Oak Stick (or The Oak Stick) is found in one publication in London (Campbell, Twenty Four Country Dances for the Year 1790) and two manuscripts in America – Nancy Shepley’s manuscript of 1794 from Pepperell, Massachusetts and Asa Wilcox’s Book of Figures from 1793. The two American sets of dance figures are virtually identical, but the English 1790 version appears to be quite different. The Wayside Inn Steppers have been dancing the American version of this dance.
Oak Stick (Triple minor longways)
- A1 First and second couples take near hand with neighbor and double set to partner (forward, back, right, left). First and second couples double set to neighbor (the two ‘gents’ on the gent line and the two ladies on the ladies line).
- A2 First couple cross over, go below one; cross again and go below third couple
- B1 First couple up the center and cast off
- B2 Rights and lefts at the top.
As this dance is from late in the 18th century, the skip-change step would be quite appropriate, and it works well for the first half of the dance (through the second A). In the second half of the dance, it is necessary to avoid the temptation to rush through the figures. In the first B, four skip-change steps can be used to get to the top of the set, and four skip-change sets to cast off with wide loops.
Below are the original American instructions.
Here are the directions from Wilcox:
Two first Gentm set to partners holding hands Gentm together Ladies together cross over two Couple lead to the top cast Down one Couple right & left at top –
Here are the directions from Shepley:
Two first gent. set to their partners holding hands, gent. set together, Ladies do the same, cross down two couple, lead to the top, cast off, right & left.
Sheet music for the tune can be found here: http://trillian.mit.edu/~jc/cgi/abc/tuneget?F=GIF&U=/~jc/music/abc/mirror/kirby98.fsnet.co.uk/oa/Oak_Stick_HSJJ_056_1.abc&X=1&T=OAKSTICKHSJJ056
A Midi file of the tune can be downloaded here: http://trillian.mit.edu/~jc/cgi/abc/tuneget?F=MIDI&U=/~jc/music/abc/mirror/kirby98.fsnet.co.uk/oa/Oak_Stick_HSJJ_056_1.abc&X=1&T=OAKSTICKHSJJ056