?.:? All this again the last Cu. crossing over below, go up and cross above, fall to your places ?u?.:? ?u?:? Then the foure last slip, and the first Cu. cross about ?u?.:? ?u?:?

Armes all ?u?.? That again ?u?:? The We. stand still, men going the Hey between them, the last man going about the middle Wo. doe thus three times over, then goe quite round about all the We. to your places ?u?.:? ?u?.:? The We. doe as much.


Yes, that's 17 repetitions of the music --- guaranteed to annoy musicians who count instead of watching the dancers.

Men's sheepskin hey: first man leads men to begin winding down around the women. When they reach the bottom, they loop around to wind up around the women. However, the last man always takes a shortcut around the second woman to become the leading man. After 3 repetitions the first man is again in front, and leads the men out the top, around the far side of the women, and back to place.

This dance is sometimes done to the music of Lavena, which is a dance also found in Playford, but this is a Cecil Sharp substitution. The song ``Kitty Magee'' is even more modern, according to The Playford Ball.